Popularly known as the ‘Youngest of Social Sciences’ Sociology opens up ample opportunity for the exploration of different career paths. But before that let's understand the history behind the subject. Most people have a very confused idea as to what is Sociology and why should one study it. As a student of Sociology for five years, the questions that I have been asked have made me think about why the information related to the subject is yet not clear to the students as well as their guardians.
So what is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of society as well as human subjects and their actions. It is a subject that explores a wide variety of topics ranging from family, crime, religion, state, economy, and social stratification such as race and caste. We study the forces that make these social institutions function in a certain way and this includes a deep investigation into these topics. How so? For example: Why does crime occur in society? Some people may say that people who do not have any income steal from others and are criminals, because their crime continues to happen. But as Sociology students, we would be forced to introspect deeper into the discussion. A basic reading from any Sociology book would tell us that crime occurs because of several social factors. Crime is not limited to any particular social class. According to Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, “Sociological approaches suggest that crime is shaped by factors external to the individual: their experiences within the neighborhood, the peer group, and the family. are shaped by people's everyday movements through space and time” Therefore Sociology teaches us to go deeper into the subject matter and read through what may not be understood on the surface level.
Why should you study Sociology?
Sociology helps us in presenting an alternative view of society. It helps us to understand the underlying reasons behind crime, race, caste, religion, poverty, gender, and so on. According to the North Central College website here are some reasons for studying the subject.
Sociology sheds more light on the social nature of humans.
Sociology increases the understanding and power of social action.
Sociology studies the role of social institutions (home, school, church, and more) in the development of individuals.
Sociology provides critical insight and perspective to the solution of social problems.
Sociology has changed our outlook with regard to the problems of crime, its causes, and consequences.
Sociology is of great importance to the understanding of international problems.
Sociology has helped governments to promote the welfare of tribal and marginalized communities.
Sociology is very useful as a subject for those pursuing teaching careers in high school or higher education.
Scope of the subject
Sociology has a wide scope for those who study this subject. First of all, anyone from any stream can take it up as a discipline. There is no need for specialization. As a Sociologist, you will always be asking questions and that would make you a lot more valuable asset. In India, there are several organizations that require researchers who would delve deep and find answers for them. In academia, you can appear for the NET exam and pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology or any other related field like Gender studies, Develolmetal studies, Social inclusion and exclusion and so much more.
For those interested in Ph.D. in India.
There are two ways to enter a Ph.D. in India:
The first one is appearing for entrance examinations of various universities of one's own choice without NET/SET. This means that students have to fund their own studies. NET/SET scholars without JRF also have to go through the same process.
The second step is to qualify for the National Eligibility Test (NET) taken by the National Testing Agency (NTA) twice a year, during June and December cycles. This exam is valid throughout the country. While the State Eligibility Test (SET) is an exam of the same competency and is only valid for the respective state, Each state has its own SET exam while the NET is a singular exam for the entire country. The NET has two kinds of cutoff. One is only for the eligibility for the position of Assistant Professor and a little higher cutoff allows candidates to receive a monthly scholarship of a minimum of Rs. 30,000 along with the opportunity to become an Assitant Professor. The exam is the same, just a difference in the cut-off. The scholarship is called Junior Research Fellowship or the JRF.
NET/SET scholars have to appear for Ph.D. entrance examinations. Although there are few universities that may allow students with JRF to directly sit for the Ph.D. interview, this needs to be checked by the candidate while applying.
For those who want to explore the job market
Sociology is a very versatile subject. Those with degrees in Sociology can work in multiple areas such as:
Social Impact Sector
Development related sectors
Work-related to gender and economy
After your Masters's degree in Sociology, you can go for an MBA as well which will open up the market for you to corporate giants. There are multiple areas a Sociology student can work in that requires their expertise. Since human beings are the largest subjects of study interests, Sociology students will always have an upper hand here. In short, the roles and companies where you can apply are many, well that is for another day!