In the 19th century, German philosopher Karl Marx began to analyse and explore the relationship between economy and the workers within the system. He investigated the consequences of the capitalist and the strong relationship between class inequality and culture. Specifically, Marxist sociology looks at how economics defines social roles and expectations. However, this is a wider subject that covers the scientific study of behaviour. 

In India, sociology as a discipline was first introduced around 40 years ago in the University of Bombay. Subsequently, it was adopted by the universities of Lucknow, Calcutta, Madras and Mysore. This subject is considered as an offbeat career option. But once students are able to comprehend what it comprises, they are most likely to consider as a valuable choice not just for the purposes of earning, but for their perspective towards the broader global issues. 

A graduate with this subject will be able to understand and engage with the incidents influencing the world. One will be equipped with the tools required to make sense of the ever-changing social world and offer solutions for complex problems. Usually, students who are genuinely interested in the social issues of the country are the ones who pursue sociology, but a majority of them lose interest with time. 

Sociologists are researchers who study about the beliefs and decision-making process of different individuals and groups. They use scientific methods to find empirical answers to complex questions relating to diverse communities, social changes and their interactions. As part of their research, sociologists carry out surveys, interviews and interact with several people, irrespective of class, creed and caste. On the basis of their findings and interpretations, reports and articles are presented and utilised for different welfare purposes by the government and other private and public organisations. They evaluate the conduct and custom of different social groups and institutions to get a deeper understanding.

Studying sociology not only helps in understanding the human society but also assists to categorise social behaviour systematically. Through this, one is able to delve deeper, examine its changing nature and study its impact on everyday life. Thus, studying about various issues, cultures, and behaviours stimulates analytical thinking, creativity and communication skills. These are highly sought after by employers in the job market. 

At undergraduate level, a candidate with +2 passed from any recognised board is eligible for admission. However, the criteria differ from college to college. At postgraduate level, one must have a Bachelor's degree in any stream from a recognised university. Most universities need the candidate to have obtained at least 50 per cent marks at undergraduate level to secure admission at the postgraduate level.

One can find jobs in social services, education, criminal justice, welfare services, government, counselling, charities and the voluntary sector. Sociology graduates are usually found in a wide range of occupations that mainly focus on the challenges and demands. There are a range of specific abilities and skills associated with a degree in sociology. The skills include capacity to judge and evaluate evidence, understanding the complexity and diversity of situations, collecting information and making logical arguments, etc.

This is a good fit for a career in business as it enables to move between sectors, make connections and spot patterns. In marketing, it helps in mapping the shape of the society, identifying different types of people with characteristics, lifestyles and attitudes. In journalism, sociology would help in writing features, analysis and think-pieces. Interpretation and evaluation of evidence, communication, and working in a team are some of the skills that employers look for in such graduates.

With a Master’s degree, one can apply as an assistant professor in colleges. In order to become a senior professor, a PhD degree in the subject is required. Students can also find job opportunities in consultancy firms, human resource departments, news agencies, counselling firms, NGOs, etc.

After obtaining a Master’s degree one can pursue MPhil or Phd to further their knowledge on the subject. There are a number of institutes in India offering degree for this course. Some of the colleges are Banaras Hindu University, Chennai; Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi; Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra; Manipur University, Imphal and North Eastern Hill University, Shillong.

The writer is Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Edunuts