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Planning your Sociology Career Trajectory

Planning your Career Trajectory

The Department encourages students to think about careers beginning their first day in the program and to develop a concrete plan for their career trajectory early in the program. We encourage students to concentrate in five areas: 1) take coursework that will prepare you to teach or work in the positions you are interested in pursuing. For those interested in teaching in academia, we highly recommend that students develop the skills to teach methods, introductory courses, and courses in your specialization. 2) present at regional and national meetings; 3) aspire to publish at least twice in a refereed journal related to your area of interest; 4) get teaching or practice experience that closely matches the kind of work you want to do; 5) work with your advisors and other faculty to build your social capital in the fields in which you have an interest. Resources and opportunities to assist you in developing your career and job prospects within the Department include:

  1. Orientation: In the Orientation class you will be asked to begin developing your career plan. You will also have an opportunity to learn from faculty about their career trajectories, develop an academic CV, and begin determining what coursework will best prepare you for the career opportunities you are most interested in pursuing.
  2. Plan of study committee: Students must convene a plan of study meeting before the end of their first year. The Department highly encourages students to discuss their career plans and seek advice from their committee.
  3. Professional travel:  The Department pays the registration fee and provides transportation for any students attending the Great Plains Sociological Association Meetings (GPSA). Those presenting at the meeting can received additional travel help. Students presenting at GPSA or other regional and national professional association meetings can access up to $300 in support. The Department encourages students to apply for travel grants and scholarships from professional organizations and from AKD. Students receiving funding from the department are required to practice the presentation in the department prior to the meeting. The application form for travel support is available in the student guide and on the webpage. All students who are employed at SDSU must also file the required online out-of-state travel form.
  4. Co-presenting with faculty: Students are encouraged to work with faculty and advisors on joint presentations and publications. Students attending meetings should advantage themselves of the opportunity to use faculty connections to build their own social capital.
  5. Professional development: The Center for Excellence in Teaching offers a teaching assistantship credential; the Instructional Design Center offers workshops in using technology to teach; the graduate schools also offers workshops on building your CV and other aspects of professional development, and the Department in conjunction with the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) offers workshop on various topics. The Department encourages all graduate students to participate in the GSO and to work with other students to address needs and concerns related to support for career development and job searches.
  6. Search committee participation: The Department encourages at least one graduate student to serve on each Search Committee. Participation can help graduate students learn about the search process and what search committees look for when recommending someone for hire.
  7. Forthcoming: At the request of students, the Department will set up an informal session for ABD students and students just finishing COMPS and course work to talk about planning for their job search.

Additional Resources:

UC Berkley slides: “Jobs Outside of Academia.”

According to (2014 data) :

According to
A candidate for a PhD in sociology can decide to specialize in studying a variety of areas such as
family, ethnic relations, or gender roles. The student may decide to pursue a path toward becoming
a college professor who would teach and also perform research. Another option would
 be to concentrate on government studies.

PhD career

                         Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics :

ASA information

Ph.D. Careers

ASA 2012 job information