Best Online Sociology Programs

Learn how earning an online bachelor's in sociology can provide you the training and knowledge needed for several exciting careers.

portrait of Staff Writers
by Staff Writers

Published on February 17, 2021 · Updated on April 29, 2022

Edited by Taylor Gadsden
Share this Article

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Earning an online bachelor's in sociology can provide an excellent foundation for both work and advanced study. Defined as the study of human relationships and behavior, sociology is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary field. A degree in sociology can be valuable in many different industries and sectors.

While the cost of these degrees can vary substantially based on what school a student attends, learners often find that online programs are less expensive than campus-based options. Regardless of where they study, degree-seekers can expect to spend approximately four years earning this degree. Given the versatility of these programs, graduates work in a wide spectrum of industries, including marketing, human resources, market research, and community services.

Keep reading to learn about standard course offerings, common job outcomes, and where this degree can take graduates now and in the future.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Sociology Program?

Students who pursue an online bachelor's in sociology degree typically look at the world through a cerebral lens — they want to know more about how it works and why people behave the way they do. Students are often drawn to academic and intellectual pursuits and enjoy using data to make informed decisions in life and work.

The vast majority of bachelor's in sociology programs consist of 120 credits and require four years of full-time study. Part-time programs last six years, while some schools offer accelerated options taking as few as three years.

In addition to generalist study, some programs offer learners the opportunity to specialize their studies in several concentration areas. These vary by school, but common examples include:

In addition to completing all course requirements, students must sometimes participate in an internship component that will help them learn transferable skills before graduating. Some programs also include a thesis component to help learners build research and writing skills.

While a BA in sociology typically includes a foreign language component, a BS in sociology focuses more on research and analysis coursework.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

Best Online Political Science Programs Best Online Bachelor's in Social Science Programs Best Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Sociology Program?

Introduction to the Sociological Perspective

In the first semester, this foundational course introduces students to sociological thought and methodologies. Learners will discover how to analyze subjects and communicate about them.

History of Sociological Thought

This course introduces students to the history of the discipline by providing a series of readings that demonstrate how the field has evolved and shifted in reaction to other intellectual developments over time.

Sociology of Family

Students taking this course examine how the role of the family plays a part in society. They often study the diversity of familial structures and how families have evolved throughout history.

Race and Ethnicity

This course considers how factors such as ethnicity, religion, race, and political views affect how individuals and communities interact with themselves and outside groups.

Environmental Sociology

This course looks at the relationship between humans and the environment, including the human role in climate change.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online College Students Your Guide to College Loans Your Guide to the FAFSA

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Sociology Program?

When looking at online bachelor's in sociology programs, prospective students will notice that individual schools and programs set unique admission requirements. While most online and campus-based options set similar requirements, some particularly competitive programs may require applicants to participate in interviews.

Application

Every prospective student must complete an undergraduate application to be considered for admission. These forms typically ask for standard demographic information such as full name, mailing address, date of birth, and citizenship status. Most schools provide online applications, but some may still offer paper forms.

Test Scores

College entrance exams have long been part of the admissions process. However, some colleges and universities have started phasing these out in favor of more equitable means of testing students' college preparedness. Colleges that still require these typically ask for either ACT or SAT scores.

Letters of Recommendation

When asking for a letter of recommendation, learners should consider individuals who know them well and can speak to both their life experience and their preparedness for higher education. Common examples of letter writers include current and/or former teachers, mentors, bosses, or members of their faith community.

Essays

College application essays provide the opportunity for applicants to set themselves apart from other students by sharing their unique life experiences. Essays should take a particular viewpoint rather than a generic approach. Ask a teacher or other trusted advisor to review essays for clarity and grammar.

Official Transcripts

Admissions departments use official transcripts for three purposes: ensuring GPA, reviewing classes taken in high school, and determining which community college courses will transfer to the new school. These typically need to arrive directly from previous institutions in a sealed envelope.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Sociology Degree?

