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Sociologists investigate human relationships and interaction at interpersonal, organizational, institutional, societal, and global events.


Sociology provides insight into social relationships such as couples, families, organizations, political institutions, social movements, and nations. It examines social structuring based on race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, religion, age, and class. The study of sociology as part of a liberal education helps students develop a critical understanding of societal forces.


The department presents a wide range of theoretical perspectives. Research areas include health, demography, gender-race-class analysis, social movements, youth, criminology and criminal justice, rural poverty, social welfare, public policy, third world studies, human rights, domestic violence, indigenous rights, and globalization.


In addition to a rich theoretical mix, the department encompasses a broad range of pedagogical approaches. Faculty utilize videos, participant observation exercises, role playing, ethnography, film analysis, computer assisted teaching (SPSS), journal writing, community-based advocacy and service learning, field trips, faculty-student collaborative research, and guest speakers as well as traditional lectures in their teaching.


The department offers courses on race, class, gender, and cultural identity in the U.S. Many of our courses fulfill the requirements for the American Ethnic Studies Program. Race and Ethnicity and Poverty and Affluence are entry level courses for this minor. We also have a departmental affiliation with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and LACS.


Special study opportunities available through the department include off-campus programs in India; Chiapas, Mexico; Ireland; and El Salvador. Other opportunities include social advocacy work with agencies and organizations, internships in related careers in the local community and in other locations throughout the country, and community-service projects. Majors may participate in the College-affiliated GLCA Philadelphia Urban Semester. The Hardy Chair Lecture Program grants students the special opportunity to interact with nationally recognized scholars in sociology.


The sociology major is composed of nine required courses and three electives, or optional three-course concentration.

·         1st year: Introduction to Sociology

·         2nd year: Quantitative and Qualitative analysis

·         3rd year: Classical Theory, Contemporary Theory

·         4th year: Senior Capstone Seminar and Senior Thesis

·         A course each in Social Inequality and Interpersonal Dynamics also is required as part of the sociology major


In addition, a sociology major can fulfill their requirement in one of four concentration areas: Criminal Justice, Social Justice, Community & Advocacy, or Global Studies.  The courses that students may select for completion of these concentrations are listed below.


Criminal Justice                                                     Social Justice

Juvenile Delinquency                                                            Social Movements

Criminology                                                               Human Rights

Policing and Corrections                                            Multiculturalism

Criminal Justice                                                         Children’s Lives

Research in Criminal Justice                                                Teens and Families


Community & Advocacy                                      Global Studies

Teens and Families                                                    Multiculturalism

Women and Social Change                                       Globalization

Introduction to Social Work                                      Race and Ethnicity

Social Movements                                                      Population Ecology

Health and Medicine                                                  Intercultural Experience


A major in sociology prepares students for graduate study in the discipline, as well as in a variety of other fields including law, counseling, teaching, social work, public health, and criminal justice. The understanding of how people interact and behave in groups provides an excellent background for a wide range of careers in such fields as law enforcement, business, education, and government service. In addition, majors have used their background in Sociology to pursue careers in communications, community relations, human resources management, and community organizing and advocacy.



Lori M. Collins-Hall, chair; Katherine O’Donnell; Adam Flint; Reid M.Golden

Adjunct Faculty Hon. Brian D. Burns – Otsego County Judge;

Justine Woolner-Wise, CSW



105 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits) What is sociology? How do

sociologists go about their work? Sociology as a distinctive perspective on

human behavior. The links between personal experience and wider social

forces are explored while covering the main fields of the discipline. (SBA)

111 Controversial Social Issues (3 credits) This course provides students

with an opportunity to be exposed to the controversial social issues of

our time. Throughout the term we will examine several controversial issues, for

example: Should drugs be legalized? Should homosexuality be accepted

by society? Does welfare do more harm than good? In doing so, we will

read the arguments of leading social scientists and then debate the basic assumptions and values of each position.

