Major in Sociology
Sociology gives you the eyes to see the hidden social forces that affect the course of our lives and our communities. Sociology also gives you the scientific methods to understand and engage with the issues of our time: race, poverty, inequality, globalization, immigration, environmental change, gender, power, and many others. With both of these in hand our graduates are prepared to grapple with social problems that affect the entire globe or just one family.
Do you want to see the world more fully? Do you want to create change in your community, in business, in the world? Then start your journey by majoring in sociology.
What Can I Do With a Sociology Degree?
Sociology graduates can seamlessly transition into social service careers, working with governmental organizations, and non-profits. The skill set that sociology provides is highly prized within the business sector for careers in human resources, public relations, and marketing. Sociology also provides a strong academic base for careers and advanced degrees in law, medicine, social work, and counseling.
Over the course of your education you will develop many “real world” skills including how to ask research questions, find existing evidence, collect your own data, and analyze it with quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Students who focus their classes on social services will develop basic counseling skills, techniques for program evaluation, and the tools to analyze how public policy affects individuals, families, and communities.
The American Sociological Association also has some excellent resources on the job prospects and career opportunities for our graduates.
In addition to a strong liberal arts base of classes, our majors are required to take 39 hours of sociology courses. All of our graduates are required to take Introduction to Sociology (1101), Sociological Theory (3431), Sociological Research Methods (3434), and our senior capstone course Senior Seminar (4630).
For students who want to focus their coursework on social services they are also expected to complete: Introduction to Social Services (2232), Practice Skills (3231), Group Dynamics (5140), Social Welfare Policy & Services (4232), Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SOCI 3232), Aging Programs and Policies (SOCI 3233), and Child Welfare Policy and Family Services (SOCI 4231)
For a complete overview of all the courses you will need to complete:
Download our check list of required courses.
To see what classes will be offered in the next few years:
Download a list of upcoming courses.
Read about our Student Learning Outcomes
II. Student Learning Outcomes
OBJECTIVE 1: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
Sociology majors will be able to clearly articulate a mastery of the sociological perspective and core concepts (i.e., sociological imagination, social structure, social interaction, and inequality), such that majors will be able to demonstrate correct use of sociological perspectives, concepts and vocabulary. That is, B.S. sociology students will be able to explain sociological terms and apply them from a sociological perspective in their analysis of concrete situations.
This learning outcome fits with our mission statement in that competency in objective 1 will result in the development of a student’s sociological imagination (i.e., the ability for a person to see the relationship between their personal situation and their larger social context). Such a sociological imagination allows a person to see how they are tied into their community and, in turn, should give our students the ability and desire to meet the department and university goals that students be “engaged citizens.”
OBJECTIVE 2: THEORY
Sociology majors will understand the role of theory in sociology, such that a student in theory will be able to:
- A) Define and/or apply theory and describe its role in sociological analysis,
- B) Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations.
These outcomes will require B.S. sociology students to have a comprehension of theory that will guide their analytical projects in the “real world.”
The ability to understand the role of theory is specifically mentioned in our mission statement. A theoretically informed student is one who has learned the various ways of interpreting and analyzing social situations. A grasp of sociological theory gives students the intellectual capacity to critically engage with new developments. Be they in a public or private setting, with theoretical knowledge a student will have be able to see particular instances as manifestations of broader patterns. By understanding specific problems in broad terms, students will be able to utilize (and develop) the “best practices” that can be found within their chosen industry. The intellectual skills that allow a person to compare and contrast theoretical orientations will allow one to understand the logics that support various approaches to problems. By understanding these various logics, one should possess the intellectual dexterity to weigh options, understand the positions of those who espouse different solutions, and communicate one’s determination. In short, knowledge of theory, guides the sociological practice that is mentioned in the mission statement.
OBJECTIVE 3: METHODS
Sociology majors will understand the role of evidence and qualitative and quantitative methods in sociology, such that a student in research methods will be able to:
- A) Identify basic methodological approaches,
- B) Compare and contrast the basic methodological approaches for gathering data,
- C) Critically assess a published research report and explain its strengths and weaknesses
Again, our targets are for B.S. sociology students to develop knowledge of sociological methods for collecting and analyzing data and that they will be able to apply these methods and critically assess the sociological research that they will be drawing upon as they practice sociology beyond the academy.
This third set of outcomes matches our mission statement’s stated goals that students will have knowledge of how to conduct research and engage in sociological practice. Understanding of methodology allows one to utilize social research which will allow a student to be a more competent citizen.
Select Your Emphasis
This emphasis focuses on developing your “sociological imagination” (i.e. your ability to critically analyze the individual within their larger social setting) as well as hone your researcher skills. For students who want to focus on growing as a scientific researcher this course focus provides you with extensive opportunities and a lot of flexibility to research your particular area of interest.
This is our most broad and inclusive course focus. There are no specialized classes that are recommended for this focus, beyond the base program requirements. If you want to sample a variety of courses or if you would like to tailor your coursework to your individual interests, then this may be the right choice for you.
For students interested in social services and social work with individuals, children & families, groups, and communities, the Social Service Track in Sociology offers the opportunity to gain knowledge in social service programs and policies across the lifespan, as well as skills in counseling strategies and working with various social service agencies.
With a social service course focus you will be ready to start down a career path to becoming a program director, non-profit administrator, child protection worker, marriage & family specialist, mental health case manager, victim’s advocate, prevention specialist, community educator, volunteer coordinator, public policy analyst, and many others. If you are interested in earning a Master of Social Work or continuing your education in counseling, this track is ideal.
In order to get the most out of your courses in the Social Service Track, the faculty recommend that you take the courses in the following order if possible, however, this sequence is flexible.
- Introduction to Social Services – SOCI 2232
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment – SOCI 3232
- Social Welfare Policy and Services – SOCI 4232
- Social Services Counseling Skills – SOCI 4236
After these four core courses, choose at least 4 electives from the following:
- Mental Health and Social Services – SOCI 3094
- Social Services and Income Inequality – SOCI 3094
- Death and Dying – SOCI 4135
- Child Welfare Policy and Family Services – SOCI 4231
- Aging Programs and Policies – SOCI 4235
- Program Evaluation – SOCI 4433
- Field Instruction – SOCI 4790
Other electives we recommend for completing the Social Services Track include:
- Race and Ethnicity – SOCI 3235
- Sociology of Sexuality – SOCI 3339
- Intro to LGBT Studies – SOCI 3531
- Sociology of Childhood – SOCI 4134
- Sociology of the Family – SOCI 4138
- Medical Sociology – SOCI 4139
- Sociology of Gender – SOCI 4332
- Inequality – SOCI 4431
How do I change my major?
Your Undergraduate Program Coordinator
|Dr. Nancy Malcom
Last updated: 2/16/2021