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Sociology

Sociology is the study of individuals and society, and highlights social difference. What makes sociology unique among academic disciplines is its focus on the linkages between our individual experiences and the context of the wider society in which we live. Investigating the social ties between private and public, agency and structure, or individual and society is at the heart of sociology. The mission of the Department of Sociology at UBC is to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to critically apply the sociological perspective to their own lives and to the social worlds in which they live.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Sociology Student’s Association

The SSA is a council of students which brings together students, alumni, faculty and campus partners for monthly social and academic events such as faculty networking events and career and grad school panels.

Sojourners: Undergraduate Journal of Sociology

Sojourners was the first peer reviewed undergraduate journal of Sociology in North America. Be part of the editorial team or make a submission.

Arts Internship Program

Sociology is the study of human social behaviour. The best way to find out what you are passionate about is trying something new and interacting with people. This program offers you the chance to gain an inside look into the social service sector through part-time internships. Find out more about this industry, make valuable connections, and learn about yourself in the process - while attending classes.

Arts Co-op Program

The quantitative and qualitative research skills you are developingthrough your studies in Sociology are highly valued by employers inmany fields. Discover what many students in your major already know: gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience through Arts Co-op will help you explore career options in fields such as non-profit (including social services organizations), government, and the private sector across Canada and abroad. Graduate with career skills and experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Go Global

Test the theories you are learning in the classroom and study social behaviour in context, in an international setting.  Go Global programs allow you to explore your discipline from a different perspective and gain invaluable life skills as you navigate a new cultural environment.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings such as non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop community development, research, policy, decision making and career skills.  Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, International Service Learning or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Student Directed Seminars

Student Directed Seminars allow senior undergraduate students to either participate in or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences. In previous years, students in Sociology have facilitated such seminars as “Social Dimensions of the Internet and New Media” and “Immigration and Multicultural Community Development: A Community Based Evaluation Research Approach.”

Arts Tri-Mentoring

Connect with alumni, industry and faculty mentors. Arts Tri-mentoring matches 1st and 2nd year students with a senior student and an alumnus to explore networking and the professional world.

Using your degree

Why do employers value Sociology graduates?

  • Their ability to think, reason and understand
  • An understanding of the constructed nature of social life
  • An alertness as to how power operates across different levels of society
  • Their ingenuity to look beyond the manifest to comprehend the latent
  • A facility to see issues from a variety of vantage points
  • An appreciation of how context matters in shaping our actions and emotions 
  • An awareness that meaning matters, and that the social world is not subject to deterministic laws

Career possibilities

Human resources specialist

People working in human resources utilize their communication, presentation and organizational skills to recruit, hire, train and motivate employees and manage other aspects related to company workforces.

Public policy analyst

Scrutinize existing policies by performing research, establishing root causes, and evaluating alternative solutions. You'll find analysts at all levels of government and within businesses and non-profits.

Other careers
Community Service Agency Worker Market Researcher
Social Policy Researcher
Public Information Officer
Community Relations Specialist
Case Manager 
Actuary
Human Resources Specialist
Census Officer/Analyst
Social Research Specialist
Labour Relations Officer
Career/Employer Counsellor
Child/Youth Worker
Social Statistician
Labour Relations Mediator
Demographer
Activist/Lobbyist
Public Relations
Addicitions Counsellor
Healthcare Administrator
Diversity Consultant
Rehabilitation Counsellor
Disability Services Worker
University Admissions Officer/Counsellor
Student Life Co-ordinator
Advertising Copywriter
Media Analyst/Researcher
Victims Advocate
Community Development Co-ordinator
Recreation Planner/Co-ordinator
Aboriginal Enhancement Support Worker
Behavioural Interventionist
Youth Probation Officer

Academic possibilities

This degree prepares students for further study in Sociology and a variety of fields including:

  • Law
  • Social Work
  • Education 
  • Health Administration 
  • Counselling
  • Archival Studies
  • Community and Regional Planning

Alumni profiles

Amanda Cheong

Amanda Cheong’s interest in migration, transnationalism and citizenship led her to pursue self-directed research and facilitate a Student Directed Seminar, in addition to serving as the Co-President of the Sociology Student’s Association.  In 2012, she was awarded the Dean’s Outstanding Leader in the Faculty of Arts Award. 

Theresa Harding

Theresa Harding graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and gender, race, sexuality, and social justice (GRSJ) in 2000. After completing her B.A., Theresa decided to continue her academic career at UBC with a Masters degree in Community and Regional Planning. Theresa now works in community development for Metro Vancouver and is in the regional parks sector. She feels that the critical thinking and analytical skills that she gained during her B.A. have been strong assets in this position. 

Robert Parungao

While researching for his honours Sociology thesis, Robert Parungao, found that video games have not kept pace with other forms of media when it comes to eliminating racial stereotypes:  “I hope to continue looking into ways to improve video games because they’re fun, and I’d like to see them turn into positive media instead of negative ones.”  

Resources