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Sociology Curriculum


11 courses

SOCI 110, 236 or 237, 240, 244, 330 or 331, 400

and five (5) other (elective) courses, three of which must be in the student's thematic area; upon approval, one of the thematic courses may be taken outside of the department.


Six courses, including 110, 240 or 244, and 330 or 331.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Sociology major was designed with the hope and expectation that all of our students would spend a semester or year abroad. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did spend a year abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as they followed a few guidelines.

The guidelines are written for the entering student who knows they want to major in Sociology. Rather than specify the courses that you "must" have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major - this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year.

First Year
SOCI 110
A 200-level elective
Foreign language—depending on where you may want to study abroad

Sophomore Year
SOCI 240: Qualitative Research Methods
Inequality, either SOCI 236: Inequalities in the U.S. or SOCI 237: Global Inequality
One elective and either SOCI 244: Quantitative Data Analysis or Theory SOCI 300 or 331

Begin thinking about your thematic in consultation with your advisor

Junior Year
Theory, either SOCI 330: Classical Theory (Fall) or SOCI 331: Contemporary Theory (Spring)
SOCI general electives: refer to Academic Bulletin: Sociology
General electives (whether abroad or on campus)

Senior Year
SOCI 400: Senior Seminar (Fall only)
SOCI 405: Senior Thesis (Spring only and requires a proposal by the Friday after Thanksgiving to enroll in this class). See the Sociology Advising Guidelines.
All electives for the major finished
Thematic Statement submitted by spring break of your senior year

For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact a Sociology faculty member. Students not following these guidelines may still be able to study abroad for a year and complete the major.

Thematic Statement
Each student is required to develop a thematic or focus within the field of sociology. By spring break of the final semester, the student should submit a thematic statement to their advisor that articulates how their (minimum of) three courses relate to one another in ways that fulfill the thematic.

  • Thematic Statement (1-2 pages): The first paragraph should describe your thematic focus; subsequent paragraphs should identify and describe how those courses contribute to your thematic focus.
  • You will want to consult with your academic advisor along the way as you begin to plan out your thematic. Possible thematic foci could be: social movements, social policy, social justice, race and ethnic studies, class, community studies, gender, inequality, health, environmental sociology, education, family, religion, globalization, sustainability.


Honors may be granted in Sociology for a well-researched, analytically sophisticated, and finely crafted thesis within the range of 50 to 100 pages. Students should begin discussing the possibility of an honors thesis in the early fall of their senior year at the latest and register for SOCI 405 for the spring. A proposal with preliminary bibliography is due by the week after Thanksgiving to the faculty teaching SOCI 405, the advanced research seminar. Students will work closely with the faculty teaching 405 but may seek guidance from other members of the faculty both within and outside the department. Only the best projects will be granted Honors, but any student who completes the project will receive credit for SOCI 405.  Detailed guidelines are available on the department's web page.

Co-curricular activities/programs

Many sociology students also take advantage of the interdisciplinary and often globally integrated Mosaic programs that are offered. For more information about current and upcoming Mosaics, see the Community Studies website.


110 Social Analysis
Selected topics in the empirical study of the ways in which people's character and life choices are affected by variations in the organization of their society and of the activities by which social arrangements varying in their adequacy to human needs are perpetuated or changed.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences, US Diversity

222 The Family Phenomenon
In both the ideal and real worlds, the family is credited with producing social leaders and blamed for creating social misfits. Social scientists, policy makers, and writers have focused on the family as a central and powerful social institution. This course explores the nature and role of families, and how families vary across cultures and over time. The course will address such topics as socialization, gender, work-family issues, and domestic violence.
Attributes: Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences

224 Families and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective
In this comparative course in family systems, we will study the impact of production and politics on family life in various cultures, including Africa, Latin America, the Far East and the United States. The course uses ethnographic studies and documentaries to illuminate the impact of the political economy on family life, the life course, and gender roles and relationships. Various theories of development will place the ethnographies into socio-political and historical context.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Appropriate for First-Year, Global Diversity, Social Sciences

