Facts About the Field
The fields of sociology and anthropology are dedicated to the study of human behavior, particularly behavior that is influenced by society and culture. It does this by introducing the established methods and theories of the disciplines to students and applying them to the world around us.
The two disciplines have always had a great deal in common and at Saint Michael’s they are united in the same department. There are good reasons for this. They have overlapping historical origins, share many of the same assumptions, theories and methodologies, and are similarly blended in many other colleges and universities as well. Sociology and anthropology are closely related to the other "social sciences" of political science, economics, and psychology since they too share a common commitment to the scientific study of human behavior. Students who major in sociology/anthropology are quite right when they say that sociology has a focus on the organizations and structure of society while Anthropology more directly focuses on culture—both in the Western world and the non-Western worlds.
Every year about 25,000 students in the U.S. graduate with a major in sociology, and another 7,900 in anthropology. Students are attracted to this major because it provides a new understanding about social and cultural forces and individual relationships, and opportunities to discover ways to change society. In anthropology, there is also the added fascination of learning about cultural differences.
National surveys of sociology majors found that two years after graduation, about 60% of class of 2005 were working full time; 13% were in grad school full time; 22% were in both graduate school and working; and 5% were doing neither. Of those who were working, the largest single employment category was in the social services and counseling. Next in line were graduates involved in administrative and managerial support in either the profit or non-profit sector. Sixteen percent were working in marketing, social science research, or sales. Fewer than half of the sample wrote that their present jobs were “closely related” to their majors. This is not surprising since the primary focus of our department is an emphasis on learning in the liberal arts tradition.
Graduates of our department are probably more heavily involved in the non-profit sector than are the average college graduate. This is partly due to the emphasis which the College and Department put on service and our obligation to address human needs.