Sociology explores topical social issues and seeks to understand the modern world.

Subject overview

Sociology is fundamentally concerned with how power works in capitalist societies, which is why Sociology is committed to honing a critical lens on social life. This discipline looks at how people interact with one another, the institutions they create, and the cultural beliefs and practices that shape their lives. This work aims to understand why inequalities exist in the ways they do and how to make the world a more just place to live. Sociologists study colonialism, racial and environmental (in)justice, migration, health inequalities and health systems, sexuality and gender, class and labour issues, legal and penal systems, disasters, social problems and possibilities related to science and technology, social policy, critical social theories, and much more.

To understand how power works, students develop a range of research and analytical skills that enable them to become creative problem solvers. Courses in sociology cultivate learning environments that encourage independent thinking, writing for many different audiences, diagnosing problems, thinking through possible solutions, and a mix of independent and collaborative work.

Courses in Sociology

Where can Sociology take you?

Sociology develops students’ analytical and research skills, which they can apply across various careers. Sociologists care about understanding how the world works, why inequality exists, and how to leave our communities and institutions better than we found them. As such, Sociology graduates have gone on to jobs in policy analysis, law, media and journalism, gender and sexual violence prevention, union advocacy, central and local government, economic and social justice organizations, environmental activism, marketing, business and more.

As with other majors in Arts, Sociology is not just concerned with preparing students for their first job out of university. We are committed to building the critical thinking skills and dispositions that prepare students for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet, to be agents for change who can help solve complex social problems, now and into the future.

Career options with an Arts degree

Explore your study options in Sociology

How can we create fairer societies in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Consider issues of social justice through Sociology, Criminology, Gender Studies and Māori Studies.