Sociology, B.A.

Program Overview

Are you curious about what drives social change? Do you think about how relationships and organizations affect people’s everyday decision-making? Is it important for you to support and advocate for causes that promote the greater good? If so, a degree in sociology is an excellent choice for you, and can lead to a wide variety of meaningful career options.

Sociology helps us better understand human society and social behavior. When you study sociology in PLNU's Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences, you will explore how groups, institutions, and societies function. Through action-oriented learning opportunities — both inside and outside the classroom — you will become prepared to work with a diverse group of people and issues in the U.S. and elsewhere. You will graduate with critical thinking and problem-solving skills to make an immediate impact in a variety of careers or to confidently pursue an advanced degree.

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Jamie Gates, Ph.D.

A groundbreaking study examining the relationship between gangs, the community, and sex trafficking in San Diego County was published in 2016 by Dr. Jamie Gates and Dr. Ami Carpenter.

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PLNU’s major in sociology offers two concentrations: general sociology and criminal justice. You can pursue the study of general sociology and choose to take upper division classes that focus on many important issues we as a society are dealing with today. For example, one class looks at our schooling systems in the U.S. and how they compare worldwide, and another class considers what makes certain social movements more successful than others. Or, you can pursue the criminal justice concentration and take classes that focus on criminal law, race and ethnicity, as well as classes that look at restorative justice in communities. Whichever concentration you choose, you will have opportunities to apply what you learn in the classroom in the real world through internships, student ministries, and campus institutes like the Center for Justice & Reconciliation.


  • General Sociology
  • Criminal Justice 

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Sociology, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

If you’re intrigued with exploring social change and its driving forces, a sociology degree from Point Loma Nazarene University will help you learn more about humanity and social behavior, while also preparing you for graduate schools or careers where you can make a difference in the communities you serve. 

At PLNU, our sociology program zeroes in on three goals:

  • Guiding you in your exploration of how groups, institutions, and societies function.
  • Preparing you to work with a diverse group of people and issues in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Exposing you to the two concentration options (general sociology or criminal justice) and helping you as you decide which you’ll pursue.

Job outlook for sociology careers

Careers related to sociology are expected to remain steady yet competitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of sociologists is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.” However, sociology graduates aren’t limited to solely the sociologist career. For social workers, (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU sociology program) employment is projected to grow a whopping 13% from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What can you do with a sociology degree?

Students with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology leave PLNU equipped for graduate schools or careers within social justice, education, business, nonprofits, immigration, politics, and the criminal justice system. PLNU alumni are sought after for their ability to critically evaluate social and cultural patterns, while also constructively engaging as agents of hope.

Some of the positions our graduates currently hold include:


2020 Median annual salary: $86,110

Sociologists study and interpret human behaviors, mannerisms, interactions, and organizations. They monitor and observe the activity of social, religious, political, and economic groups. Sociologists also examine the effect of social influences, such as organizations and institutions, on individuals. Sociologists usually utilize both quantitative and qualitative data and methods when conducting research.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Creativity to design research projects to test theories about social issues
  • Efficient in analyzing data through surveys, observations, interviews, and other sources
  • Strong communicator to present reports, articles, or presentations 
  • Ability to collaborate with and advise other social scientists, policymakers, or other groups on findings

Social Worker

2020 Median annual salary: $51,760

Social workers help people cope with challenges and unexpected changes in their lives. They’re trained for a wide range of situations and often work with children. Advocacy is an important aspect of social work. Social workers advocate or raise awareness with and on behalf of their clients. There are different types of social workers depending on the amount of school and credentials they’ve completed. Bachelor’s social workers (BSW) work with community organizations and policymakers to create or improve programs, services, and social conditions.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ability to assess clients’ needs, situations, strengths, and support networks
  • Knowledge of techniques or care plans to help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives
  • Strong writer and reader to research, refer, and advocate for community resources
  • Communication to follow up with clients to ensure their situations have improved
  • Organization to keep track of case files and records
  • Creativity to develop and evaluate programs and services to ensure that basic client needs are met

Urban and Regional Manager

2020 Median annual salary: $75,950

Urban and regional planners create land-use plans to develop their communities. With the knowledge learned from a sociology degree, urban and regional managers are able to help revitalize their communities and organize them efficiently. They utilize research and collaboration with interest groups to address issues and meet goals. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ability to analyze data from a wide range of resources (market research, censuses, economic and environmental studies, etc.)
  • Ability to conduct field investigations to foster community development 
  • Knowledge of the necessary resources to determine the feasibility of proposals
  • Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
  • Strong communication to present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions

Public Policy Advisor

2020 Median annual salary: $70,836

Policy advisors research the policies in a specific industry. They review current policies, develop more efficient strategies, and communicate these changes to their clients. Policy advisors work for a variety of organizations including schools, medical facilities, and government agencies. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Knowledge of how to write policy proposals
  • Creativity to make models and visuals
  • Communication to present ideas and evidence 
  • Understanding survey research methods
  • Evaluating financial reports
  • Performing cost-benefit analysis
  • Understanding budgets and policy reports

A Bachelor of Arts in Sociology can lead to a variety of careers pivotal in helping your communities and organizations thrive. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared for your future pursuits whether in management or research. Not only will you be a more articulate and critically thinking individual, but you’ll also gain a robust understanding of how these skills can be utilized for your aspirations and goals as a more informed and connected person to humanity.

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and answers to any questions you may have.