Academic program

The curriculum in sociology is designed to introduce students to a sociological perspective, which explores social structures and their intersections with individual lives. Courses address a wide range of social phenomena, from patterns of everyday interaction to social and political revolutions. Sociology as a discipline focuses on recognizing and analyzing social determinants that shape our lives. That focus offers a unique potential not only for understanding society, but also for social action and social change.

The courses offered in sociology include a variety of 100- and 200-level courses introducing sociology and many of the specific topics and issues addressed by sociologists. Most 200-level courses are open to first-year students and have no prerequisites. The core courses for the major and minor also begin at the 200 level. These core courses focus on developing the skills and tools necessary for a more advanced application of a sociological perspective, preparing students for junior-senior research seminars at the 300 level.

The methods and substantive areas of sociology provide an excellent background for a wide range of careers in fields such as government, public policy, law, social research, community work, social activism, health, human services, social work, counseling, education, business, personnel, advertising, and market research, as well as a strong foundation for graduate study in sociology and a variety of applied or related areas including law, criminal justice, social work, business, public policy and public administration, urban and community planning, health care administration, public health, education, survey research administration, and journalism.

A handbook describing the major and minor in greater detail, including additional career information, is available from the department chair. More information on the department and an electronic version of the handbook are also available on the website (

Major Requirements. Students majoring in sociology must complete eleven courses: SOC 204, 205, two junior-senior research seminars (SOC 395), and a senior thesis. Major in the Class of 2014 take any additional six courses in the Department of Sociology. Majors in the Class of 2015 and beyond must complete the senior capstone course (SOC 405) plus any additional five sociology courses. The additional courses may include one Short Term sociology course; an independent study in sociology also may be taken to fulfill the major. Majors planning to study abroad should consult the FAQs for study abroad on the department's website (

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Minor Requirements for the Classes of 2014 and 2015 only. A minor in sociology is available to members of the classes of 2014 and 2015 only. The requirements for the minor are: SOC 204, 205, one junior-senior research seminar (SOC 395), and any three additional courses in the Department of Sociology (a Short Term course in the department may be substituted for one of these courses).

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the minor.

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