People & Society




About the Sociology Program

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and human behavior. 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 Sociology 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 intersects with many other disciplines. 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 system, rather than independent features of society. Sociology is concerned foremost with interrogating how social institutions and social structure shape individuals’ and groups’ experiences, identities, social locations, and life chances. Sociology’s breadth is particularly valuable in our increasingly global, interdependent 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, effective, equity-minded social policy.

Sociology provides a strong intellectual foundation for students to enter a wide range of occupational areas, including social research, policy analysis, government agencies, social and human services, counseling, community planning, health services, market research, public relations, journalism, teaching, law and criminal justice, and nonprofit organizations.

Transfer Preparation

Many colleges and universities offer baccalaureate degrees in this field. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university need to know which courses completed at Santa Monica College will be accepted at the specific college/university. Please consult a Counselor. SMC has transfer articulation agreements with the many UC and CSU campuses, as well as many private and out-of-state institutions.

Degrees and Certificates

Associate in Arts for Transfer - Sociology

18 units + General Education Requirements

This program involves the scientific study of society, social institutions, and social relationships. The course of study provides students the opportunity to acquire skills in research, information gathering, analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving, and written and verbal communication.

Program Map View Requirements

Program Level Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will:

  1. Exhibit strong academic behaviors, evidenced by their timeliness, regular attendance, participation in class activities, adherence to the College Honor Code, and awareness of their opportunities and obligations as students.

  2. Demonstrate through oral and/or written work knowledge of society and human social interaction, including cultural development, the process of socialization, social structure, social stratification, particularly in the areas of social class, race and ethnicity, gender,and social change.

  3. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate evidence and make compelling arguments that identify the social forces impacting a given social problem, and advance reasonable conclusions concerning the explanatory value of dominant sociological paradigms for a given social issue.

Potential Career Options

Counselor Speaking to Student

Need help planning for your major?

Our counselors are here to help you plan your academic classes, goals, and needs.

See an Academic Counselor

Other Resources

Special departmental programs

Other programs

  • Transfer Preparation

Related programs