If you want to study how the modern world came to be the way it is, what is happening and why, and what alternatives are possible, Sociology is for you.
The raw stuff of Sociology is human experience. Sociology is where human experience, both individual and public, singular and collective meet. These public and private stories make up the sociological imagination and this results in many different social realities.
We all exist within ever-changing social worlds, forces, groups, ideologies and institutions that make up what is called society. Sociology is the study of these ever-changing social realities and the sociological imagination that gives rise to them. Sociology is where you research, argue and critique the social world in all its fullness.
- Sociologists investigate the structure of societies, organisations and groups. Their subject matter ranges from the intimacy of the family, the criminal gang, activities at the rugby game and rock festival, through to divisions of ethnicity, gender and class. All of these and many more areas, including globalisation, music, cities, technologies, environment, health and death, are included in the Sociology programme taught at UC.
- UC is ranked in the top 150 universities in the world in Sociology (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).
Sociology is increasingly being taught in schools but this background is not necessary for entry into first-year courses at university. All that is required is an enquiring mind, an openness to looking at things from different points of view and an interest in what people do to and with each other.
Mature students are often able to bring a wealth of life experience to the study of Sociology. This is a discipline in which the life experiences of both young and mature students count.
Students intending to major in Sociology are required to take at least one course in Sociology at 100-level.
Sociology was one of the first established social science subjects at UC and sociological ideas and practices have been incorporated into many related subjects. Students majoring in Sociology successfully combine courses in Sociology with other courses such as Anthropology, Media and Communication, and Political Science and International Relations, as well as courses in Geography, History, Māori and Indigenous Studies, Social Work, Psychology, Computer Science, Management, Economics and Law.
200-level and beyond
Sociology majors need to include SOCI 201 Social Theory for Contemporary Life in their second-year schedule.
Sociology courses at 200 and 300-level take students beyond introductions to the discipline to more focused and in-depth engagements with particular areas of sociological endeavour.
As well as introducing research methods and sociological theories, the specialist topics offered are closely linked to staff research areas. These include the environment and sustainability, development and gender in international relations, the sociology of sport and media, health, animals, heritage, religion, ethnic relations, the sociology of everyday life, globalisation and poverty, crime and justice, and even death and dying.
Sociologists are employed in a diverse range of occupations in the private and public sectors of the economy. Their skills are drawn on in private sector research organisations, consultancies, social policy, criminal justice, media firms and a wide range of social movements or community development projects.
They also carry out research for government departments on topics such as the distribution of income and wealth and gender and ethnic equality. Employment in government departments can also involve policy development and analysis, drafting new legislation and analysing the benefits and costs of different social policies.
The broad skills gained from a Bachelor of Arts such as research, writing, critical thinking and communication are all highly valued by employers and can open employment opportunities in careers as diverse as international relations, heritage, PR, teaching, publishing, advertising and more.
Sociology graduates make for good teachers and researchers in universities, polytechnics, continuing education providers and schools.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Sociology.
See the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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