You are here

Sociology Courses

100. General Sociology - (3, 0, 3). Sociology is the systematic study of “society” or the social world in which we live.  A society is defined by a distinctive culture; established means of subsistence, production and distribution; formal and informal social control; and established methods of socializing new members.  Over the last 180 years, the discipline of Sociology has developed theories and research tools directed at systematically examining modern societies.  In so doing, our world – our society – can be seen as having many dimensions or facets, from groups and organizations; a class, racial, and gender-based stratification system; to economy and politics; and technology and environment.  We shall explore many aspects of “society” from both a United States and Global perspective together during the weeks to follow.  The goal is for you to develop a critical “sociological imagination”, an appreciation of the broader structures shaping your own perceptions and differential opportunities, as well as those around you, and the knowledge, tools, and motivation to work toward a more just and sustainable future.

241. Contemporary Social Problems - (3, 0, 3). A social problem is a situation that undermines the well-being of some or all members and/or functions of a society and is usually a matter of public controversy.  A predominate value in the United States is the importance of individualism, the idea that individuals are responsible for their own lives.  In contrast, a key insight of sociology is that many of the troubles people face have their roots in the operation of society.  Sociology does not try to discount the fact that the choices people make play a part in the troubles they experience; in studying social problems, sociologists attempt to unveil how larger social processes and the operation of societal institutions and organizations affect our daily lives.  The goal is for you to develop a critical “sociological imagination”, an appreciation of the broader structures shaping your own perceptions and differential opportunities, as well as those around you, and the knowledge, tools, and motivation to work toward a more just and sustainable future.

301. Sociological Synthesis - (3, 0, 3). Sociology is the systematic study of “society” or the social world in which we live. Over the last 180 years, the discipline of Sociology has developed theories and research tools directed at systematically examining modern societies. The heart of this discipline is scientific research and the communication of research results – to the public, other academic, policy makers, and/or non-governmental organizations. While verbal presentation of research findings is important, the ability to write clearly, concisely, and compellingly is fundamental. This course is designed to familiarize you with the mechanics of writing sociological papers and also with the norms and values of university-level and academic writing in the United States. While many of you probably have some experience with paper-writing, there are particular aspects of academic writing that are unique both to sociology and to American universities. Your work for this class will center around the construction of a research proposal, that either analyzes and extends existing theories or proposes original research. Over the semester you will become more familiar with general sociological paradigms, theories, and research methods. You will also gain some familiarity with campus resources to help you with research and writing, and improve your critical reading and writing skills through an intensive peer review process where you and other students evaluate and give feedback on each other’s work.  Prereq: ENGL 102.  Restrictions: Sociology majors only, junior status, and 9 hours of SOCI with a grade of "C" or better. 

305. Marriage and The Family -  (3, 0, 3). Sociology 305 presents a description and analysis of kinship, myriad types of marriages, and family structures from a social science perspective. Our main focus is on the American family from Colonial times to the present. We will study marriages and families as constructed social institutions which influence and are strongly influenced by large-scale social forces such as culture, race/ethnicity, history, economics, politics, religion, sexuality, media, social policies, and the law.  Additionally, we will discuss and analyze the impact on families of divorce, addiction, poverty, and violence.  By semester's end the successful student will be able to apply knowledge of (1) major theoretical concepts used to study marriages and families; (2) the impact of race, gender, ethnicity, and economics on family structures and functioning; (3) adaptation and coping within families throughout the life span; (4) the challenges contemporary families face with regard to divorce, addictions, and family violence, and (5) demonstrate some ability to evaluate and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on the major sociological dimensions of family and kinship in the United States. 

308. Social Research Methods - (3, 0, 3). Research techniques in gathering, recording, and analyzing data. Prereq: SOCI 100 and SOCI 301, Coreq: SOCI 309.

309. Social Research Methods Laboratory - (0, 2, 1).  Coreq: SOCI 308

310. Minority Groups - (3, 0, 3). This course offers a description and analysis of race-ethnic relations and minority status in American society from a social science perspective.  It begins with an introduction to the major concepts and theoretical frameworks used by sociologists to study race and ethnic relations. 4 modules are dedicated to the presentation of basic concepts, issues of culture and social structure, prejudice and discrimination and intergroup relations. Modules 5-9 present and discuss the characteristics and situations of major minority groups defined on the basis of race and culture, namely Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans. Modules 10-12 examine dimensions of minority status related to gender, religion, and immigration status. After taking this course, you will: 1. Know, understand, and apply the major concepts and frameworks used by sociologists in the study of racial and ethnic relations, 2. Know and understand the major sociological dimensions of the history and contemporary experience of the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, as well as the experience of prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, and immigration status in the United States, 3. Demonstrate some ability to interpret and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on the major sociological dimensions of race and ethnic relations in the United States.  Cross-cultural analysis of the social relationships between majority and minority ethnic groups, including women. Emphasis on cultural differences, social policies, and theories of prejudice and discrimination.

