Sociology departmental information

Sociology is about people and their patterns; it seeks to understand and account for the complexities of human interaction and patterns of social life. It focuses on relations among people, groups, organizations, classes, cultures, and society. Sociology scientifically explores and analyzes issues vital to our personal lives, our communities, our society, and the world. In short, it involves all aspects of human experience and activity. Almost any aspect of how human beings gather together in groups, organizations, and societies can be studied within sociology. The study of sociology provides fascinating and distinctive perspectives on the social world. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: crime and delinquency, family dynamics, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, or global issues of peace and war. Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field with broad implications. Students interested in learning more about the sociology plan for the major or intending to declare a major in sociology should attend an information meeting for prospective majors on one of the dates posted on the department's website.

Special Opportunities. The Department of Sociology offers a wide range of special opportunities for undergraduates to actively engage in the design of their education. These include: major advising, service-learning through Project Community, independent studies with faculty, facilitation of Intergroup Dialogues, the Honors Program, SURO (Sociology Undergraduate Research Opportunities), writing competitions and awards, and a department-supported student organization, the Undergraduate Sociology Association.

Project Community. A number of sociology majors participate in Project Community (SOC 225: Practicum in Sociology), an experiential learning and community service program. Students earn academic credit by reflecting sociologically on their volunteer experience in education, criminal justice, public health, and community organizing settings. Roles open for student volunteers include those of tutors, referral service workers, health care assistants, patient educators, prisoner and youth advocates, and recreational or artistic workshop leaders. This course is an ideal experiential complement to the academic instruction provided by the department. Students, assisted by trained undergraduate coordinators and graduate student instructors, gain useful skills and contacts while serving the needs of the community. Project Community administration is organized by the Ginsberg Center for Community Service. Students can find more information about Project Community at


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