Sociology Major/Minor

Sociology is the analytical study of the development, structure, and function of human groups and societies. It is concerned with the scientific understanding of human behavior as it relates to and is a consequence of interaction within groups.

By studying behavior, sociologists are positioned to provide valuable insights on motivations as well as social factors that impact the way businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations operate.

Career Options

Community organizers and activists; human service assistants; probation officers and correctional treatment specialists; public interest advocates; and sociologists.

High School Preparation

Economics; English; Government; Psychology; Sociology; and Statistics.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in sociology oftentimes pursue additional courses in theology, psychology, or human services

Sociology Minor

Sociology minors study people and the roles they play in society. Knowledge of sociology helps students better understand why people behave the way they do, making it a beneficial major to anyone who wishes to work with diverse populations.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

S110 Sociological Imagination (3 cr.)

The nature and foundations of society and the individual, the main forces that strengthen and weaken social groups and the conditions that transform social life are examined in this course.

S250 Logic of Analysis (4 cr.)

This course examines the major sociological perspectives in conjunction with an instruction in the logic and procedures of gathering information about social phenomena. The course covers topics such as: the logic of the scientific method, research design, hypotheses formation, theory and methods of scaling, and research analysis.

S319 Social Theory (3 cr.)

This course examines the historical development of modern sociological theory from its roots in 18th century normative social philosophy to contemporary, empirically-based theory.  In simple terms, social theory explains and guides the social observations sociologists make in their practice.  In many cases, social theories attempt to predict future occurrences in society as well.  Social theory attempts to answer those "big" questions human beings have perennially asked like:   What makes society possible?  How do societies maintain order?  Are humans free and to what degree?  Why is there inequality?  Why are societies different?  Why and how do societies change? 

S350 Field Methods (4 cr.)

This course offers a working experience in the purpose and tools of qualitative field methods. The course covers rapport, methods of observation, field notes, data coding and analysis, ethnography, focus groups and interviews, as well as an introduction to quasi-experimentation.

B. One of the following:

ST132 Reasoning with Statistics (3 cr.)

This course is designed to develop student facility in the use of statistical methods and the understanding of statistical concepts. The course takes a practical approach based on statistical examples taken from everyday life. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. Appropriate technology is used to perform the calculations for many applications, and correspondingly an emphasis is placed on interpreting the results of statistical procedures. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, B392 or ST232.

ST232 Introduction to Statistics (2 cr.)

This course is designed to provide the basic ideas and techniques of statistics. Topics include: descriptive and inferential statistics, an intuitive introduction to probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, chi-square tests, regression and correlation. This course makes significant use of appropriate technology. Topics in this course are treated at a higher mathematical level than they are treated in ST132. Credit is not granted for this course and any of the following: BU215, B392 or ST132.

C. 15 credits

15 credits in sociology selected in consultation with a department advisor from the following:

S310-318 Topics in Sociology (1–4 cr.)

Selected topics in sociology may be offered depending on student and faculty interest.

S320 Children and the State (4 cr.)

This course focuses on the concept of youth in contemporary society in terms of their behaviors, roles, experiences, and treatment. It does so within the context of the evolution and structural development of two major social institutions: the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The course uses a sociological framework to emphasize the social, economic, and political realities of childhood in American society.

S365 Sociology of Aging (3 cr.)

The course is an attempt to provide an introduction to a field which is rapidly becoming one of the major areas of research in the social sciences and to bring about an awareness and knowledge about the process of aging. Old people and their needs, the impact of growing numbers of old people in our institutions, and the effect of these institutions on the aged is examined.

S400-405 Sociology Seminars (1–3 cr.)

Specialized courses in particular areas of interest.

S406 Environmental Sociology (3 cr.)

This seminar course examines the enduring conflict that exists between the biophysical realm and humanly produced environments. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the social construction of environmental problems, the treadmill of production and nature, rationalization and environmental problems, and environmental justice.

S407 Social and Political Movements (3 cr.)

This course examines the life cycle and impact of social and political movements, focusing on how the process of frame alignment, mobilizing networks and political opportunities shape movements.