150 Topics in Sociology (3 credits) Special topics of current interest

will be considered in depth, examples include experiences of children, introductions to  social psychology. (SBA)

155 Children’s Lives (4 credits) Course analyzes impact of social values

on public policy regarding children at local, national, and global levels. It

also is a goal of this course to raise consciousness about the state of the

world’s children and to empower us to work effectively, cooperatively,

and justly with one another and with children and organizations in our

communities. Topics include structural violence including war and kids’

lives; poverty, race, class, and children; global inequities; social

construction of gender; child labor; poverty in the U.S. and Global South;

children’s human rights; justice, equity, and public policy. Substantial

community action/community-based learning component. (SBA)

205 Deviance and Social Control (3 credits) Why deviant and deviant

from what?; by whose standards? Various forms of behavior such as

suicide, alcoholism, homosexuality, mental illness and drug abuse are

studied within the context of American society. Considerable emphasis is placed on social theory that helps to explain the behavior and how it comes to be defined as deviant. This course also examines the social responses to the behavior and the means of social control exerted by the society. Prerequisite: another

sociology course. (SBA)

208 Gender and Sexuality (3 credits) Every society constructs gender

roles and identities, values and norms to regulate the beliefs, feelings and

sexual behaviors of its members. This course seeks to explore many

dimensions of sex and sexuality within American society by providing a

wide variety of approaches to understanding the physical being and its

functioning within the sexual realm. Small group discussion, guest expert

lecturers and panelists, films, role-playing, readings, projects, and field

trips are all employed in producing the variety of approaches. (SBA)

211 Teens and Families (4 credits) Diversity of families, trends in family

change, youth and communities, adolescent identity.  Substantial community-based work with teens is required. (SBA)

225 Human Rights (3 credits) This course will focus on the dramatic post

cold-war transformation of human rights as a focus of social struggle and

will examine the contradictions between the Human Rights standards the

U.S. demands of other countries and its own practices at home and abroad.

Prerequisite: another course in sociology. (NTW) (SBA)

230 Poverty and Affluence in American Society (3 credits) An analysis

of the distribution of wealth, income and power historically and

contemporaneously in American society with emphasis placed upon the

working conditions, living conditions, aspirations, family styles,

organizing capacities and political power of various groups ranging from

the poorest to the most affluent. (SBA)

240 Women and Social Change (4 credits) This course investigates how

societies structure gender and how race, class, and gender intersect. It

analyzes gender from interpersonal, interactional, institutional, historical,

and cross-cultural points of view. The goal of the course is to formulate a

theoretical and practical understanding of gender and gender inequality as

it exists today and to develop strategies to create more egalitarian systems.

Community organizing/group work component. Specific topics include:

feminist theory, women of color, political struggles, reproductive justice,

economic justice, body politics. Substantial community-based work is required Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

250 Topics in Sociology (3 or 4 credits) See description for SOC 150. Examples of recent 250 topics courses include, criminal justice, social construction of the drug war, and Irish culture and society. More than one topic may be taken for credit. Prerequisite: Soci 105 or as specified. (SBA)

251 Race and Ethnicity (3 credits) This course examines racial and

ethnic relations in American society. What structural factors allowed for

the relative success of some groups while denying the success of others?

What roles have racism, prejudice and discrimination played in the

American experience? Current issues in U.S. race/ethnic relations also are

explored. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

301 Criminology (3 credits) This course examines criminal behavior and the measures intended to control it.  Major emphasis is placed upon social factors that contribute to such behavior, and criminal justice system efforts to combat criminal behavior.  Attention is also given to current trends in criminal behavior and criminal justice, and the evaluation of these from the perspective of different sociological theories. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

304 Urban Sociology (3 credits) An analysis of the contemporary

American city and cities worldwide with emphasis placed upon the nature

of urban development; urban social problems; and the constellation of

interests, groups, and processes that operate in urban settings. Prerequisite:

another sociology course. (SBA)

310 Classical Social Theory (4 credits) This course is a critical history of

sociological theory with a focus on the work of Marx, Weber, Durkheim,

Simmel, Gilman, and Dubois. In the most basic terms, a social theory

simply is a systematic series of propositions that are used with social

scientific methods to help us understand social problems that are a reality

of our daily existence, quite unconfined by the classroom. Social theory

can help us to comprehend the dynamics of these problems and suggest

ways to resolve them. When divorced from social problems, theory can

seem rather dry or artificial, so throughout the course we will use classical

social theory to analyze contemporary social problems to make clear why

“Sociology is a basic survival skill.” Prerequisite: Soci 105. (SBA)

