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The UH Hilo Sociology program provides students with broad preparation in the basics of scientific sociology. Both the major and minor options are organized around a core of basic courses in statistics, research methodology, and theory. In addition, the faculty offer topical courses in a variety of subfields including criminology, social problems, social stratification, race and ethnicity, gender, the sociology of disaster, education, family, social psychology, organizations, globalization, island studies, social movements, and politics. Although students are given a lot of freedom in choosing electives, ideally they are able to focus their studies on the subfield that is most relevant to their desired career path.
Sociology is a blend of scientific method, social theory, humanistic concerns, historical processes, and imaginative applications. Focusing upon group life and human interaction, the main objectives of the field are to explain, interpret, and understand all aspects of human social life. As a social science it is both basic and comprehensive. It is basic in that it concerns itself with fundamental questions about the meaning and nature of social life. It is comprehensive because it examines human existence and interactions at all levels- cultural, historical, societal, biographical and biological, and in all forms and dimensions-economic, political, ideological, religious, linguistic and familial.
Understanding the premises, the styles of inquiry, and the findings of sociology has become an integral aspect of being an educated and literate person in our day and age. The reason for this is simple: knowing something about one’s society as well as the societies of others, is important and useful in conducting our lives. Thus, sociology is a body of knowledge, a way of thinking, a set of techniques for understanding, and a calculus of theories that every educated person ought to know something about. Those selecting a major in the field will benefit from the choice throughout their lives because they will be able to apply their sociological insight to all aspects of their existence.
As almost all aspects of life today involve interaction and coordination with others, sociology provides a firm foundation for careers in a very diverse set of applied as well as research fields. Learn more about the Sociology Department.
Careers with Sociology
With their bachelor’s degree in sociology the largest portion of our students have sought careers in various social services field including social work, counseling, case workers and program administrators. The areas of application have included, but are not limited to, medical, gerontology, education, work force development, domestic violence, marriage and family, community development, recreation, children’s programs, and criminology. In addition sociology has historically provided a large percentage of the students in the teacher certification program for both elementary and secondary education. Some of our students have also pursued careers as ministers and pastors of religious organizations. Others have pursued small business management and social event promotion careers. Sociology degrees are also beneficial for those interested in participation in local, national, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many NGO’s are addressing the various kinds of inequalities that you learn about in sociology courses. They provide an avenue to support progressive social change.
Continuing Education with Sociology
Several of our students have furthered their educations in a wide variety of graduate programs, such as sociology, social work, public health, education, law, medicine, psychology, political science, public policy, public administration, and environmental affairs. Our small class sizes, focus on discussion based learning, and the research based learning opportunities available to our students make them excellent candidates for graduate programs. UH Hilo Sociology students are prepared for the rigorous learning environment of a graduate program in many fields.