Course Descriptions and Schedules

Full Course Offerings

Spring 2015 Course Offerings


Check Out What’s New for Spring 2015!


SOC 381:  Gender, Social Relationships, and Well-Being Over the Life Course (Dr. Simon)

The purpose of this upper-division seminar is to apply a sociological lens (aka the sociological perspective) to the fascinating topic of gender, social relationships, and well-being over the life course.  Despite major social changes in gender roles, practices, and identities that have been evolving in the United States since the mid-20th century, sociological research repeatedly finds that the impact of social relationships on well-being – particularly the impact of marital, cohabitating, and parent-child relationships – significantly differs for American women and men.  Sociological research also reveals that the meaning of social relationships and the ways in which men and women experience them depends on the larger social context in which social relationships are embedded as well as on their other major social statuses such as their socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation status as well as their stage in the life course.   In this seminar, students will engage with recent, cutting edge sociological scholarship on the topic of gender, social relationships, and well-being over the life course.  Throughout the semester, we will read and discuss five books that examine not only how but also why gender continues to shape men’s and women’s social relationships and well-being including their social and economic well-being, emotions and identities as well as mental and physical health. We will also view several films on the topic.  Because this is a seminar, I will not lecture.  Instead, the seminar will consist of weekly class discussions, which includes your own reactions to the readings and films.  The success of the seminar depends on your active participation; with your involvement, this class will be fun and a great learning experience.


SOC 390:  Sociological Fieldwork:  Observing the Social World (Dr. Gengler)

Has sociology given you a new perspective on the everyday world around you? Are your favorite books in sociology based on observational fieldwork in schools, neighborhoods, or families? Ever wondered what it takes to do that kind of research? You should take this fieldwork course!  We will begin by reading two examples of this kind of qualitative research to see what sorts of questions these studies ask and can answer, learn the nuts and bolts of data collection, consider the ethical challenges they faced, and see how they interpret and present their findings. You will then practice developing the skills needed to gain access, conduct observations, write field notes, develop strong interview questions, and code and analyze qualitative data by getting out into the real world yourself. This course will be ideal for juniors or seniors considering summer research, honors projects, or graduate school.