Bachelor of Arts
The primary objective of the major is to provide students with a better understanding of human society, particularly in the contexts of social structure, economy, and culture. The major encourages students to critically analyze human experience through the prism of social, political, and economic structures and institutions, and to gain insight into the lives of individuals through a culturally sensitive lens. How are our lives as individuals-our material quality of life, our life chances and opportunities, our life styles, our identities and beliefs-potentially shaped by larger social, economic, and cultural systems and processes? Throughout their course of study in the major, and as reflective of the sociology faculty’s broad range of expertise, students will have the opportunity to apply sociological theory, research methods, and empirical scholarship to a wide range of foci, including but not limited to: the intersections of race, class, and gender; inequality; poverty and homelessness; globalization; immigration; violence and crime; politics; education and social policy; social movements and social change; health and medicine; media and technology; and popular culture.
Courses in the major emphasize those skills important to students’ careers: critical thinking, the ability to read and write analytically, to problem-solve, and to communicate orally. More specifically, the major’s objectives are to encourage students to appreciate the unique contribution of the sociological perspective; learn about the history and/or content of the discipline; develop an awareness of sociology and its relationship to the other social sciences and the liberal arts; develop methodological skills necessary to gather and evaluate sociological information; learn how sociological questions and answers influence social policy; develop a level of academic training necessary to pursue advanced studies in graduate and professional school in a variety of fields such as public policy, public health, criminal justice, law, counseling, social service, marketing, public relations, and business; develop a better understanding of their social environments, with special regard to race, class, gender, and other bases of inclusion/exclusion in American society and in other societies; and consequently to provide heightened insight into one’s life, society, and the critical problems of the times.
In addition to traditional and innovative classroom experiences, sociology majors can avail themselves of opportunities for independent study, internships, service experiences in the community, research and senior thesis courses under the supervision of a faculty mentor, and invitations to join our sociology honor society.
Students who major in sociology complete a minimum of 10 courses, including four “core” courses:
- Students also must complete six electives and are encouraged to spread their electives over a wide range of sociological topics.
- Ordinarily, the Research Methods and Theory courses must be completed by the end of the junior year.
- and/or are strongly recommended in the junior or senior year.