225 Race and Ethnicity
This course explores the historical and contemporary significance of race and ethnicity in the United States. Students will examine how racial inequality has become a pervasive aspect of U.S. society and why it continues to impact our life chances. We will address race and ethnicity as socio-historical concepts and consider how these “social fictions” (in collusion with gender, class, and sexuality) produce very real material conditions in everyday life. We will develop a theoretical vocabulary for discussing racial stratification by examining concepts such as prejudice, discrimination, systemic/institutional racism, racial formations, and racial hegemony. We will then look closely at colorblind racism, and examine how this dominant ideology naturalizes social inequality. With this framework in place, students will investigate racial stratification in relation to schools, the labor market, the criminal justice system, neighborhood segregation, immigration, etc. Finally, we will discuss strategies of anti-racism that seek to eliminate enduring racial hierarchies.
Offered every two years.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences, US Diversity

226 Race, Class, and Gender
Explores the personal, intergroup, and institutional dimensions of race, class and gender as simultaneous and interactive systems of meaning and experience. Examines theories of the economic, social and psychological dynamics of oppression; the social construction and reconstruction of identity; and the nature of racism, classism, and sexism. Social change strategies for eliminating oppression are also explored.
Attributes: Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences

227 Political Economy of Gender
Political Economy of Gender adopts a gender-aware perspective to examine how people secure their livelihoods through labor market and nonmarket work. The course examines the nature of labor market inequalities by gender, race, ethnicity and other social categories, how they are integrated with non-market activities, their wellbeing effects, their role in the macroeconomy, and the impact of macroeconomic policies on these work inequalities. These questions are examined from the perspective of feminist economics that has emerged since the early 1990s as a heterodox economics discourse, critical of both mainstream and gender-blind heterodox economics. While we will pay special attention to the US economy, our starting point is that there is one world economy with connections between the global South and the North, in spite of the structural differences between (and within) these regions.
For ECON 230: ECON 111 (ECON 112 recommended); For SOCI 227: SOCI 110 or ECON 111; For WGSS 202: none (ECON 111 recommended). This course is cross-listed as ECON 230 & WGSS 202.
Attributes: AMST Representation Elective, AMST Struct & Instit Elective, INST World Economy & Developmt, LAWP Policy Elective, Social Sciences, Sustainability Connections, US Diversity, WGSS Intersect/Instit/Power, Writing in the Discipline

228 Sociology of Sexualities
This course explores the social origins of sexual behaviors, identities, and desires. We will investigate how sexuality intersects with other social hierarchies including race, gender, and class. Our current frameworks for understanding sexuality and sexual identity are the product of social, political, and economic forces, and reflect the common sense of a particular historical moment. We will consider a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of sexuality and explore more closely how these perspectives inform the analysis of contemporary sexual issues.
Offered every two years.
Attributes: NRSC Non-Div 3 Elective, Social Sciences

230 Selected Topics in Sociology
Courses which examine special topics in sociology and will include on a regular basis, Labor History, Comparative Race & Ethnicity, and Conflict Resolution.
Attributes: Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences

233 Asian American Communities
This class is designed to move from theoretical understandings of “race,” and racial identity as it operates in our everyday lives to larger, structural determinants of race with special attention to the unique position of Asian Americans in U.S. race relations. This course focuses on social relations, political identities and activism, immigration and labor experiences to explore the ways Asian Americans have contributed to our larger histories as Americans. Broken down into three sections, this class analyzes the position of Asian Americans in the following interconnected contexts: (a) Asian Americans in relation to dominant society, (b) Asian Americans in relation to other communities of color, and (c) pan-Asian relations.
Offered every year.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Social Sciences, US Diversity

234 Middle Eastern American Communities
This interdisciplinary course considers the history of Middle Eastern American communities, and the related development of "Islamophobia." We survey the history of the diverse immigrant communities that trace their heritage to a vast region of the world, the variously defined "Middle East." In the 1990s, Islamophobia emerged as a controversial concept after decades of discussion around Orientalism and anti-Arab racism. Today, some see Islamophobia as a catch-all concept for discrediting necessary anti-terrorism measures like profiling, surveillance, and wiretaps. Others see Islamophobia as fitting into a pattern of racialized scapegoating, where people experience violence and discrimination. Topics for discussion include ethnic group and identity formation, the "war on terror," connections between domestic and international US policy, and civil rights advocacy.
This course is cross-listed as MEST 234. Offered every two years.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Appropriate for First-Year, Middle East Social Science, Social Sciences, US Diversity

