Sociology

Academic Requirements

Requirements for the Major

Ten courses: Sociology 101, 303, and 306, the statistics requirement (MAT 109, BUS 109, or PSY 209), the Senior Capstone Experience, five additional courses in sociology; and Sociology 491-492.  (Students with a double major in sociology and psychology and who complete a research methods course or sequence in psychology may omit Sociology 306, but must then take a sixth sociology elective.)

Sociology 101 is the prerequisite for the major in sociology. Additionally, prospective majors should complete at least two additional sociology courses by the end of their sophomore year, and the major’s statistics requirement in advance of taking the Research Methods course.  Students should plan to take the Research Methods and Social Theory courses in their junior year in preparation for using those skills throughout work on the Senior Capstone Experience.

During the senior year, each sociology major completes a major independent research project with the guidance of one of the department’s faculty. Senior Capstone Experiences integrate the diverse learning that students have accomplished throughout their undergraduate years, not only within the major but also across the liberal arts and sciences. During their junior year, students will learn about constructing research proposals and the steps to carrying out their own research and analysis in preparation for completing the Senior Capstone Experience. The range both of topics and methods is broad; the Capstone Experience is an independent research project, on a topic of the student’s choosing, with the guidance of a faculty member to assure that it is both significant and capable of completion in the time available. Work on the Capstone is supported by the student’s capstone advisor, and by some of the work of the Sociology Senior Seminars, SOC 491 taken during the fall semester and SOC 492 taken during the spring semester.

Requirements for the Minor

Six courses, of which Sociology 101, 303, 306, and the statistics requirement are required; and two additional courses in sociology. (Students with a major in psychology and who complete a research methods course or sequence in psychology may omit Sociology 306, but must then take a third sociology elective.)

Social Work Concentration

Students who complete this concentration will be well-prepared for entry-level positions in the field, and for graduate work in social work and social policy. Students wishing to achieve official recognition of the concentration must complete a minimum of four courses. Sociology 382, 483, and 484 are required. In addition, students will complete at least one of the following courses: Sociology 212, 240, 341, or Psychology 304.

Students planning to do graduate work in sociology should take Sociology 221 and 262. All students, of course, should strive for insight into the nature of human society. Additional courses in the program should be planned in consultation with the student’s advisor to meet individual needs and interests. Sociology majors may become certified to teach social studies in secondary schools. To assure proper scheduling, students interested in this program should inform the chairs of both the Sociology Department and the Education Department as early as possible in their academic careers.

Courses in Sociology

101. Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to basic concepts and theories in sociology concerning the nature of society, culture, and personality. Consideration of social processes, groups, and institutions found in modern American society. Specific topics include deviance and social control, social networks, bureaucracy, families, education, race, social class, and gender.

171. Introduction to Public Health

Public Health is concerned with identifying and acting on the factors that shape the health and diseases of populations. This course introduces the major concepts, tools, and debates of Public Health through an exploration of issues in this interdisciplinary field including health inequities, historical and ongoing strategies for control of communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and connections between social structures and the distribution of disease from a Public Health perspective. Students will acquire basic knowledge, attitudes, and skills that are important for Public Health practice. This course is one of the two required courses for the Public Health minor. Prerequisites: None (Cross-listed as PHS 171).

194. Introductory Topics in Sociology

Contents vary. (No prerequisite.)

212. Sociology of the Family

This course studies historical aspects of family formation and function as well as contemporary patterns of the institution and individual experiences. Theory and research dealing with courtship, marriage, children, and parenting, and disorganization of the modern family is examined. Prerequisite: Sociology 101. (Cross-listed as GEN 212)

213. Sociology of Gender

The course examines sex, gender, sexuality, and their intersections with other statuses. The effects of gender on individuals’ statuses and opportunity structures are considered as are the impacts of interactions and institutional patterns. Focus on contemporary American responses to sex and gender. Prerequisite: Sociology 101. (Cross-listed as GEN 213)

221. Social Inequalities

This course examines the structure of social stratification in the U.S. from various perspectives and from micro- and macro-levels of analysis. This course is based on the seven statuses (race, social class, gender, physical/mental ability, religion, sexual orientation, and age) that most significantly determine “who gets what” in American society. Historical and contemporary examples highlighted in readings and discussion range from medicine, law, education, the family, the military, housing, food security, and others. Prerequisite: Sociology 101. (Cross-listed as GEN 221 and BLS 221)

240. Criminology

This course serves as an overview of how scholars of sociology and criminology analyze and understand the frequency of crime, criminal patterns, characteristics of criminal offenders, and the nature of different types of crime. Students will be exposed to the most respected theories regarding crime and criminal behavior. This course covers the core concepts related to criminological study, the nature and frequency of crime, patterns of criminal offending, victims, public fear of crime, criminological theory, and the critical evaluation of different types of crimes including violent, economic, public disorder, and terrorism. Prerequisite: Sociology 101.

