As the scientific study of human social behavior, sociology studies patterns/processes of interaction from that of two individuals to the largest of groups. Courses sharpen the ability to examine social life and social issues with the analytical mind of the sociologist, to inform efforts to understand ourselves and relationships with others, enhance quality of life, and create effective social programs. Sociology contributes to the university mission of preparing students to transform society.
In the spirit of the University mission and the Goals for Baccalaureate graduates, the mission/purpose of the sociology program is to facilitate the completion of a degree for students who indicate an interest in the major of sociology and to help them move toward the profession of their choice or continued study at the graduate level.
Sociology graduates have successfully moved on to job opportunities in:
- Agencies serving youth and families
- Programs serving multicultural clients
- Programs serving elderly clients
- Halfway houses for adults and youth
All components of the criminal justice system including:
- Law enforcement
- Court workers
- Juvenile and adult probation
- Correctional facilities
Sociology graduates have successfully sought and obtained advanced/graduate studies in:
- Social Work
- Administration of Justice
- Public Administration
- Law (Law School)
Two research experiences are built into the sociology major:
The first of these is the Methods of Research course. This course provides student experience with research conducted in the tradition of the social sciences. Students learn the process of research and prepare a research proposal.
The second experience is with the Research and Writing Seminar. This course especially focuses on the importance of researching the existing body of information (or reviewing the literature) about some sociological interest of the student. The results of the review are reported in the first part of the seminar paper--much like the literature review of any research project. A second part of the paper involves a critical analysis of all of the information collected in the literature review.
Much of the sociology program is delivered in a traditional classroom mode. These traditional courses fall into two categories:
Some classes focus on content to share the knowledge of a particular area of social behavior, such as the Sociology of the Family or the American Minorities classes. In content classes students learn about the phenomena, the concepts, the research, and the theories related to the social behavior of interest. This very much reflects the workings of the discipline in that sociologists typically work to develop personal specializations in content areas.
Some classes focus on skills that are important to the practice of sociology. The two skills classes included in the major are Applied Statistics and Methods of Research. The Methods of Research course teaches students how to develop a research project; the Applied Statistics course teaches students how to use statistics in the process of conducting research.
Two courses are offered in a less traditional format. They are Sociological Theory and the Research and Writing Seminar. These classes are unique in that they are usually taken primarily by sociology majors and are smaller in size. The size permits the courses to be offered in a combination lecture/seminar format, and they provide greater opportunity for more individualized activities. This is especially true of the Research and Writing Seminar; in this course, each student identifies a social issue of interest, conducts a literature review, and prepares a capstone paper based on the review.
The Cooperative Education experiences are offered in a nontraditional format. This experience provides students with a unique opportunity to merge their classroom experiences with an experience in a work setting. Most of the experiences are similar to an internship. Typically, the student identifies (with the help of a faculty member) a work site of interest. Arrangements are made, objectives are identified, and the student completes the experience, with a focus on accomplishment of the objectives. These placements provide valuable work experience and an opportunity to gain entrée to a work setting.
Evening offerings are used to accommodate students limited to enrollment in evening courses. This offering makes the program readily available to nontraditional and traditional students alike. The sociology major can be completed in the evenings, and all courses required for the major are incorporated into a two-year rotation.
Sociology provides a flexible 33 credit hour program that responds to a variety of student needs.
The Core: (18 hours)
The core courses provide an introduction to sociology and social issues and develops skills in critical thinking, statistics, research, and writing.
Electives: (15 hours)
Create your own 15 hour combination of sociology courses to meet your unique needs in preparing for the future
Take the Criminal Justice concentration of 15 hours to prepare for positions in the Justice System.
The Criminal Justice Concentration
A degree in Sociology with the Criminal Justice Concentration permits graduates to meet most entry-level positions in the justice system. The concentration provides students with knowledge of the justice system, the cause and nature of criminal behavior, law enforcement, law and the courts, and corrections. Additional criminal justice-related course work is available.
Sociology offers a two-year rotation of courses that permits students to start at any time.
This rotation provides transfer students with the knowledge that they can plan their program to match their own pace and meet their own needs; transfer students with two years finished can complete the program in two years if necessary.
Four-year students can spread the program out, with the knowledge that they can take advantage of two complete rotations of the sociology courses.
Faculty members work closely with students to explore and identify cooperative education experiences--such as work with children, social service agency work, probation, law enforcement, and corrections. The experiences are usually planned for the senior year when students are ready to seek employment. Most of these experiences are completed without pay; however, in addition to helping students test an area of interest for future employment, several cooperative education experiences in sociology have led to employment at the site. Frequently, as an alternative, the placement provides experiences and/or connections that facilitate employment at related sites.