320. Social Movements - (3, 0, 3).  An examination of theories and research on non-traditional group efforts to change social systems and institutions; emphasis on contemporary societies and movements. 

325. Population Dynamics - (3, 0, 3). Composition of and changes in population in relation to excessive population growth and limited resources.  Demography, the science of population, is concerned with virtually everything that influences, or can be influenced by, population size, distribution, processes, structure, or characteristics. This course pays particular attention to the causes and consequences of population change. Changes in fertility, mortality, migration, technology, lifestyle and culture have dramatically affected the United States and the other nations of the world. These changes have implications for a number of areas: hunger, the spread of illness and disease, environmental degradation, health services, household formation, the labor force, marriage and divorce, care for the elderly, birth control, poverty, and urbanization. An understanding of these is important as business, government, and individuals deal with the demands of the changing population. By the end of this course you will be able to: 1) Recognize basic demographic measures related to population structure and dynamics, fertility, mortality, and migration, 2) Describe and apply major demographic theories related to population structure and dynamics, fertility, mortality and migration, and 3) Critically evaluate claims made about demographic topics in the media and political arenas.

350. Sociology of Deviance - (3, 0, 3). Descriptive and theoretical analysis of alternate life styles in American society.

354. Sociology of Sex & Sexualities - (3, 0, 3). Examination of social control surrounding sex and sexualities in American society.

362. Criminology - (3, 0, 3). Examination of crime and criminal behavior from a sociological perspective. Special emphasis on theories of crime, corrections, treatment and rehabilitation. This course is intended to provide non-sociology majors with a basic understanding of the issues and concerns of crime and corrections in the U.S. We will learn the relevant theoretical approaches and see what empirical evidence there is in support of them. For sociology majors the course is intended as a grounding in the sub-field of criminology that will underlie and is pre-requisite to all further study in the field. 

364 Juvenile Delinquency - (3, 0, 3). Study of the distribution and causes of juvenile delinquency in American society, with particular emphasis paid to correctional policies for juvenile offenders.

370 Sociology of Religion - (3, 0, 3). Religion as a structural feature of human societies; the role of religion in the genesis of modern societies; features of religion and society in the United States; religious organizations. The aim of this course is for students to understand, from a sociological perspective, the functions and practices of religious institutions and the people who inhabit them. We will begin with a quick overview of sociological theories of religion (specifically Durkheim, Weber, Marx, and Geertz), followed by a more in-depth tracing of religious development and change in the United States from Colonial times through the First Great Awakening, the Temperance Movement and Prohibition, the Civil Rights Movement, the era of the Moral Majority, up to the Presidential election of Barack Obama.  We will examine how important social and political developments have contributed to changes within established religions such as Catholicism/Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as to the rise of cults and new religious movements, such as Mormonism, Scientology and Neo-Paganism.  We will explore the relationships between race/gender/ethnicity in the American Black Church and the rise of Eastern religions in the U.S.  Finally, we will evaluate the political, cultural, and economic factors contributing to both Christian and Islamic fundamentalism/religious extremism and the sometimes violent expressions of their adherents. 

374. Introduction to Social Work: Clinical Sociology - (3, 0, 3). Translates sociological knowledge into practice. Examines the principles of applied social research, community based research, clinical sociology, and social work practice. Prereq: SOCI 100.

375. Sociology of Sport - (3, 0, 3).  The goal of this class is to apply a sociological lens to the world of sports and athletics through the incorporation of academic writing and research and popular media. By challenging the “natural” and taken-for-granted views about sport, sociologists seek to provide a more social and scientifically adequate account that can inform both the decisions and actions of people and the policy of governments, NGO’s and sport organizations. Although there are several different perspectives from which to examine the relationship between sport, culture and society, sociologists of sport seek to embed their research in the wider cultural and structural context.

380. Sociology of Disability - (3, 0, 3). Analysis of the social and physical aspects of the disabled experience.

391/392 Internship in Community Organization I/II - (1-6). Practical experience in community agencies under supervision. Prereq: Permission of instructor required.

