The length of time it takes to earn a sociology degree varies, depending on your personal educational aspirations and career goals. Personal circumstances and obligations such as family, finances and work commitments will also affect the length of time required to complete your degree. A thorough self-evaluation will clarify your decisions regarding the type of sociology degree program that best suits your needs and the length of time it will take to earn your degree.
Associate Degree in Sociology
An associate degree in sociology enables you to grasp the basic fundamentals of sociology. Generally, an associate degree takes two years or four semesters to complete. Many students select the associate degree route to jumpstart their career or gain authentic experience in academia before tackling a four-year degree program. After earning this initial academic credential, graduates may choose to continue their education at a four-year educational institution or explore career options.
Bachelor's Degree in Sociology
Under normal circumstances, a bachelor's degree is sociology will take four to five years to complete. Students enrolled in college part-time may take a bit longer to complete their academic programs. A bachelor's degree in sociology allows students to develop significant insight into the discipline. Students focus their studies on specific areas such as family, race, urban studies, gender or gerontology. This sociology degree prepares students for graduate school opportunities or employment in various professional environments including education, social services and government.
Master's Degree in Sociology
A master's degree in sociology offers students the chance to conduct intensive research in the field of sociology. Full-time graduate students pursuing a master's degree in sociology can expect to spend approximately two to three years studying advanced sociological theories and concepts. In many cases, the master's degree in sociology is a stepping stone to a Ph.D., the terminal sociology degree. A graduate degree in sociology is the prerequisite for careers as community college faculty as well as college or university instructors. In addition, graduates often seek research careers and management level positions in social services and government.
The Terminal Sociology Degree
Students can expect to complete a sociology doctorate in six to eight years. Ph.D. programs are extremely research-focused. Doctoral level sociology students are required to complete a considerable amount of research and write a dissertation. The Ph.D. prepares students to teach at the university level. Many Ph.D. graduates conduct research related to their area of expertise and publish their work in books and academic journals.
Cassandra Ifie is a librarian living in Richmond, Va. She has also been a writer since 2008. Ifie received her Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman's University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Rust College.