If you have an interest in understanding the intricacies of social interactions, you should understand what you would study in a liberal arts program in sociology. Sociology is the social science that focuses on society and the social interactions of individuals and groups, according to the American Sociological Association (ASA). The valuable skills you learn studying sociology can lead to careers in many industries, such as social services, education, public policy, criminal justice and business, according to U.S. News & World Report.

1. Introductory Courses in Sociology

One of the first things you will study in a liberal arts program in sociology is coursework in introductory sociology. An introduction to sociology course is likely to cover topics such as the construction of individual identity, social change, culture, social norms, social institutions and equality. In addition to learning about the basic concepts involved in the study of sociology, you may also develop an overview of various sociological perspectives. You might also take other introduction courses into subfields of sociology, such as comparative sociology, human societies, small group communication and organizational communication.

2. Social Science Research

Despite its social emphasis, sociology is a science. That’s why an important part of what you will study in a liberal arts program in sociology is how to conduct research in the social sciences. Through classes such as social science research methods, data analysis and statistics, students learn to develop experiments, gather data and interpret their research findings. Social science research includes a variety of methods, from qualitative case studies to quantitative experiments.

 3. Specialist and Generalist Courses

One of the biggest questions sociology majors face is whether to build generalist or specialist sociology knowledge. Ideally, a well-rounded sociology program will allow students to become generalists who have some knowledge of many topics as well as experts in a specific topic of interest, according to the ASA. Much of what you will study in a liberal arts program in sociology brings you closer to attaining one of these two goals. Some of the classes you may take include classic social theory, sociology of the family, sociology of education, sociology of deviant behavior, racial and ethnic relations, men and masculinity and drugs, alcohol and society, according to U.S. News & World Report.

4. General Education Courses

Sociology is a true liberal arts major, according to the ASA. As such, it’s no surprise that students in this degree program take a variety of general education courses in the arts, sciences and humanities. A primary focus of the liberal arts is teaching students valuable and versatile skills such as thinking critically, making sound decisions and responsibly taking on leadership roles.

 5. Senior Seminar Project

Many sociology degree programs expect students to put the skills and knowledge they have developed to the test in their final year of undergraduate study. Often, this requirement takes the form of a self-designed social sciences research project, according to U.S. News & World Report.

What you will study in a liberal arts program in sociology will do more than prepare you for a profession – it will transform you into an educated citizen and leader.