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BA in Sociology

Sociology is the discipline of understanding society and social groups. Through this major, students learn how groups interact and the social reasons for individual and group behaviors. Our program requirements incorporate the skills needed for the 21st century workforce: written communication, oral communication, diversity awareness, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning. As such, the sociology major is applicable to a wide range of fields for which understanding groups and social dynamics, particularly diversity, is essential: social work, teaching, health care, politics, law, non-profits, public administration, and social policy. Our major equips students with the applied skills, capabilities, and work experience that allow them to begin careers immediately upon graduation or to pursue graduate education in these areas.

Through all of our classes, sociology students learn to witness, and then scientifically examine invisible structural forces and how these affect organizations and individuals. Sociology majors learn to analyze broader social trends, such as trends in illness and wellness, changes in marriage and family formations, rates of educational attainment, or patterns of hiring in organizations, with the goal of connecting and applying these observations in everyday interactions. As a discipline, sociological skills can be used to study nearly any aspect of social life-schooling, health and well-being, religious devotion, immigration patterns, and hip-hop, to name a few. 

Faculty in the sociology program offers a breadth of courses in sociological areas from which students can choose, such as education, culture, family, gender, health, immigration, media, medicine, religion, social change, deviance, and social services. Because we study community, we are also good at creating it. In the sociology major, students find a place to explore and develop their own unique interests and talents with thoughtful mentorship and guidance from faculty in the department. Within the sociology major, there are two concentrations in which students may elect to enroll: Social Services or Medicine and Health

In the sociology major, all students take the same core classes, including courses that show students how to apply their sociological skills to real-world situations, particularly the internship course. The internship requirement is one of the program's capstone experiences, through which students apply their sociological skills to a real world setting. Through the close mentorship of our departmental internship coordinator, students gain valuable insight into and experience with how their acquired knowledge and capabilities translate into marketable job skills. The program retains a long list of possible placement sites--from work in schools, hospitals, and foster care settings to providing assistance with newly arrived immigrants to working with disadvantaged youth--to ensure that students can match their internship experience to their interests.

Curriculum + Requirements

The program in sociology provides the student with a broad grounding in the theories and research that describe and analyze the problems of individuals, families and communities in modern America—as well as explore potential solutions. Students take a broad range of sociology courses designed to acquaint them with the breadth of the discipline and help them become more effective members of the community. The degree enables students to pursue a career in the social services or continue their education in fields such as social work, teaching and public administration.

Concentrated study in sociology prepares the student for informed, active citizen participation in community and national affairs and for careers and/or graduate education in social service, business or teaching.

Core Requirements (19 credits)

SO 101 - Introduction to Sociology
SO 205 - From College to Career
SO 244 - Social Stratification
SO 392 - Internship in the Community
SO 381 - Research Methods
SO 382 - Studying Social Issues with Statistics
SO 385 - Senior Capstone

Electives (18 credits)

Students take six electives, one of which could include:

AN 101 - Local Cultures, Global Issues: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
AN 102 - Bones, Genes, and Everything in Between
AN 103 - Dirt, Artifacts, and Ideas

And one of which could include one criminal justice course, as long as it is not cross-listed with sociology.

*If students take MA 206 to fulfill the University quantitative literacy requirement, MA 206 can be used to fulfill the sociology statistics requirement. The sociology statistics requirement cannot be used for the University quantitative literacy requirement. 

Should students wish to focus their electives, they may take three classes (9 credits) of their six electives in either a Social Services concentration or a Medicine and Health concentration.

Social Services Concentration

A sociology degree with a concentration in social services integrates a traditional liberal arts education with the specialized training and field background for students who intend to pursue a career in social services or pursue graduate education in social work, health-related fields, or public administration. Society is increasingly faced with challenges in delivery of social services to a growing set of underserved populations. For students who want to work for a social service agency, for non-profits who help disadvantaged individuals or families, for mental health and counseling services, in social work, or for local and state government, this concentration provides a perfect background. Students focus their coursework in the areas of social institutions, social inequalities, and social issues. They also complete an advanced internship in the field, providing them with the experience and expertise to work with a wide range of client needs. For those wishing to pursue graduate education in social work, the concentration provides background coursework helpful for success in graduate programs as well as work experience that will help distinguish students in the application process.

Course Requirements

For this applied concentration, students must take SO 394 - Advanced Internship in the Community and choose three classes (9 credits) from the following:

  • SO 225 - Social Problems
  • SO 232 - Women in the Criminal Justice System
  • SO 260 - Social Control and Deviance
  • SO 264 - Social Welfare Institutions
  • SO 250 - Youth Crime
  • SO 270 - Program Planning and Administration
  • SO 300 - Special Topics (if the topic relates to social services)
  • SO 311 - Introduction to Social Work
  • SO 312 - Large-Scale Organizations
  • SO 315 - Case Management
  • SO 318 - Therapeutic Recreation
  • SO 325 - Counseling Older Clients
  • SO 335 - Criminal Justice Systems

Medicine and Health Concentration

In our increasingly diverse nation, there is a growing need for medical professionals who understand how cultural and social factors affect individuals' health statuses, behaviors, and interactions with the medical community. This concentration is well-suited for students who wish to pursue careers and/or graduate work in any health-related field: medicine, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse prevention/treatment, or non-profits addressing the mental and physical health of their clients. Students focus their coursework in such areas as sociology or anthropology of medicine, death and dying, disability, illness, and mental health. Through this coursework, students learn about the varying medical and health needs of diverse populations, including the causes and consequences of health disparities that will enable them to improve the health of groups with different cultural and social needs. Students in this concentration may complete do their internships in hospitals, hospices, or other health-related settings.

Course Requirements

For this concentration, students choose three classes (9 credits) from the following list (one course may be from anthropology):

  • AN 102 - Bones, Genes, and Everything in Between
  • AN 250 - Forensic Anthropology
  • AN 333 - Ancient Food for Thought
  • AN 337 - Anthropology of Health and Medicine
  • AN 350 - Tales from the Crypt: Research Methods in Bioarchaeology and AN 350L - Research Methods in Bioarchaeology
  • AN 352 - The Science of Human Diversity
  • SO 263 - Sociology of the Aged
  • SO 280 - Illness and Disability
  • SO 300 - Special Topics (if the topic relates to medicine and health)
  • SO 305 - Death, Grief and Bereavement
  • SO 315 - Case Management
  • SO 318 - Therapeutic Recreation
  • SO 325 - Counseling Older Clients
  • SO 333 - Drugs, Alcohol and Society
  • SO 360 - Sociology of Mental Illness

Minor in Sociology

For the sociology minor, students are welcome to work with the department chair to select 18 credits of course work that align with the student's interests in the field. A student majoring in criminal justice or gerontology can minor in sociology. Courses taken for the minor may not count toward the major. Courses for the major may not count toward the minor.