Last Updated: May 13, 2019
By TBS Staff
An online bachelor in sociology degree helps you develop a deep understanding of human behavior, society, and social groups. Many graduates go on to contribute to the public good in fields such as social services and criminal justice. Graduates employed in the business world utilize their sociological perspective to thrive in multiethnic and multinational business environments.
A sociology degree online program imbues students with transferable skills applicable to a wide range of careers in research, counseling, policy analysis and other social science-oriented positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying industries for sociologists are scientific research, government, social advocacy, and consulting.
Table of Contents
- Program Rankings
- Choosing a Program
- What Will I Learn?
- Online Program Accreditation
- Professional Organizations
Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Methodology for College Rankings
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
- Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
- Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org’s underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article “Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS.” Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department’s publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: “Making Sense of College Rankings.” For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Programs
1. University of Florida – Online
Established in Gainesville in 1858, UF occupies more than 200 service, research, and education centers, with facilities in all Florida counties. The main campus houses Florida’s first LEED-certified building. The university offers about 100 undergraduate and 200 graduate programs through 16 academic schools and colleges, and more than 100 programs are available online.
UF’s bachelor of arts in sociology emphasizes the transformative properties of social exploration. The curriculum explores the full range of human behavior, including causes and consequences, through liberal arts coursework designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in the field. Students earning the sociology degree online complete coursework emphasizing problem-solving, communication, and research skills. Students take courses in principles of sociology, methods of social research, development of sociological thought, and statistics. The program culminates in a comprehensive exam.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA and at least a 2.75 GPA in previous sociology coursework. Students with more than 60 college credits can transfer credits earned with at least a 2.75 GPA; transfer students must complete at least 18 credits through UF. Online learners access courses through Canvas. The university grants admission to online programs on a rolling basis, and online students can begin courses in the fall, spring, or summer.
2. California State University – Fullerton
Part of the California State University system, Cal State – Fullerton enrolls over 40,000 students in a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. Among its online degree paths is a bachelor’s in sociology degree completion program for students seeking flexible options to finish their studies.
The online sociology degree requires 51 credits for completion. The program focuses on upper-level coursework, and students engage with key concepts such as:
- Drug Use in American Society
- Gender and Sex
- Social Inequality
- Social Research Methods
- Statistics in the Field
- Theories of Social Behavior
The program consists of 17 classes; students can finish their studies in the online sociology degree program in three years.
For admission to this bachelor’s in sociology program, applicants must hold 69 – 70 transferable credits with a 2.5 GPA.
3. Florida State University – Office of Distance Learning
Established in 1851, FSU occupies the state’s oldest continuous site of higher education. The school holds Carnegie classification as a doctoral research university and enrolls nearly 42,000 students in more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.
The university offers a BS in social science with a major in interdisciplinary social science. Students earning the online sociology degree develop and apply skills in critical thinking and cultural literacy, while gaining a global perspective on social issues. Students choose a primary emphasis in sociology or public administration and a secondary emphasis in sociology, public administration, economics, political science, or geography. Core requirements include a course in contemporary social problems and an interdisciplinary forum.
Most students complete the 42 required credit hours in four to eight semesters, depending on their transfer hours and enrollment status. Online students complete coursework through Canvas, primarily asynchronously. Online support services include mentoring and tutoring options, tech support, and proctoring services.
FSU awards preference to applicants with an associate degree from a Florida community college or at least six previous credit hours in a social science discipline. The university recommends that prospective students complete computer literacy and oral communications prerequisites before enrolling.
4. Florida International University
Located in Miami, FIU is South Florida’s only Carnegie-classified R1 research university. The school serves 54,000 students and offers nearly 200 on-campus and online programs. FIU ranks among the nation’s 10 largest universities.
FIU offers a BA in sociology and anthropology with a sociology track. The online sociology degree explores practical issues in the context of social life, including gentrification, mobile technology growth, and corporate downsizing. Students gain career skills applicable to sociology positions, including research and analytical skills and social survey and mapping techniques. Students complete 120 credits in core, lower-division, major, and elective courses, including general education and foreign language requirements.
Students can earn the bachelor’s in sociology entirely online. Each undergraduate student works with a success coach to customize their first-year curriculum. Applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and must fulfill university core prerequisites. Transfer students can apply credits earned with a grade of C or better toward the bachelor’s degree; students must complete at least 30 credits through FIU.
