Sociology and Anthropology» open the printable major» search for more Areas of Study
Sociology concerns the study of society and how it works now, and how it has evolved over millennia. It is the study of contemporary social issues, social institutions, and social relationships to understand social order and social change. Indeed, a hallmark of sociological analysis is that it utilises a variety of interconnected perspectives. Sociologists explore social and cultural issues such as gender, family, class and social status, ethnic divisions, religion and culture, including the ways we organise our lives with a focus on issues of inequality, power, globalisation, identity, etc. Thus, there are a diverse range of specialty subjects within the sociology field as a whole. Some examples of areas of focus include:
Youth culture – for example youth subcultures today, how different youth subcultures have developed in rich countries as well as in developing countries, the impact of global culture and digital communications.
Food – the study of how what people eat relates to their social position, for example dieting in rich countries and hunger in developing countries; the social class basis for food preferences; gender and food choices; the environmental impacts of food production; vegetarianism and animal rights in relation to food.
Religion – how religions are located in a social space and reflect other social divisions; sociological views about the social origins of religion; religious conflicts and debates today and in the past, gender and religion.
Popular media – do popular media forms like television and popular music reflect the interests of dominant elites in society or are they a true expression of popular audience demands; how does popular media reflect and interpret social issues such as inequality; gender; crime; sexuality, how do different genres of popular media relate to their audiences.
Health sociology – health as a social institution; state provision of health services; health organisations as workplaces reflecting bureaucracy, gender, social inequalities; alternative medicine and its integration into the medical establishment.
Anthropology concerns the study of society and how it works now, and how it has evolved over millennia. It explores social and cultural issues such as gender, the family, class and social status, ethnic divisions, religion and culture. Anthropologists study cultures ranging from small-scale indigenous groups to advanced capitalist societies, with a focus on fieldwork studies to understand people's way of life. Some examples of areas of focus in anthropology are:
Drugs and culture – how different societies view drug use and develop cultural norms for drug behaviour, how international relations of global power develop in relation to drug use in today’s world, how subcultures of drug use can be understood through ethnographic studies of the contemporary world.
Myths and society - how myths relate the past and present and contribute to group identity and everyday experience in non-western, 'traditional' societies, the flexibility and adaptability of myths, the mythic experience of such societies affects their responses to social change and Western influence.
The modern city – the city has been the object of study for planners and reformers in their zeal to make the city governable, anthropologists also consider the different forms of resistance to such control, for example gangs, graffiti and crime.
A placement elective is available to Bachelor of Social Science students, which involves completing a social science research project with a relevant organisation.
For more information about Sociology and Anthropology, visit the School of Humanities and Social Sciences site.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework programs and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following the Bachelor of Music include:
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a postgraduate qualification, particularly by independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within this discipline here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/campaigns/postgrad/
The following list provides some example jobs for the Sociology and Anthropology major. Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.
- Access and Equity Advisor
- Aged and Disability Officer
- Archaeological Excavator
- Campaign Manager
- Case Worker/Manager
- Client Service Manager
- Community Development Worker
- Community Liaison Officer
- Community Project Officer
- Coordinator of Social Services
- Cultural Development Officer
- Cultural Heritage Officer
- Cultural Interpreter
- Cultural Resource Manager
- Diplomat / Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
- Disability Services Officer
- Electorate Officer
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- Health Promotion Officer
- Indigenous Community Liaison Officer
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Juvenile Justice Officer
- Market Research Analyst
- Multicultural Affairs Liaison
- Museum/Art Gallery Curator
- Museum Visitor Services Coordinator
- Native Title Consultant
- Planning Officer
- Police Officer
- Policy Officer/Analyst
- Program Manager / Project Coordinator
- Project Worker
- Research Officer
- Social Researcher
- Social Scientist
- Support Worker
- Technical Officer
- University Lecturer / Academic
- Visitor/Tourism Information Officer
- Welfare Officer
- Youth Worker
Sociology and Anthropology graduates find employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries in smalll, medium or large organisations. Below is an example of some of the large organisations that recruite this major.
Check employers’ websites for a section called Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs or similar titles. Some of these employers may offer vacation work opportunities.
- Anglicare (Australia)
- Attorney Generals Department (Australia)
- AusAID (International)
- Australian and International Universities (International)
- Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Family Studies (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Australia)
- Brotherhood of St Laurence (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
- Department of Community Services (Australia)
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Heritage (Australia)
- Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs (Australia)
- Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (International)
- Department of Health and Ageing (Australia)
- Department of Human Services (Australia)
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia)
- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Australia)
- Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia)
- Galleries and Museums (Australia)
- Local Government - NSW directory (Australia)
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) (Australia)
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (Australia)
- Native National Title Tribunal (Australia)
- Natural History or History Museums (Australia)
- New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (Australia)
- Red Cross (Australia)
- The Treasury (Australia)
- Urbis (Australia)
- Women's Electoral Lobby (Australia)
- Women's Refuges (Australia)
- World Health Organisation (Australia)
- Youth Research Organisations (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- American Anthropological Association (International)
- American Sociological Association (International)
- Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (International)
- AusAnthrop (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Urban Studies (Australia)
- The Australian Sociological Association (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Social Science are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are highly sought after by a broad range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
Upon completion of the degree, graduates can expect to have:
- Advanced social research skills: In-depth knowledge and skills in the design and conduct of social research, including the capacity to collect, organize, critically assess, and present information in written and oral forms.
- Specialist Social Science knowledge: Comprehensive knowledge of one or more specialist areas in the Social Sciences.
- Critical thought and informed decision-making: The ability to structure and present logical arguments, critically analyse material and opinions, and make informed decisions.
- Effective management and teamwork skills: The ability to work autonomously and collaboratively, including effective leadership skills, teamwork, organisational and program management capabilities.
- High-level communication, interpersonal and presentation skills: Advanced level of written, oral, and interpersonal skills, including the effective use of information and communication technologies.
- Ethical and socio-cultural sensitivity: An understanding of ethical issues, standards, and public responsibility in relation to professional practice. An appreciation of cultural diversity and sensitivity towards vulnerable and Indigenous groups.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.