236 Inequalities in the U.S.
This course takes a critical look at the layers of American society that shape, construct, and inhibit the basic pursuit for equality of opportunity. Students will be asked to examine how the three most fundamental elements of social stratification (race, class, gender) function both separately and in tandem to organize systems of inequality. The course uses theoretical and practical applications of stratification to evaluate how social constructions of difference influence the institutions and social policy. Additionally, class discussions will also consider how the forces of racism, sexism, and classism impact the attainment of basic needs, such as wages, health care and housing.
Offered every year.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Appropriate for First-Year, Social Sciences, US Diversity

237 Global Inequality
Exploring the relationship between globalization and inequality, this course examines the complex forces driving the integration of ideas, people, societies and economies worldwide. This inquiry into global disparities will consider the complexities of growth, poverty reduction, and the roles of international organizations. Among the global issues under scrutiny, will be environmental degradation; debt forgiveness; land distribution; sweatshops, labor practices and standards; slavery in the global economy; and the vulnerability of the world's children. Under specific investigation will be the social construction and processes of marginalization, disenfranchisement and the effects of globalization that have reinforced the division between the world's rich and poor.
Offered every year.
Attributes: Appropriate for First-Year, ENST Env Stud Spec (ESSP), Global Diversity, Social Sciences

238 Consumer Culture
The sociology of consumerism is a major specialty in European sociology, and is only recently receiving attention by American sociologists. In this class, we will examine the increasing importance of consumerism in daily life and the degree to which culture has become commercialized. We will discuss the sign value of commodities, as well as the shift from a stratification system based on the relationship of the means of production to one based on styles and patterns of consumption. We will also concern ourselves with the relationships between consumption and more traditional sociological concerns such as gender, race, and social class.
Offered every two years.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Social Sciences

239 Work and Occupations
"Never Work just for money or for power. They won't save your soul or help you sleep at night" (Marian Wright Edelman). The problem is, work is all of those things: our livelihood, our mobility, and our identity. This course is a sociological examination of how we structure, fill and define work in the United States. Course material will investigate how occupational positions have come to define American Social stratification in terms of prestige, skill and distributed rewards. Specifically, class discussions will be concerned with who occupies certain positions, how we socially construct occupational opportunities, and how this impacts life circumstances according to race, gender, and class. The goal is to understand, through the use of both theory and contemporary application, how the nature of work and occupations shapes our daily lives.
Offered every two years.
Attributes: Social Sciences

240 Qualitative Methods
This course introduces students to the theory and methods of social science research, beginning with an examination of the philosophies underlying various research methodologies. The course then focuses on ethnographic field methods, introducing students to the techniques of participant observation, structured and informal interviewing, oral histories, sociometrics, and content analysis. Students will design their own field projects.
Prerequisite: 110.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective

244 Quantitative Research Methods
Quantitative Research Methods introduces students to basic principles of sociological research methodologies and statistical analysis. Students learn to conceptualize a research question, operationalize key concepts, identify relevant literature, and form research hypotheses. Then, using elementary tools of descriptive and inferential statistics, they choose appropriate statistical methods, analyze data, and draw meaningful conclusions. Special emphasis is given to interpreting numbers with clear, persuasive language, in both oral and written formats. Students will become proficient in using quantitative software for data analysis.
Two and a half hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisite: 110.
Attributes: LPPM Empirical Social Analysis, Quantitative Reasoning

260 Ethnography of Jewish Experience
Drawing upon ethnographies of Jewish communities around the world, this course focuses on such questions as: What is Jewish culture? What is common to Jewish cultural experiences across time and place? How might we understand the variability and local adaptations of Jewish life? These are the guiding questions and issues for this course, all to be considered within multiple contexts-- from pastoral and agricultural roots to modern urban experience, from Middle Eastern origins to a Diaspora experience stretching across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
This course is cross-listed as JDST 220 and RELG 260.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Humanities, Judaic Studies Elective, Social Sciences

