Sociology Department Chair:Sheila Nelson

Sociology Faculty: Richard Albares, Janet Hope, Jeffrey Kamakahi, James Makepeace, Sheila Nelson, Jessica O'Reilly

Sociology studies groups, the ways people behave in groups and how an individual's attitudes and actions are influenced by them. These include families, schools, religious associations, peer groups, political parties, and work organizations. Thus, sociologists are called on to interpret group conflicts, the assimilation (or non-assimilation) of new persons into a social system and the patterned behavior of people in organizations, to give just a few examples.

The discipline of sociology encompasses many of the particular interests and methods of the other social sciences and of some humanistic fields as well. In doing this, sociology does not replace those disciplines; rather it complements them. Sociology's goals are to chart the interconnections between the various realms of thought and conduct, to find the balance between social and individual components in personal identity and to locate the social origins of harmony and strife in every area of experience.

Sociologists work professionally as researchers, policy consultants, professors, technicians in private and governmental agencies and in personnel or industrial counseling. Individual courses in sociology help prepare students to work in a variety of fields such as public policy, social service, law, education, health, counseling, human resources and corrections.


The Sociology Department utilizes a process of course-embedded assessment. Various departmental objectives are assessed through assignments given in the courses which have primary responsibility for those specific objectives. 


The sociology department offers a major in sociology and a concentration in family studies.

Major in Sociology (40 credits)
Required Courses:
111, 201, 204, 302,396 and 20 additional credits in sociology.

Major in Sociology with a Concentration in Family Studies (48 credits)
Required Courses:
1. 111, 201, 204, 302, 329, 367, 396
2. Choose 3: 229, 250, 330, 351, 355
3. Choose 1: PSYC 360 or HIST 362
4. 2 additional Sociology elective

Minor (20 credits)

Required Courses:
111, 201, 204 and eight additional upper-division credits in sociology.

Courses (SOCI)

111 Introduction to Sociology. (4)
Systematic description and analysis of the creation and composition of groups; development of the sociological imagination as the key to understanding the interconnectedness of individuals, cultures and social institutions.

121 Introduction to Anthropology. (4)
The significance of human physical evolution in relation to social behavior. The rise of culture and the development of specific cultural systems. The elements and dynamics of culture and cultural change. Normally taught Fall semester.

201 Social Statistics. (4)
Conceptualization, measurement and analysis of social scientific variables such as social class, alienation, self-concept. Descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, normal distribution, bivariate correlation and regression, two group testing, ANOVA, MANOVA, nonparametrics, computerized analysis.

204 Contemporary Sociological Theory. (4)
Major 20th century American and European developments in the social sciences. Central ideas and assumptions of the founders of modern sociology, anthropology and psychology: Durkheim, Weber, Mead and Freud. A survey of recent schools of thought and a consideration of the social sciences in society.

229 Intimate Relationships. (4)
Friendships from childhood to adulthood; the development and maintenance of relationships; the impact of social forces on sexual behavior, dating, courtship and mate selection; challenges and issues in intimate relationships. Limited to First and Second Year Students.

250 Social Problems. (4)
This course provides an overview of the sociological study of social problems and issues, both in the United States and in global perspective. The course will exam the nature and causes of social problems as well as possible solutions. Theoretical and methodological perspectives used to analyze social problems will also be considered.

271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

302 Social Research Methods. (4)
Design and conduct of survey, observation, case study, evaluation and experimental research. Consideration of pertinent social and ethical issues. Students design/conduct research. Prerequisite: 201 or permission of instructor.

319 Sex and Gender. (4)
A historical and cultural exploration of the socialization patterns, roles and social expectations, organizational, institutional, and aging experiences of women and men in American society.

329 Family and Society. (4)
Examines he historical development of the family as a social institution, the relationship between families and social class, interpersonal relationships within families, changes in family structure, and the impact of public policy on families. The exact topics covered may vary by instructor.

330 Family Violence. (4)
Analysis of incidence, causes and treatment of major forms of family violence. Includes abuse, neglect and exploitation in parent-child, courtship and marital relationships.

333 Sociology of Medicine and Health Care. (4)
Aspects of the development of Western medicine, medical education, nursing and paramedical personnel, problems of medical practice, hospital organization, doctor-patient relationship, death and dying, and cross-cultural comparisons of illness and disease. Alternate years.

334 Deviant Behavior. (4)
Definition, causes and theories of deviant behavior in the framework of social norms and institutions. Major deviant identities in American society. Prerequisite: 111. Alternate years.

335 Sociology of Religion. (4)
Sociological phenomena of religious expression. Role of religion in society. Sociology of denominational differences and religious communities. Alternate years.

337 Special Areas and Problems in Sociology. (4)
See official class schedule. Offered when needed.

338 World Populations. (4)
Analysis of population statistics, population dynamics and social policy. Some topics covered include: immigration policies; the “limits to growth” controversy, analysis of vital statistics. Alternate years.

340 Criminology and Corrections. (4)
Theoretical causes of criminal behavior. Strengths, limitations, and challenges to the effectiveness of police, judicial, and corrections systems in the U.S. Attention to the role of the media and cultural biases in analyzing the "crime problem."

341 Urban Studies. (4)
An overview of the development of community forms and life-styles in central cities and suburbs. Disintegration and renewal. Competition and conflict over territory and services. Churches, schools, pressure groups and parties. Selected policy problems. Attention is paid to cultural, structural and ecological components of urban issues. Alternate years.

342 Social Psychology. (4)
Micro-sociological analysis of interaction in social settings. Varied topics considered with special emphasis upon research findings as illustrations of theories considered. Perspectives could include symbolic interaction, exchange and phenomenology.

351 Race and Ethnic Groups in the United States. (4)
The current situation of and issues concerning African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Jews and other races and ethnic groups.

353 Political Sociology. (4)
Political participation, power and ideology as expressed in political structures and processes. Voting, political parties, social movements. Alternate years.

355 Social Gerontology. (4)
Study of the later years of life from a life-course perspective which views aging as a life-long process. Exploration of how social institutions shape the process of aging in society, the role of social policy in defining old age and the impact of social forces on the aging process. Alternate years.

357 Sociology of Education. (4)
Examines the social factors affecting learning and educational processes. Considers the relationship between types of societies and systems of education and the rise of education as a social institution, the links between schools and social stratification, and the contribution of schools to the preservation of the social order. Prerequisite: 111. Alternate years.

367 Advanced Topics in Sociology. (4)
An in-depth examination of an area or issue that provides students with an opportunity to critically examine the sociological literature and to produce a scholarly research paper pertinent to the topic. Topics will vary depending on the instructor (see Class Schedule), but students will be expected to apply previously acquired sociological knowledge and skills to the content of the course. Prerequisites:  Sociology major and upper-division standing or permission of instructor.

371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year or second-year students.

396 Sociology Capstone. (4)
An integrative academic experience which engages majors in key debates and issues of concern to sociologists. In addition, the capstone prepares them for the transition to graduate school and/or explores the applicability of sociology in the workplace. Students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of core concepts, theoretical perspectives, and methods of the discipline.  Emphasis placed on critical reading of scholarly journals and on student participation in sociological discourse. Topics determined by expertise of the faculty. Prerequisites: Sociology major and senior standing or consent of instructor. 

397 Internship. (1-8)
Supervised field work and experience in a variety of social, administrative and research settings. Subject to approval of faculty advisor and department chair and completion of the pre-internship seminar. S/U grading. No more than 4 credit hours may be applied to the major.

398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in Sociology." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398.