Course Descriptions

SO110 Sociological Imagination (3 credits)
Students are taught how to investigate social issues as sociologists do-- by tracing the troubles of men and women back to broader social forces and problems.  The relevance of sociology is demonstrated through examples of applied sociology and through the students’ use of social theory and methods to address social problems. 

SO201 Poverty and Inequality in the U.S. (3 credits)
The aim of this course is for students to develop an understanding of the nature, causes, and consequences of poverty and socio-economic inequality in the contemporary United States.  These problems are examined from theoretical, descriptive, historical, and comparative perspectives.  The intersection of the problems of poverty and inequality with gender, race, ethnicity, and political power are also examined.  Finally, students in this course will have an opportunity to examine critically current public policies designed to deal with the problems of poverty and inequality in American society.  (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO 215 Social Psychology: Macroprocesses (3 credits)
Explores social and cultural forces that influence individual social interaction. Covers components of individual social behavior and interpersonal social behavior. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO216 Changing Families (3 credits)
Examines family in terms of structure, roles, and functions. Emphasis is on understanding: family life cycles; the shift in perspective about the family; the conflict between family values and individual values; the interplay between individual families and the larger society; and the flexibility and diversity of the family as an institution. (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO 224 Social Capital & Civil Society (3 credits)
Centered on Putnam’s influential Bowling Alone (2001), this course examines the concept of social capital and the role of social capital in the building and maintenance of community life and civil society.  Prerequisite: SO 110 

SO 233 Aging in America (3 credits)
The aging of the American population is the subject of this course. Emphasis is placed on the imminent retirement of the “baby boomers” and its impact on the structures of society and future generations. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO 234 Sociology of Health and Health Care (3 credits)
Focuses on the social nature of illness in contemporary society, the changing health care system and the ethical issues raised by advances in medical technology. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO 237 Deviance and Social Control (3 credits)
Explores the creation of deviance, the process of becoming deviant and society’s reactions to such issues as civil disorder, crime, mental illness, addiction and sexual deviance. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO238 Youth and Contemporary Society (3 credits) 
The idea of this course is to analyze youth as a stage in life made both promising and problematic by contemporary social structure and culture.  Attention is given to the origins and forms of youthful conformity and achievement as well as misconduct and crime, with an emphasis on how those things differ by gender, social class, race/ethnicity, and variations in the organizations and social institutions which constitute the context of daily life for youth. (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO239 Diversity and Oppression in Contemporary Society (3 credits)
Emphasis in this course is on human diversity.  It is designed to give students an understanding of the conditions that lead to minority emergence and the consequence of minority status; it fosters acceptance of diversity, cultural pluralism and social change. (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO240 Studying Changing Human Populations (3 credits) 
The idea of this course is (1) to identify what kinds of changes have been occurring in the size, composition, and geographic distribution of human populations at the local, national and global levels; (2) to analyze what impacts those changes have been exerting on social patterns; and (3) to develop basic skills for studying those changes and impacts.  The course includes a focus on birth and fertility rates, death rates, migration rates, and changes in the following aspects of populations:  size, age, sex ratio, socioeconomic status, and cultural heritage/identity.  (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO242 Statistics for Social Research (3 credits)  
This course consists in learning how to use statistics for specific purposes in social research and how to interpret the results of statistical analysis.  Attention is given to distributions, central tendency, dispersion, estimates, inference, hypothesis testing, statistical significance, measuring the presence, strength, and direction of relationships between variables, analysis of variance, chi-square analysis, and correlation and regression analysis.  (Prerequisite: SO110 and C or better in MA 101 (or higher level mathematics course)

SO 254 Society and Economic Change (3 credits)
Major socioeconomic developments in 21st-century capitalism (e.g., consumer culture, global labor market, media empires) are studied. The persistence of inequality and poverty, fragmentation of family and community, unhealthy constructions of self-image, and other social problems are explained in terms of these developments. Prerequisite: SO 110 

SO 257 Science, Technology and Society (3 credits)
With the increasing diffusion of biotechnology, cybertechnology, communication/media technology, etc., in the world, it is prudent to study the influence of science and technology on culture and society and to consider the social impact of the next wave. While identifying serious problems and risks, the course also explores how science and technology are positive forces. Prerequisite: SO 110 