Online learners complete assignments through Blackboard. FIU offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Online students can access tech support at all hours; online resources include personal and academic coaching, advising, and tutoring support services.
5. University of Central Florida
With more than 66,000 students, 25% of whom are first-generation college students, UCF is Florida’s largest university. The school offers hundreds of academic programs, several of which are nationally ranked for innovation and affordability. The university provides nearly 100 distance programs, including an online sociology degree. Students can earn a BA in sociology online, on campus, or in a blended format.
UCF’s BA in sociology expands students’ perspective of social behavior and improves their social awareness. The program requires 120 credit hours of general education, common program, basic and advanced core, foreign language, and elective courses. The curriculum integrates career skills, including communication, critical-thinking, and analytical skills, into field-specific coursework. Students gain a foundation in diversity and social equality; mass culture and collective behavior; and crime, law, and deviance. Students earning an online sociology degree complete a data analysis capstone course and must earn at least a C in all classes.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in high school and college coursework. Transfer applicants must have earned at least a C in two English composition courses and two math courses. Students with fewer than 60 transferable college credits must submit SAT or ACT scores. UCF delivers online courses through Canvas.
6. Central Methodist University – College of Graduate and Extended Studies
Central Methodist University is a private, Methodist institution that was established in 1854. It enrolls over 5,000 students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs; many of these students enroll online. Among CMU’s extended study options is its online sociology degree BA or BS program.
This 120 credit bachelor’s in sociology degree program provides a complete liberal arts education. Students engage in up to 45 credit hours of sociology major courses, such as:
- Gender and Sexuality
- Pop Culture
- Race and Ethnicity in the United States
- Research and Data Analysis
- Social Problems
- Social Theory
The BA track focuses on theory, cultural criticism, and academic sociology while the BS track focuses on research, practice, and application of data and concepts. In addition to coursework, students must complete a capstone, internship, or senior seminar.
7. Arizona State University – ASU Online
One of the state’s premier research institutions, ASU offers innovative academic programs. The university graduates more than 20,000 students each year and enrolls more than 800 national student scholars. ASU offers more than 350 undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates, many of which are available online.
ASU’s bachelor of science in sociology requires 120 credit hours. The liberal arts curriculum emphasizes the development of professional skills, including critical-thinking, written communication, research, statistics, and analytical skills. Coursework for the online sociology degree explores traditional and contemporary sociology concepts, including family dynamics; technology and society; the globalization of work; and racial, ethnic, gender, and religious politics. Although the curriculum primarily comprises upper-level requirements, students must take two courses in science and society, such as women and health or introduction to global health.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma, must have graduated in the top 25% of their class, must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and must submit ACT or SAT scores. ASU accepts applications on a rolling basis and offers multiple start dates per year.
Online students complete coursework through Blackboard. Learners can begin the program in the fall or spring. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. ASU awards elective credit hours for ACE-approved military or corporate training.
8. Brandman University
Established in 1861 as Chapman University College, Brandman originally served a U.S. Marine Corps air station in Orange, California. Today, Brandman has more than 25 campuses across California and Washington state. The university caters to busy students, both on-campus and online. Brandman offers more than 80 programs in the arts and sciences, education, business, health, and nursing.
Brandman’s bachelor of arts in sociology explores sociological methods and theories and provides students with a global perspective on society and relationships. Students earning the sociology degree online develop writing skills for research purposes and gain knowledge of analytical and critical-thinking techniques used to examine the structures of global cultures.
Students complete 45 core credits and 18 minor credits. Coursework covers topics including social research design, human diversity, intercultural communication, and social inequality and stratification. The program culminates in a social science capstone. An optional experiential learning course involves a service learning apprenticeship or a supervised internship.
Applicants should have at least 12 transferable college credits and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. The program offers a four-course prerequisite plan to students without 12 transferable credits. Brandman delivers online coursework through Blackboard. The sociology program is available in fully online and hybrid formats. Brandman offers multiple start dates per year, and all online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency.
9. Dallas Baptist University
Founded in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College, DBU was the first junior college in Texas. The university integrates faith and learning through Christ-centered programs. DBU enrolls more than 5,100 students in more than 100 programs and boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. More than 88% of undergraduate students at DBU receive financial aid.
