The sociology major is built around the core concept of sociological imagination, which is the ability to see the connection between individual life chances and larger social forces. This is particularly relevant for future teachers who want to have a better understanding of the diverse students in their classrooms. How much of what happens to us is a result of personal motivation and abilities versus being shaped by the time period and social-historical context of when we live our lives? The major provides a rigorous grounding in critical thinking, research, and communication through a set of five required classes which form the foundation upon which students build a track of electives based on their individual interests. The sociology major offers a wide range of electives for majors to choose from, which include faculty expertise and multiple courses available about the role of technology in society, environmental issues, and the sociology of everyday life. Both required and elective coursework emphasizes the importance of race, class, and gender in shaping life chances, both in day to day life and in people’s experiences with social institutions such as education, medicine, the family, mass media, the criminal justice system, and the economy. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of collective action in being changemakers for a more equitable society.
Sociology consists of more than study in the classroom. Students (and professors) volunteer in the local community and complete internships at local non-profits, schools, hospitals, radio stations, social services organizations, and other locations. Internships are supported through the Urlaub Fellowship, which covers the cost of a 3-credit internship for one junior or senior sociology major each year. A strong grounding in research methods, communication and critical thinking prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Many students combine sociology with the inclusive childhood/middle childhood education major and become teachers. Others go on to attend graduate school or to work in such fields as counseling, higher education administration, human resources, marketing & communications, social services, business and international relations.
Students seeking initial certification at the early childhood and childhood levels may double major in Sociology and Inclusive Early Childhood/Childhood Education. Students in this double major are required to have a minimum overall GPA of 2.7 before moving into INCH coursework which typically begins fall semester of the junior year.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students will be able to analyze systems of privilege, with particular emphasis on the ways in which race, class, and gender shape social and cultural life.
- Students will be able to describe and evaluate the role of scientific method in investigating and understanding the social world.
- Students will be able to discuss the role of culture and the social structure in our lives and the lives of others.
- Students will be able to explain the influence of gender, class, and racial inequalities on individual life chances and experiences.
- Students will be able to articulate the role of theory in sociology and explain how sociological theory contributes to understanding of the social world.