311 Juvenile Delinquency (3 credits) This course offers an introductory survey of the study of juvenile delinquency and the Juvenile Justice system in the U.S. Crucial to this examination is a framework based upon the understanding of two central issues:  the social definition of adolescent years in American society, and how the justice system treats behavior which society views as unacceptable or deviant.  To this end, this course focuses on: the social status of juveniles of different status positions and the often conflicting expectations and opportunities for those adolescents in contemporary American society, the operation of the juvenile justice system in the formal and informal decision making and processing of that form of juvenile behavior broadly defined as “delinquency,” current dimensions and trends, differing major theoretical perspectives which have been developed to explain juvenile delinquency, and the range of options society has available to help prevent, treat, and/or punish “delinquent” behavior. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

321 Introduction to Social Work (4 credits) Social welfare public policy is undergoing the most significant change since the New Deal.  These changes are based upon competing ideas about the nature of individual and community responsibility. This course explores these ideas to uncover their underlying assumptions, value properties and social impacts on the lives of individuals, groups and communities. To aid in this understanding, this course examines major social concerns including poverty, violence, alcohol and other drug use, mental illness, crime, healthcare issues and discrimination. Throughout this course we examine the roles of social workers in addressing these social “problems.” In addition, this course offers an introduction to case management, group work, community organization and social work administration. A field placement requirement is built into the course. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA) 322 Population and Ecology (3 credits) A study of the social, cultural and environmental forces that affect population trends: the size, growth, composition, distribution, fertility, mortality and migration of human populations. Current historical and cross-cultural problems in population, food, health and environment will be explored. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

330 Language and Society (3 credits) This course involves the

interdisciplinary study and analysis of discourse. It begins by looking at

various theoretical and methodological approaches to the sociological

study of talk. Specific topics include: language acquisition, language and

social control, language in the classroom, race, class, gender, culture and

language. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

331 Sociology of the Media (3 credits) The role of the media and its

effect on democratic politics, culture, and public discourse in the U.S. and

internationally. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

335 Global Studies (4 credits) Studies of selected areas such as Latin

American, Ireland, and Mexico. An examination of the pre-colonial

kinship, economic, political, and religious systems and related ecological

and population patterns; the impact of European expansion upon them; the

rise of independence movements; and contemporary political, economic,

social, ecological, and population patterns all viewed in the perspective of

the world as a system of interdependent societies and states. Prerequisite:

another sociology course. (NTW) or (SBA) (depending on course)

340 Social Movements (4 credits) Throughout human history,

subordinated groups of people have organized social movements to try to

improve their lives and the societies in which they lived. Powerful groups

and institutions generally have resisted these efforts in order to maintain

their own privilege. Although inequalities of power and privilege and

protest activity have always existed, some periods of history are more

likely than others to spawn protest movements. The goal of this course is

to orient students to the sociological analysis of social movements, with a

special emphasis on transnational movements. Central questions for

understanding social movements include: How do social and economic

conditions shape the possibility of social protest? Why do people become

involved in social movements? How are social movements organized?

Why are some movements successful while others fail? How do

movements decide which strategies and tactics to use? How has

accelerated globalization of the international political economy forced

nationally based movements to become transnational? Prerequisite:

another sociology course. (NTW) (SBA)

350 Topics in Sociology (3 or 4 credits) For description see Soci 150. Recent examples include, domestic violence seminar and social construction of the drug war.

380 Labor and Society (3 credits) This course explores work in the

context of sociological, cultural, historical and international forces.

Specific topics include: gender-race-class systems and labor, paid/unpaid

work, international division of labor, government policy, African-

American labor history, work and family issues, cross-cultural labor

contexts. Prerequisite: another sociology course. (SBA)

381 Sociology of Health and Medicine (3 credits) Explores the social

structural conditions of health. Topics covered are: the social distribution

of wellness and illness, the cultural determinants of health and healing,

alternative models of medicine, the impact of social structure and social

policy on health and on the delivery of health services. Prerequisite:

another sociology course. (SBA)

383 Quantitative Analysis (4 credits) This course introduces the central

issues and strategies involved in the collection and analysis of quantitative

data with an emphasis on survey research, experimental designs, and statistical analysis using SPSS. The course is concerned with demonstrating the logic and meaning of statistical procedures and the conditions under which they are meaningful. This course is the “quantitative” half of the department’s two-term requirement in sociological analysis. Both halves give central importance to identifying and developing meaningful research questions, recognizing crucial theory-method linkages, developing research plans, evaluating the credibility of

research findings and presenting the results of one’s research. Prerequisite:

Soci 105. (MLC) (SBA)

385 Qualitative Analysis (4 credits) This course introduces the central

issues and strategies involved in the collection and analysis of qualitative

data with an emphasis on participant-observation, interviews, discourse

analysis, media analysis, ethnography, and participatory action research.