DBU offers some of the country’s best sociology programs online. The bachelor of arts and sciences in sociology at DBU requires 120 credit hours in general studies, major, and elective courses. General studies coursework blends a variety of liberal arts courses, including kinesiology, social science, religion, and mathematics. Students complete either an internship or a mid-term course in sociological theory. Major courses include social problems, marriage and family, research methods, and social psychology. DBU awards credit for ACE-approved military or corporate training.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 high school GPA and must submit a 250-word essay detailing their academic goals. Applicants must have at least a 21 ACT score or a score of at least 1020 on the old SAT or 1100 on the new SAT. Students complete online assignments through Blackboard. Fall and spring courses last 16 weeks; summer courses last 10 weeks, and winter courses last four or eight weeks.
10. Oregon State University
Established 150 years ago in Corvallis, OSU receives more funding for research than any other Oregon school. OSU is one of only two land-, sea-, space-, and sun-grant institutions in the United States. The university serves nearly 32,000 students through more than 200 academic programs, including online bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in sociology programs.
Students earning their sociology degree online examine the abstract elements related to sociology, including ethnicity, gender, globalization, and modernization. The curriculum comprises 180 credits in five primary academic sectors: baccalaureate core, liberal arts core, BA or BS requirements, sociology major, and electives.
Online students can add an optional emphasis in environmental and natural resources, exploring societal-biophysical relationships, or crime and justice. Students complete coursework in topics such as sociological theory, research design and quantitative analysis, and population trends and policy. Learners gain oral and written communication skills, and core requirements culminate in a writing-intensive course.
Applicants must submit high school or college transcripts and should have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who graduate high school in 2013 or later must submit SAT or ACT scores. Online learners access courses asynchronously through Canvas. Online programs offer four start dates per year.
11. Washington State University
Founded in 1890, WSU was Washington’s first land-grant university. The university boasts 11 members of the National Academy, world-renowned faculty, and advisors from 89 international locations. WSU also holds prestigious R1 classification from the Carnegie Foundation. The university offers nearly 250 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional programs on campus as well as more than 20 programs online and more than 600 study-abroad opportunities.
WSU’s bachelor’s in sociology boasts a flexible 120 credit curriculum with plenty of electives to choose from. Learners must complete 43 major credits. These courses cover topics, such as:
- Research Methods
- Social Problems
- Social Theory
Students earning this online sociology degree must a meet a writing proficiency requirement as well as a related field concentration. Learners must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA throughout their studies.
Both first-time freshmen and transfer students can earn this sociology bachelor’s degree online. Applicants may need to satisfy prerequisites in foreign language, the arts and humanities, and biology and physical sciences. Students access online courses through Blackboard. The university offers support services including an online student government, tech support, free virtual tutors, and writing labs.
12. University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
North Dakota’s oldest and largest institution of higher learning, UND offers more than 300 programs and 3,000 courses in about 200 fields of study. The research institution is known for its programs in aerospace, energy and the environment, and health sciences. Students choose from 40 online degrees and certificates, including one of the nation’s best sociology programs.
UND’s bachelor of arts in social science offers a focus in sociology. The online sociology degree requires 125 credits, including coursework in at least three of the following areas: criminal justice, anthropology, geography, economics, political science, history, sociology, and psychology. At least 36 credits must be in upper-division coursework. The online program follows the same schedule as its on-campus counterpart.
The BA in social science provides an interdisciplinary approach to professional and social science competencies and emphasizes the development of critical-thinking, communication, and decision-making skills. Students can complete the degree entirely online. Distance learners can enroll in one course at a time or complete multiple courses per term to accelerate degree completion time. Most students complete the program in four years.
Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Students must earn at least 60 credits through an accredited four-year institution and at least 30 credits through UND. Students access online courses through Blackboard. The BA program offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of state residency.
13. University of Idaho
A premier national land-grant university, U of I offers courses at its main campus in Moscow and at several research and education centers throughout the state. The university enrolls more than 12,000 students and offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including online options.
U of I offers some of the country’s best sociology programs online. Distance learners can pursue a BA or BS in sociology, with an optional emphasis in criminology. The programs require 121 to 124 credits, depending on the student’s previously completed general education and foreign language coursework. Students in both programs take core, major, and elective courses and complete a senior experience. Learners can complete an optional internship, and some collaborate with faculty on research projects related to criminal justice or human rights issues. U of I also offers a certificate in diversity and stratification, which sociology students can complete while earning their bachelor’s degree.
