Deciding on a Venue for Your Sociology Studies
The USA is home to thousands upon thousands of colleges and universities. Therefore, choosing where to apply to study sociology can be quite daunting, especially for overseas students. Anyone who is familiar with the US knows it is a big country with a wide variety of landscapes, diverse cultures, and different climates. Since there are many good sociology programs in different parts of America, one factor that is important to consider when choosing somewhere to study is the location of the college or university and whether it is somewhere you would feel welcome and comfortable living in.
When overseas students are trying to decide whether a location or university is right for them to live and study in, it is likely they have certain factors in mind to help with the decision-making. Since the USA is an extensive country with countless colleges and universities, location is one very important consideration. It generally takes an undergraduate student about four years to complete a sociology degree program while it is usually a bit longer at graduate level. It is therefore important that overseas students apply to colleges and/or universities in areas they will enjoy and feel comfortable living in.
Studying Sociology in the Northeast of the USA
The northeast region of the USA i.e. New England is made up of the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. New England is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, New York, and Canada (to the north). The area is characterized by its ragged coastline, seabed lowlands, scenic mountains and rolling hills. It additionally boasts four complete seasons i.e. windy and wet springs, temperate summers, brightly-colored falls, and snow in winter. With a population of almost 618,000 people, Boston in Massachusetts is one of the region’s biggest cities. Education is one of New England’s notable legacies and the region’s is home to several of the USA’s top universities. Of these, Harvard University, Brown University, Yale University, and Amherst, Brandeis University, and Boston College (parts of the University of Massachusetts) are ranked as the best places for studying sociology.
The region of the USA known as mid-Atlantic is made up of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and the country’s capital – Washington, DC. This middle region is seen as a bridge between the country’s North and South and here the population is more ethnically diverse than most of the other US regions. This region is home to many of the country’s biggest cities such as Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington. In this region, the seasons tend to comprise of mild and temperate springs, humid and hot summers, fresh falls, and chilly winters. If you are an international student who enjoys urban life, you should certainly consider New York City’s New School or Columbia University. Over the entire mid-Atlantic region, some of the best schools for studying sociology include College Park (at University of Maryland), Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Studying Sociology in the South of the USA
The region that comprises the southern part of the US is quite varied and includes Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the states of both North and South Carolina. The culture in these southern states is very distinct, both in terms of cuisine and styles of music. The southern climate is moderate throughout most of the year but notably hot in summer and mild in winter. If you are an overseas student it is important to know that climate differences in the southern states can be quite significant with, for instance, snowfalls in Virginia while Florida enjoys much milder winter weather. The universities listed below are considered to offer the best sociology programs out of the region’s top fifty:
- Chapel Hill College at the University of North Carolina
- Duke University
- Emory University
- North Carolina State University & Arizona
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
Studying Sociology in the USA’s Southwest Region
The southwest region comprises of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. As well as its cities, the southwest is comprised of a great deal of wide open space and desert lands. In the southwest you will also find the Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and a number of national parks. In this region, the climate often depends on an area’s elevation levels. Lower areas are noted for their dry desert-like climate with limited snow while the climate in higher areas is more alpine-like with snowfall being quite common. However, in average terms, the summers are quite hot and the winters quite mild. For an international student wishing to study sociology in the USA’s southwest region, the best schools are considered to be Arizona State University, the A & M University (Texas), the University of Texas (Austin), and the University of Arizona.
Studying Sociology in the USA’s Mid-West Region
The mid-west is made up of two smaller regions. These are the states in the Great Lake Region i.e. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The states in the Great Plains region are Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The climate in these states is mostly relatively dry with a tendency for rainfall in the early part of summer. Like the northeast, there are four complete seasons in the mid-west region i.e. springs are quite temperate (and they tend to fall late), summers are pleasant, and winters are harsh. Since it is comprised of some of the world’s most fertile farming land, this part of the USA is often referred to as the country’s “bread basket.” The region also boasts a number of large cities, of which Chicago is one example. The people of the mid-west are renowned for their openness, straightforwardness, and friendliness. The following are considered to be some of the top sociology schools in the mid-west:
- Ann Arbor (University of Michigan)
- Bloomington (Indiana University)
- Madison (University of Wisconsin)
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- University of Chicago.
Studying Sociology in the Western Region of the USA
The USA’s western region is made up of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington. This side of the country is renowned for its beautiful scenery and large expanses of not-yet developed land. If you are an overseas student who enjoys boating, camping, fishing, or hiking, you should definitely consider studying in the western part of the USA. Even cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles are close to many of the region’s state and national parks. There are considerable variations in the climate in the western region so you should research the different locations for any university you intend to apply to. The following schools are considered to offer the best sociology degree programs in the western region:
- Berkeley (University of California)
- Davis (University of California)
- Irivine (University of California)
- Los Angeles (University of California)
- Santa Barbara (University of California)
- San Diego (University of California)
- Stanford University
- University of Washington
- Washington State University
As can be seen from the above, the international student has several factors to consider when choosing the best place to study for a degree in sociology. Also, as can be seen, the USA has several high-ranking universities offering competitive programs in sociology. Therefore, there are numerous options open to students with much dependent on their preferences and what they want. If it is the case you are an overseas student, give some thought to what you expect and want from your studies and the types of experience you hope to get outside your classes. And do your research before you start studying sociology as part of your US adventure!