The term sociology consists of the Latin word socius , which means “the companion”, and the Greek word logos , which means “doctrine” in German. Literally translated sociology means: “The doctrine of the companions” . In this case, the “companions” refer to all people in a society. Sociologists examine what social relationships exist among people , what rules govern their coexistence and what social developments and relationships can be observed.
They also deal with the big questions of our time, such as demographic change or the effects of globalization. In their research, sociologists use the analysis methods of the social sciences to help. They try to achieve measurable results through surveys and experiments and to make general statements about social phenomena. As a social science, sociology is also closely linked to subject areas such as psychology , ethnology or political science .
Sociology Studies: An Overview
According to Anycountyprivateschools, the subject sociology forms the core of the social sciences and almost every university in Germany offers a corresponding course of study. There is often the option of studying sociology in the form of a two-subject bachelor’s degree and choosing a second major. A teacher training course is also possible. In this case, the subject is called social sciences and political and economic content is added.
In the first semesters of the bachelor’s degree , students learn the basic terms of sociology . For example, they deal with different forms of society or with the definition of social inequality. They also gain an overview of the history of the subject and read the works of important sociologists such as Max Weber, Niklas Luhmann and Georg Simmel.
In addition, the students get to know the methods of the social sciences. In seminars on social structure analysis they examine the income structure in Germany and in empirical social research they design questionnaires or experiments and evaluate them later. You will also get a first look at the various special sociologies . These include, for example
- Media sociology
- Family sociology
- Youth Sociology
- Sociology of work
- Inequality research or
- Cultural studies .
In the higher semesters , students specialize in the sub-area that interests them most. Each university has a different focus and accordingly offers different specializations . The sociology students examine, for example, social networks such as Facebook or, as part of gender studies , research whether women in Germany are still disadvantaged.
Those who want to specialize further after completing their bachelor’s degree or are aiming for a management position can continue their studies with a master’s degree. The master’s degree is also a prerequisite for a subsequent doctorate and an academic career. The master’s programs are usually very research-oriented. The students concentrate on one or two main areas and carry out their own research project. Those who study social sciences to become a teacher need a Master of Education and complete their studies with a legal clerkship.
Studying sociology: requirements
Anyone interested in studying sociology should have a weakness for social contexts and backgrounds . Critically questioning one’s own environment is essential in this subject. The study of sociology is very theory- heavy, especially in the first semesters . Applicants have to be prepared to read large amounts of literature, some of which are very demanding. Since empirical social research plays an important role, students attend courses in statistics in their first semesters . Many specialist texts are only available in English . A good knowledge of English is therefore mandatory.
For a long time sociologists were notorious as future taxi drivers. Of course, this is just a cliché. Most sociologists sooner or later find a job that suits their skills. Nevertheless, studying sociology does not provide training for a specific profession. A great deal of initiative is therefore required from sociologists. It is advisable to complete internships during your studies in order to gain additional experience and qualifications.
Depending on the focus of study and practical experience, graduates will find a field of activity in a wide variety of professions . Some remain loyal to the universities after completing their master’s degree and work as lecturers and in research after completing their doctorate. Employment in institutes for market research is also possible. Cities and municipalities employ sociologists, for example, in the areas of city marketing or in equal opportunities offices .
Further possibilities arise in personnel management , in company marketing or in consulting companies. At political parties and associations, sociologists work in the areas of project management , as speakers or in press and public relations . Employment in publishing, international organizations, cultural affairs or PR agencies are also conceivable. They also work as journalists or in the education sector. After completing their master’s degree, student teachers usually go into legal traineeship and then go to school.
Benefits of international experience for sociologists
In addition to various internships, studying abroad is another valuable qualification for the job market. One or more semesters at a foreign university offer the unique opportunity to refine the academic profile with other teaching content. At the same time, sociologists have the opportunity to observe other societies and cultures up close . With future employers, you will score points with your foreign language skills and intercultural skills .