Sociology & Criminal Justice

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A recent survey of UW-L graduates who majored in Sociology was conducted in January, 2013. Prior surveys of our Sociology graduates were conducted in the late 1970s, mid-1980s, 1993, and again in 2001. The survey combined questions from the prior alumni surveys and was updated and reviewed by the Sociology Section for the present survey. Of the 175 alumni that were emailed the online survey, 63 responded (36% response rate). Among those completing the survey, the mean age was 29, 67% were female, and 83% reside in the Midwest (most in Wisconsin). Some of the main findings are summarized below.

 

Sociology Program

  • Of the various reasons stated for choosing to major in sociology, intrinsic enjoyment of initial Sociology courses, topics covered in those courses, or liking the instructors was mentioned most often.
  • 87% of alumni reported feeling very or extremely satisfied with their academic experience at UW-L.
  • 80% of alumni reported feeling very or extremely satisfied with the UW-L Sociology program.
  • The most prevalent recommendation from alumni related to career planning and career counseling, citing a gap between what is learned in classes and how it relates to the various types of careers that can be sought after graduating. 

 

Graduate School

  • 52% of responding alumni reported attending graduate school, with the majority (64%) feeling very or extremely well prepared.

 

Graduate Program Attended*

Social Work

21%

Sociology

18%

Criminology/Criminal Justice

15%

Public Health

12%

Other

33%

                        Note: * Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

Employment:

  • 95% of respondents reported being currently employed.
  • 70% of respondents reported being very or extremely satisfied in the general occupational area they were currently employed in, and 55% reported being very or extremely satisfied in the job they currently held.
  • 78% felt their sociology courses were valuable for their current job.
  • The average current annual income reported by respondents was between $35,000-40,000

These generally positive results suggest that the responding alumni believe in retrospect that they received high quality instruction while majoring in Sociology at UW-L. Similarly, alumni reported that the sociology courses had prepared them for graduate school and/or the workforce upon leaving UW-L, and that these students particularly enjoyed the focus on conducting original research and the positive interactions with the sociology faculty. The broad range of occupations which sociology graduates pursue present a challenge to the Department in the area of career advising, something the Sociology faculty have acknowledged and are working on improving.