Connecting Students to Careers: Teaching Students about Careers in Sociology


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This resource is a recently developed course called Careers in Sociology and it is a 4 semester unit, upper division course for Sociology majors and minors, often taken the semester before they graduate. The goal of Careers in Sociology is to take a sociological perspective on the process of exploring careers in Sociology, particularly those that students graduating with a Bachelor’s degree can enter. Work is an important part of our lives and identities; therefore, I believe that it is essential to engage students to consider how they pursue a career that they are passionate about. With a Bachelor’s degree in sociology, numerous career paths are open to graduates. This course explores how students can create careers that fit their talents, skills, training, and interests. Oftentimes, students are not aware of how to use their major to develop a career that uses the skills they have learned and is professionally fulfilling. This concern increased during the Great Recession as the labor market became increasingly competitive. This course aims to give students experience with multiple ways a sociology degree can be used professionally. The careers explored in the course are divided into four categories: private/for-profit sector; nonprofit/foundations/activism; the public sector—city, county, state, and federal government; and academia—including various graduate degrees. Career exploration is accomplished through readings, guest speakers, and interviews with professionals in various careers. Included in this resource are the syllabus, course assignments, icebreaker, and powerpoint presentation explaining my approach to the course for other instructors.


Resource Type(s):
Sheila M Katz, Sonoma State University 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Capstone Courses 
Class Level:
College 400 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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This resource contains my syllabus, course assignments, first day of class ice-breaker, and a powerpoint explaining my approach for a semester-long 4 semester unit course to help students with career planning in the field Sociology. It can be adapted for less units or a shorter time-scale. This course quickly became...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Develop a sociological perspective on careers and understanding labor markets. Explore careers for students with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Understand the job application process and how to improve career “presentation of self.”
Assessment 1:
Students read ASA research in groups and present to class. Students write “weekly memos” about researching and applying for jobs and how presentation of self varies by position or career and discuss in their final research paper.
Goal 2:
Identify interests and skills learned in sociology courses. Learn to present those skills in a resume, interview, or use in a career. Identify graduate studies, internships, or jobs to build students’ experience and expose to fields of interest.
Assessment 2:
Students write “weekly memos” exploring skills and opportunities, and then discuss memos in class.
Goal 3:
Learn from professionals in careers of interest by interviewing and shadowing the professionals. Develop professional goals and produce a “Professional Portfolio.” Develop social networks (online and in-person).
Assessment 3:
Students write weekly memos about their social networks and how to expand. Students create an online career profile on one of the social network sites. Students complete a semester-long project interviewing 4 professionals and write research paper.

Files for Download:

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Careers BINGO Icebreaker.doc
306 Career Paper Grading Rubric S13.doc
Katz 306 Careers Syllabus Sp 2013.pdf
Sample Freewrite Exercises Soci 306.docx
Katz Connecting Students to Careers Framing Paper June Revision.docx