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really need advice (careers)

I'm about to start university and I'm doing a sociology degree. I always loved sociology and was sure that this was the degree for me. I'm now panicking because this degree is incredibly unemployable (apparently) and I don't want to make my parents or anyone disappointed. Can someone please either give advice or tell me if I'm being delusional. I'm considering talking to a careers advisor when I get there about transferring to a different course, but I'm honestly so scared that I made the wrong choice.
Reply 1
Why do you think it is unemployable?

Basically no degrees except medicine, dentistry, engineering are remotely vocational (investment banking is quirky, too). It just doesn't really matter what your degree is in for most employers. Choosing one at which you can succeed is the most important factor, and if you love the subject, it is way, way easier to succeed.
Reply 2
Original post by gjd800
Why do you think it is unemployable?

Basically no degrees except medicine, dentistry, engineering are remotely vocational (investment banking is quirky, too). It just doesn't really matter what your degree is in for most employers. Choosing one at which you can succeed is the most important factor, and if you love the subject, it is way, way easier to succeed.

I don't think it is, but I have a lot of anxiety in general and I was confident about the degree until a week ago where I stumbled upon 'most regretted degrees' and 'most useless degrees.' I just don't want to waste 3 years of my life for me to be lost in my career.
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous
I don't think it is, but I have a lot of anxiety in general and I was confident about the degree until a week ago where I stumbled upon 'most regretted degrees' and 'most useless degrees.' I just don't want to waste 3 years of my life for me to be lost in my career.

What career do you envision?

I don't think the degree will be as big a factor as you think it will, really.
Reply 4
Original post by gjd800
What career do you envision?

I don't think the degree will be as big a factor as you think it will, really.


I would like to help with policies or children in impoverished countries. I'm starting to think I should've done international relations or politics, maybe even sociology and politics.

What makes you think the degree won't be as big a factor? Surely it does contribute a lot
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
I would like to help with policies or children in impoverished countries. I'm starting to think I should've done international relations or politics, maybe even sociology and politics.

What makes you think the degree won't be as big a factor? Surely it does contribute a lot

Experience makes me think it. Next to nowhere asks for a specific degree apart from medicine, dentistry, engineering. I've been teaching in Universities just on ten years and around them even longer than that so this isn't my first rodeo, so to speak. Others here will back this up.

Well, if you want to work for the UN or something then you'll need a postgrad in IR or similar. Again, undergraduate degree doesn't much matter. We tell new undergraduates this every year. It matters way less than you think. What matters is how well you do and what opportunities you make and take whilst you're enrolled.
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by gjd800
Experience makes me think it. Next to nowhere asks for a specific degree apart from medicine, dentistry, engineering. I've been teaching in Universities just on ten years and around them even longer than that so this isn't my first rodeo, so to speak. Others here will back this up.

Well, if you want to work for the UN or something then you'll need a postgrad in IR or similar. Again, undergraduate degree doesn't much matter. We tell new undergraduates this every year. It matters way less than you think. What matters is how well you do and what opportunities you make and take whilst you're enrolled.


that's quite reassuring, but forgive me for pestering - do you personally think an undergrad in sociology is beneficial? My entire family are proud with me going to uni and I don't want to upset them by saying I may have chosen the wrong degree, especially if they're funding a bit of the loans.
Reply 7
Original post by Anonymous
that's quite reassuring, but forgive me for pestering - do you personally think an undergrad in sociology is beneficial? My entire family are proud with me going to uni and I don't want to upset them by saying I may have chosen the wrong degree, especially if they're funding a bit of the loans.

I don't really know if 'beneficial' is a word I'd use about degree programmes, to be honest. I read philosophy, for the better part of a decade in the end. Was it beneficial, I don't know. Did I love it, yes. And there were options for me afterwards, lots of them.

I don't think Sociology is a particularly strange choice, or that it's a weird subject, or 'weak' or anything like that. It is established and largely respected by (except by the STEM master racers who populate every forum). Oxford has a sizeable, respected Dept of Sociology so yknow. The best advice I can give is to choose a programme that you're interested in, that you can enjoy most of the time (sometimes you will hate it, that's natural!), and if possible, one that gives you some opportunity to do a work placement or similar.

I think it's normal to have doubts but think about i from your own perspective rather than anyone else's. What do you want to get from it? Does it satisfy your intellectual curiosities? What routes do you see opening up to you afterwards? Can you really see yourself doing anything else? That sort of stuff. It can even help to make a wee list of pros and cons if you're unsure.
Reply 8
Original post by gjd800
I don't really know if 'beneficial' is a word I'd use about degree programmes, to be honest. I read philosophy, for the better part of a decade in the end. Was it beneficial, I don't know. Did I love it, yes. And there were options for me afterwards, lots of them.

I don't think Sociology is a particularly strange choice, or that it's a weird subject, or 'weak' or anything like that. It is established and largely respected by (except by the STEM master racers who populate every forum). Oxford has a sizeable, respected Dept of Sociology so yknow. The best advice I can give is to choose a programme that you're interested in, that you can enjoy most of the time (sometimes you will hate it, that's natural!), and if possible, one that gives you some opportunity to do a work placement or similar.

