Overview of a Double Major in Sociology and Psychology
Psychology focuses on human behavior and its underlying causes. Sociology looks at how people are grouped together and how those social groups interact. Studying both fields simultaneously can provide students with a unique and in-depth appreciation for how people learn, why they behave the way they do and how to influence their behavior. The double major requires the same number of credits as a normal bachelor's degree but blends coursework from both fields.
Many careers in sociology and psychology require graduate studies, but bachelor's degree holders with a double major in psychology and sociology may be ideal candidates for careers in social services, education or sales. Graduates will have an appreciation for what causes people to identify with specific social groups and what prompts them to make specific behavioral choices. They can apply this knowledge to counseling, working with juvenile delinquents and even developing marketing strategies to sell products to specific groups of people.
Admission Requirements for a Double Major in Sociology and Psychology
When students are applying to postsecondary institutions, their high school transcripts and test scores, such as SATs or ACT scores, are required. Some schools have specific requirements for high school courses that must be completed, such as four years of English courses and four years of mathematics courses. Set numbers of courses in social sciences, foreign languages and science may also be required. Some schools may also require applicants to submit reference letters or essays.
Once a student is admitted, they must maintain accepted academic standing during their freshman year and complete any required first-year courses needed to be eligible to pursue the majors they are interested in. Students typically choose their majors in their second year; those who pursue a double major may need to get permission from the staff who oversee those programs.
Double Major in Sociology and Psychology Program Coursework
When a student is pursuing a double major, they need to pay close attention to the core requirements for both majors to ensure that they take the right courses. All psychology and sociology majors are typically required to take introductory courses in their field. Since sociology focuses on social groups, students may also be particularly interested in psychology courses that deal with group classifications such as race or culture.
Introduction to Sociology
What is sociology? What is the relationship between culture and society? How is a social structure created? Students will learn the answers to these key questions and more in an introductory sociology course. This course will provide students with a foundation in the theories of sociology essential for advanced studies in this subject.
Social Research Methodology
Sociologists are often involved in research work. A course in social research methodology can provide students with an understanding of how to conduct effective research. They will learn how to effectively gather relevant information. They'll also learn how to use computers to process research data.
Introduction to Psychology
Students will learn about the governing principles of psychology. They will explore psychological theories. They will also learn about different factors that affect human behavior, including biology, perception, and personality. Students will also be introduced to abnormal behavior.
Psychology and Learning
How do people learn? Are behaviors taught or inherited? A course in psychology and learning will introduce students to theories about how people learn, as well as ways to eliminate or encourage behaviors. Studies specifically include reinforcement as well as extinction strategies. The course also covers different types of learning.
Psychology and Culture
Psychologists perform data analysis in their work, and a course in psychology and culture prepares students to process data while considering cultural factors. Students will learn to look at how culture impacts their research in key psychology research fields. How culture shapes a person's relationship with society and how it affects their development are some of the areas that students will explore. This type of course can be beneficial to students who are considering working in public policy because they will understand the implications of culture when developing effective policies.
Why do people commit crimes? Students will explore the theories that try to explain why people become criminals. This course will also explore the relationship between law enforcement and criminals. As part of the course students will also look at the victims of crime and how the criminal justice system works.
How to Choose a Bachelor's Degree Program in Sociology and Psychology
Some institutions actively promote the option of pursuing a double major in psychology and sociology. Students may favor those schools because they may be more receptive to the choice to pursue the double major and may offer some program variations to prevent overlap in core course requirements.
There are many institutions throughout the country that offer the opportunity to major in both psychology and sociology, so students want to consider location and cost. Students should also investigate the difference between a double major and a dual degree; a double major confers a single degree in two fields, while a dual degree confers two different degrees. Some schools offer both, and dual degrees usually take longer to complete.
Most positions in the field require an advanced degree. Not all institutions offer graduate studies, and students who are considering pursuing a master's degree may want to pursue studies at a school that offers master's degree programs in these subjects.
Career Options with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Psychology
A bachelor's degree with a double major in psychology and sociology opens career options in counseling and social service work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a median annual income of $64,680 per year for social and community services managers in 2016, while substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors earned $41,070 the same year. The BLS forecasts a 20% increase in positions for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors from 2016 to 2026, while social and community service managers should see a 16% job growth rate during the same ten-year period. Other potential career paths can be explored below, though some require graduate education: