The Sociology curriculum provides an understanding of the interactions and workings of societies, their institutions, organizations and groups. Through an introduction to the basic concepts, theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches of the discipline, students are familiarized with the sociological imagination, encouraging a deeper understanding of the relationships between personal experience (one's own and others') and the social world. Courses not only acquaint students with diverse cultures and social structures but also emphasize the dynamics of power and inequality on local national and global levels, as they operate through race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. Our curriculum emphasizes the concepts and practice of social justice and public sociology. Built into courses and the curriculum are opportunities for students to develop a sense of social responsibility by critically engaging the social world outside the classroom. The experiential focus of the curriculum includes participation in international study, community-based service and learning, and internships.
The department emphasizes the active engagement of students in sociological inquiry. Toward that end, many courses are designed to teach students the basics of theory construction and methodological processes. Our courses encourage students to make their own discoveries about human social experiences, and all seniors are required to synthesize and apply what they have learned in the completion of a faculty-mentored senior project.
The department offers a variety of support services for student research, including the sociology lab, where advanced majors serve as peer tutors helping others with course papers and research projects. While the department's curriculum provides a strong foundation for graduate work in the discipline, our strength is in the development of strong critical and analytical skills as well as our support of writing and oral presentation skills and computer and visual literacy, all of which are important for success in any chosen life course.
In the tradition of a liberal arts education, the sociology curriculum is designed to promote a sense of curiosity about the diverse ways human create, transform and adapt to their surroundings, self-reflection and appreciation of perspectives and experiences outside their own, and public intellectualism through attentive, creative, articulate engagement with community affairs and social issues.