I think it's normal to have doubts but think about i from your own perspective rather than anyone else's. What do you want to get from it? Does it satisfy your intellectual curiosities? What routes do you see opening up to you afterwards? Can you really see yourself doing anything else? That sort of stuff. It can even help to make a wee list of pros and cons if you're unsure.

thank you for this, I really appreciate it :,) I think I give myself a lot of anxiety when it comes to studies and having all these old men flood reddit or student room saying that sociology and other social science degrees are a waste of time is quite self-deprecating when you read about it. I can't even find many forums post-2018 that don't do everything in their power to label the social sciences or degrees like religion and arts as worthless.
If I was born with a stem brain, that would be great. Fortunately, I have been born with a more critical brain, and I'm not ashamed. I think I just got a bit scared because people who took sociology themselves ended up regretting it, causing me to think I may regret it in the future.
Reply 9
Original post by Anonymous
thank you for this, I really appreciate it :,) I think I give myself a lot of anxiety when it comes to studies and having all these old men flood reddit or student room saying that sociology and other social science degrees are a waste of time is quite self-deprecating when you read about it. I can't even find many forums post-2018 that don't do everything in their power to label the social sciences or degrees like religion and arts as worthless.
If I was born with a stem brain, that would be great. Fortunately, I have been born with a more critical brain, and I'm not ashamed. I think I just got a bit scared because people who took sociology themselves ended up regretting it, causing me to think I may regret it in the future.

It's normal for this to happen before you embark on your degree, don't let it eat at you.

I will say this about sociology etc, I did my teacher training at Oxford's Dept of Education and Social Sciences are absolutely crucial to stuff like educational research. I mean really invaluable. It can be an extremely quantitative discipline and even when it is not it has valuable things to say about the world around us. We had departmental training in social sciences as a result, and fo me that was really difficult because I'm from a phil background where I don't need to worry about things like data collection and research ethics!

My experience with degree regret is that people often regret degrees that they chose with no real forethought, or that they were pushed into either by parents or their sixth forms. There are no guarantees and I won't make any silly promises to you, but if this is something you care about, have thought about, and are invested in then you are very well placed to a) do well and b) enjoy it.
Social sciences are definitely 'real' sciences too - you work with data and evidence a LOT. They arguably are STEM subjects. Social science skills are really helpful transferable skills as is critical thinking generally. There's absolutely no need to panic, there's honestly no such thing as a 'useless degree' but social sciences have many useful aspects.

Also you haven't even started yet, don't let some article spoil your excitement and your family's pride. Have fun and be proud of yourself.
I generally agree with all of the above. Having said that, I took a sociology elective in my final year, as did some of my peers, since it was considered a pretty easy subject and help boost our grades. I won’t lie about the fact that I got a very high first in that elective with hardly any work. However, despite being occasionally described as a ‘weak’ subject, I don’t think you’ll face much issues in the eyes of employers. You can certainly draw a lot of transferable skills from it too.
Original post by Anonymous
I generally agree with all of the above. Having said that, I took a sociology elective in my final year, as did some of my peers, since it was considered a pretty easy subject and help boost our grades. I won’t lie about the fact that I got a very high first in that elective with hardly any work. However, despite being occasionally described as a ‘weak’ subject, I don’t think you’ll face much issues in the eyes of employers. You can certainly draw a lot of transferable skills from it too.


There's definitely different levels and specialties when it comes to sociology though, Sociology 101 is not going to give the full scope of the suject. Before I decided to head in a drastically different career direction I was looking at going into academia for the sociology of religion (within religious studies, which is a social science and very different to theology) and there are lots of similar niches out there. Likewise there's lots of crossover with areas like anthropology, human geography, history and archaeology, and medical humanities.
Original post by hilly-harrier
There's definitely different levels and specialties when it comes to sociology though, Sociology 101 is not going to give the full scope of the suject. Before I decided to head in a drastically different career direction I was looking at going into academia for the sociology of religion (within religious studies, which is a social science and very different to theology) and there are lots of similar niches out there. Likewise there's lots of crossover with areas like anthropology, human geography, history and archaeology, and medical humanities.


My elective was a 2nd year course and I recall it being related to gender theory. So it was more of a specific topic than sociology 101.
Reply 14
Original post by Anonymous
I'm about to start university and I'm doing a sociology degree. I always loved sociology and was sure that this was the degree for me. I'm now panicking because this degree is incredibly unemployable (apparently) and I don't want to make my parents or anyone disappointed. Can someone please either give advice or tell me if I'm being delusional. I'm considering talking to a careers advisor when I get there about transferring to a different course, but I'm honestly so scared that I made the wrong choice.

Oh boy, talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place, huh? Look, first and foremost, take a deep breath. Jumping into the vast ocean of university life can sure stir up a whirlwind of emotions. But, you know what? Trust your gut. You loved sociology for a reason, right? Sometimes, it's not just about employability but about passion.

That being said, it's never a bad idea to have a chat with a career advisor. They're there for a reason! And hey, remember this age-old saying? "It's not what you know, but who you know." Networking, internships, and experience can sometimes make all the difference. And, just maybe, sociology will open doors you never knew existed.

Lastly, don't beat yourself up. Best of luck! 🍀

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