The province's original Khmer name was Srok Kh'leang, meaning "silver depository" because it was where the Khmer king's silver treasury was located. The Vietnamese settlers corrupted it into "Sốc-Kha-Lang" and eventually "Sóc Trăng". Under the Nguyễn Dynasty emperor Minh Mạng, it was given the Sino-Vietnamese name Nguyệt Giang (月江), a calque of "Sông Trăng" (Moon River).
Sóc Trăng province lies roughly between 9°14'N and 9°56'N latitude and between 105°34'E and 106°18'E longitude. It is bordered to the north west by Hậu Giang Province (meaning Hậu River province). To the south west it is bordered by Bạc Liêu Province (meaning "silver"). And to the north east it is bordered by Trà Vinh Province (meaning "honoured tea"). To the north is Vĩnh Long Province (meaning "eternal prosperity"). To the south east is 72 kilometres (45 mi) of coastline of the South China Sea. The province has two large rivers: the Hậu River and the Mỹ Thanh River. The provincial capital of Sóc Trăng Province is the town which is also called Sóc Trăng. It is 231 kilometres (144 mi) from Hồ Chí Minh City.
Sóc Trăng is subdivided into 11 district-level sub-divisions:
They are further subdivided into 12 commune-level towns (or townlets), 80 communes, and 17 wards.