Career Outlook

While some may think of an online bachelor's in sociology solely as a building block to advanced study, graduates of these programs can find a variety of jobs after graduating. Sociology may not be one of the most popular college majors, but as a liberal arts degree, it provides transferable skills in research and writing, analysis, and data review and use, as well as an understanding of human behavior.

Salaries for graduates can vary substantially. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), market research analysts earned a median annual wage of $65,810 in May 2020, while human resource managers brought home median pay of $121,220 during the same year. Graduates can be found in many different positions and industries, including communications, marketing, human resources, and research.

See where a bachelor's in sociology can take you. Learn more about sociology careers.

Career Paths

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts use their skills in data collection and analysis to predict market conditions and how a particular service or product might do with consumers. They create marketing and sales forecasts, measure marketing effectiveness, and create questionnaires and surveys to collect primary data from customers.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $65,810


Human Resources Manager

These professionals oversee all the administrative functions of an organization to ensure it runs smoothly. They specifically work on staffing management and operations, frequently posting job listings, interviewing candidates, and making decisions around hiring. They may also coordinate employee benefits and oversee disciplinary procedures.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $121,220


Public Relations Specialist

PR specialists work with individuals and organizations to create, maintain, and improve their public image. They frequently craft press releases and other promotional materials, manage social media outreach, coach clients on public speaking, and use other channels to enhance their client's public image.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $62,810


Writer or Author

Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, writers and authors convey ideas and information. Some may go the traditional publishing route, while others may work in content development roles for brands, content creation agencies, or even online publications focused on many topics.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $67,120


Social and Community Service Manager

Whether working for a nonprofit or government entity, social and community service managers create and oversee programs that support local communities and provide needed services. These workers also look for ways to improve offerings by conducting surveys and collecting data from participants.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $69,600


Sociology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Sociology Careers Counseling Careers Social Science Careers

Continuing Education

Many students who complete an online bachelor's in sociology continue their education — especially if they hope to work in academia or research. Pursuing an online master's in sociology can qualify graduates to take on several supervisory and management roles. A doctorate in sociology offers the credentials needed to teach at the postsecondary level.

Sociology positions do not require specific licenses or certificates, but some students may decide to participate in academic certification programs to specialize their knowledge in particular areas of the discipline. Examples include certificates in crime and punishment or gender and sexuality.

Cost

As students begin researching various online bachelor's in sociology programs, they may soon find a wide range of tuition costs. In general, students looking to save money attend public colleges in their state of residence, while those with a larger budget look into private institutions. Learners should understand the true cost of programs and compare costs between online and on-campus programs before deciding.

Program Format

When looking at online bachelor's programs in sociology, students can typically choose between synchronous and asynchronous learning formats. Those looking for more flexibility in their learning typically choose asynchronous programs. They can also decide on a full-time or part-time schedule. Some schools offer accelerated programs for those who wish to complete their degrees faster.

Location

Learners must decide whether to study online or on campus. Those who decide to pursue an online program often have more choice in terms of where to study, especially when the location does not factor into the decision-making process. That said, some online programs may require some in-person learning.

Accreditation

In addition to finding an online college with proper institutional accreditation, learners can also look for bachelor's in sociology with programmatic accreditation. Within this field, students should look for sociology programs accredited by the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology.

Student Support

The best bachelor's in sociology programs offer various student support services that benefit learners while enrolled and even after graduation. In addition to providing mentorship opportunities, many also help students find internships. Universities also offer online support services specifically to learners studying remotely.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Sociology Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Online Bachelor's in Sociology Programs

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $10287

    UF delivers online programs through the Canvas platform, enrolling over 3,500 distance learners annually. The university's undergraduate catalog includes an online bachelor of arts in sociology that focuses on the complex causes and consequences of human behavior. Throughout a 120-credit curriculum, learners gain the research and communication skills needed to pursue graduate studies or entry-level jobs in marketing, criminal justice, and social services.

    Program coursework includes introduction to statistics and methods of social research. Students also delve into advanced topics like poverty and inequality, medical sociology with regard to aging, and family and gender studies. Students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate from this online bachelor's in sociology program.

