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Social Science Division

Sociology Major

What is Sociology?

Sociologists pursue a general study of human behavior in the social setting. Sociology is the scientific study of social interaction. Its subject matter is broad in scope, ranging from intimate family life to large social movements, from criminal behavior to religious activity, from unique characteristics of specific ethnic groups to the shared norms of an entire culture, from analysis of occupations to that of leisure. Few majors will give you such a broad scope of material and information that has a direct bearing on your own life in society. Above all, sociology should be thought of as a special form of consciousness a unique perspective for examining the social environment.

Objectives of the Major

By pursuing this field of investigation, you will be exposed to the writings and research of many who have deep insight into human interaction. This exposure should help you develop a trained eye and mind and provide you with the tools to analyze social life with a degree of precision. It is our hope that you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others in a variety of social environments.

Unique Aspects of the Major

Because of our small size and low teacher pupil ratio in the classroom, we are able to provide students with individual attention and guidance. In addition, we provide a comfortable degree of flexibility with the major to fit individual needs and interests. Besides classroom instruction, we also offer a number of special opportunities, such as: field placement e.g., tutoring at Camp David Gonzales (maximum security juvenile detention facility); opportunity to double (or contract) major, thereby strengthening your academic program; several courses in the area of anthropology, along with the opportunity to participate in the annual international anthropological study tour to a world area; independent research, whereby you can obtain course credit for focusing upon a specialized area of investigation under the direction of a professor; and the opportunity to minor in Sociology without having to take additional units beyond the 128 required for graduation.

Available Job Opportunities

Sociology teachers are frequently asked this question: "What can I do with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology?" Sociology is a valuable liberal arts major for students who find themselves competing with other liberal arts majors for their jobs. Sociology is especially applicable to careers in social research, criminology, demography, counseling, social work, and social psychology. Moreover, it is also appropriate for areas such as public administration, gerontology, educational rehabilitation and market research. A sociology degree provides a useful background for those planning to enter law, business, medicine, community planning, and politics.

Requirements for Admission to Graduate School

Students wanting to attend graduate school should begin their application procedures at the beginning of their senior year. In turn, they should expect to receive acceptance notices as early as March or April following. It is advisable to apply to several colleges/universities, to have a GPA of 3.0 or above and to plan to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), (aptitude and advanced portions) no later than October of the senior year. (The test can also be taken in June before the senior year.)

Major Requirements

Course IDCourse NameUnits
Core Courses (18 units)
SOC 200 Introduction to Sociology 3*
SOC 250 Introduction to Statistics 4*
SOC 310 Introduction to Research Methodology 4
SOC 391 Sociological Theory 4
SOC 497 Senior Seminar 3
Electives - Choose at least five of the following courses (20 units):
SOC 421 Deviant Behavior and Social Control 4
SOC 422 Urban Development 4
SOC 424 Social Psychology 4
SOC 426 Sociology of Religion 4
SOC 427 Sociology of the Family 4
SOC 431 Social Stratification 4
SOC 436 Crime and Delinquency 4
SOC 442 Culture and Society 4
SOC 444 Social Movements 4
SOC 446 Global Society and its Citizens 4
SOC 450 Race and Ethnic Relations 4
SOC 455 Immigration Politics and Ethnic Relations 4
SOC 460 Public Opinion and Voting 4
SOC 462 Sociology of Education 4
SOC 475 Intermediate Statistics and Computer Applications 4
SOC 592 Selected Topics 4

Up to 4 units can be taken as SOC 590, SOC 595, or SOC 599.

*Satisfies general studies requirement.

Program Learning Objectives

A student who completes the Sociology major should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the use of the sociological imagination, “the ability to recognize the relationship between large-scale social forces and the actions of individuals.”
  • Describe and use the major macro- and micro-level theoretical paradigms in sociology.
  • Explain how societies work with regards to social structural and cultural forces.
  • Design and conduct an empirical study that answers a sociological question.

Possible Double Majors & Minors

Given the relatively few units required for the major and numerous overlap in courses in related fields, students may want to consider a second major or minor. In many cases, a double major can be completed without having to take additional units beyond the 128 required for graduation. Students interested in a career in social services may want to minor in social work.