We all interact with other human beings on some level—through our personal life, professional duties, educational pursuits, and/or hobbies. How these institutions and groups interact and influence our beliefs and actions is considered so important that there’s an entire field of study devoted to it.
Sociology, as defined by Britannica, is a “social science that studies human societies, their interactions, and the processes that preserve and change them.” Sociology’s distinguishing factor among other social sciences is that it “devotes most of its attention to the collective aspects of human behaviour, because sociologists place greater emphasis on the ways external groups influence the behaviour of individuals.” In sum, sociology is the systematic scientific study of social interaction within a group or groups.
A broad science that incorporates many aspects of the human experience, sociology involves elements of psychology, education, economics, and politics. Perhaps because of this inclusive scope, an education in sociology can offer skills that benefit all of us. The formal study of sociology can instill critical thinking, communication, and research skills that will help you personally and professionally.
The Value of Critical Thinking
Let’s take a look at one of the most essential skills that you can develop in a sociology degree program: critical thinking. This process involves thoroughly examining your own thoughts about someone or something and remaining open to alternative conclusions. Rather than accepting the most common, obvious, habitual, or convenient view, critical thinkers examine and challenge these preconceptions. This introspection can help individuals overcome biased assumptions, often shaped by the society in which we live, which sometimes make understanding, communicating, and empathizing with others more difficult.
From a sociological point of view, critical thinking is an essential skill for navigating life in any society and is all the more critical in a diverse culture. If your critical thinking skills are sharp, you may be better able to get along with coworkers, neighbors, teammates, and any other groups of people in your society. In many people-centric careers, such as criminal justice, education, human resources, or social work, you’ll be able to perform your job more effectively if you’re able to challenge your own biases and empathize with people whose experiences or beliefs may be vastly different from yours. You may find critical thinking skills especially helpful in careers including:
- Teaching Assistant
- Guidance Counselor
- Human Resources Professional
- Social Worker
- Social Researcher
- Public Administrator
- Nonprofit Specialist
- Management Consultant
Regardless of profession, can you think of any person who wouldn’t benefit from critical thinking skills? Neither can we. That’s why we suggest an education in sociology for many prospective students.
Undergraduate Studies in Sociology
The University of Texas Permian Basin has designed an online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology program for students who are driven by an interest in social studies and social justice and who wish to help foster greater equality for all individuals and groups within diverse societies. Our program investigates human interactions within groups, the diverse cultures and peoples that make up our world, and factors that affect social behavior within societal subcultures. Further, it explores how social and political identities can influence the way some subcultures are regarded within the larger society.
As an undergraduate degree program, our online BA in sociology also covers a range of general education topics—from English composition to art to biology—providing valuable foundational knowledge for your life, career, and graduate-level studies, should you choose to pursue them. As you complete the program, you’ll build essential, transferable skills including critical thinking, communication, and research.
The Advantages of Our Online Classroom
Our Bachelor of Arts in Sociology program is delivered in an asynchronous, 100% online format that enables you to complete your coursework at any convenient time—nights, weekends, etc.—from any location in the world equipped with internet access. If you have ongoing family and/or career responsibilities, you’ll find the flexibility of our program irreplaceable. Program courses last just eight weeks each and require no campus visits, and students can choose from six program start times per year. Our online BA in sociology program features the same acclaimed faculty and curriculum as our campus-based program, so you can be assured there’s never any compromise in quality.
We invite you to gain valuable life and career skills as you earn your Bachelor of Arts in Sociology online from UT Permian Basin!