In many ways, psychology and sociology are very similar studies. Both focus on people, their actions and why they make certain decisions. However, it is important to note that the two fields are certainly not the same.
There are many differences that affect research, the degree itself and what jobs are available to graduates who have earned a college degree.
Compare and contrast sociology and psychology degrees to determine which interests you most:
Earning Your Degree and Degree Types
On the most basic level, degrees in sociology and psychology have a lot in common. Both are very popular majors for modern students, which means that they are typically available at most college campuses as well as a number of accredited online colleges.
Both subjects can be studied for an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or even a doctorate. The length of time it takes to complete any of these degrees in sociology or in psychology will be virtually identical, although there may be some difference from student to student or college to college.
Focus on Individuals or Society
Perhaps the biggest difference between the major of psychology and the major of sociology is the lens through which human behavior is studied. While group think and cultural influences are certainly noted in psychology, the study tends to focus more on the individual and what factors cause action. This leads to a focus on things like aging, intelligence, personal emotions and memory.
Sociology, on the other hand, tends to have a broader scope of study, and sociologists look at society as a whole, or large groups of people like those living in North America, women around the world or criminals. In sociology, factors studied that contribute to human behavior might be poverty, cultural mores, upbringing and neighborhood.
Curriculum of a Typical Degree
One significant difference between these two popular fields of study is the curriculum you can expect when earning your degree. Both will start with a few general education courses to round out the education of students, but beyond that, few courses will overlap.
A bachelor’s degree in sociology might include classes like family and society, mass media and racism in certain cultures. A bachelor’s degree in psychology might include classes in child development, cognitive dissonance or perception.
Career Opportunities for Degree Holders
An important factor to consider when choosing between a degree in psychology and a degree in sociology is what career opportunities will be open to you after college. With just an associate or a bachelor’s degree, some career options will overlap between the two degrees.
Whether you have a bachelor’s in sociology or in psychology, for example, you can become a social worker, case manager or marketing researcher. At higher levels of education, there is a trend toward higher salaries in the field of psychology, although sociology is still certainly a stable and potentially lucrative field.
If you are interested in the study of people, pursuing an online degree in psychology or sociology could be the ideal choice for your academic and professional future.