Sociology (SOC)

The Sociology Department offers a BA degree in Sociology.

Educational Goal

The overarching educational goal of the Sociology Department is to provide students with a range of critical thinking skills, familiarity with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and an opportunity to study topical areas in depth. Our intention is to stimulate within our students what C. Wright Mills called “a sociological imagination” along with the requisite methodological rigor and theoretical insight that guides the best social science.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in Sociology

Core Areas of Knowledge. Students graduating with a major in sociology are able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the discipline of sociology and its role in contributing to our understanding of social reality;
  2. Define and illustrate key sociological concepts;
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the role of theory in sociology; and
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the role of evidence and qualitative and quantitative methods.

Key Skills. Students graduating with a major in sociology are able to:

  1. Think critically;
  2. Communicate effectively about sociology orally and in writing;
  3. Analyze data to address key sociological problems; and
  4. Use computer technology to access and analyze data.
  5. Broader Themes
  6. Students graduating with a major in sociology have an appreciation of:
  7. The impact of international issues on domestic life and the requirements of global citizenship, and
  8. The utility of diversity in society, especially the workplace.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Currently, learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi. The department’s core requirements – an introductory class, a theory class, methods, and statistics – reflects the learning priorities. The minimum grade requirements for majors (at least a C- in each of the four required courses) reflects the expectation that anyone graduating with a sociology major has a basic level of knowledge in these areas. It is not uncommon for students to have to retake the statistics class. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the quality of sociology majors has increased since the institution of the statistics requirement in the department. The curriculum has been revised to restrict the number of introductory level courses students can take to fulfill the major, shifting their focus to upper-division courses that are more in-depth and challenging.