ASA's Bachelor's and Beyond Survey: Findings and Their Implications for Students and Departments

Roberta Spalter-Roth, Mary Scheuer Senter, Pamela Stone, Michael Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

With the support of the National Science Foundation, the American Sociological Association conducted a longitudinal survey of sociology majors from the class of 2005, following them from senior year into careers or graduate school. The first part of this article provides a context for the results from the What Can I Do with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology? study and a summary of its key findings. Wave I data demonstrate strong student interest in sociological concepts, perceived mastery of some research skills but not others, and general satisfaction with the major. Sociology majors are both idealists and careerists. The majority expects to enter the job market after graduation but is not satisfied with the career advising they receive. Key findings from Wave II demonstrate that more respondents go directly into the job market than expected, job search strategies are important in finding a job that matches what students learned in their sociology programs, and those who find such jobs are more satisfied with the major. The second part discusses how the survey findings can be used to enhance curriculum, advising, and assessment without vocationalizing the curriculum and without adding extra burdens to faculty members’ already heavy schedules. Finally, the article discusses how the data can be used as a baseline for department assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-329
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching Sociology
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • advising
  • fields of study
  • job satisfaction
  • liberal arts
  • occupations
  • social capital
  • undergraduate major

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