 
262. Self and Society

Examines reciprocal relationships of society and the individual, and of the nature of face-to-face human interaction. Introduces key concepts, theories, and methodologies of sociological social psychology. Students read, analyze, and perform research that explores the ways in which society affects individuals and groups; how individuals and groups, reciprocally, influence society; how individuals interpret and negotiate the social world; and the influence individuals and groups have on others. Prerequisite: Sociology 101.

271. Global Health Disparities

Global Health Disparities offers a cross-cultural comparative analysis of the definitions of health and health care delivery, as well as an overview of specific chronic and acute health issues. The course addresses global health broadly and focuses on global health disparity through analyses using multidisciplinary perspectives and evaluation of the political, economic, and sociocultural aspects of health inequality. This course is one of the two required courses for the Public Health minor. Prerequisites: Sociology 171 (Cross-listed as PHS 271).

294. Special Topics in Sociology

Contents vary. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 or permission of instructor.

303. Social Theory

The study of the leading social thinkers from 1800 to the present and the associated theoretical perspectives with an emphasis on contemporary applications of social theory. Prerequisites: Sociology 101 and one additional course in Sociology or permission of the instructor.

306. Research Methods in Sociology

Introduction to the methods used in studying society. Selection of a research topic, experimental design, sampling, methods of data collection, statistical analysis of findings. Prerequisites: Sociology 101, and completion of the statistics requirement (MAT 109 or PSY 209).

340. Victimology

This course is designed to introduce students to the multifaceted issue of victimization in the U.S., including theories of victimization, trends in criminal victimization, treatment of victims in the criminal justice system, victim support issues, and the victimization of certain subgroups in the population. As a relatively new and complex discipline, victimology broadens criminological scholarship by focusing primarily on the victims, rather than the perpetrators of the crime. This course, grounded in the history and development of victimology, will provide an in-depth study of key areas in the field including theories of victim precipitation, measurement of victimization, victims’ rights, and substantive topics such as hate crimes, intimate partner violence, and restorative justice. Prerequisites: Sociology 101 and Sociology 240, or permission of instructor.

341. Variant Behavior

This course will introduce students to the sociological aspects of varieties in human behavior and deviance. We regard deviance not as bad behavior, but as behavior contrary to norms. Deviance will be examined as a conceptual category this is socially constructed by interactions and reactions to certain types of behavior be they biological, social, or both. As such, we will examine the processes and social agencies that define, detect, and sanction variant behavior over time. Utilizing a sociological perspective, motivations for deviant behavior — as well as the nature of deviance — will be discussed. This class explores variant behavior in a variety of contexts including crime, body modifications, gender, and sexual identity, and health behaviors. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and one additional course in sociology.

342. Sociology of Punishment

This course will examine four major questions associated with punishment in the United States: 1.) Why do we punish? 2.) Who do we punish? 3.) How do we punish? 4.) What are the consequences of punishment? To answer these questions, students will explore ideas related to sociology, criminology philosophy, law, history, to assess the ethics and utility of punishment and the problems punishment creates for society and offenders. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and either Sociology 221 or Sociology 240.

343. Women, Crime & The Criminal Justice System

This course places women at the forefront when examining all facets of crime, victimization, and the institutions that handle both victims and offenders. To fully explore the issue, this course is split into four units that explore women as victims, women as perpetrators, women who are in custody of the criminal justice system, and women who work in the criminal justice system. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and either Sociology 213, Sociology 221, or Sociology 240.

344. Sociology of Gangs

This course will explore a broad range of topics related to gang activity in the United States and abroad. Topics include historical, theoretical and socioeconomic processes leading to gang formation, gang activities and typologies, gang membership and organization, gender roles within gangs, and social problems associated with gangs.  Prerequisite: Sociology 101 and either Sociology 221 or Sociology 240.