395. Political Sociology - (3, 0, 3). Social analysis of power, political behavior and social movements.  Modern society is undergoing an unprecedented pace of change, in large part shaped by political and economic globalization.  Political sociology provides a useful standpoint for exploring the crucial, yet changing role of power, authority, and collective action in managing and/or mediating processes of social change.  This course will begin with a study of several competing sociological theoretical paradigms of power in society, and will raise the question of whether a synthetic theory is possible.  It will then turn to a sociological analysis of the history of Western industrialization, which suggests that tensions have long existed between the state's dual mandate: to provide both the conditions for economic prosperity and an adequate level of social welfare for its citizens.  Finally, political sociology frameworks will be extended to a critical examination of the process of globalization, including the changing role of the state and shifts in the nature of sovereignty and citizenship, culture, environmental impacts, and emerging forms of broad-based political participation.

408(G). Advanced Social Research - (3, 0, 3). Emphasis on the development and implementation of research designs and actual collection, coding, analysis and interpretation of data. Completion of a research project to include data manipulation is required.  Restr: Majors only OR permission of instructor required.

411(G). Sociological Theory - (3, 0, 3). Conceptual analysis of sociological theory from Comte to contemporary theorists. In terms of paradigm or research orientation, sociological theories usually are divided by modern sociologists into three typologies. They are functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Each of these has different assumptions regarding human societies and human actions: First, from the perspective of Functionalism, human societies are analogous to human body; as a result, human actions usually include elements like cooperation, interconnection, and interdependency; Second, from the perspective of Conflict Theory, human societies are analogous to a big corporation; consequently, human actions constantly include components like competition, domination, and suppression; and Finally, from the perspective of Symbolic Interactionism, human societies are analogous to a large stage; human actions thus typically include ingredients like definition of situation, adjustment of behaviors, and stigmatization. Since these paradigms are advocated by certain pioneers/founders of sociology, these research orientations will be explored and compared in this course. The subsequent three "Big Questions" will function as conceptual boundary when functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism are addressed in the context of classic or modern sociological theories: 1. How to describe/analyze human societies? 2. How to describe/analyze human actions?, and 3. How to describe/analyze the interaction between human society and human actions? Restr: At least junior standing 

420(G). Social Interaction - (3, 0, 3). Sociological analysis of symbolic interaction and exchange patterns within informal situations.  After an introduction to the practical aspects of the course, the course begins with a review of the sociological perspective and the theoretical foundations of microsociology. We will continue with a vigorous study of readings illustrating and examining social life which incorporate social psychology, interpersonal interaction, embodiment, emotion, selfhood, inequality, and the politics of everyday realities. They include classical and contemporary theory, as well as empirical studies. In addition, students will be conducting and writing up their own research, as well as actively facilitating course discussion. Restr: At least junior standing.

430(G). Medical Sociology - (3, 0, 3). Study of the social organization of health care systems and of the social factors related to health and illness. As a subfield of the larger discipline of Sociology, Medical Sociology encompasses the perspectives, concepts, theories, and methodologies pertaining to human health and disease within social, cultural, and behavioral contexts. The discipline initially developed in North America and Western Europe at the end of World War II, so it is fairly new.  We will begin with an introduction to the field, including a history of the development of scientific medicine and the rise of social epidemiology. We will examine the influence of social environments on health and illness, human behaviors associated with health and illness, health care practitioners and their relationships with patients, and the health care system itself, specifically within the United States.  Additionally, we will address emerging areas of analysis in the field specific to recent health care reform efforts in both public and private sectors, incorporating ethical and policy debates as a focus of study.  With respect to gender, race, and social/economic stratification, we will analyze unequal treatment within the health care system, the appraisal and mediators of stress, effects of social stress, and stress outcomes.  We will conclude our studies with an exploration of preventive health care and alternative models of treatment.  Prereq: SOCI 100 Restr: At least junior standing

440(G). Environmental Sociology - (3, 0, 3).  Environmental sociology is a field that provides insight into the complex social processes which define, create, and indeed threaten our natural environment.  By discussing issues of science and technology, politics, economics, urbanization, racial and gender relations, as well as social movements and globalization, this course will reach a broad understanding of environmental issues.  More specifically, this course will investigate the relationships between various environmental and social problems, as well as the many political ideologies, philosophies, and movements that have continually redefined how we think of nature and sustainability.  Restriction: Prereq SOCI 100, Restr: At least junior standing

