SOC – Sociology course descriptions


Shawn Wick (chair), Dawn Reece, Jon Witt


Statement of philosophy

Sociology is the systematic study of the relationship between the individual and society and of the consequences of difference. According to the sociological perspective, we as humans must create culture in order to establish relationships to nature and with each other. As we share the culture we construct with others, we collectively come to take its reality for granted and act according to its principles. Over time, the resulting relationships solidify, giving rise to a social structure which helps guide our actions. Because the positions we occupy within that structure play such an important role in shaping who we are and what we do, sociologists place particular emphasis on studying the impact social location has on opportunity, including analysis of factors such as age, educational attainment, ethnicity, gender, race, and social class.

The ability to understand how societies are ordered, maintained, and changed better equips students to live in a rapidly changing, increasingly diversified, and sometimes chaotic world. We believe that exposure to sociological theories and research enables students to more effectively explain why we think and act as we do, thus equipping students to make more informed choices. In addition, learning appropriate research methods prepares students to ask and answer their own sociologically informed questions. The sociological imagination, which enhances our capacity to understand the intersection between history and biography, provides students with the skills they need to follow a variety of pathways after graduation. Our majors frequently pursue careers in social work, school counseling, law enforcement, criminal justice, human resources, and not-for-profit management.

Study abroad opportunities

In an increasingly global economy, skills in cross-cultural analysis and understanding are increasingly valuable. Students are encouraged to study abroad.

Major Communication Skills

The department begins to evaluate each student’s reading, writing and speaking skills one semester after the student declares his/her intention to major in sociology. All available evidence will be used including results of tests, grades received in courses and information supplied by department members. Students may be required to demonstrate communication proficiency either by providing a portfolio of their writing or by writing an essay on a broad topic of sociological significance. Students who need to strengthen their communication skills may receive an outline of procedures that may include taking composition courses, developmental reading or speaking courses and working with the skills center.

Major and minor restrictions

Cultural anthropology majors may not declare a sociology minor. Sociology majors may not declare a cultural anthropology minor.

Sociology Major Requirements (36 credits)

  1.  Complete all of the following:
    SOC 120 Principles of Sociology (3)
    SOC 248 Statistics for Sociologists (4)
    SOC 350  Methods of Social Research (4)
    SOC 450 Sociological Theory (4)
    SOC 485 Senior Seminar (4)
  2. Complete an additional 17 credits of sociology (SOC) or anthropology (ANTH) elective courses (at least 6 of these 17 credits must be at the 300-400 level)


Sociology Minor Requirements (18 credits)

Complete 18 credits of SOC and/or ANTH courses, with at least 6 credits at the 300-400 level.