Sociology is the study of social life, seeking to develop theories about how social life works and test these theories against evidence. It seeks to understand all aspects of human social behavior, including the behavior of individuals as well as the social dynamics of small groups, large organizations, communities, institutions, and entire societies. Students of sociology study a broad array of topics including social networks, gender roles and relationships, family structure and behavior, interpersonal relationships and processes, urban development, historical societies and economies, rural social trends, social movements, gang violence, current immigration issues, race and ethnic relations, and crime and incarceration. Sociology looks for what is universal as well as what varies across societies and groups and courses explore social change and provide a lens into the complexity of the causes and consequences of human behavior. The results of sociological investigations help develop new theories and inform social policy, programs, and laws.
Sociology crosses with many other disciplines, but it is unusual in its concern with the interrelation of social forces studied in isolation elsewhere. Economics and politics, for example, are common concerns of sociologists; but the difference is that Sociology tends to approach these issues as part of a complex whole rather than independent features of humanity. It is concerned foremost with social interactions. Sociology’s breadth seems particularly valuable in our increasingly global, inter-dependent world.
Students who major in sociology learn to deal creatively with new and challenging problems and are typically motivated both by the desire to better understand the fundamental principles of social life as well as by the conviction that an understanding of these principles may aid in the formulation of more enlightened and effective social policy. Sociology thus provides the strong intellectual background for students to enter a wide range of occupational areas, in government agencies, social service institutions, law enforcement agencies, and business. Sociologists may conduct training programs and contract research for businesses and organizations. They may propose and evaluate various personnel and industrial relations programs and some are labor relations experts who serve as mediators of work disputes. Many work in the non-profit sector, some launching their own philanthropic organizations.
For major requirements and individual course descriptions, go to the College Catalog