Study Sociology at the University of Montana
How are people influenced by social structures, social pressures or forces? As a sociology major at UM, you’ll take a deep dive into this intriguing discipline that analyzes human society.
Our sociology degree provides you with a strong foundation in data collection and data analysis, critical thinking skills and opportunities to connect theory and research. You’ll consider the profound impact of social institutions like education, family, government, religion and the economy. And, you’ll be encouraged to explore the sociological topics most relevant to your life.
When you complete your bachelor’s degree, you’ll have the knowledge necessary for understanding social norms, social processes, social institutions and social inequality in a changing world.
of all sociology courses are taught by an instructor with a Ph.D.
agencies in Missoula where sociology majors can intern
estimated average salary of UM alumni with a bachelor’s in sociology
Other degree options for sociology at UM
What is sociology?
Sociology is the study of human society. As a sociology major, you will investigate how individuals interact with one another, how social interactions unfold in small groups and organizations, and where social problems come from and how to solve them.
What can you do with a sociology degree?
The opportunities for sociology majors are exceptional — and growing. Currently, two graduates of our program lead critical nonprofit organizations in the state. Both were able to secure these jobs because of the stellar reputation of UM’s sociology program, especially the data analysis skills that our students gain. A sample of employers who hire our students include:
- Missoula Food Bank
- PayneWest Insurance
- Montana Food Bank Network
- All Nations Health Center
- Partnership Health
- Poverello Center
- Missoula City-County Health Department
- Advanced Technology Group (ATG)
In addition to pursuing rewarding careers, many sociology majors go on to continue their education in areas such as law, social work, medicine and public health, and graduate study in sociology.
Chart your own course with this versatile major. Examples of sociology degree careers include:
- Nonprofit manager or administrator
- Data analyst
- Mental health and substance abuse case manager
- Grant writer and fundraiser
- Community organizer and advocate
- Law enforcement officer
The median annual wage for sociologists is $86,110, with salaries ranging from $52,640 to more than $143,020. How much you earn will depend on your experience and education, and the field in which you work. We estimate that graduates of our bachelor’s in sociology program earn $65,206 per year, on average.
Sociology Major Testimonial
“My time in the sociology department has been extremely valuable in general, but I really appreciate when we have discussions about things that are happening outside of our classrooms right now. I think it’s important that we’re able to slow down and really dissect what is going on and how we can see sociological principles unfolding in front of us.”
Meghan St. Germain, UM sociology major
Sociology Student Finds Calling in Social Justice
A native of Manhattan, New York, Luke Santore found his calling in sociology after a love of camping and the outdoors drew him to Missoula.
Originally a forestry major, Santore bounced in and out of school and worked as a wildland firefighter before switching his major to sociology and re-joining the Davidson Honors College.
For his capstone project, Santore decided to dig deeper into his own experiences in firefighting to learn what it was about the profession and all its challenges that drew his attention, and more importantly, was his experience unique?
“What sets great sociology student projects apart from good ones is when students look beyond their own experience,” says Professor Daisy Rooks, chair of UM's Department of Sociology. “Luke put together a project that pushed beyond his own experience as a firefighter. He looked at the system. That’s a sophisticated move from an undergraduate student.”
In spring of 2022, he graduated cum laude. Now he's pursuing his graduate degree and wants to work for nonprofits that help wildland firefights navigate the challenges of the profession.
Experiential learning in the sociology degree
Just as “hands-on” learning is essential for sociologists in the field, so it is for our students. Internships and research opportunities are a key part of the sociology degree program and prepare our students exceptionally well for post-graduation work in the field.
Internships for sociology majors
UM offers a robust internship program in sociology, with the potential to earn internship credits over several semesters. Recent internship placements for sociology students include:
- Missoula Food Bank
- YWCA’s GUTS (Girls Using Their Strengths) Program
- CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
- The Flagship Program
- Student Advocacy Resource Center at UM
- The Poverello Center
- Soft Landing
Undergraduate research experiences for the bachelor’s in sociology
Majors in sociology often work on faculty research projects for pay or course credit. Students also have the option of proposing their own research projects and working under the supervision of faculty — who often suggest opportunities for course credit, and sources of scholarship and grant funding available for qualifying student research.
Career development in the sociology major
Preparation for life after graduation is built into the sociology degree program at UM. Students gain the analytical and critical skills to “dissect” social crises, situations and behaviors, and bring those skills to the table at job interviews and throughout their career.
Of course, you’ll be taught by the best, as all faculty have Ph.D.’s in sociology, and several of our permanent full-time faculty also have expertise and graduate training in criminology. Many have won prestigious teaching and mentoring awards in recent years, including the Cox Educational Excellence Award and William Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Across the Curriculum, UM’s Outstanding Faculty Advising Award, and the Missoulian newspaper’s Best UM Professor Award.
Scholarships for sociology majors
The sociology department offers several scholarships to help sociology majors pay for and earn their degree, including the Eloise Baird Boldt scholarship, the Kain McKay scholarship, the Blumenthal scholarship and the Dusten Hollist Memorial Scholarship.
Sociology degree requirements
The sociology bachelor’s degree curriculum reflects our deep commitment to educating students about social dynamics and issues that affect American society — including prejudice and discrimination, dynamics of race and gender, and causes and consequences of structural inequality.
Popular courses include Medical Sociology; Prostitution and Human Trafficking; and Sociology of the Family.