    First-year applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and adequate ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA.

  2. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    With over 20 years of experience, FIU is a leader in distance learning. The university delivers more than 100 online certificates and degrees, including a fully online bachelor's degree in sociology and anthropology. After completing this comprehensive program, students are prepared to shape positive social change as counselors, policy analysts, and community organizers.

    Required courses in the sociology track cover topics like societies in the world, sociological theories, and quantitative social research. Students use 42 elective credits to pursue specialized topics in the major or complete a complementary minor. FIU offers one-on-one support by pairing each student with a personal success coach.

    Distance learners may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer. Admission requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA and ACT or SAT scores.

  3. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $13016

    UCF offers over 90 online academic programs through the Canvas platform. Distance learners can earn an online bachelor's degree in sociology to prepare for work as human resources administrators, behavioral analysts, and diversity training specialists.

    The program's curriculum includes required coursework in applied social statistics and research. Students in the program can earn a BA or a BS. BA students must take two semesters of a foreign language or American Sign Language, while BS learners need to complete an advanced methods course. All students round out the program by completing a data analysis capstone project.

    In addition to good ACT or SAT scores, first-year applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Learners can complete the program entirely online or take some classes at the Miami campus.

  4. California State University, Fullerton
    Location

    Fullerton, CA

    Tuition

    $8274

    Founded in 1957, Cal State Fullerton currently serves about 40,000 students. The university offers 55 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's degree in sociology. By taking accelerated classes that span five or eight weeks, learners can complete this degree completion pathway in under three years.

    The program's curriculum includes courses like social behavior in organizations, race and ethnic relations, and deviant behavior. Students also examine sociological theories related to family dynamics and the aged population. Graduates can find work as market researchers, mental health counselors, and public administrators.

    To gain full admission into this program, applicants must have completed at least 69 transfer credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

  5. Arizona State University
    Location

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Tuition

    $14166

    One of the largest distance education providers in the nation, ASU serves approximately 30,000 students in over 200 online programs, including a bachelor's track in sociology. This program helps learners develop transferable critical thinking, analytical, and research skills. With six start dates each year and accelerated, 7.5-week classes, distance learners can complete their degree with plenty of flexibility.

    ASU's bachelor's in sociology curriculum covers topics like applied statistics, history of social thought, and American cultural diversity. Learners also explore modern social problems like gender dynamics and racial/ethnic relations.

    Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, rank in the top 25% of their high school class, or meet ACT or SAT thresholds based on residency status. About 87% of ASU students receive job offers within 90 days of graduation.

  6. California State University, Bakersfield
    Location

    Bakersfield, CA

    Tuition

    $6025

    CSUB offers 21 online certificates and degrees, including an online bachelor's degree in sociology that focuses on the systematic examination of human behavior. Students in this degree completion program learn to help individuals and groups coordinate their activities to achieve diverse goals. Graduates can pursue careers related to teaching, family planning, and social work.

    Learners complete courses like self and society, multicultural diversity and the U.S. education system, and social stratification. All learners take a quantitative analysis class, which provides an overview of descriptive and inferential statistics. They can also pursue an optional communications minor.

    This degree completion program requires applicants to have at least 60 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. CSUB powers distance education with the Blackboard Learn platform.

  7. California State University, Chico
    Location

    Chico, CA

    Tuition

    $14156

    Chico State was founded in 1887, making it the second-oldest school in the California State University system. The university offers eight degree completion programs for online learners, including a bachelor's in sociology. Through a curriculum that combines humanistic and scientific perspectives, students learn to evaluate current events and changes to the global economy.

    Program coursework includes classes like statistical analysis, ethnic and race relations, and sociology of wealth and inequality. Students also develop grant writing skills and complete an internship to gain practical experience. The program culminates in an integrative capstone seminar.

    The program maintains fall and spring entry dates. Prospective learners need at least 60 credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university provides a variety of financial aid opportunities, including the general Wildcat Scholarship.

