2020 Best Accredited Online Sociology Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 31, 2020

Sociology is the study of the structure, development, and function of human society. Accredited colleges offer online sociology degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. The best online colleges for a bachelor's in sociology can be found on our ranking list, which highlights the top schools, based on tuition costs and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.

Prospective online sociology students should make sure to attend accredited colleges. This designation helps ensure students receive a quality education that meets national standards. Those who want to become clinical sociologists should also seek certification from the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology.

2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Sociology Degrees

2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Sociology Badge

The following 25 schools offer the best online bachelor's in sociology degrees, based on their low tuition rates and high mid-career salary potentials. The University of West Georgia is the #1 school, with an average alumni salary of $86,100. Tuition for their Bachelor of Science in Sociology is only $5,463. At #2, the University of Northern Colorado offers a tuition rate of $11,315 per year for its Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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2020 Online Colleges Offering Sociology Degrees - Ranking Details

Online Sociology Degree Overview & Career Information

Online sociology degrees are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They can provide an educational foundation relevant to a variety of careers including counseling, teaching, library science, and human services. The most commonly available online degree level in sociology is a bachelor’s, although those that plan to teach at the college level, work in a clinical role, or conduct sociological research will need at least a master's degree.

Online classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level will cover topics in gender studies, minority studies, medicine, contemporary social issues, and modern research methods. Pursuing online graduate levels studies will enable students to focus more specifically on one particular area within the field of sociology.

Online Associate Degrees in Sociology

An online associate degree in sociology can provide a solid foundation for individuals looking to continue their education in sociology or related fields at the bachelor's level. There are schools offering associate degrees in sociology entirely online, often at a self-guided pace.

Program Requirements

Schools offering online associate degrees in sociology usually require a high school diploma or GED for admission. Most associate degree programs consist of 60 semester hours of college credit. Though online courses offer flexibility with the time-frame, most sociology students finish their associate degrees within two years.


Most of the courses in an online sociology associate degree program are general education, which allows students to later pursue a bachelor's degree in most liberal arts fields. However, students will likely take about six hours of sociology credits. Sociology-specific courses may include sociology of death and dying, sociology of religion, sociology of gender, and social problems among others. Most students who earn online associate degrees in sociology go on to complete a bachelor's degree. Often, the credits from an associate degree transfer directly to a bachelor's degree. In a bachelor's degree program, students will have the opportunity to make more courses in sociological theory and research methods.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology

Online bachelor's degrees in sociology are available in two forms: a bachelor’s of arts or a bachelor’s of science. In general, a bachelor's of science tends to have a more quantitative focus than a bachelor's of arts. Both are good choices for students hoping to pursue further education in sociology or want an education in the organization of human society.

Program Requirements

A bachelor's degree in sociology usually requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. Applicants to all online bachelor's degrees will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools have minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements for admission. Transcripts and test scores often must be submitted prior to acceptance and enrollment.


In most bachelor's degree programs, students will take a variety of general education requirements. In addition, they will take courses such as social theory, statistics for behavioral sciences, and research methods. More niche classes may include sociology of the family, gender and society, racial and ethnic relations, and sociology of religion. Some online institutions also require that sociology students engage in an internship. These can often be completed at approved local locations, although in some cases, students should be prepared to travel or should choose an online program from a nearby school.

Online Master's Degrees in Sociology

A master's degree in sociology is often the lowest level of education needed to pursue a career as a sociologist or educator. It is also necessary for those students with plans to seek a doctorate in sociology, although there are currently no online doctorate degrees available. Online master’s degrees in sociology may have specific focuses like community development or medical sociology or they may be general degrees.

Program Requirements

Most online master's degrees in sociology require an undergraduate degree in sociology or a related field. Most programs also require students to have a minimum GPA, although this varies greatly by school. Applicants may be required to submit a writing sample, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and/or official transcripts and GRE scores. An online master's degree usually takes about two years to complete.


Coursework for an online master's in sociology is similar to coursework for a bachelor's degree but it involves more in-depth and advanced content. Students will take classes in statistics, theory, research methods, and various topical classes like seminars on social inequality or sociology of aging. Some online master's programs culminate in a thesis project in which students conduct research on a topic of their choosing. Other master's programs may require a final comprehensive exam or capstone internship project in lieu of a thesis.

Online Certificates in Sociology

Online sociology certificates are available at the undergraduate or graduate level, and can cover topics like aging, medicine, research methods, contemporary social issues, and family relations. They often take one year and range from 12-18 credits. Undergraduates may choose to enroll in an online certificate program to supplement their bachelor's degree education. Graduate certificates are useful for professionals who want to gain a more in-depth understanding of a particular aspect of sociology.

The Importance of an Accredited Online Sociology Degree

An online degree from an accredited institution is important for sociology students to ensure that the school has a rigorous curriculum and that graduates will be able to transfer credits. If a student receives an associate or bachelor's degree from an unaccredited school, it is unlikely that he or she would be accepted into a graduate degree program. Also, accreditation is an important indication to prospective employers that a student has received a relevant and valuable education.

For graduates pursuing careers in applied and clinical sociology, versus focusing on research or academia, it is important for them to consider programs accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS). This designation ensures that a program has quality practical, hands-on experience as well as provides a solid, well-rounded educational foundation.

Licensing and Certification Process

Licensure and certification may be required for certain positions within the sociology field and related careers. Practicing sociologists with master's or doctoral degrees are eligible to apply for certification from the Association for Applied & Clinical Sociology. People may choose to become certified because it indicates to others that they have been evaluated by professionals in the field and that their skills and practices have met national standards for applied and clinical sociologists.

Individuals who use their sociological education to pursue a career in social work will need to be licensed in most states and may require certification from the National Association of Social Workers. Careers within healthcare and teaching similarly often require their own certification. This will vary from state-to-state, so students should research their state’s specific requirements for any career they are considering.

Common Online Classes for Sociology Students

Online classes for sociology degrees may vary depending on the emphasis that the student chooses, like women’s studies, minority studies, medicine, or modern communications. All undergraduate degrees will require general education courses like math, science, and liberal arts. Students will also take classes like general sociology, quantitative research methods, and social theory. Electives may include courses like cultural anthropology, mass media, criminology, and human sexuality.


This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.