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Best Online Degrees in: Sociology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Sociology

Value
When it comes to maximizing value with your online bachelor’s degree in sociology, look no further than the University of Maryland/UMUC Online. In 2011, the school had an annual return of investment of 10.6% for bachelor’s degree recipients, according to PayScale.com. The number increased to 11.8% for students who received financial aid throughout their education. The website also reported that 63% of all students at University of Maryland/UMUC Online received financial aid during the 2011. In addition to a strong return on investment, the school also provides students with a number of helpful online tools and services, including tutoring and an impressive online library.

Flexibility
If you are the type of online student who requires flexibility over all when pursuing an online degree, Ashford University earned an A+ ranking in academic flexibility from CliffsNotes.com. Part of Ashford’s mission is to provide students with accessible degree programs that meet the needs of non-traditional students. The program also provides students with access to Ashford’s online library and provides an online student portal to interact with professors and fellow students.

Career Support
While earning a degree is an essential part of online education, Arizona State University Online understands that the journey doesn’t end there. Our award for best career support goes to ASU Online for a number for reasons, one of those being that students can connect with a career advisor online each day. ASU Online also provides live webinars that cover several job-related topics several times a semester, while the school’s Sun Devil Career Link provides a comprehensive job search portal where students can find open positions.

Financial Support
The award for financial support for institutions offering an online bachelor’s degree in sociology goes to Post University. The school is ranked No. 9 by the Online Education Database in their 2011 financial aid rankings for online colleges. The school offers some form of financial aid to 98% of all students.

Technology Support
Arizona State University Online earned our award for best technology and tech support for its extensive online education tools and around-the-clock support. ASU Online provides all students with access to hundreds of software titles that can be downloaded at no cost through the school’s My Apps store. Online students also have access to the school’s Help Center webpage, and can get one-on-one support from the help desk by phone or live chat 24/7.

Student Engagement
The award for student engagement and assessment goes to Fort Hays State University. The school ranked No. 6 in U.S. News & World Report’s Top Online Bachelor’s Programs specifically in student engagement and assessment. The school puts an emphasis on providing online students with several ways to communicate with professors and fellow students, while also offering a number of mediums interact on various homework and courses. The school also offers a variety of regularly updated course content through Apple’s iTunes as well.

Disability Support
Providing support for students with disabilities is equally important in online learning as it is in traditional learning. Arizona State University Online understands this, earning the award for disability support goes to ASU Online. The school has its own disability resource center that provides a point of contact for prospective or current students with learning and physical disabilities.

Library and Research Support
When it comes to library and research support for online bachelor’s degree programs in sociology, Arizona State University Online offers truly exceptional resources. The school earns the award by offering its entire physical library catalogue online. In addition, the ASU library has assigned librarians to work with specific academic disciplines that online specific students can contact to help them narrow resources for their field of study. All online students also have access to the school’s 24/7, “Ask a Librarian” feature that provides assistance through email or live chat for general library resources.

Learning Support
Arizona State University Online also won the award for learning support. The school ranked No. 1 in student services and technology in U.S. News & World Report’s Top Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings. Among other things, the institution earned a perfect score for offering live tutoring and streaming video to all online students.

Faculty Credentials
Among online institutions offering a bachelor’s degree program in sociology, California State University – Chico won the award for best faculty credentials and qualifications. The institution has been offering bachelor’s degrees entirely online since 2000, and was ranked No. 14 by U.S. News & World Report in its Top Online Bachelor’s Degree Program rankings in faculty credentials and training. An impressive 82% of the school’s online faculty has at least two years of online teaching experience, while the all online instructors are required to receive online teaching instruction before working with students.

Faculty Accessibility
Arizona State University was chosen as the winner of our faculty accessibility and involvement award. All online students have access to the same curricula as ASU’s traditional students that are administered by 320 online-specific instructors. In addition, U.S. News & World Report states that the school has an online student to faculty ratio of just 5-to-1, meaning students have a better chance of receiving individualized attention.

Alumni Engagement
Our award for alumni engagement goes to Ashford University for providing a number of ways for students to stay connected after graduation. Ashford also provides graduates with a number of benefits, like shopping discounts, travel discounts, and an online school store. Graduates can also download the school’s quarterly alumni magazine through the school website as well.

Prior Learning Options
Ashford University provides a number of multiple prior learning options for class credit, helping the school win the award for prior learning options. Prospective transfer students can visit the school’s specific transfer student webpage, which outlines the various options students have to ensure that they can take full advantage of any previously earned credit. Ashford also provides special help to active-duty military members hoping to enter a program from a military college or university.

New Online Student Orientation
With a dedicated orientation website designed to help prepare incoming students for their online experience with the school, Arizona State University Online earns our award for new student orientation. Incoming students can view a number of tutorial videos designed to teach and demonstrate all of the school’s online learning resources and tools. This feature concludes by helping students immediately connect with current students and alumni in their area through the school’s Spark online community.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology

Sociology majors study trends and issues in society from a number of perspectives, including criminology, education, family, gender, health, political sociology, race and ethnicity, religion, and other demographics. Professional sociologists analyze data to identify sociological problems and communicate that data to colleagues and clients through written reports or presentations. Sociologists require a master’s or a doctorate degree to begin professional research. A bachelor’s degree in sociology may be acceptable for work as a sociology research assistant or in fields like social services or sales and marketing.

Class Curriculum

Sociology requires basic course work in English, foreign language, political science, and natural sciences. Major-specific introductory course work requires social statistics, research, sociological theory, and social demographics. Advanced course work may include: globalization and social media, comparative politics, criminology, criminal justice, social psychology, and health systems. The following are a few examples of sociology courses:

  • Social Statistics. Social Statistics covers data analysis, inference, correlation and regression, estimation, and graphical and numerical representation of data. Students learn to summarize, describe, estimate, and interpret for use in sociological research.
  • Social Demography. Social Demography covers the social causes and consequences of population processes, or population change and its meaning and implications. Students learn to think critically about demographic information, through themes such as fertility, migration, age, sex, and family.
  • Sociological Theory. Sociological Theory covers theoretical foundations in sociology, beginning with classical theorists as an introduction to contemporary social theory. Topics include the transformation of modern society, the relationship of individual and social institutions, the role of social structures, and critical theory.

Students may be required to complete exercises in social topics by collecting data in order to practice research methods and data analysis. Students may be required to read contemporary research and academic articles on topics discussed in class, and complete problem sets related to reading, methods learned in lecture, or related to corresponding laboratory work.

Building a Career

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for sociologists in 2010 was $72,360, and the median annual wage for social scientists and related workers was $67,090. Employment for sociologists is expected to increase by 18% between 2010 and 2020, and 18% for social scientists and related workers. Most sociologists work in research and development or in colleges and universities.

Sociologists may specialize in a topic like health, crime, education, race and ethnicity, family, population, gender, poverty, or age demographics. Sociologists use research in these topics to solve social problems and frame or develop public policy. Social, political, and business organizations need sociologists for various social issues and programs.

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