Types of Sociology

Sociology is a fairly broad realm of scientific study and is divided into several different types of sociology, or branches of sociology. When you choose to pursue a sociology degree, you can minor in a particular type of sociology or take a series of elective courses in various branches of sociology. All in all, sociologists study human behavior and interactions, and how different events, institutions and influences make certain people behave in a certain way.

Some types of sociology focus more on environmental influences while others hone in on groups and how people and organizations tend to self-organize. Learning about the different branches of sociology can help you decide whether this is the educational and career path for you, and what type of specializations you want to focus on throughout your career.

What are the Main Branches of Sociology?

According to Emile Durkheim, sociology is made of three main branches and then breaks down further into different types of sociology. The three main branches of sociology are:

  • Social morphology - a study of geographical data and settings
  • Social physiology - the study of religion, law, economics, politics and other influences of society
  • General sociology - the study of how different social laws are derived from various processes

Other sociologists throughout history have defined just two or three other branches of sociology, but all of these ideas have one thing in common. They are all focused on studying cultural and social phenomena, and the sociologist may use scientific data to draw conclusions and develop theories about why people behave in a certain way.

Types and Areas of Sociology

There are several different areas of sociology, or types of sociology to consider when you are deciding what field you want to specialize in and what type of work you want to pursue. The main types of sociology can be defined as follows:

  • Social organization - this is the study of different institutions, such as educational institutions, the institution of marriage, social stratification and even the economy, and how these influence society and create different groups.
  • Social psychology - out of all of the different types of sociology, social psychology focuses on the study of human nature, traits, belief systems, attitudes and morals. Social psychologists play close attention to individual groups and what drives people to do certain things.
  • Social disorganization and social change - this is the study of deviant behavior in society and sociologists in this field try to make sense of why some people are involved with crime, drug addiction and other problems that plague society.
  • Population or demographic sociology - this is the study of the population and changes in the population, and sociologists in this field review statistics and data to forecast population growth and trace its root causes.
  • Sociology theory and methods - this is one of the types of sociology that is more scientific in nature. Sociologists in this field test various methods and make attempts to prove different theories.
  • Applied sociology - makes use of existing research data to solve social problems and apply sociological concepts in fields such as family counseling, industrial relations and economic development.
  • Human ecology - deals with some of the social problems affecting society, and tries to identify what types of institutions are prompting these problems.