  8. Fort Hays State University
    Location

    Hays, KS

    Tuition

    $12420

    FHSU delivers online certificates and degrees through the Blackboard platform . Undergraduate students can earn an online BA or BS in sociology. Through electives and a concentration option, this flexible program allows learners to align coursework with their research interests and professional goals.

    Both degree types require 120 credits and include coursework in advanced sociological research, cultural anthropology, and social inequality. BA students must satisfy a foreign language requirement. Students can also complete an optional addictions counseling concentration to learn how to deliver prevention, recovery, and crisis care services.

    Applicants who live in Kansas need a minimum 2.0 GPA. Non-resident applicants need a GPA of at least 2.5. Additionally, applicants must rank in the top one-third of their high school graduating class or submit adequate ACT or SAT scores.

  9. Texas State University
    Location

    San Marcos, TX

    Tuition

    $13729

    Texas State serves more than 38,000 students and offers nearly 100 undergraduate degrees, including a bachelor of science in applied sociology. This hybrid program requires distance learners to take 51-75% of their classes at Texas State's San Marcos campus.

    Major courses cover topics like sociological theory, statistics for the behavioral sciences, and applied data analysis. The program emphasizes hands-on skill development, requiring students to complete a 300-hour internship. Learners can collaborate with university partners in the Austin-San Antonio Corridor or find their own internship opportunities.

    Texas State maintains a competitive admissions process that evaluates first-year applicants based on their class rank and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores if they have 16 or more college credits.

  10. Central Washington University
    Location

    Ellensburg, WA

    Tuition

    $14647

    Based in Ellensburg, CWU delivers distance learning through the Canvas platform. Online students can choose from 21 undergraduate and graduate programs, including a fully online bachelor's in sociology. Learners develop the conceptual and methodological tools needed to pursue careers in market research, demography, and public administration.

    The program's curriculum includes required courses in social theory and applied research methods. Students can pursue their own interests through electives, wth options like punishment and corrections, sociology of immigration, and death and dying. All students must complete a minor or second major and fulfill a foreign language requirement.

    First-year applicants with a 3.4 GPA or higher do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Sociology Programs

true Is a bachelor's in sociology worth it?

Before committing to a bachelor's in sociology, students must first decide whether an online degree is worth it and whether this program of study meets their goals. Students looking for a versatile, liberal arts course of study often gravitate toward these programs to build transferable skills.

In addition to learning how to read and write at an advanced level, students in bachelor's in sociology programs also develop research and data analysis skills. Through the program, learners explore the human condition and why humans behave as we do — knowledge that can prove valuable in many fields.

true What can I do with a bachelor's in sociology?

Online bachelor's in sociology programs can help students build a broad knowledge base that hiring managers across several different industries value. Sales managers often value these graduates because so much time is spent learning about human motivations and behavioral patterns.

Additionally, because sociology students spend so much time analyzing data, they often find work as market analysts, survey researchers, and other professionals focused on making decisions based on actionable data.

true Are sociology majors in demand?

While most jobs focused directly in sociology require a master's or doctoral degree, those with bachelor's degrees can find jobs in related industries. Sociology can be a great fit for students who want to keep their options open at this level, rather than studying a niche or particular topic.

Hiring managers value these graduates for their analytical and critical thinking skills, their ability to understand nuanced arguments, and their appreciation for how data can influence decision-making processes.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in sociology?

Salaries for bachelor's in sociology graduates can vary dramatically based on many different factors, including a professional's location, industry, and years of experience.

For instance, social and community service managers earned a median annual wage of $69,600 as of May 2020, while those working as human resources managers received a median salary of $121,220 that same year.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in sociology?

Graduates with an online bachelor's in sociology can earn six-figure salaries with enough experience and seniority. In addition to human resources managers, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers also earn high salaries. The median pay for these professionals reached $141,490 per year in May 2020.

Professionals who decide to return to school for a master's or doctoral degree can also increase their earning potential, whether they are considering research or professorial positions.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.