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Online Colleges for Sociology

Whether you like sitting behind a desk or standing in front of it, a degree in sociology can lead to work in a number of different settings. Most people think of sociologists as researchers working at colleges and universities, and while some certainly do, many also work as private analysts, counselors, economists and even statisticians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As multiple industries are placing more value in sociological information – including gender, racial or ethnic relations; social organization; and criminology – earning a degree in this field has become an increasingly attractive option.

Best Online Colleges for Sociology

The social sciences are beginning to take on a bigger role in many career fields, and online sociology degrees can help you take advantage of the shift. We ran data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through our multi-point methodology to find out which schools could be called the best online colleges for sociology. Check out the results below.

1

Foothill College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$1,551
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45.31%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
14
School Type
2-year

The Associate of Arts (AA) degree in sociology at Foothill College gives students the chance to focus on social science coursework that interests them. The degree plan requires 30 credit hours of sociology and related courses, and students have a long list of four- and five-credit options to choose from. Here are just a few examples:

  • Law and society
  • Social psychology
  • Diversity in education
  • Introduction to women's studies
  • Popular culture

The program also requires 60 credit hours of general education coursework. Foothill College took the No. 2 spot for graduation rate among the best online colleges for sociology and has an open admissions policy.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)

Location:

12345 El Monte Rd.
Los Altos Hills, CA 94002
2

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,564
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40.29%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
8
School Type
4-year

In 2015, this school awarded the third-highest proportion of online sociology degrees of all the schools we looked at, according to NCES data. The sociology program at UNC Pembroke also had the most selective admissions rate among the 10 best online colleges for sociology degrees.

The online bachelor's degree in sociology at UNC Pembroke takes the form of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program. According to the school website, all sociology or criminal justice courses required for the degree are available online, but certain non-major courses may require a visit to campus. Transfer students whose prior general education credits meet the program's requirements should be able to earn their degree fully online.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

One University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
3

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,250
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
66.97%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
School Type
4-year

Students can earn their online bachelor's degree in sociology two different ways at this Odessa, Texas, school:

  • An accelerated track is available for those who want to get their bachelor's in as short a time as possible. The program can take as few as 12 months of full-time study to complete and takes place fully online.
  • Students who have already earned an associate degree or completed other prior general education work can opt for the online degree completion program at UTPB. Some lower-division classes may not be available online.

UTPB has also been recognized nationally for its distance education work. U.S. News and World Report named the Texas institution as having one of the top 100 online bachelor's programs in the country in 2017.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

4901 E Universit
Odessa, TX 79762-0001
4

Western Wyoming Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,424
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41.81%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
40
School Type
2-year

The AA degree program at Western Wyoming Community College requires 66 credit hours and typically takes four semesters to complete. Students in the program begin by taking introductory courses in psychology and sociology and build up to more advanced concepts like these:

  • Social problems
  • Research methods in psychology
  • Statistics for social science
  • Race and ethnic relations

The graduation rate for sociology students at WWCC ranked No. 3 among the best online colleges for sociology in our study. No direct pathway to an online bachelor's degree in sociology was available at the Rock Springs school as of 2017.

Accreditation:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

Location:

2500 College Dr.
Rock Springs, WY 82902-0428
5

South Dakota State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,172
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
32.62%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
28
School Type
4-year

South Dakota State University had the No. 1 graduation rate of the top online colleges for sociology on this list. It's also the only school on our list that offers two online sociology degrees — a Bachelor of Science (BS) in sociology and a Master of Science (MS) in sociology with a community development focus.

The program page lists a wide range of careers in which sociology training can come in handy. Here are a few examples:

  • Urban and regional planner
  • Data analyst
  • Youth program leader
  • Human resource director
  • Marketing specialist

The online bachelor's degree in sociology at SDSU may be a good choice for students who want to take their sociology skills into the human services field. The university reports that graduates find jobs working with youth, the elderly, families and at-risk populations.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

Administration Lane
Brookings, SD 57007-1898
6

Virginia University of Lynchburg

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,880
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16.42%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
School Type
4-year

Virginia University of Lynchburg ranked No. 1 in the prominence of sociology degrees among its graduates (meaning percent of sociology degrees awarded out of all degrees awarded at the school). Nearly 14 percent of all degrees awarded at the Lynchburg school in 2015 were sociology degrees, almost triple the 4.76 percent average calculated for the other nine best online colleges for sociology.

