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 analyse the influence of group activities on individual members. Sociologists can specialise 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.


  • universities

  • government departments, municipalities and administration boards

  • non-governmental organisations

  • research institutions such as Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work as an assistant to a research sociologist or as an interviewer for a market research company

  • undertake a relevant research assignment at school and/or enter a research project in the behavioural sciences section of the annual regional Science Expo

  • speak to a sociologist about this career

  • read the works of sociologists, historians and political scientists


Africa University, Catholic Institute of Kabgayi, Catholic University of Eastern African, College of Intergrated Healthcare, Damelin, Egerton University, Great Zimbabwe University, Karatina University, Kenyatta University, Kibabii University, Kigali Independent University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Machakos University College, Makerere University, Moi University, Monash South Africa, Mount Kenya University, National University of Lesotho, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, Open University of Tanzania, Pwani University College, Rusangu University, South African College of Applied Psychology, South Eastern Kenya University, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Technical University of Mombasa, The Eastern University, University of Botswana, University of Cape Coast, University of Cape Town, University of Ghana, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Malawi (Chancellor College), University of Mauritius, University of Nairobi, University of Namibia, University of Pretoria, University of Rwanda, University of Stellenbosch, University of Swaziland, University of Technology and Arts of Byumba, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, University of the Western Cape, Walter Sisulu University


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