270 Social Movements, Protest and Conflict
The study of protest politics and social movements is the study of collective agency. Social movements arise when people act together to promote or resist social change. Movements represent not only grievances on a particular set of issues, but also frustration with more established political forms of making claims in societies. In this course, we will engage with some of the large theoretical debates in the study of social movements, reading both empirical treatments of particular movements and theoretical treatments of key issues. The featured case studies will include civil rights, feminism, ecology, the antinuclear movement, the New Right and the alternative globalization movement. We will be particularly concerned with the social and political context of protest, focusing on basic questions, such as: under what circumstances do social movements emerge? How do dissidents choose political tactics and strategies? And how do movements affect social and political change?
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, LAWP Policy Elective, Social Sciences, US Diversity

271 Comparative Social Policy
This course will look at social policy in a comparative and global perspective. Gender, race, class and colonization will inform our comparison of policies and policy systems. This course also explores the increasing internationalization of social policy and the advent of a new "global social policy," whereby international organizations play a powerful role in shaping welfare state development in the developing world and in post-communist states. Topics covered will include comparative methodology; and international variation in formulation and response to issues, such as international variation in formulation and response to issues, such as employment, housing, domestic violence, poverty, health, and child welfare.
Offered every two years.
Attributes: LAWP Policy Elective, PMGT International Policy, Social Sciences

272 Islam and the West
This course examines the contemporary relationship between the Islamic world and the Western world. In recent years, many interpretations of this relationship have developed, with some claiming a clash of civilizations is underway. The course critically engages the rapidly growing literature on this topic, while providing an introduction to the sociology of religion, an examination of so-called Western values and their Islamic counterparts, an analysis of key moments in recent history, and finally a survey of minority Muslim communities in the West.
This course is cross-listed as MEST 272. Offered every year.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Global Diversity, Middle East Social Science, Social Sciences

310 Immigration Politics: Gender, Race and Sexuality in Contemporary Migration
Why do global controversies over immigration so often center on migrant women’s fertility and their children’s access to government benefits? Why do some countries accept LGBTQ migrants but deny them the right to adopt, use assisted reproductive technologies, or extend citizenship to their children? How are efforts to limit marriage-and-family based migration racialized and classed? What are the gendered implications when nurses are a country’s central export? Could building a border wall or sending refugees back stop unwanted immigration? This course examines how intersecting gender, sexual and ethnic hierarchies shape and are shaped by immigration. Applying insights from feminist and queer theories of migration, students will explore how the gendered processes surrounding immigration craft concepts of nation, borders and citizenship. Readings and films examine how racial and sexual norms are renegotiated through the selection and regulation of immigrants. Central to our investigation is how transnational and economic forces compel migration, reshaping understandings of national belonging, workplaces, and family in the process. We will particularly consider how migrants negotiate multiple marginalizations, and in turn refashion understandings of community, identities, culture, and politics. An interdisciplinary framework combines sociological, historical, legal, activist, media, literary and artistic accounts.
Prerequisite: One WGSS or SOCI course, or permission of instructor; not appropriate for first-year students.
Cross-listed as WGSS 310.

Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, INST Global Security, LAWP Policy Elective, Security Studies Course, Social Sciences, Sustainability Connections, US Diversity, WGSS Hist/Theories/Represent, WGSS Transntl/Global Perspect, WGST 300 Equivalent

312 Contemporary Human Trafficking
This class serves as an introduction to contemporary issues of human trafficking in the United States and globally. Human trafficking, including both commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, is an extremely complex crime and human rights violation that demands multi-faceted, interdisciplinary responses. Topics for discussion will include demand, vulnerability factors, governmental and non-governmental organizational responses, criminal justice systems, support and services for survivors, prevention efforts, and literary and cultural representations of human trafficking.
Prerequisite: One WGSS course or permission of instructor.
Cross-listed as WGSS 312.