Online students enrolled full time pay the in-state tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. First-time freshmen complete the sociology bachelor’s degree in four years. However, U of I also offers a two + 2 option, allowing associate degree holders to earn the BS or BA in only two years.
The university delivers online classes through Blackboard. Distance learners can also pursue dual-credit, summer session, and independent study courses. Online resources include tech support, disability services, and an academic integrity division.
14. Kennesaw State University
The third-largest university in Georgia and one of the country’s largest public institutions, KSU enrolls more than 35,000 students at two campuses in metropolitan Atlanta. The school boasts Carnegie classification as an R3 doctoral university and offers more than 150 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs.
KSU’s bachelor of science in sociology offers concentrations in organizational and social change, cultural diversity studies, criminology, and medical sociology. The criminology concentration is available fully online. Students complete 123 credit hours in general education, major, concentration, and elective courses. The curriculum explores social change and modernization through theoretical and practical coursework. Students gain communication, problem-solving, and data analysis skills. Students can complete an optional internship experience, and the program culminates in a senior seminar. Graduates qualify for a variety of careers in areas such as public policy, urban planning, law enforcement and corrections, and social research.
Applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA and must submit SAT or ACT scores that meet minimum requirements. Applicants who do not meet admission standards can apply for an alternative path to enrollment.
Online students complete assignments through the Brightspace Desire2Learn platform. Distance learners and on-campus students access the same resources through the Division of Student Affairs, including career, student disability, and student development services.
15. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Established in 1903 as a teacher training school, UNK offers certificates and degrees in education, the fine arts and humanities, business and technology, and the natural and social sciences. UNK enrolls more than 6,500 students in more than 190 academic and pre-professional programs, many of which are available online.
The university offers some of the nation’s top online sociology programs. Transfer students can enroll in the online degree-completion program in sociology; the BS in sociology requires 120 credit hours in general studies, core, and emphasis courses. The curriculum explores global cultures, social inequality, participation in a democratic society, juvenile delinquency, and sexuality in the context of sociology. Learners can complete an internship to fulfill elective requirements. The program culminates in a senior seminar.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts, must have completed general education prerequisites, and must either submit adequate SAT or ACT scores or have graduated in the upper half of their high school class. Applicants who have not completed general education prerequisites can work with an academic advisor to customize a path of study.
Online students complete coursework through Canvas. Online support services include tech support, tutorials and training, library resources, and financial aid assistance.
16. Northern Arizona University
With a main campus in Flagstaff, NAU comprises 19 campuses across the state. The university provides nearly 160 degrees and enrolls more than 30,000 students. NAU offers programs ranked among the best in the country for veterans, affordability, and online learning.
NAU offers some of the top sociology programs available. Students can earn a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in sociology. Each program comprises 120 units of general education, core liberal studies, major, and elective coursework. Students explore topics including race and ethnic relations and contemporary social issues, and the program culminates in a seminar capstone course. Students complete general education coursework in computer literacy, communication, foreign language, and science. Transfer students may apply previous college coursework toward general education requirements.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and must submit SAT or ACT scores. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA; the university admits those with at least a 2.5 GPA on a case-by-case basis, provided the applicant demonstrates proficiencies in liberal arts prerequisites. Students complete online courses through Blackboard. Online support resources include the first-year learning initiative program and first- and second-year seminar events.
17. McKendree University
Based in Lebanon, Illinois, McKendree educates students at campuses throughout Illinois and Kentucky and through online programs. Founded in 1828, the university was Illinois’ first higher learning institution. Today, McKendree enrolls nearly 3,000 students and offers more than 100 majors and minors, along with six graduate programs and two doctoral programs.
McKendree offers an online bachelor of arts in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice. The online sociology degree prepares graduates for careers in corrections, law enforcement, and court services. Learners develop a foundation in social science and gain a global perspective on social issues. The program requires 120 credit hours in general education and major coursework.
The curriculum covers topics including race and ethnic relations, social class and inequality, and police and urban society. Students must complete at least 40 upper-level credit hours and at least 30 hours in residence at McKendree. The school’s universal undergraduate general education requirements blend coursework in philosophy, the arts and humanities, and the natural and physical sciences.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement must submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students may bring up to 90 credit hours earned with at least a C from an accredited institution. Online students complete coursework through Blackboard. Online courses last eight weeks, and students may take up to two courses per term.
