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Sociology is the science of human relationships, the means by which people and groups behave towards each other, as well as socio-economic developments and changes. Sociologists study the origins, growth and interactions of human groups, for example; families, tribes, communities and social institutions such as: religious, political and economic groupings, ethnic groups and social classes.

They study the behaviour and interaction of groups, trace their origin and growth and analyze the influence of group activities on individual members.

Sociologists can specialize in a wide range of areas, for example: social groupings, social stratification and mobility, racial and ethnical relationships, social psychology, as well as political, economic and applied sociology.

Other directions include research, demographics, gerontology and clinical sociology. Sociological research involves collecting information, analysing and interpreting data that is collected through surveys, in-depth interviews, case studies and other methods.

Sociologists also study social processes and phenomena, such as social deviant behaviour, group friction and migration. They may investigate topics on a large scale such as housing conditions, recreational patterns, drinking patterns and drug abuse as it occurs in groups of people, or they may examine the effects of different styles of leadership on individuals in small groups.

The sociologist can work in a variety of fields:

- Social psychology
- Clinical sociology
- Political sociology
- Economic sociology
- Applied sociology
- Research

Academic sociologists teach at universities; research sociologists do full-time research; administrative sociologists assist personnel sections; and planning sociologists are concerned with development and planning. Many sociologists work at universities, doing research and giving lectures. Since sociology overlaps many related fields of study, sociologists may interact and cooperate with psychologists, economists and town planners and do market and consumer behaviour research.

Satisfying Aspects
- interesting, challenging and varied work
- a certain amount of prestige
- good working conditions

Demanding aspects
- tight schedules
- heavy work loads
- the years of study needed
- field work requiring long hours, often carried out in the evenings

A sociologist should:
- be interested in man and his behaviour;
- be able to get on well with people from every population group or class;
- have intellectual curiosity and an inquiring mind;
- have analytical skills and objectivity;
- be able to undertake independent research;
- have mathematical and statistical ability for research work;
- have above-average intelligence;
- be able to speak and write well.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Languages, History, Geography

Degree: Sociology may be taken as a major or subsidiary subject to form part of the BA degree or diploma. Sociology can be studied at all South African universities. Related fields of study in which Sociology is a compulsory subject, are as follows: Nursing, Social Work and Town and Regional Planning.

Postgraduate study: Those who wish to turn Sociology into their occupation require postgraduate qualifications. Those with postgraduate training in Sociology may be employed as academic sociologists attached to universities as lecturers, research sociologists attached to the HSRC, at research institutes, universities and other organizations; and administrative and planning sociologists (persons employed in large organizations and industries in which a sound knowledge of human relations is essential, for example liaison officers and personnel managers and persons concerned with planning and development).

At certain universities, Sociology and Industrial Sociology are also offered for degree courses in Commerce, Economic Sciences and Administration.

Industrial Sociology is concerned, inter alia, with management / labour relations in complex industrial societies. It prepares students for careers in industrial relations, either in the field of management or in trade unions.

- Universities
- Government departments, municipalities and administration boards
- Non-government organizations
- Research institutions such as Human Science Research Council (HSRC)

Any university sociology department

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Private Bag X41
Pretoria, 0001
134 Pretorius Street
Pretoria, 0002
Tel. (012) 302-2000 Fax: (012) 302-2001