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Sociology is the study of people, how they interact, and the institutions they create. When we examine it historically, it can help us understand ancient cultures and give us an idea of how we inherited some of our habits, institutions, and societal structure. While psychology is the study of the world of the individual, sociology is the study of groups of people. The groups can be small, such as the study of family interaction, or they can be very large, such as the study of the culture and shared beliefs of entire nations.

This discipline can be applied in many ways. Some sociologists study criminals, preventing crime or predicting the behavior of individuals based on past data and experience. Others look at society as a whole and seek to understand the impact of religion, family, political views, racial identity, and other factors on the lives and interactions between individuals. For these reasons, sociologists work in many different industries and settings. For example, a sociologist could work for an advertising agency, using their knowledge to help create advertisements that are likely to produce the best results, predict the likely response to certain advertisements, or help to target them to a particular demographic. Sociologists are also used to help find solutions to social problems such as homelessness, discovering the drivers and conditions that may be causing homelessness or finding out why certain members of the homeless community do not utilize programs designed to help them.

Online programs exist for both undergraduate and graduate level degrees. That being said, at the graduate degree level, the focus of study will be conducting research, which may be difficult to do in some online environments. It is important to take time when researching schools to understand the requirements for each degree and determine the online option is viable. Often it is preferable to take a graduate degree (masters or doctoral) at a traditional college. No such barriers exist for online associate and bachelor degrees however. Online undergraduate degrees tend to be very comparable to degrees earned the traditional way.

Society itself has a huge influence on our lives. It very often drives our outer behavior, our understanding of right and wrong, and even our inner desires and deepest held beliefs. Sociologists collect data on this behavior, through study, surveys, or experiments, to better understand this influence. It is a very interesting and rewarding field and allows one to view the world in a very different way.

Become a Sociologist by Obtaining Your Degree Online | Peterson’s Online Schools