The Sociology Program
Sociology systematically investigates human society and social interaction, seeking to understand patterns of organization and change in a variety of settings.
The sociology major offers a strong foundation in sociological theory and methods of research. In addition, students take courses to deepen their understanding of socialization, culture, social organization, social change, differentiation, and inequality. Courses focus on such topics as ethnic and racial relations, family, gender, medicine, occupations and professions, organizations, politics and the state, popular culture, population, religion, urban life, aging, juvenile delinquency and criminology.
Special readings and individual study and research offer students the opportunity to pursue areas of special interest. Supervised internships are also available.
The program of study is designed to provide sociology majors with a strong foundation for graduate work in the social sciences, as well as for a variety of careers, including elementary and secondary teaching, social services, public policy formulation, public administration, urban planning, and research in both public and private agencies, including private industry and the allied health professions.
Requirements for the Sociology Major
Thirty-two (32) credits, including SOCG 105, 364, 365, 471 or 472, and eighteen (18) additional Sociology credits excluding internships. One of these courses may be a lower-level sociology course other than SOCG 105; at least five must be courses at the 300-400 level. A maximum of six upper-level anthropology credits, excluding individual study (ANTH 491, 492) and internships (Anthropology 499) may be substituted for upper-level sociology courses. Note that Mathematics 200: Statistics is a prerequisite for SOCG 364: Quantitative Research Methods and Analysis and must be taken prior to enrolling in this course.
Sociology Course Offerings
Sociology course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of SOCG in the course listings.
105 – The Social World (3)
An introduction to the nature and scope of sociology, emphasizing the development and uses of basic concepts, theories, and methods of inquiry. Emphasis varies by instructor.
155 – Social Issues (3)
Sociological perspectives for analyzing social problems such as economic inequality, race relations, and crime. Emphasis varies by instructor.
301 – Evolution and Social Behavior (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. A comprehensive assessment of basic theory in the evolutionary behavioral sciences and an application of these tools to the study of social behavior in human and nonhuman societies.
304 – Social Stratification (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Analysis of class, race, and gender inequality in U.S. society. The nature and consequences of social stratification and power in modern society.
313 – Urban Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Problems of city growth and living; the influence of social, cultural, and ecological factors upon social organization and everyday social relationships in urban areas.
315 – Gender and Society (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Sociological study of gender differentiation in American society, with an emphasis on major social institutions and social change.
320 – Food Justice (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105. Sociologist study food in order to puzzle through the complicated question of fairness, equity, justice, and all human beings; inherent right to nourishment and sustenance. What would a “just ” food system look like? What social groups are advancing this cause in contemporary society? How successful have their efforts been? What can/will we do to contribute to this process? How will we adequately, healthily, and sustainable feed others and ourselves?
331 – The Family (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Historical changes in American patterns of marriage, divorce, and child-rearing; social class, racial, and ethnic variation; and alternative family forms.
332 – Introduction to Social Welfare (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of instructor. The history, philosophy, and institutionalization of social welfare; social work as a profession; methods and policies.
334 – Medical Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of instructor. The relationship of disease and health to social structure and culture. Organizational and role analysis of the medical care industry, various allied health professions, and alternative approaches to coping with health and illness.
335 – Global Perspectives on Health and Illness (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Analyze problems of health, illness, inequality, and care at the global level. Examine health care systems and health promotion in comparative perspective. Explore how social forces shape individual and group health behaviors and illness experiences in various structural and cultural contexts. Emphasis on health rights as human rights.
341 – American Society (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Study of selected issues in contemporary U.S. society.
342 – Sociology of Work: Occupations and Professions (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Analysis of major occupational groups; special emphasis on professions and executive roles; relationship of occupations to other aspects of society; the growth of leisure.
351 – Juvenile Delinquency (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. The development of the concept of juvenile delinquency. The extent and nature of delinquent behavior and efforts at explanation and control.
352 – Criminology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Explanatory theories and descriptive research on adult crime; survey of the American criminal justice system.