Online sociology degrees earned at VUL have a subconcentration in criminal justice. Here's a short list of subjects of study that VUL students can expect to take on the way to their degree:

  • Social psychology
  • Penology and criminology
  • Social theory
  • Criminal court system
  • Contemporary family life
  • Introduction to the corrections process

Courses in ethics and leadership are also common in sociology degree programs from VUL.

Accreditation:

  • Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)

Location:

2058 Garfield Ave.
Lynchburg, VA 24501
7

McNeese State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,289
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
49.54%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
School Type
4-year

Students looking to earn online sociology degrees straight out of high school may need to look past this Louisiana school. Admission to the online bachelor's degree program in sociology at McNeese State University is reserved for students over the age of 25, or those who are having a hard time balancing school, work and family.

Courses in the online sociology program at McNeese are organized into abbreviated sessions. Students attend class for seven-week periods during regular semesters and three- or six- week periods during summer. This schedule allows busy students to focus on just one or two courses at a stretch, leaving more time for work and family.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

4205 Ryan St.
Lake Charles, LA 70605
8

Colorado State University - Pueblo

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$8,282
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
1.04%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
2
School Type
4-year

Students at Colorado State University - Pueblo can earn two different online sociology degrees. As well as the standard Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree plan, CSU - Pueblo offers a second BA program that studies sociology and criminology side by side. Here are a few courses from the joint program that don't appear in the standard sociology study plan:

  • Crime and deviance
  • Delinquency and juvenile justice
  • Criminal justice system

Both programs include training in cultural theory and research methods. Elective courses dominate the latter semesters of the degree plan in both programs. Students seeking sociology/criminology degrees are expected to replace some standard sociology electives with those that include criminal justice concepts.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

2200 Bonforte Blvd.
Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
9

Fayetteville State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,885
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
50.79%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
8
School Type
4-year

The online degree completion program at Fayetteville State University seeks to prepare students for a variety of post-graduation outcomes:

  • Teaching school at the secondary level
  • Qualifying for entry-level careers in government, law enforcement and the private sector
  • Pursuing further study of sociology in graduate school

Students must have completed at least 38 credit hours of general education courses before they are eligible to enroll in the online sociology program at FSU. The transferred credits must meet the requirements of the school's core curriculum and contain least one course in the principles of sociology. Credits earned at accredited institutions typically make for more successful transfers.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

1200 Murcheson Rd.
Fayetteville, NC 28301-4298
10

Georgia Military College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,940
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.86%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
21
School Type
2-year

This Milledgeville, Georgia, institution offers an online Associate of Science (AS) program as well as an AA in sociology. The differences between the two study plans lie mainly in the general education requirements of each, rather than in the sociology subjects studied.

GMC sociology students learn how to apply the scientific method in sociology and discuss current and historical trends in the field. The AA degree plan requires that students complete at least 95 credit hours of coursework. The AS plan takes slightly fewer credit hours to complete — 90 to 94 depending on the courses chosen. Each plan includes 25 credit hours of sociology courses.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Location:

201 E Greene St.
Milledgeville, GA 31061

Degree Overview : Sociology

Sociologists make it their goal to make sense of societies, even when they appear to be in turmoil. This requires many skills that can be obtained from the courses of an online degree program for sociology. This section provides information about the curriculums that may be found in sociology departments and the skills students can learn from them.

Online Sociology Courses

The coursework that is required to complete online sociology degree programs can differ depending on the school students attend. With that in mind, the following list is a sample of the types of classes that may be available to sociology majors.

