We are excited that you’re considering studying sociology at the University of Virginia. Sociology shows that social life follows regular patterns, and that much of what people do, believe, and become arises from their social position and social relationships. In pursuit of this understanding, sociologists study the whole range of social life from the intimacies of face-to-face interaction to the macro-level structure of the economy and the state. They employ diverse methods of collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Many sociologists use the discipline’s insights and methods to address practical problems: for example, to evaluate educational innovations, improve the delivery of health care, increase business productivity and the quality of work life, and project the social ramifications of population changes.
Study in Sociology at the University is designed to provide undergraduates with both a broad, systematic understanding of society and the opportunity to define their own intellectual development. Students receive a grounding in important classic and contemporary social theories; training in research design, empirical data collection, and statistical analysis; and exposure to the current state of knowledge in a variety of substantive areas. Many course offerings informally cluster around particular themes such as law and crime, health and medicine, organizations and the economy, and culture and media.
Upon graduation, Sociology students will find that their liberal arts education is useful in many different kinds of careers. Sociology develops knowledge and skills of practical value, including broad understanding of different societal sectors and patterns, the ability to think critically and analytically, and the capacity to express ideas clearly both orally and in writing. Sociology majors are also able to offer employers specific skills in data collection and analysis.
Most Sociology students go on to pursue careers as managers or professionals. Many recent graduates have gone directly from college to work for banks, business firms, publishers, hospitals, state and Federal agencies, social service organizations, and market research firms. Others have successfully pursued graduate training in business, law, social work, public administration, health administration.