As a natural go-getter, you might already be wondering whether a generalist or specialist education is a better choice in an online bachelor’s in sociology degree program. There are benefits to both generalist and specialist studies, particularly in the social sciences. By choosing a strong undergraduate sociology program and using your electives and course options wisely, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
The Pros and Cons of Generalist Sociology Knowledge
Whether a generalist or specialist education is a better choice in an online bachelor’s in sociology degree program is open to debate. A generalist knows a little bit of information about a lot of different topics. Having this starting knowledge can be hugely beneficial, because it makes it easier for students to quickly grasp new material in a variety of subjects. Understanding numerous aspects not just of sociology but of the social sciences and liberal arts as a whole can help students – and later, sociology professionals – make important interdisciplinary observations.
However, as a generalist, you may not know enough about the specific subjects a prospective employer is looking for. While you can quickly learn more, an employer may prefer a job candidate who already has a wealth of knowledge in the specific discipline or industry.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Sociology Specialist
Likewise, being a specialist has its perks and its disadvantages. Your narrow focus may be a benefit in the eyes of one employer, but it might be too narrow in the eyes of another.
Ultimately, it’s not just whether a generalist or specialist education is a better choice in an online bachelor’s in sociology degree program that matters, but how effectively you can develop both a breadth and depth of knowledge.
Finding the Right Balance Between Sociology Generalist and Specialist
If there are advantages and drawbacks to both academic paths, then how do you decide whether a generalist or specialist education is a better choice in your online bachelor’s in sociology degree program? The best educational path you can take is to “strive for both goals,” according to the American Sociological Association (ASA).
For students to accomplish this feat, the ASA recommends “clustering their inquiries to focus on specific types of issues” while still taking enough general coursework to “diversify their knowledge so that they can make connections that might otherwise go unnoticed.” This means developing one or a couple of concentrations in areas that particularly interest you, but not to the exclusion of other courses that would help you attain well-rounded education.
If you’re having trouble deciding whether a generalist or specialist education is a better choice in your online bachelor’s in sociology degree program, talk to a trusted instructor or advisor to find out what academic options are available to you. You may be able to develop specializations alongside your generalist knowledge with the right academic planning.