‘Man is a social animal’. All of us have heard this more than once. But have you ever asked yourself why it is like that? Maybe because we live in a society. But how are societies formed or what makes us part of a social group? Yes, there are more than a million questions you can ask yourself. If you are up for finding the answer, I can recommend an academic field that has the potential to help you. Theoreticians call it ‘sociology’, a branch of social science. It is the study of the social world.
Your first step towards exploring this academic discipline is to enroll for an undergraduate program in sociology. In India, the program is called BA sociology. Let’s look at this academic discipline and the course in detail through this article.
What is sociology?
‘Sociology is the scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives’
-American Sociological Association
Sociology is the study of society. It includes the study of how human beings live and interact in society, it’s consequences, social behaviors, social changes, and social issues. As an academic discipline, sociology not only looks at how society works but also how the interaction between or behavior of human beings affects a larger community. It also takes information from other related disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, history, etc to trace the evolution of societies and social behaviors and identify patterns that can explain the emergence of certain social trends.
What do sociologists study?
According to Truity, sociologists are the academicians and theorists who study human behavior, interaction, and organization within the context of larger social, political, and economic forces. They trace the functioning of social, religious, political, and economic groups, organizations, and institutions to understand social trends and behavioral patterns. Sociologists study and evaluate the effect of social institutions on individuals and groups. Their area of work also includes tracing the origin and growth of different social groups.
If you are someone who is looking for a career in sociology, there are multiple options while choosing your academic course after 12th. At the undergraduate level, you can either go for BA sociology programs or any specialized programs that come under sociology such as BA criminology. But I would suggest you take up BA sociology as it can give you a broader perspective.
That was a little deviation. Now, let’s talk about BA sociology. It is a three-year undergraduate program in sociology. This program is usually offered by the social science departments of most Arts colleges. Students who are interested in learning about social behavior and the functioning of societies usually take up this course. As an academic program, BA sociology discusses society, culture, practices, religion, etc. This program introduces you to various fields under sociology such as cultural sociology, comparative sociology, applied sociology, criminology, social anthropology, community studies, developmental studies, etc.
You must be knowing that sociology is a vast field. As an academic discipline, it covers topics that range from the development of societies to contemporary social and geographical problems. As I already said, this subject at the undergraduate level introduces an individual to different concepts and issues before specializing in a particular field. Here, I’m going to list out the subjects that are covered during the 6 semesters of your undergraduate program in sociology.
Like most other humanities subjects, this program won’t rob your pockets. Though the fee in private colleges is a little more than that of government colleges, it is still affordable when compared to the fee one might have to pay in an engineering or medical college. The average fee for undergraduate program in sociology in India can range from RS 50000 to 2 lakhs. If you grab a seat in one of the central universities that offer sociology programs, the fee will be even lower than this.
What to do after BA sociology? ‘MA sociology’ would be the most common answer. Though individuals who have done BA sociology have the option to choose other sociology courses like criminology or any other social science subject for their post-graduate studies, MA sociology is still the most popular choice.
It is a 2-year post-graduate course that helps an individual gain a deeper understanding of the subject. It involves an in-depth comprehensive study of this academic discipline at an advanced level. The program allows you to choose electives in the second year. Most institutions offer subjects such as social anthropology, social psychology, sociology of religion, urban sociology, political sociology, sociology of population studies, sociology of health, criminology, computer applications in the field of sociology, social movements in India, etc. Any undergraduate degree is the minimum eligibility to apply for MA sociology programs.
Institutions that offer BA sociology
Just like BA English or BA political science, BA sociology is a very common undergraduate program. Almost all reputed institutions that have humanities and social science departments offer sociology programs. This includes institutions like the Tata Institute of social sciences, Symbiosis school of liberal arts and Central universities. The admissions to most of those institutions in the country are through national level entrance exams.
Few of the most reputed institutions that offer sociology programs in India are
- Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai.
- Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
- Delhi University, Delhi
- Loyola College, Chennai
- Department of sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi
- University of Mumbai, Mumbai
- Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi
- Christ University, Bangalore
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- University of Pune, Pune.
Scope of BA sociology
Though it is not a professional course, an academic qualification in sociology can open up many possibilities. As this branch takes insights from various other social science subjects, graduates end up in different places. One of the most common career paths chosen by students of sociology is to continue in the academic discipline and do research. The subject is universal and most researchers don’t find it hard to acquire scholarships or funding for their research. Teaching is another popular career path chosen by sociology graduates who wish to continue in the academic field. To teach in higher education institutions, one should clear UGC NET after completing your post-graduation. And also, you will get paid well to pass on your knowledge to the next generation.
When it comes to jobs, sociologists are hired by both private and public institutions. A good number of sociologists take up social work job roles in government-funded development projects or NGO’s. They go around with their team studying communities and societies in remote places. Apart from this, sociologists can also work as journalists, counselors, public relations officers, public welfare officers, etc. Though your job title may not always say ‘sociologists’, you will be able to apply what you learned in all these job roles.
The idea of ‘society’ is a fascinating subject to explore. It raises questions that can go ‘back and forth’ in time. If the curiosity excites you, maybe its time to think about taking up a career in the field of sociology. The first step towards this is BA sociology. This undergraduate course introduces to the academic discipline of sociology. We hope the illustrated analysis has powered up your insights and widened your perspectives about sociology and its potential. Always remember that you make your own destiny. Make sure that you invest time and thought before making your life-changing decisions.