The study of any of the fields offered in this department—Sociology, Social Psychology, or Criminal Justice—provides an excellent background for many careers. Our graduates pursue work or graduate study in human services, corrections, law, teaching, public health, business, urban planning, public relations, research, and media. Talk with your advisor about your career plans, so that he or she can help you choose courses that support your career interests.
Office of Career Services
The Office of Career Services is designed to help you explore career possibilities, investigate employment trends, and consider graduate school options. The Career Services staff provides interest testing, individual advising, and workshops on job search strategies, resume writing, and interviewing. They maintain a comprehensive online career database, MyCareerOnline, which provides UMB students and alumni with access to job postings, career event details, on-campus recruitment activities, and the bi-weekly Job Bulletin. In addition, the Career Resource Library offers many helpful publications related to careers and graduate study. This library is open Monday thru Friday, 9am to 5pm, and can be used on a walk-in basis.
Many academic associations and professional organizations offer online career resources which may be of interest to students and emerging professionals. Searches of the groups' websites may reveal professional development advice, open job postings, and conference information. Professional organizations related to our department’s majors include: American Sociological Association, American Society of Criminology, American Psychological Association, National Organization for Victim Assistance, American Correctional Association, American Parole and Probation Association, Discover Policing, and ASIS International.
In order to help you try out career possibilities, apply your academic learning to a real world context, and deepen your knowledge in various fields, we offer three internship courses. The courses are focused on urban social services, adult criminal justice, and juvenile justice. These six-credit courses require 140 hours of work experience in an agency, plus academic work equivalent to an upper-level three-credit course.
There are many advantages to doing an internship. Students are able to integrate academic learning with workplace experience, investigate careers to pursue upon graduation, develop marketable skills, network with others pursuing careers in similar fields, make professional connections, and build a resume that looks more impressive to future employers and graduate programs.
The department's internship coordinator assists students in finding placements related to their interests. Students are also welcome to secure their own placements in consultation with the internship coordinator. Because it can take several weeks to confirm a position, students are encouraged to begin their search approximately four months before the beginning of the class.
Preparing for Graduate School
Many professional careers require graduate study. You can raise your probability of acceptance into graduate school by clarifying your career goals early and using courses in Sociology and other fields to prepare you for your future course of study. Once you have committed yourself to preparing for graduate study, you should pay attention to several important issues:
- Keep your grades as high as possible. Most graduate programs require a GPA of at least 3.0.
- Develop good relationships with your instructors. Most graduate schools request references from three undergraduate teachers. If you don’t plan to attend graduate school right away, teachers can put reference letters on file in the Office of Career Services.
- Prepare to take whichever graduate entrance exams are required by the programs in which you have an interest. Most Sociology and Criminal Justice programs require either the Graduate Record Exam or the Miller Analogies Test.
- Study the websites and catalogues of various programs to get a sense of what the programs can offer you. Also be sure to ask your faculty advisors about their impressions of various graduate programs.
Once you have decided to apply to graduate school, it’s a good idea to visit the schools in which you have an interest. This is the best way to get a sense of how a program really works for students.