Sociology Vs. Psychology: Which Degree Should You Enroll

If you are confused about selecting a major between sociology and psychology, you are not alone.  Many students have a hard time choosing between sociology and psychology. It is true that both majors are related to the study of humans, but there is one thing that makes them different from each other – psychology is about the individual, while sociology is about the society. In the psychology major, you will study the mental processes and behavior of individuals, while in sociology you will study how humans behave in a society and interact with each other.

What’s in the sociology major?

If you are curious how society influences the behavior of people and how it can leave an impact on our thoughts and decisions, you may want to study sociology. If you select sociology as a major, you will first study foundational courses that will give you the basic overview of the field. You will understand the purpose and functions of sociology. You will also find out how the concepts of sociology can have different practical applications.


Once you have completed the foundational courses, you will begin studying core courses, which will give you detailed knowledge of the field and the various aspects it covers. You will learn the research methodology and the focus of research in sociology. For example, you will study different groups in a society such as family, political parties, and organizations.

With the sociology major, you will also understand the difference between sociologists and people who have social concerns. You will know that sociology makes use of scientific methods to study different aspects of society. It makes use of valid and reliable data in its research.

Although, sociology coursework may vary depending on the institute you select, you will normally study the following courses.

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Social Structures
  • Social Research Methods
  • Sociology of Culture
  • Law and Society
  • Sociology of Gender

What’s in the psychology major?

If you are inquisitive about the human mind and how it helps us see the world, you think like an ancient Greek philosopher. Luckily, nowadays, psychology answers such fascinating questions related to human mind and behavior, by using a scientific method. If you select psychology as a major, you will gain an understanding of many interesting topics such as the root causes of violence, learning ability of children, and development of personality traits, etc.


Initially, you will study the basic principles, various schools of thought, and subfields of psychology. After acquiring the understanding of psychology through basics and core courses, you will learn about the research methods, psychological assessment, and testing methods. You will also get training in counseling people and acquire some hands on experience through internships.

Not all institutes offer the same kind of core and elective courses. However, some of the major courses that are a part of psychology programs are as follows.

  • Foundations of Psychology
  • Psychological Research Methods
  • Creativity
  • Personality
  • Counseling Skills
  • Language Mind and Brain
  • Social Psychology
  • Basic Statistics for Psychologists

What are the similarities?

Though, psychology and sociology are separate disciplines, there are some similarities between them. Both fields have the following in common:


  • They both study the underlying influences on human mind and behavior, with the ultimate purpose of knowing what makes humans tick.
  • They both are interested in improving the lives of people and make a better society.
  • Professionals in both fields require similar skills such as critical thinking, research, interpersonal and communication skills.

What are the major differences?

Sociology and psychology have key differences that cannot be overlooked. Some important differences in these majors are as follows.


  • They emphasize on different areas. Sociology focuses on how groups and societies function, while psychology focuses on how individuals function.
  • Psychology majors have more face-to-face interaction with people during their internships in clinical settings.
  • Sociology majors participate in internships that are related to a broader community, such as international aid organizations and community centers.

What will be my career prospects with a sociology degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for sociologists are expected to increase at 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average of all occupations.  PhD holders in the field may face a lot of competition since it is a popular field but has limited number of positions. Sociology has a wide applicability and with the right skills, graduates can build successful careers in many areas. With a sociology bachelor’s or a sociology master’s, you may work in areas such as public policy, education, social services, homeland security, law enforcement, advertizing, training, and journalism.


What will be my career prospects with a psychology degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists is expected to grow at a rate of 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is as fast as the average of all occupations. You are likely to have the best opportunities with a doctorate degree and post-doctoral work experience. Individuals with a master’s or bachelor’s degree in psychology will face more competition and will normally find jobs in a related field outside of psychology. Graduates with a psychology degree are most likely to find work in fields such education, sales, marketing, and business administration.


Both sociology and psychology are interesting majors because they are related to experiences in daily life. It will be easier for you to decide between the two majors if you keep some important factors in mind. The most important factor is your own interest. Read about both fields and see which interests you more. Other than that, you can look at factors such as career opportunities, requirements for further study, and institutes offering the majors. Remember, quality education is the key. Once you have decided, enroll in an accredited and reputed institute to get your degree.




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