About the Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology is housed within the School of Social Sciences. The School of Social Sciences offers knowledge and skills that prepare our graduates to live richly rewarding personal, professional, and social lives while understanding and appreciating human complexity in a global society.

What is Sociology?

Sociological research attempts to improve the human condition within the context of a strong tradition of social justice and human equality. Society shapes attitudes, goals, hopes and aspirations, and personal preferences. Society affects individuals, groups, and entire nations. Yet at the same time that society is shaping the individual, the individual is shaping society. In order to understand oneself and others, to understand the world, to understand the future, one has to understand society. Sociology is the discipline that studies groups and societies—what they are, how they got that way, and what impact they have.

Learning Goals for the Department of Sociology

  • Sociological Imagination: To develop an understanding of the role of individuals in shaping society and, reciprocally, the role of society in shaping the lives of individuals who live in it.

  • Coverage of Core Substantive Areas: To develop basic theoretical, historical and substantive knowledge of at least three of five core areas of sociology-- Microsociology, Organizations and Institutions, Macrosociology, Culture, and Transnational Sociology.

  • Theoretical Depth: To master central classical theories of sociology, the ability to critique and restate them, and the ability to employ them as frameworks for original research.

  • Methodological and Analytic Depth: To formulate critical and analytic questions about society; to investigate these independently through original research applying one or more sociological methodologies.

  • Ethical Awareness: To develop a sensitivity to and awareness of ethical constraints, responsibilities, and dilemmas relative to humans and their place in nature, and inherent in the practice of sociology.

  • Social Justice: To become well informed citizens of the planet with a respect for human life, human rights, and social justice in all of its many forms; to acquire the tools to be responsible, involved and active citizens.