445(G). Risk and Disaster - (3, 0, 3).  The U.S. experience since the beginning of the twenty-first century has been rife with disasters from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Sandy to the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This course examines sociological perspectives through which researchers in the social sciences have tried to make sense of disaster events, as well as attempts to describe broader trends in contemporary Western industrial societies' strategies for managing, calculating, and when possible forestalling risk and disaster. The course is divided into three units. The first examines the argument that risks and their consequences are rooted in common social and institutional sources – governing bodies, organizations, and groups that push for economic growth who skirt rules that protect us, oppose risk reducing practices and escape responsibility for tremendous losses when disasters occur. The second unit focuses on the comprehensive research from the social sciences regarding disaster warning responses, evacuation behavior, initial post-impact survival behavior, roles and emergent actions of volunteers, and short-term and longer-term impacts of disaster. The third unit focuses on the recovery stage of disasters. Disaster recovery is often unplanned for yet is the stage where funds, programs, professional expertise and volunteer efforts are applied to affected cities, states and regions to get them up and running again. We end the course with discussions of policies as they relate to risk and disaster at the local, state and federal levels. Restriction: Prereq SOCI 100, Restr: At least junior standing

450(G). Family Violence - (3, 0, 3). The study of family violence is still in its infancy, and is comprised of a broad area of inter-disciplinary research and clinical practice that is often hotly debated, even with regard to what constitutes “family” and its social problems. However, since most professionals and academics accept the idea that families can exist without formal/legal mandates, the term “family violence” is one that is fairly widely implemented and accepted, and we will adhere to this standard in this class. Therefore, you may be challenged to broaden your perceptions of what constitutes family and family violence. Subtopics of the study of family violence include, but are not limited to, child abuse, intimate partner abuse, and elder abuse and involve violence of a physical, sexual, and/or emotional nature. Family violence may include injury as well as the violation of another family member’s rights and freedom of choice/action.  In this course we will explore what constitutes family violence; myths and misconceptions surrounding family violence, and various theories of family violence, with special emphasis on the social-psychological model (which analyzes environmental factors affecting families, such as stress, family structure, family interactions, substance abuse, mental and physical illness, addictions, and inter-generational transmission of violence).  Additionally, we will review some of the most commonly relied upon data by law enforcement agencies, the American Humane Society, the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), and the National Crime Victimization Surveys in order to analyze risk factors and incidents of family violence.  We will explore and discuss the Violence against Women Act, which provides a fundamental change in the criminal justice system’s gathering of information on violent crimes committed against women and calls attention to violence on American college campuses. Restriction: Prereq SOCI 100, Restr: At least junior standing.

452(G). Social Stratification - (3, 0, 3). Examination of the dynamics of inequality, including types of inequality and mechanisms of social mobility.  Social Stratification is the ranking of social groups into a hierarchy based on various social and sometimes physical characteristics and involves unequal distribution and access to society’s resources.  This course reviews the classical and contemporary theories and debates regarding social stratification and considers their utility in understanding inequalities in the modern world.  We will analyze the interconnections between social class, gender, and race/ethnicity and examine the ways these divisions structure life chances and experiences in the context of labor markets, politics and public policy, urban and rural community life, environmental relationships, and global processes.  We will focus largely on issues of stratification in the current U.S. context with some consideration of issues of from a global perspective. Prereq: SOCI 100. Restr: At least junior standing

454(G). Gender Across Cultures - (3, 3, 0). Application of social definitions of appropriate and inappropriate thought, feeling, behavior, and appearance on various gender categories. Emphasis on multiple cultures and contexts. (Same as ANTH 454(G). Prereq: ANTH 201, SOCI 100 OR SOCI 354. Restr: At least junior standing.

471(G). Rural and Urban Sociology - (3, 3, 0).  Rural and urban social organization and social processes concerning a wide array of issues from environmental degradation and globalization to sustainability and local food systems.

480(G). Death and Dying - (3, 0, 3). Examines individual and collective death-related attitudes, expectations, and behaviors with emphasis on the social implications of death and dying. Prereq: SOCI 100. Restr: At least junior standing.

494(G). Seminar in Sociology - (3, 0, 3). Restr: At least junior standing. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

497(G). Special Projects in Sociology I - (3). Restr: At least junior standing. Restr: Permission of department head required.

498(G). Special Projects in Sociology II -  (3). Restr: At least junior standing. Restr: Permission of department head required.