Department of Sociology

The sociology department offers students a framework to view social processes from a grounded and critical perspective. Our curriculum inculcates strong theoretical and methodological skills, and by using the knowledge drawn from the department's thematic areas, students learn ways to apply these skills toward social equity and leadership.

The department emphasizes critical reading, thinking, and writing and offers substantial training in research methods and independent learning. We support interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and thinking and work in collaboration with women's studies, Africana studies, international relations, and related fields toward a well rounded and rigorous liberal arts education. The department attracts students who are committed to social justice as an intellectual and activist pursuit.

Sociology majors are encouraged to study abroad for at least one semester, write a senior thesis or a portfolio, be proficient in a second language in addition to English, and treat community service/activism as integral to their studies. Many of our students continue studies in sociology and related fields at the graduate level, either immediately or in the future.

Programs in this Department:

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of the central concepts from classical and contemporary critical sociological theory; 
  • Understanding multiple dimensions of inequalities in society and how they intersect in people’s lives;
  • Attaining facility with critical thinking and writing, especially through the intertwined lenses of raced, class gender, sexuality and nation; and 
  • Possessing the skills necessary to engage in a thoughtful way with social research and carry out fundamental research tasks. 

Goals and Learning Outcomes

Goal: Understanding central concepts from classical and contemporary critical sociological theory.

Student Outcome:

  • Define theory and describe its role in contributing to sociological knowledge.
  • Describe the historical and cultural contexts in which specific theories where developed.
  • Apply theories or theoretical approaches to at least one area of social life.

Goal: Understand multiple dimensions of inequality in societies, including race, gender, class and sexuality, and how they intersect with individuals' lives.

Student Outcome:

  • Understand the historical origins of oppression in the U.S.A.
  • Understand contemporary struggles in South Africa.
  • Understand how injustices manifest themselves in key social institutions.
  • Understand inequalities as a result of colonial legacies, nationalisms, race, gender, and sexuality, among others.
  • Ability to map linkages between structures of power, especially from the viewpoint of marginalized groups.

Goal: Attain facility in critical thinking and writing, especially through the intertwined lenses of race, gender, class, sexuality and nation.

Student Outcome:

  • Ability to write analytically about social issues.
  • Ability to construct a 15-20 page research paper on a substantive topic.
  • Make an argument based on evidence.
  • Understand to what extent the transnational approach relates to your personal life.
  • View society for alternative or critical perspectives.

Goal: Possess the skills necessary to thoughtfully engage with social research and carry out basic research tasks.

Student Outcome:

  • Design and execute small research projects collecting, analyzing and interpreting qualitative data.
  • Design and execute analyses of quantitative data and present findings in written form.
  • Specify quantitative hypotheses for testing.
  • Interpret univariate and bivariate quantitative results.
  • Use SPSS to analyze quantitative data.
  • Demonstrate literature review skills.