354 — Environmental Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of instructor. Examines how contemporary social organization drives environmental degradation and renders some people more vulnerable to its effects, and whether a shift in environmental consciousness and individual behaviors is sufficient to create a more harmonious relationship between society and the natural world.
364 – Quantitative Research Methods and Analysis (4)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor, and MATH 200. Quantitative sampling and study design, questionnaire construction and administration, analysis of survey data with emphasis on cross-classification, correlation, and regression techniques.
365 – Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis (4)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Introduction to qualitative sociological research methods, including participant observation, interviewing, and narrative analysis. Students will engage in independent research to gather and analyze qualitative data.
371 – Selected Topics in Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Major concepts or points of view in contemporary sociology with an emphasis on discussion. Topic varies.
400 – Sociology of the Body (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. How are bodies socially constructed? Seminar examines social, particularly feminist, theories of embodiment. Central questions consider how bodies are sexed/gendered, racialized, ethnicized, aged, sexualized, classed, sickened/cured, and otherwise modified through social processes. Also explores the subjective experience of embodiment.
404 – Global Inequality and Development (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Examines social, economic, and political development at the global level and in comparative perspective. Students consider competing perspectives on global inequality, with attention to the role of power relations and historical contingencies in shaping issues of development and underdevelopment.
411 – Popular Culture (3)
Prerequisite: SCCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Traditional sociological conceptions of popular culture as well as recent theoretical interventions and studies of everyday life, gender, social class, and race and ethnicity from feminist studies, American studies, minority discourses, and cultural studies. Popular culture as a meaningful site of political and social resistance for the disenfranchised.
415 – Sociology of Law (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. The role of law in American society, particularly the relationship between legal and other institutions. Sociological approaches to American legal cultures, the legal profession and legal education, law and social change.
421–Racial and Ethnic Relations (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Analysis of the relationship between ethnic and racial groups and their relationship to the dominant ethnic majority in America and other societies. Sociological examination of concepts such as racism, racial identity, prejudice, discrimination, inter-group conflict, power, assimilation, and pluralism.
432 – Political Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Theories and research regarding the social structural and cultural bases of political authority in society; emphasis given to the polity, power, and political action as integral aspects of socio-cultural organization and dynamics.
434 – Gender & Work (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155. This seminar examines the opportunities, imperatives, and experiences of women and men at work. Work is structured by institutional arrangements that come before us and that change over time and is shaped in relations to institutions in society other than the economy, especially the family. Work, occupational opportunities and cultural expectations are also shaped by the intersectionality of class, race, & gender in our lives and experiences. Readings and projects are selected to emphasize related questions and themes.
440 – Sociology of Education (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Formal and informal educational processes in various societies with an emphasis on stratification in education in the U.S. Theoretical and methodological approaches to studying education as a social institution.
442 – Social Change (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 or 155 or permission of the instructor. Considers alternative theoretical approaches to the study of social change, with an emphasis on collective action outside of “normal” politics and contestation as process. Examination of historical and socio-economic context in shaping limits and potential for social change.
471 – History of Social Theory (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 and completion of at least 6 credit hours of 300-400 level sociology courses, or permission of the instructor. Presentation and analysis of major forms and themes of social and early sociological theory from the 19th century to the early 20th century.
472 – Contemporary Sociological Theories (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 and completion of at least 6 credit hours of 300-400 level sociology courses, or permission of the instructor. Consideration of major sociological theorists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
475 – Public Sociology (3)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105. Students will be trained on participatory action research methods. Action research is community-based and operates on a collaborative model of social research that simultaneously engages academic practices and democratic social change. Data used may include interviews, focus groups, participant observation, documents, records, reports, and surveys.
489 – Special Readings (3)
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Reading and discussion of selected topics from a sociological point of view. Each student focuses on a single topic, though multiple topics may be offered in one semester.
491, 492 – Individual Study and Research (3, 3)
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Available to qualified students; reading and research, project or paper with guidance of a faculty member.
499 – Internship (Credits variable)
Prerequisite: SOCG 105 and six upper-level sociology credits, and permission of the instructor. Supervised off-campus experience, developed in consultation with departmental faculty. Cannot be counted in the major program.