Sociology Courses

SOC-100 Introduction to Sociology3 credits

An introduction to the basic concepts used in the analysis of societies and human group behavior through consideration of the scientific method in: sociology, culture and society, social stratification and human groupings, social change, and collective behavior.

SOC-130 A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: David Foster Wallace and the Sociology of Entertainment3 credits

In the 1990s and 2000s, fiction author David Foster Wallace published a series of essays on Americans' efforts to entertain themselves. The essays consider topics such as television consumption, state fairs, talk radio, and luxury cruiseliners. Challenging, provocative, and funny, Wallace's essays explore rich sociological questions about what drives us to be entertained and how entertainment choices impact our thoughts, identities, and relationships with other people. Students will read and discuss selections from Wallace's work, and the course will culminate in a project that allows students to analyze an entertainment of their own choosing.

SOC-294 Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:One course in sociology

Readings in a specific area of sociology, requiring a formal paper summarizing the study. See independent study guidelines.

SOC-304 The Sociology of Religion3 credits

This course provides students with an opportunity to: 1) gain an overview of the world's major religious traditions from a sociological perspective; 2) explore different facets of "religiosity", including belief, behavior, and identity from a sociological perspective; and 3) consider influential sociological theoretical perspectives on the causes and consequences of various types of religiosity.

SOC-320 Family Sociology3 credits

A study of the history of the family and family systems in primarily industrial societies. Includes romantic love and mate selection, marriage and parenting, family dysfunction, and the criteria for marital success.

SOC-325 Social Interaction and Microsociology3 credits

Sociology is the study of society and social interaction. "Macrosociology" refers to the former, and "microsociology" refers to the latter. In this course, we will consider (1) what drives social interaction, (2) what makes interactions more or less successful, and (3) how small-scale social interactions impact large-scale social phenomena. Students will engage with the work of sociologists such as Georg Simmel, G.H. Mead, and Thomas Scheff. Special emphasis will be placed on the work of Erving Goffman as students examine in detail the dynamics of conformity and deviance. The course will culminate in a project in which students observe and analyze social interactions in the local community.

SOC-330 Criminology and Deviance3 credits

A general survey of crime in the United States. Includes theories of crime and delinquency, societal responses to crime, and the social organization of correctional agencies. Includes field trips to local corrections institutions.

SOC-349 Social Stratification3 credits

An examination of the processes by which people become differentiated from one another and arranged in graded strata based on social class, race, ethnicity, and gender with varying degrees of wealth, power, and prestige. Attention will be given to classical and modern theories explaining the causes and consequences of stratification, as well as to changes in social inequality over time.

SOC-480 Sociological Theories3 credits

Prerequisites:SOC-100 and Sophomore standing

A study of the history and development of theories of society and group behavior. Classical and contemporary sociological theories emphasized.

SOC-494 Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

Intensive reading or field research in a specific area of sociology, requiring a formal paper summarizing the study. See independent study guidelines.

SOC-497 Internship1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

Supervised work or research with approval of department. A term paper or formal report is required. Reading assignments may be required.