Attributes: INST Global Security, Security Studies Course, Social Sciences, WGSS Transntl/Global Perspect

313 Special Topics
This course will focus on various specialized topics within Sociology, such as “Hegemony,” “The Oral History of the LGBT Community,” and “Immigration Politics.”
Prerequisite dependent upon topic.
Attributes: Social Sciences

325 Race, Family, and the Politics of Multiraciality
This course examines the family as a social institution through which norms of racial distance and segregation have been vigorously upheld. We consider the political and economic investment in separating White families from African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and later groups of immigrants, and pay special attention to how gender and sexuality were constructed in the service of these interests. Students will then explore more contemporary patterns of interracial families (including transracial adoptions), examining the experiences of those who have transgressed intimate racial boundaries or grown up in “mixed” families. We will analyze how interracial families blur racial categories and critically examine the politics of multiraciality as an identity and a social movement.
Prerequisites: Either 110, 224, 225, 236 OR AFST 100 or 200. Offered every two years.
Attributes: Social Sciences

327 Sex, Gender, and Religion
Exploring the interactions between religious and gender and sexuality, this course examines: how various religious traditions perceive sexuality and gender; the ways in which religion influences social policy both within the United States and globally; and the impact this has on individuals, families, and societies. The course focuses on contemporary concerns, while offering a comparative (historical and cross-cultural) introduction to these issues across several religious traditions. Particular emphasis is given to religious fundamentalisms across the three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
Prerequisites: Either 110, 222, 224, 228 or 310, or one course from WGSS or RELG, or permission of the instructor. Offered every two years.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective, Social Sciences, WGSS Hist/Theories/Represent, WGSS Intersect/Instit/Power

330 Classical Sociological Theory
This course will examine alternative ways of understanding the human being, society, and culture as they have been presented in classical sociological theory (through 1925). It will focus on the theoretical logic of accounting for simple and complex forms of social life, interactions between social processes and individual and group identities, major and minor changes in society and culture, and the linkages between intimate and large-scale human experience.
Prerequisite: 110 and one additional course in sociology, or permission of instructor. Offered every fall.
Attributes: Social Sciences

331 Contemporary Sociological Theory
This course will examine alternative ways of understanding the human being, society, and culture as they have been presented in contemporary sociological theory (1925-present). It will focus on the theoretical logic of accounting for simple and complex forms of social life, interactions between social processes and individual and group identities, major and minor changes in society and culture, and the linkages between intimate and large-scale human experience.
Prerequisite: 110 and one additional course in sociology, or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.
Attributes: AMST Struct & Instit Elective

333 The Sociology of Health and Illness
This course is an examination of the theories and practices that constitute a sociological understanding of medicine, health, and illness. Social epidemiology, health care systems, stigma, medicalization, suffering, and death, are some of the phenomena considered. Offered every two years.
Attributes: Health Studies Elective, NRSC Non-Div 3 Elective, Social Sciences

344 Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis
This course is intended for the social science major who is interested in a deeper exploration of the topics and techniques covered in an introductory course on social research methods. Students taking this course will have the opportunity to design their own research study, either by collecting original data or by using a secondary data source (such as the General Social Survey). The semester-long project will provide in-depth instruction on survey design, data collection, and data entry. Additionally, students will use the SPSS statistical package to comprehensively analyze data, from descriptive results to multiple regression.
Prerequisite: 244, or the equivalent. Offered every two years.

400 Sociology Seminar
A specialized seminar, intended to relate a broad area of theoretical concern to the problems and procedures of current research. Regularly offered topics: Measuring Race and Racism; Women, Culture, and Development; Sociology of Violence; Language and Power: Foucault and Bourdieu; American Society; Race and Ethnic Theory; Sexualities; Postmodernism, Culture, and Communication.
Prerequisite:110 and at least one from the list of required courses (SOCI 236, SOCI 240, SOCI 244, SOCI 330, or SOCI 331). Offered every fall.
Attributes: Social Sciences

405 Senior Thesis
Independent study, in consultation with a specially constituted faculty committee, of a problem area chosen by the student. The student should, in addition to pursuing his/her own interests, also seek to demonstrate how various perspectives within sociology and, where relevant, other disciplines bear on the topic chosen. Permission of the instructor required.
Attributes: Social Sciences