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Career Paths

What Can I Do With A Sociology Degree?

A degree in sociology prepares students for a variety of careers, from law and business to the arts and nonprofit sector. Build your resume for a future career by:

Watch the video interviews with some of our alumni below to hear about how a Northwestern sociology degree made a difference in their careers.

Sociology and the Law

Karen Sheley received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1999. She is currently a fellow at the ACLU of Illinois. Here, Karen describes how her undergraduate background in Sociology helped her on a career path in law.

Sociology and Marketing Research

Elyse Krumholz received her undergraduate degree in Sociology, with a minor in Business Institutions, from Northwestern University in 2010. After graduating, she worked in consulting, leading market research projects in healthcare and consumer products industries. She currently works as a Market Research Specialist at WMS Gaming in Chicago. In this video, she explains how her degree in Sociology helped her develop the skills needed to conduct market research in the business world.

Sociology and the Arts

Gemma Mangione received her undergraduate degree in journalism and art history from Northwestern University and now is a graduate student in sociology at Northwestern. She worked as the assistant to public programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York for two years after completing her undergraduate work. In this clip, she offers insights on how the social sciences and humanities speak to one another and how sociology is useful for careers in the art world.

Sociology and Business

Alexandra Tate received her undergraduate degree in Sociology (major) and French (minor) from Northwestern University a few years ago. She worked as a Client Associate in Private Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch for 2 years after graduating. In this clip, she explains how her undergraduate research in Sociology helped her land the job.

"In my job now, my background in sociology has helped in several ways. The hands-on research skills that I learned doing my senior thesis and working on a professor’s research project have probably been the most valuable. While corporate research is a bit different than academic research, the methodologies that I learned in school have been very helpful. Everything from designing research projects and writing surveys to collecting data and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data are key skills which I learned at Northwestern. I use these skills on almost a daily basis at work. My company focuses mostly on qualitative research, but I also do some quantitative analysis. The statistics classes have come in handy, and experience using SPSS and STATA added a lot to my resume. I also think that a general understanding of human behavior that I learned in many sociology classes has been very helpful as a basis for analyzing a lot of data that we collect."

Elyse Krumholz
Senior Project Manager, Insight Consulting Group
Sociology and Business Institutions Program major, Northwestern University

Sociology and Law

Talia Shiff received her MA degree in Sociology from Tel Aviv University and now is a graduate student in the joint Ph.D./J.D. program in Sociology and the Northwestern School of Law. Talia applied to law school after receiving her MA in Sociology and while she was a graduate student in Sociology. In this clip, she talks about how her background in sociology aided her in her interview for law school and provided excellent training for her course work in law school.

Sociology and Medicine

Rebecca Grohman is a senior and pre-med student majoring in Sociology and Science and Human Culture at Northwestern University. She plans to take time off before applying to medical school and become involved with medical research and clinical trials. In this clip, she explains how and why she became interested in the connections between sociology and the practice of medicine.

"Health care delivery in the US and around the world faces unprecedented challenges. Health care professionals - physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators - must be prepared to deliver care to each individual patient as well as improve the system in which care is delivered. A strong background in the social sciences can provide a foundation for understanding the systems which play a vital role in the health of individuals and communities."

Greg Ogrinc, MD, MS
Senior Scholar, White River Junction VA Quality Scholars Program
Associate Professor of Community and Family Medicine and of Medicine
Dartmouth Medical School
Author, "Fundamentals of Health Care Improvement"

Sociology and the Non-Profit Sector

Justin Louie received his undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and now is a graduate student in the joint Ph.D. program in Sociology and the Kellogg School's Department of Management and Organizations. After graduating from Berkeley, he worked at a number of non-profit organizations, earned an MA in public policy, and eventually became a consultant for non-profits. In this clip, he talks about how his undergraduate research experience in sociology helped him launch his career in the non-profit sector.

Companies that have hired our undergraduate alumni:

For more information about a wide variety of careers or to meet with a career counselor be sure to visit
Northwestern University Career Services.