Careers with sociology: Evidence from UJ

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This article reports on the findings of a study which focused on former sociology students and their current careers. The underlying aim of the study was to establish whether former students believe sociology was useful to them in their endeavours to find jobs and, if so, how it was useful. The article is based on research conducted in November 2006, in which 47 former postgraduate and undergraduate students participated. These participants had been students in the Sociology Department of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) sometime between 2001 and 2005. The article will show that there is a contrast between what students expect with regard to their studies and finding jobs, and what happens in reality. The majority of former students believe sociology has been a valuable asset to them and that they use the skills they have acquired on a regular basis in their individual careers. This research is significant as it demonstrates that sociology can provide students with the opportunity to enter a broad range of interesting jobs. Furthermore, based on the respondents' perspectives, the article identifies what employers look for when selecting candidates. For one, most participants claim they had little problem finding a job after graduating. However, they stipulated that employers often seek employees with postgraduate degrees. The study mostly makes use of qualitative data obtained from respondents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalSouth African Review of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • Careers
  • Sociology
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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