347. Juvenile Delinquency

This course offers a sociological exploration of youth, crime, and the juvenile justice system in the United States. A wide variety of topics are covered, including the history, philosophy and contemporary context of the juvenile court, shifting patterns and trends relative to juvenile offending and crime, sociological theories accounting for the involvement and deterrence from juvenile delinquency, the application of the “rule of law” to juvenile offending, and the effectiveness of rehabilitative programming in response to youthful offenders. The course covers the history of adolescence, youth culture, explanations for delinquency, the effects of race, class, and gender, on delinquency, the relationship between institutions, particularly family and school, and delinquency and the interaction between juveniles and the criminal justice system. Prerequisites: Sociology 101 and at least 2 of the following: Sociology 212, 240, 250, 303, 341, 382; or prior permission of the instructor.

 
370. Environmental Sociology

This class explores the human dimension of ecosystem science. Use of environmental sociology as a framework for understanding the dynamic relationship between humans and the environment, trends in environmental policy and public opinion, environmentalism as a social movement, human-induced environmental decline, and environmental justice. Students will explore how changes in ecosystems influence the achievability and sustainability of societal values such as security from natural disasters, health, good social relations, and freedom to pursue personal and cultural interests. Prerequisites: SOC 101 and one additional sociology course or permission of the instructor. (Cross-listed as ENV 370)

382. Introduction to Social Welfare

This course will offer students a broad understanding of contemporary social problems and the social welfare policies, programs, and services designed to address them.  The history, individual and social consequences, and programmatic approaches to the amelioration of each social problem area will be explored. A primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the profession of social work: its fields of practice, values, and ethics.  This course integrates core social work competencies and has particular relevance to students considering practice, administrative or policy careers in the helping professions. Prerequisites: SOC 101 or PSY 112.

394, 494. Special Topics in Sociology

Contents vary. Prerequisite: two prior sociology courses or permission of instructor.

413. Work and Gender

This course examines the expectations, opportunities, and rewards as well as the limitations that men and women face in paid and unpaid labor. The historical contexts of work, the intersection of race and gender, the balancing of paid and unpaid labor, and global patterns of work with respect to gender will be studied. Prerequisites: SOC 101 and one additional sociology course or permission of the instructor.

462. Sociology of the Body

An examination of bodies as a source of power, repression, and subjugation, a medium for expression, and an entity to be controlled. This course investigates how the body is influenced by social forces, the meanings attached to the body and particular body parts, the ways in which we experience our own bodies in contemporary society, and the significance of the body for the discipline of sociology. Includes the study of characteristics such as body size, physical ability, race, and sex as well as various forms of elected or forced body modification. Prerequisites: Sociology 101 and one additional course in sociology, or permission of the instructor.

483-484. Field Experience in Social Welfare

A study of the organization and operation of social agencies. Students gain field experience in welfare work under professional supervision. Prerequisites: Sociology 382 and prior permission of the instructor or department chair.

290, 390, 490. Sociology Internship

The department encourages students with prior courses in sociology to develop, with a member of the department, internship opportunities. Students interested in pursuing internships should read “Internships and Other Opportunities” in the Course Catalog. In addition to the requirements listed there, interns should expect to write a paper describing their experiences, as relevant to sociology, and connected to a reading list to be developed and agreed upon by the intern and the supervising faculty member. Prerequisite: Sociology 101.

295, 295, 495. On-campus Research
296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research
297, 397, 497. Independent Study

Junior and senior students with a strong interest and background in sociology may working with a faculty member in the department, develop either a research project or a course of study in order to pursue a subject or topic within the discipline not covered by the department’s regular offerings. The student and a faculty member will agree upon a reading list, and either a formal research project or a substantial paper. The student should expect to meet regularly with his or her instructor to demonstrate progress in, and knowledge of, the readings; and to discuss, and to receive guidance on the project or paper. (Note that students may not use independent study courses to gain academic credit for work in their Senior Capstones.) Prerequisites: Sociology 101 and two additional courses in sociology.

491-492. Senior Seminar

Seniors will meet for 75 minutes each week in each semester of the senior year for general guidance in the Capstone process, for the integration of the undergraduate educational experience, and for guidance in the transition from undergraduate study to employment and to post-BA academic work. Participation in SOC 491 in the fall of senior year and SOC 492 in the spring semester is a requirement of the major.

SCE. Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience in sociology is a significant piece of independent research, generally in the form of a thesis, undertaken by each senior with the guidance and mentorship of a department faculty member. A successful SCE will demonstrate the student’s ability to answer a significant sociological question using the tools of both sociological theory and methodology. A student who successfully completes the SCE will receive a grade of Pass or Honors and will earn four credits in her or his final undergraduate semester. A more extensive description of the SCE is available from the department chair. Discussion of a joint thesis, undertaken by a student with two majors, can be found in the section “Double Majors, Minors, and Concentrations/Specializations” within the Academic Program portion of the Course Catalog.