Site search

Main menu:

Difference Majoring in Sociology and Social Work

These seem like very similar majors, but there are some big differences in the focus of study for each degree. While they are both in the social studies field, they concentrate on very different areas.  Academically sociology is a field of study involving how people interact in groups and why they react in certain ways.  Social work is a field of study concerned with the practical application of techniques used to alleviate the problems of individuals in society.  The different objectives of each major are also how they differ.  The objective of completing a sociology degree program is to provide students with skills necessary to understand problems inherent in social relationships and then attempt to solve them.  The objective of a social work program is to prepare students for careers in social and human services.

A major in sociology is an excellent liberal arts foundation for embarking on a wide range of career paths.  One example is using your sociology undergraduate degree to pursue a master’s degree in social work.  Because the two majors are from the same field of study, having a sociology bachelor’s degree is excellent if you decide to pursue a master’s in social work.

The power of your sociology major can be amplified if you take a multidisciplinary approach.  It is predicted that the most successful people in the 21st century will be those who have been exposed to a wide variety of disciplines and have taken the time to study outside of their field, in depth.  For example you could combine your sociology degree by planning a double major in criminal justice, education, economics, English, political science, or anthropology.

Sociologists basically study human behavior in social groups and the influences within the group, such as social conditions.  Sociologists examine the structure of groups, societies, and organizations, and how people interact within these groups.  Since all human behavior is social, sociology ranges from a family group to a volatile crowd, from religious cults to organized crime, from the divisions of social class, race and gender to the shared beliefs of a common culture.  Few fields of study have such a broad scope and relevance for research, theory and application.  Sociology is a rapidly expanding field because of the challenging issues of our time.  Listen to any presidential debate and you will find sociological issues being discussed; including abortion, gay marriage and the division of wealth within our country.

A social work degree prepares student to practice in the field of social work and in the human services field. Social workers aren’t as concerned about the why of a social situation as they are with the how they can help people in these situations.  While a bachelor’s degree might get your foot in the door, most social workers are expected to have their master’s degree in social work.  You do not have to have a social work undergraduate degree to pursue a master’s in social work.  Bachelor’s degrees in psychology, anthropology and sociology are also good liberal arts degrees for pursuing a social work master’s degree. Social work is a profession for people with a strong desire to improve lives.  They assist people by helping them cope with and solving issues in their lives. 

So, while these are very similar areas, there are some significant differences between the two fields of study.

Write a comment