Career Paths

Sociologists pursue many different kinds of careers. They work with survey firms (public opinion polling, the census bureau, test marketing) and public health organizations, they are critical contributors to non-profit organizations that advocate for the disadvantaged or provide services for people in need. Professional schools (law, medicine, business, and government) are anxious to attract sociologists because they have a broad understanding of the social order and research skills (interviewing, participant observation, survey data analysis, etc.) that are valuable in these fields. So what do Princeton Sociology majors actually do when they leave us? We asked them in a survey of students who graduated in the 1980s and 90s. These are graduates who have been out in the world for long enough to provide a good idea of where they have landed. Here is what we found:

  1. A majority (54%) work in the private for-profit sector, but a significant minority (30%) work in non-profit organizations, including educational institutions. Smaller numbers work in government and other settings.
  2. About 18% work in education; 18% in communications and media; 16% in finance, insurance, and real estate; and 13% in law. Other fields of work include public policy, medicine, and manufacturing.
  3. A large majority obtain advanced degrees after graduating from Princeton. Of those who had been out of Princeton for at least six years, 68% had received advanced degrees. Most common were law degrees. There are also quite a few M.B.A.s, M.D.s and Ph.D.s among our graduates.