18. South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
SDSU is the largest university in the state and offers a comprehensive selection of academic programs. The university enrolls more than 12,500 students and offers 80 majors, 87 minors, and more than 50 master’s and doctoral programs. The National Council for Home Safety and Security recently ranked SDSU’s Brookings campus among the safest college towns in the United States.
The university’s online sociology degrees provide an overview of fundamental sociology topics, including deviance and crime, contemporary sociological issues, and family dynamics. SDSU offers a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in sociology. Students can also pursue a minor in criminal justice or sociology.
The programs comprise 120 credit hours of major and elective courses and culminate in a capstone course. Coursework covers topics including research methods, sociological theory, and investigating the social world. BA students complete a foreign language requirement, and the BS program requires additional coursework in the natural sciences and global citizenship and diversity.
Applicants must submit high school or college transcripts and ACT scores. SDSU accepts applications on a rolling basis. All online undergraduate students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of state residency. Online students complete assignments through Desire2Learn. Distance learners take an online orientation course before beginning major coursework.
19. University of Colorado Denver – Anschutz Medical Campus
CU Anschutz maintains the largest academic health center in the Rockies. The campus houses two nationally ranked hospitals and enrolls more than 4,000 students annually. The school’s sister campus, CU Denver, is located six miles west of the Anschutz location. CU Anschutz and CU Denver partner to offer online undergraduate and graduate programs, including a BA in sociology.
The bachelor’s in sociology explores the impact of social influence on the decisions people make. Coursework covers topics including globalization and family dynamics; race, ethnicity, and gender; and social class stratification. The curriculum integrates cross-cultural concepts, and students develop career skills including computer literacy, communication, leadership, and analytics.
The 120-credit program comprises core and elective requirements, including introduction to sociology, deviant behavior, statistics, and global perspectives on social issues. In addition to major coursework, students complete university-wide general education requirements in the humanities; social, behavioral, and natural sciences; and writing and math.
Online students complete coursework through the Canvas learning management system. Learners can choose accelerated course options to reduce degree completion time, and online students outside Colorado may receive a tuition discount.
The University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
20. University of Nebraska at Omaha
UNO serves as the metropolitan branch of the Nebraska university system. The university holds recognition from the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. The school maintains R1 classification from the Carnegie Foundation and offers more than 200 programs to 16,000 students.
UNO offers a BA and a BS in sociology online; both programs focus on the impact of sociology and anthropology on social behavior, equality, culture, and change. The sociology programs emphasize practical career skills in research, data analytics, communication, and problem solving. Students can pursue an optional concentration in health and society, which is ideal for aspiring healthcare policy analysts and administrators; the concentration focuses on contemporary health and illness issues, health inequalities, and public health policy. The sociology programs each require 120 credits in core and elective courses and culminate in a senior thesis.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and must have either graduated in the top 50% of their class, have a minimum 950 SAT score, or have at least a 20 ACT score. Applicants must satisfy general education prerequisites. UNO delivers the fully online program primarily asynchronously through Canvas. Support services include an academic advisor and online library resources. UNO offers start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.
21. Central Washington University
Founded in 1891 as the Washington State Normal School, CWU is based in Ellensburg. The CWU system comprises eight locations across the state and enrolls more than 13,000 students annually.
CWU offers a BA in sociology online. Students complete the 45-credit program in addition to a minor or a second major. Coursework includes core courses and approved electives. In addition, students complete at least one course from each of the following major categories: inequality and social change; deviance, law, and social control; and social structure and institutions. Core requirements explore principles of sociology, methods of social research, data analysis, and social theory. The program culminates in a senior seminar. Sociology majors must fulfill a foreign language requirement.
Applicants with a minimum 3.4 cumulative GPA who meet Washington College Academic Distribution Requirements receive automatic acceptance. Students with at least a 2.0 GPA receive consideration based on test scores and high school academic standing. All applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. CWU delivers online coursework through Canvas. Distance learners can begin courses in the fall, winter, spring, or summer. Learners have access to online tutoring and advisement, tech support, and virtual orientations.
22. Fort Hays State University
FHSU is an entrepreneurial university based in Kansas. After graduation, 95% of FHSU find a job or attend graduate school. The university enrolls more than 15,000 students, the majority of whom pursue online education. Students with an exceptional academic record can enter the Honors College.
