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Career Paths

Rocci Jackson

Rocci Jackson ’10, presenting “An Intentional Act with Unintentional Consequences: Japanese Internment in the United States” at the 36th Annual Western Sociology & Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference at Santa Clara University.

Since sociology is such a broad field, there is really no end to what you can do with the degree.

Sociologists map out social structures, discovering the ways race, gender, power and economic worth configure society.

  • We examine social processes like deviance, social mobility and community building.
  • We explore alternatives and evaluate social solutions to problems like poverty, racism and crime.
  • We try to figure out ways we all can more effectively and equitably interact with one another while maintaining social order or mapping social change.

Our majors enjoy challenging careers in areas as diverse as criminal justice, law, journalism, social services, urban planning, government, education and business.

Some students choose to prepare for graduate study and become professional researchers and teachers in our field.

Graduates from our program include:

  • The first Latina Chief of Police in Northern California
  • A disaster-response planning expert in Washington D.C.
  • A social worker dealing with problems of aging populations in Los Angeles
  • An associate working with a national civil rights organization
  • An advocate for the Cambodian League for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights

We are proud of them all!

Career Resource


Nationally, students who major in sociology say they do so to better understand the relationship between the individual and society, and some want to learn how to change society.

The External link American Sociological Association web site provides some interesting information on what to do with a sociology degree and trend data on who is earning sociology degrees.

Some Well-Known Sociologists


Michelle Obama-Lawyer, Executive Director For Public and Global Affairs For Chicago, First African-American First Lady of the United States

Former U.S. Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm of New York-the first African-American woman elected to Congress and first major party (Democratic) candidate for President.

C. Wright Mills—a Texan who deemed himself "a born troublemaker" and, as a professor of sociology at Columbia University, rode to work each day in leathers on a moterbike. He wrote The Sociological Imagination, rated one of the top two most influential books in sociology by the International Sociological Association.

Frances Fox Piven-Past President of the American Sociological Association and cofounder of SERVE (Service Employees Registration and Voter Education), which became the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. She was awarded the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Prize and the President's Award of the National Public Health Association

Steve Nash-NBA basketball player for the Phoenix Suns, 6 times NBA all-star, founder of many charitable organizations for children, and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world.

Learn about other notable sociologists Read More

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. -Nobel Peace Prize

Emily Balch-Nobel Peace Prize (social worker and organizer)

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Tuscon, Arizona

U.S. Congresswomen Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, California

Saul Bellow-novelist (Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes in Literature)

Suzanne Malveaux-CNN White House Correspondent

Pete Seeger-Songwriter and political activist who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

James Blunt-Musician, songwriter and war hero who was nominated for 5 Grammies

Robin Williams-Actor and Comedian

Dan Aykroyd-Actor and "Blues Brother"

Ronald Reagan-Former actor, Governor of California, and President of the U.S.

Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan-Ambassador to United Nations and to India. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Saul Alinsky-Founder of Modern Community Organizing; he received the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award.

Amad Rashad-Former NFL football player and sportscaster

Joe Theisman-Former NFL football player and sportscaster

Alonzo Mourning-Former NBA basketball player and first to have jersey retired by Miami Heat

Craig Robinson-Oregon State Basketball Coach and elder brother of Michelle ObamaHide