Sociology is a subject that deals with various aspects related to the society that one lives in. For a student who wishes to pursue sociology, it is extremely important that he/she understand that it is not as simple as it looks. Sociology is a complicated stream considering the fact that it has a lot of facets that need to be considered and taken into account before one gets a degree in the same. For instance, economics, politics, family, gender and even different organizations have a huge say in sociology. This is however no reason to give up!
Getting an education in any course is necessary for any person to be good at whatever it is they want to do. And since studying forms a major chunk of a person’s life, they might as well make the best out of it! Educational excellence in many societies is governed by competitive examinations like the GRE. Although there could be a lot of sites offering you help books and study material online to get the grades needed for admission to the university, one portal that helps students prepare well for the tough test is My GRE Exam Preparation. There are other free and paid online learning portals to help you come out with flying colours in these competitive exams.
As far as Sociology is concerned, a lot of online sites offer crash courses in these different areas that interested students can avail of. However, students also need to keep in mind that the requirements for any degree including Sociology vary from place to place and university to university. With that in mind, here are seven different courses that students need to be thorough with before they get their sociology degree.
1. Introduction to Sociology
As is made obvious by the name of the course, this is an area that offers a scientific study into patterns of society including social relationships, social interaction and culture. The course explains concepts central to Sociology and also describes different levels of analysis involved in sociology- micro-sociology and macro-sociology.
It also explains how different perspectives are both developed and maintained in sociology. Another aspect to this course is the different theoretical perspectives involved and how they are used when it comes to understanding sociology as such.
2. Economic Sociology
As the name suggests, this course focuses on the economic aspects of society such as markets, corporations, property rights and work using the tools specific to sociology. It talks about the importance of social relations and institutions and their impact in the economic sector.
This course also shares the economic theory’s attention to the role of interests and rationality while at the same time stressing on the importance of social relations and social institutions in this process. Some areas of interest include the transition of a society to capitalism, its effects on the market, the relationship between related laws and the market and the social organization of labor markets.
3. Political Sociology
This is one of the most important and the most focused fields in sociology. This course is basically concerned with the sociological analysis of political phenomena ranging from the State and Civil Society to family and investigates topics such as citizenship and social movements.
Students are supposed to possess knowledge of a wide range of political processes like organized political action, media framing efforts, protests, elections, social movements, any and every form of legislative action taken to provide a solution to the demands of such social movements and also historical events. An understanding of different methods associated with studying all these different processes and a skill in analyzing them is also of extreme importance when it comes to the field of political sociology.
4. Race and Ethnicity
This is a very important course when it comes to sociology. The term ‘race’ basically refers to superficial physical differences that any particular society considers significant. ‘Ethnicity’ is a term that describes shared cultures between people. A term frequently used in this course is ‘minority groups’. This is a very important aspect when it comes to race and ethnicity because it covers and describes groups that are considered subordinate, or lacking in power. This course is thus extremely relevant in today’s context especially if one seeks a degree in sociology.
5. Research Methodology
Sociological Research Methods basically fall into two broad categories. These are Quantitative approach and Qualitative Approach. The Quantitative Approach mainly deals with inclusion of measurements via sample surveys, statistical modelling, social networks and demography. Qualitative methods include interviews, focus groups, observation and textual analysis. However, most sociological studies frequently use a mixture of both methods when it comes to research work.
Organizations occupy a very important field in sociology, not just because of the knowledge gained but also because most sociologists start working in such organizations sooner or later. Thus, this course is designed to increase the knowledge of the students and give them mastery over a wide range of organizations which include government bodies, business firms, non-profit organizations, social services and so on. Courses on organizational sociology help students to understand the variety of experiences within an institution, each with its own distinct qualities.
Students will also be helped to learn how different organizations create an environment to be able to work together so as to maximize the benefits to society. In addition, students also learn the inter relation between organizations with other social institutions like the family. This course also offers the teaching of various theories that talk about the roles played by social networks in guiding people into occupations while also dealing with various methods to ultimately reach the same objective.
7. Sociology of Religion
This course basically includes the study of different beliefs, practices and organizational forms of religion using the tools of sociology. Works of Karl Marx and Max Weber are often used in this course to describe the relationship between religion and the social structure of society. Religion includes much more than just a traditional understanding of mainstream religion. It is also inclusive of any and every sacred or spiritual matter.