FHSU offers two of the country’s best sociology programs: a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in sociology. Each program requires 120 credit hours of general education, major, upper-division, and elective courses, and students can pursue an optional addictions counseling track. BS students complete additional upper-division electives, while BA students take more free electives, including a language component. Students can undertake an optional an internship to build advanced grant-writing skills. FHSU offers certificates available in areas such as community development, sociology of aging, and grant writing.
Applicants must complete the Kansas Qualified Admissions curriculum requirements with a minimum 2.0 GPA and must either submit ACT or SAT scores or have graduated in the top third of their high school class. Students take sociology courses online through Blackboard. Online resources include a digital library, financial aid services, career services, and technical support.
23. University of Memphis – UofM Online
UofM is a research institution that serves more than 21,000 students annually. The university offers programs in more than 250 academic areas, including arts and sciences, business and economics, education, and public health, along with one of the country’s best online sociology degrees.
Students work with an academic advisor to customize their BA in sociology. The program requires 120 credit hours and explores concepts including race, ethnicity, deviant behavior, income inequality, educational and urban sociology, and social research methodologies. Students earning the online sociology degree complete general education, major, and elective courses. Learners also participate in a sociology internship or field experience. Major coursework culminates in a senior thesis seminar during the final semester.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students may bring up to 24 previous credit hours earned with at least a 2.0 GPA; associate degree holders may be eligible to apply more than 24 previous credits toward their bachelor’s degree.
Students complete online courses asynchronously through eCourseware. Like on-campus classes, UofM’s online programs follow a semester-based schedule and offer start dates in the fall, spring, and summer.
24. Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Based in Bowling Green, WKU occupies one of only four campuses recognized as Safe Communities by the National Safety Council. The university enrolls more than 20,000 students in more than 300 academic programs and courses.
WKU’s bachelor of arts in sociology focuses on sociability and social behavior in the context of human nature. The online sociology degree comprises 31 semester hours in elective and major coursework, including a senior seminar. Students can customize the curriculum by choosing a focus area such as research methods and evaluation, criminology and deviance, or social psychology. Major requirements included courses in statistics, sociological theory, contemporary social problems, and religion in society.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and must submit SAT or ACT scores. Students older than 21 may take the ACCUPLACER test in lieu of submitting standardized test scores. Transfer applicants with fewer than 24 semester hours must submit ACT or SAT scores. WKU accepts applications on a rolling basis. Online students can complete courses through WKU Online or WKU On Demand, the latter of which offers maximum flexibility and self-paced learning options.
25. Averett University
Founded in Virginia more than 150 years ago, Averett University designs online programs to meet the needs of working professionals. Averett has offered distance learning programs for 25 years and provides affordable, accelerated online programs that are ideal for busy students.
Averett offers two of the country’s top sociology programs: a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science in sociology. Each four-year program covers foundational concepts in the field. Students gain theoretical knowledge and skills in analysis and applied research. Coursework examines social issues—such as race and ethnicity, family dynamics, crime, and religion — from contemporary perspectives. Learners broaden their understanding and appreciation for their personal social standing in a global context. Students can arrange a supervised internship with a local community, nonprofit, or corporate organization. Learners complete 120 credits in major, elective, and general education courses, and the program concludes with a senior seminar.
Applicants must provide high school and/or college transcripts and must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer applicants must have at least 54 transferable credits. Applicants with at least two years of work experience receive preference.
Averett delivers online courses through Moodle. Distance learners work with an advisor to develop an individual path of study. Online resources include enrollment and transfer assistance, tech support, and faculty consultations.
Choosing an Online Bachelor’s of Sociology Program
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Online sociology degrees broadly educate students in classical and contemporary theory, social problems, research methodology, and social statistics. In some schools, students personalize their degree program through concentrations to reflect particular interests, provide focused training for specific careers, or acquire the academic foundation for specialized areas of graduate study. Concentrations within the sociology major include women and gender studies, race relations and conflict, deviance and social control, and social inequality and mobility.
The best sociology programs emphasize qualitative and quantitative data analysis, critical thinking, and verbal and written communication skills, preparing students for successful graduate work at the master’s or doctoral level.
Many undergraduate online sociology degree programs require an internship, an independent research project, volunteer service, or a community service-based learning placement. Experiential learning opportunities help make students more competitive in the job market and as graduate school prospects.
