The Bachelor of Arts in Sociology is a versatile degree that “serves as an excellent springboard for a variety [of] careers in many diverse fields,” to quote the American Sociological Association (ASA). A sociology degree is also a valuable strategic investment in your future — particularly for any student who has an interest in entering the world of domestic or international business.
Though it might initially seem like sociology and business share little in common, there’s actually meaningful overlap between these two outwardly unrelated fields — and that overlap can translate to opportunity for students who hold sociology degrees. We’ll explain why sociology matters for business; examine the relationship between sociology and business management; and explore some business-related careers you can enter with a sociology degree.
What is the Importance of Sociology in Business?
Sociology is an interdisciplinary field that, like psychology, seeks to understand human behavior. However, there is a key difference that separates sociology from psychology — and arguably, makes the former even more valuable from a business standpoint. While psychology looks at individual behavior, sociology studies the behavior of groups, communities, and classes, such as groups based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and income.
With its unique emphasis on group dynamics, group conflict and resolution, and social theories and structures, sociology makes a natural complement to business. In fact, sociology may be more critical in today’s diverse and multiethnic business environment — which “is undergoing a gradual, but significant, change,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — than it was during previous decades. As technological improvements and social progress bring together increasingly diverse employees, cultures, value systems, and methods of organization or labor, an understanding of sociology has grown increasingly crucial to business success.
In addition to their knowledge of diversity and inclusivity, providing actionable insights around the sociology of management is another area where sociology students can make valuable contributions to business. Equipped with a knowledge of sociological concepts, managers can make more sensitive and more effective decisions around issues like staffing, recruitment, interdepartmental conflicts, and public relations.
In the undergraduate sociology program at National University, students learn and develop vital skills, such as multidisciplinary thinking and critical thinking; qualitative and quantitative research design; solo and group presentation; complex data analysis; and oral and written communication — all of which are integral components of success in the modern business landscape. In fact, National University’s sociology curriculum is designed to help ensure that students are prepared for the workplace and are able to meet employer expectations. However, while the curriculum is informed by the demands of the modern workplace, it’s also designed to help students achieve their greater goals for making a difference — not only in the business world, but in their neighborhoods and communities.
Like many of the programs at National University, our sociology program can be completed on campus or 100% online. Whichever route you choose, you’ll benefit from taking courses with other adult learners and professionals, challenging yourself to explore new ideas and perspectives in an engaging and dynamic environment.
What Do You Do with a Sociology Degree in the Business World?
A bachelor’s degree in sociology (or, to a lesser extent, a minor in sociology) can help qualify you for a range of entry-level positions that are related to business, industry, and labor. Of course, as in any field, the area you choose to enter depends on your background and personal interests. For example, students who enjoy learning about organizational theory may also enjoy professional roles that emphasize organizational planning or employee training. On the other hand, sociology students who prefer to learn about subjects such as statistics or data analysis may be suitable candidates for PR or marketing positions. Following yet another course, students who enjoy studying the sociology of work or occupations may be well-positioned for a career in HR, a path that’s discussed in more detail below.
Examples of areas where sociology graduates have built careers in business include communication; sales and marketing; public relations and social media; and Human Resources, such as recruiting, benefits, and employee payroll. (Outside the business world, other fields or occupations that sociology students have entered include social work, social services, law enforcement, and education.)
Whether you’re primarily interested in human resources, leadership and management, workplace ethics, diversity and inclusivity, globalization and multinationalism, labor unions, business development, wage gaps and equal pay, organizational policy, international trade relations, employee training and recruitment, or other aspects of the contemporary business landscape, the unique experiences and skills that you acquire as a sociology major at NU will help to prepare you for a dynamic and rapidly-evolving industry. You’ll gain — and become able to provide businesses with — actionable insights into the social and cultural factors that drive consumer behavior, employee performance, and business development. From a prospective employer’s perspective, that makes your sociology degree a valuable asset in the workplace — especially when it’s bolstered by relevant volunteer or internship experience.
But what about practical considerations, such as job growth and earning potential? According to the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook for the field of sociology is stable, with estimated growth of four percent — “as fast as average” — during the period from 2019 to 2029. The BLS also reported that the 2019 median pay for a sociologist was over $83,000 per year, or over $40 per hour. However, it’s important to note that most positions at this level require an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. or master’s degree.
For additional information about potential career paths, read about what you can do with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. You can also contact our admissions office to request information or speak with an enrollment advisor.
How to Get into HR with a Sociology Degree
Other than a bachelor’s degree in human resources, having a bachelor’s degree in sociology is one of best ways to prepare for the field of HR, which — like sociology — involves the training, organization, and administration of diverse groups of people. The skills you develop as a sociology major, like communicating clearly, understanding group dynamics, and evaluating information analytically, may help give you an edge over other applicants.
To make yourself even more competitive as an HR job candidate with a sociology background, you may wish to explore additional strategies. Examples of steps you can take include pursuing an HR certification, such as the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR); contacting various HR departments regarding potential job shadowing opportunities; cultivating marketable skills, such as computer literacy, bi- or multilingualism, and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research design; utilizing social media platforms, notably LinkedIn, to network and make connections with other students and working professionals; and of course, obtaining as much work, volunteer, and/or internship experience as possible, ideally in a relevant field or position.
From human resources and diversity training, to sales and marketing, to business leadership and management, to international trade and industrial relations, a background in sociology has applications in all corners of the corporate world, enabling students to pursue and explore a wide range of professional interests. Outside the corporate sphere, holders of an undergraduate degree in sociology may also find entry-level work in the public sector, with earning potential increasing as the student obtains more advanced degrees.
Earn Your BA in Sociology from National University and Jumpstart Your Business Career
Whether you’re a high school student who’s thinking about applying to undergraduate programs, a currently enrolled college student who plans to transfer to National University, or a military servicemember looking to explore exciting and fulfilling civilian careers, a BA in sociology from National University can help you transition into a diverse range of business-related careers. And with NU’s fast-paced yet flexible format, students complete each immersive course in just 30 days, enabling our graduates to achieve their goals efficiently.
Think a business sociology career might be right for you? Learn more about the undergraduate sociology program at National University and how a degree can jumpstart your career. Contact our admissions office for additional program information, or apply to National University today.