  • Sociology of sports: If you're interested in the role that sporting events play in society, including economic, education and social systems, this is the course you'll want to consider enrolling in.
  • Social deviance: The main topic of this subject is the relationship between social control and deviance. Specific topics covered might include deviance theories, how deviance manifests itself in human behaviors and types of social control institutions.
  • Social problems: There are a number of social problems that sociologists study throughout their careers, and this class is meant to give students an overview of what these problems are and the effect they have on people's lives. Specific social problems covered in the course may include racism, drug abuse, poor health care, poverty, sexism, crime, stratification and ethnic conflict.
  • Sociology of the family: Family relations have a far-reaching influence on people's lives, and this class is designed to explore those effects. Those who enroll in this class may study parenthood, child abuse, marital roles, dating, alternative lifestyles and types of kinship systems.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Sociology is a specialized field that requires workers to have high-level skills. Students who pursue online education for sociology may acquire the following marketable skills through their coursework.

  • Technology: Sociologists are required to use analytical and scientific software programs in order to work with data. During their studies, they may be taught systems such as SAS, StataCorp Stata, SPSS, Muthen & Muthen MPlu, Scientific Software International LISREL and Circle Systems Stat/Transfer.
  • Analytical: Students may strengthen their analytical skills when they study sociology, which will help them make sense of large amounts of information. Sociologists are required to look at data and determine what it means in terms of social behavior, so analytical skills are necessary.
  • Communication: Sociologists need both written and verbal communication skills to be successful. Speaking skills help these professionals collaborate with colleagues, interview study subjects and discuss research findings at industry meetings. Meanwhile, strong writing skills are required for sociologists to document their research in reports and journal articles.
  • Research: Sociologists study how human beings relate to each other within a society. This may involve collecting information on people's behaviors, beliefs and values, as well as reviewing past academic literature to understand trends. This requires strong research skills that can be developed by the many different projects assigned in a sociology program.
  • Leadership: When sociologists conduct research, they may need to rely on others to assist them with their work. These professionals will benefit greatly from leadership skills, helping them to assign tasks and ensure they are completed on time, assess the quality of the work and provide instruction on what needs to be improved.

Sociology Specializations

People in the sociology field can earn a credential or a certification to demonstrate their expertise and dedication to their careers. Those who are interested in getting a credential can be certified through the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, which offers the Certified Clinical Sociologist and the Certified Sociological Practitioner designations. In order to earn a credential, applicants must first submit proof of their professional experience, as well as academic transcripts and reference letters. If the association's review committee determines the applicant is qualified to continue the process, they are then required to present a portfolio that is reviewed by industry peers.

Sociology students who want to better position themselves to compete in the job market can also earn a certification. Available through the American Sociological Association, the Professional Development Certificate is earned by students who participate in six workshops or meetings sponsored by the organization.

Sociology Career Outlook

Sociology is a highly competitive field. You'll want to put your best foot forward when trying to break into this field so you can rise above the competition. Earning a degree in the subject, putting the extra work into getting a minor, or working an internship can all give you that extra polish you need when looking for one of these careers.

Sociologists
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$86,840
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
300
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
-0.7
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree

Professionals in sociology typically study groups of people in order to gain an understanding of human behavior within a society. The findings of a sociologist influence the flow of society itself, providing information to politicians, academics, social workers and more. Sociologists may work for government agencies, research facilities, private businesses and colleges and universities.

The daily work of a sociologist includes developing hypotheses and creating research studies to test them; conducting research and interpreting the results; preparing reports and journal articles that explain study findings; and working with lawmakers, social workers, government agencies and other social scientists to create policies that address specific community problems.

Anthropologists and Archaeologists
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$66,440
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
1,200
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Master's degree

Anthropology and archaeology are studies that focus on how people function and develop within a cultural context. Anthropologists study the history of human beings, from biology to cultural development; they investigate how generations of people have navigated religious institutions, political systems, social structures, health care systems, language conventions and more. Archaeologists study human remains and cultural artifacts; they uncover the structure of past civilizations and compare them to the present day in order to draw conclusions about the human condition and the possible direction of the future.