The rationale and theoretical underpinnings of qualitative analysis are

examined together with the practical issues associated with the use of

qualitative methodologies. This course is the “qualitative” half of the

department’s two-term requirement in methods. Both halves give central

importance to identifying and developing meaningful research questions,

recognizing crucial theory-method linkages, developing research plans,

evaluating the credibility of research findings, presenting the results of

one’s research, and ethics. A substantial community action/research component is required. Prerequisite: Soci 105. (SBA)

389 Advanced Methods (3 credits) Advanced statistical techniques such

as regression, path analysis and factor analysis are employed in analyzing

such secondary data as the U.S. Census and the General Social Survey.

The focus is on development and testing of sociological models. This

course is valuable for students planning on entering graduate programs

which include research components. Prerequisites: Soci 105, Soci 383 and

Soci 385. (SBA)

395 Internship (3 credits) See course catalog on internships. Internships in sociology include but are not limited to placements with local community action, social work, criminal justice, law enforcement, human right and youth advocacy programs or organizations. Prerequisite: Soci 105.

396 Supervised Field Placement (3 credits) The student will work in a

supervised field placement. This course’s objective is to enhance the

student’s knowledge and critical understanding of social services delivery

systems and of the people involved with them. Prerequisite: Soci 321.


397 Contemporary Theory (3 credits) The task of this seminar is to

critically examine modern social theory. Social theorists include Bordo,

Bourdieu, Hooks, Freire. Focus is on analysis, critique, evaluation,

synthesis, and application. Prerequisite: Soci 105 or permission of

instructor. (SBA)

441 Research Projects (4 credits) Individual and collaborative research in

sociology. Prerequisites: Soci 105 and permission of instructor.

485 Senior Seminar (3 credits) Course utilizes studies of exemplary

sociological research to model the integration of theory and methods.

Involves individual thesis proposal construction, literature review, thesis

development and preparation for oral defense. Discussion of ethical issues

in research design and uses. Must earn a minimum grade of C.

Prerequisites: Soci 310, 383, 385, 397.

490 Senior Thesis (3 credits) Students are expected to develop a thesis

based on preliminary coursework and demonstrate the ability to integrate

theory and method in sociology. Thesis work is supervised by a faculty

member. Prerequisite: a C or better in Soci 485.



Requirements for the major: With an advisor in the department, design a

program with a minimum of 12 approved courses, distributed as follows:

Required courses:

105 Introduction to Sociology (first year)

310 Classical Theory (junior year) (fall)

383 Quantitative Analysis (sophomore year) (fall)

385 Qualitative Analysis (sophomore year) (spring)

397 Contemporary Theory (junior year) (spring)

485 Senior Seminar (fall)

490 Senior Thesis (Jan. or spring) (Prerequisite: C or better in Senior


One core course in social inequality (sophomore year), such as:

211 Teens and Families

240 Women and Social Change

251 Race and Ethnicity

381 Sociology of Health and Medicine

One core course in interpersonal dynamics (sophomore year), selected


205 Deviance and Social Control

333 Mental Illness

Three additional courses in sociology or a 3-course concentration in

criminal justice, community and advocacy, global studies, or

social justice/human rights.


Grades for all courses taken in sociology are used to calculate the

average in the major for Departmental Distinction. Students also are

required to earn at least A- in Senior Thesis to be eligible for

Departmental Distinction.

Requirements for the minor: With an advisor in the department, design a

program with a minimum of seven approved courses, distributed as


Three core courses:

105 Introduction to Sociology

310 Classical Theory OR 397 Contemporary Theory

383 Quantitative Analysis OR 385 Qualitative Analysis


One course in social inequality

One core course in interpersonal dynamics

Two additional courses in sociology