S425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

S443 Sociology of the Family (3 cr.)

A comprehensive study of the family and associated institutions, theories and research in American family structure and function, cross-cultural comparisons, family interaction dynamics, disorganization, and change is included.

S469 Individual Research (1-3 cr.)

Individual research supervised by the department.

D. Section D or E:

S489 Thesis Development (1 cr.)

In this course the student starts on the thesis requirement for the social science and sociology majors. The student is expected to select a topic and design the research project. The course is conducted primarily on an independent basis in consultation with an advisor.

S490 Research in Sociology (2 cr.)

In this course the student is expected to complete an original research project which is required for the social science and sociology majors.

E. Section D or E

minimum 6 credit internship:

S496/497 Sociology Internship (1–17 cr.)

This off-campus internship provides qualified juniors or seniors an opportunity to participate in field experience under the guidance and supervision of competent professionals.

S498 Internship Integration (1 cr.)

This in-depth paper, written under supervision of sociology faculty, involves an integration of theoretical and experience research related to the student's social science or sociology internship.

A. All of the following:

S110 Sociological Imagination (3 cr.)

The nature and foundations of society and the individual, the main forces that strengthen and weaken social groups and the conditions that transform social life are examined in this course.

S250 Logic of Analysis (4 cr.)

This course examines the major sociological perspectives in conjunction with an instruction in the logic and procedures of gathering information about social phenomena. The course covers topics such as: the logic of the scientific method, research design, hypotheses formation, theory and methods of scaling, and research analysis.

S319 Social Theory (3 cr.)

This course examines the historical development of modern sociological theory from its roots in 18th century normative social philosophy to contemporary, empirically-based theory.  In simple terms, social theory explains and guides the social observations sociologists make in their practice.  In many cases, social theories attempt to predict future occurrences in society as well.  Social theory attempts to answer those "big" questions human beings have perennially asked like:   What makes society possible?  How do societies maintain order?  Are humans free and to what degree?  Why is there inequality?  Why are societies different?  Why and how do societies change? 

S350 Field Methods (4 cr.)

This course offers a working experience in the purpose and tools of qualitative field methods. The course covers rapport, methods of observation, field notes, data coding and analysis, ethnography, focus groups and interviews, as well as an introduction to quasi-experimentation.

B. 6 additional credits

6 additional credits in sociology selected in consultation with the student's advisor from the following:

S310-318 Topics in Sociology (1–4 cr.)

Selected topics in sociology may be offered depending on student and faculty interest.

S320 Children and the State (4 cr.)

This course focuses on the concept of youth in contemporary society in terms of their behaviors, roles, experiences, and treatment. It does so within the context of the evolution and structural development of two major social institutions: the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The course uses a sociological framework to emphasize the social, economic, and political realities of childhood in American society.

S365 Sociology of Aging (3 cr.)

The course is an attempt to provide an introduction to a field which is rapidly becoming one of the major areas of research in the social sciences and to bring about an awareness and knowledge about the process of aging. Old people and their needs, the impact of growing numbers of old people in our institutions, and the effect of these institutions on the aged is examined.

S400-405 Sociology Seminars (1–3 cr.)

Specialized courses in particular areas of interest.

S406 Environmental Sociology (3 cr.)

This seminar course examines the enduring conflict that exists between the biophysical realm and humanly produced environments. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the social construction of environmental problems, the treadmill of production and nature, rationalization and environmental problems, and environmental justice.

S407 Social and Political Movements (3 cr.)

This course examines the life cycle and impact of social and political movements, focusing on how the process of frame alignment, mobilizing networks and political opportunities shape movements.

S425 Ethnicity, Class and Gender (3 cr.)

This course provides numerous theoretical perspectives on ethnicity, class and gender along with a variety of activities which ensure each student an opportunity for developing an experience base with members of various ethnic, social class and gender communities.

S443 Sociology of the Family (3 cr.)

A comprehensive study of the family and associated institutions, theories and research in American family structure and function, cross-cultural comparisons, family interaction dynamics, disorganization, and change is included.

S469 Individual Research (1-3 cr.)

Individual research supervised by the department.