What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Program?
Course offerings in online sociology degree programs vary widely depending on faculty interests and the school’s requirements for undergraduate majors. Despite variations from school to school, students who pursue their sociology degree online often complete their bachelor’s in four years of full-time study. Most programs require coursework in theory, research methods, statistics, and substantive subject areas.
- Sociological theory:
The analysis and integration of major theorists and theoretical schools of social thought built the contemporary study of sociology. Themes include the philosophical roots of social theory, approaches to human nature, the structure and functioning of social groups, conflict, cohesion and social control, and the articulation of the individual and society.
- Research methods in sociology:
This course introduces students to research design and measurement techniques they may use in future sociology careers. Students evaluate existing research, design a research project, collect data, and analyze the data using SPSS.
- Social inequality:
This course examines major theoretical approaches for the study of social inequality and empirical research on wealth, income, and race and gender stratification. Lectures and assignments cover classical and contemporary sociological theories, comparative analyses of the structure of inequality, the U.S. class structure, and global perspectives on poverty, wealth, and social mobility.
Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Careers
Careers in the 21st century require adaptability to the changing global landscape, technological and research expertise, and the ability to work cooperatively with people. Graduates with an online sociology degree acquire the skills to enter a variety of careers in this fast-moving environment and the knowledge needed for graduate and professional studies.
- Training and Development Specialist: Training and development specialists administer employee training for businesses and organizations. They assess training needs using surveys and interviews. Professionals are tasked with creating an efficient workplace environment.
- Median Annual Salary: $60,360
- Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- Human Resources Specialist: Human resources specialists handle many tasks related to an organization’s workforce, including compensation, benefits, accommodations, and diversity training. They also recruit, screen, and interview job candidates and provide orientation to new employees.
- Median Annual Salary: $60,350
- Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Survey Researcher: Survey researchers are employed in government, business, and social services, constructing surveys and using statistical software to analyze all kinds of data, including demographic information and public opinion polls. Some survey researchers may enter this field with a bachelor’s degree in sociology or another social science field with training in statistics. Many positions require advanced training and a graduate degree.
- Median Annual Salary: $54,270
- Projected Growth Rate: 2%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Sociology Degrees
Accreditation is an important consideration in choosing the best online sociology degree for your needs. Independent agencies evaluate colleges and universities to establish that the schools meet performance standards and deliver quality academic programs. Institutions of higher learning are eligible for either national or regional accreditation. National accreditation is usually reserved for schools with lower tuition rates and less restrictive admissions policies.
Most schools disclose accreditation information on their websites. You can also find information on nationally or regionally accredited schools in the comprehensive lists maintained by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Some programs receive specialized accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology.
Sociology Professional Organizations
Whether you choose to complete your sociology degree online or on-campus, you should investigate employment and graduate study opportunities offered by the college of your choice. Joining a professional organization connects you with other sociologists, were you can learn more about various career paths in the field. These associations often provide discounted membership rates for undergraduates. They offer networking events, conferences, research opportunities, and access to job banks and resume services.
- American Sociological Association:
The ASA sponsors an annual academic conference and maintains a job bank and an extensive resource site of careers, professional development, and graduate training for over 13,000 members.
- Association of Black Sociologists:
The ABS promotes the interests of black/minority sociologists. Committed to increasing the number of professionally trained black/minority sociologists and encouraging their participation throughout the discipline, ABS hosts an annual conference and maintains a job bank for its members.
- Society for the Study of Social Problems:
This interdisciplinary association appeals to sociologists interested in research, social policy, and social action. The student membership category provides access to annual meetings and applications for research support and conference travel grants.
The 25 Best Online Bachelor’s of Sociology Degree Programs for 2018
- University of Florida
- University of Central Florida
- University of Memphis – UM Online
- Oregon State University
- Washington State University
- Florida International University
- University of North Dakota
- University of Nebraska at Omaha
- Kennesaw State University
- Dallas Baptist University
- Northern Arizona University
- Western Kentucky University
- South Dakota State University
- Arizona State University – ASU Online
- Fort Hays State University
- Regis University
- University of Nebraska at Kearney
- North Dakota State University
- Averett University
- University of Idaho
- Florida State University, Office of Distance Learning
- University of Colorado Denver
- Central Washington University
- Brandman University
- McKendree University