SO258 Society and the Environment (3 credits)
This course consists in (1) examining how human activities contribute to environmental problems, such as climate change, pollution, disappearance of natural habitat, decreasing biodiversity, diminishing natural resources, deforestation, erosion, and desertification,  (2) analyzing the impact of environmental degradation on human populations and human societies; and (3) identifying what steps have been taken and yet need to be taken to end degradation and restore environmental health.  The course requires a project in which students take action in some group, organization, or community to make its impacts on the environment more positive. (Prerequisite: SO110)

SO 259 Social Movements (3 credits)
Social movements are a powerful form of collective action with the capacity to alter societies for the better (e.g., Civil Rights Movement) or worse (e.g., fascism). Utilizing a rich vein of social theory and social scientific studies, this course offers an in-depth analysis of these fascinating social phenomena. Prerequisite: SO 110 

SO 263 Sociology of Gender (3 credits)
This course provides an introduction to the sociological study of gender by exploring gender as something that is individual, interactional, and institutional. This course elaborates specifically on how gender is a central component of inequality and oppression, and the intersections of gender, race, class and sexuality.  Prerequisite: SO 110 

SO 296 Sociology of Education (3 credits)
This course focuses on education as a social institution and an agent of socialization. The formal organization of education, education and the family, education and social stratification, and education as a vehicle for examining and solving social problems are explored. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO 299 Special Topics in Sociology (3 credits)
Detailed and comprehensive analysis of a sociological issue or problem of current interest. Specific topic is announced in the course schedule of any given semester. Prerequisite: SO 110

SO 372 Sociological Theory (3 credits)
This sociological theory course is designed to give students an understanding of the works of the major classical theorists whose ideas played a central role in the development of sociological theory and to introduce students to the dominant contemporary perspectives in social thought. Emphasis is placed on developing the students’ knowledge of the range of thinking that exist concerning social issues, what the strengths and weaknesses of each position are, therefore, enabling them to work within any point of view. The seminar format is used for this course. Such a format requires that students do their assigned readings before a topic is discussed in class since it is through the class discussions that ideas are analyzed, dissected, and critically assessed. (Prerequisites: AN110, SO101, and two sociology electives)

SO 373 Applications of Sociological Theory (3 credits)
Emphasis in this course is on sociology as an applied discipline that provides scientific explanations of important social issues.  Students review several existing sociological studies framed within the various theoretical approaches studied in the Sociological Theory (SO372 course. They are expected to identify the theoretical framework used by the researcher in each study; to explain the impact of the theoretical framework on the methodology used in the study; and to propose another theoretical framework that could have been used and its impact on the selection of a research method to study the social phenomenon covered in the study. This course helps students understand the relationship between theory and method and provides a critical foundation for the design and development of their senior thesis. (Prerequisites: SO372, SO382; Corequisite: SO 383)

SO382 Methods of Social Research (3 credits)
This course consists in learning how to design, conduct, and report the results of social research.  Attention is given to: experimental and evaluation research, field research, unstructured exploratory interviewing, content analysis, analysis of published statistical data, survey research, conceptualization and operationalization of variables, analysis of data, the writing of research reports, and the logic of cause and effect in research.  The course also includes learning how to use the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software to analyze quantitative data.  (Prerequisites: AN110, SO110, and two sociology electives)

SO383 Applications of Social Research (3 credits)
This course involves additional exercises with the analysis of published statistical data, content analysis, survey research, sampling theory, the use of SPSS for quantitative data analysis, with emphasis on applications of multivariate analysis for the purpose of examining evidence for cause-and-effect relationships.  In addition, this course includes considering the relationship between theory and research, examining studies which researchers have used to test and/or refine sociological theories, learning how to use one’s own research to test, refine, and develop sociological theories, and developing the ability to relate the findings of existing studies to one’s own research questions.  This course is a critical part of the foundation for the Senior Seminar in Sociology.  (Prerequisites:  SO382, SO372;  Corequisite: SO 373)

SO 398 Senior Seminar in Sociology (3 credits)
The capstone course in the Sociology major. Students write and defend a sociological thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Prerequisites: S0 371 and S0 381. Senior standing and major in Sociology

SO 399 Independent Study in Sociology (3 credits)
Designed for students interested in advanced study or in pursuing areas within Sociology for which no course is offered. By special arrangement. Prerequisite: Permission of Sociology faculty.