Although those with bachelor's degrees can work in an assisting capacity, people who want to get full-time careers in either of these fields must at least have a master's degree in archaeology or anthropology.

Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015

Sources:

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15 and 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed February 13, 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. School pages, accessed February 21, 2017: Online Sociology AA Degree, Foothill College, http://www.foothill.edu/fga/aa_courses/aa_sociology.php; Foothill College Accreditation, Foothill College, http://www.foothill.edu/president/accreditation.php; Sociology and Criminal Justice, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, http://www.uncp.edu/academics/colleges-schools-departments/departments/sociology-and-criminal-justice; Accreditation, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, http://www.uncp.edu/academics/colleges-schools-departments/colleges-schools/school-business/accreditation; Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, University of Texas System, http://www.utcoursesonline.org/programs/programinfo/basoc/index.html; Bachelor of Arts in Sociology Online, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, http://degree.utpb.edu/programs/online-degree-bachelor-arts-sociology.aspx; Accreditation, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, http://www.utpb.edu/ced/office-of-the-dean/accreditation; Sociology, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/academics/sociology/; Accreditation, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/about/; Program: Sociology (B.S.), South Dakota State University, http://catalog.sdstate.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=29&poid=6586&returnto=3429; Community Development (M.S.), South Dakota State University, https://www.sdstate.edu/continuing-distance-education/community-development-ms; Sociology Fact Sheet, South Dakota State University, http://www.sdstate.edu/sites/default/files/cee/distance/undergraduate/upload/SDSU-Fact-Sheet-Sociology_2016.pdf; Accreditation, South Dakota State University, https://www.sdstate.edu/academics/accreditation; Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with Concentration in Criminal Justice, Virginia University of Lynchburg, http://moodle.vul.edu/course/category.php?id=3; Accreditation, Virginia University of Lynchburg, http://www.vul.edu/index.php/about-vul/accreditation; Sociology, McNeese State University, https://www.mcneese.edu/alearn/sociology; Accreditation, McNeese State University, https://www.mcneese.edu/about/accreditation; Undergraduate Degree Programs, Independent Study, Colorado State University - Pueblo, https://www.csupueblo.edu/extended-studies/independent-study/degree-programs.html; Accreditation, Colorado State University - Pueblo, https://www.csupueblo.edu/accreditation/index.html; Online Degree Completion Program, Sociology, Fayetteville State University, https://www.uncfsu.edu/sociology/online-degree-completion-program; Online Education, Fayetteville State University, https://www.uncfsu.edu/onlineeducation; University College Core Curriculum, Fayetteville State University, http://www.uncfsu.edu/university-college/core-curriculum; Sociology, Georgia Military College, https://www.gmc.edu/academic-programs/sociology.cms; Accreditation, Georgia Military College, https://www.gmc.edu/academic-programs/accreditation.cms;
  3. University of Texas of the Permian Basin, U.S. News Best Online Colleges, U.S. News and World Report, asdf, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-texas-of-the-permian-basin-229018
  4. Recruiter.com, https://www.recruiter.com/careers/sociologists/
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm
  6. O*Net Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3041.00
  7. Recruiter.com, https://www.recruiter.com/careers/anthropologists-and-archeologists/
  8. O*Net Online, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/19-3091.00
  9. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm
  10. Sociology Degree Online, Southern New Hampshire University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/ba-in-sociology
  11. Online Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, American Public University, Accessed June 2017, https://www.apu.apus.edu/academic/schools/arts-and-humanities/bachelors/sociology.html
  12. Degrees & Certificates - Sociology, Merritt College, Accessed June 2017, http://www.merritt.edu/wp/soc/degrees-certificates/
  13. Sociologists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm
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  16. http://www.aacsnet.net/certified-sociological-practitioners/
  17. http://www.asanet.org/asa-communities/student-forum/student-forum-professional-development-certificate
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Sources and Methodologies