Course Descriptions

SOC 114 (US) Race and Ethnic Relations (1)

This course examines the historical, political, economic and sociological dynamics of racial and ethnic relations in the United States. It investigates how race and ethnicity are created and re-created in society, particularly by culture and institutions, and the way these "social constructions" perpetuate social inequality. Students will attempt to understand and critically examine what happens in societies where people are "colored" by the myths and contradictions of race and ethnicity.

  • Prerequisite:  Freshman and Sophomores only
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 119 Medical Sociology (1)

Study of the social causes and consequences of health and illness. Consideration will be given to topics such as epidemiology, social demography of health, illness as deviance, social effects of acute and chronic illnesses, socialization of health care providers, social policy and health care, and bioethics.

  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Heuser

SOC 121 (US) Gender in Society (1)

This course is an introduction to the fundamental of human gender socialization and performance. It will emphasize social and cultural constructions of gender and examine the fluidity of gender in various cultures worldwide. Further, it will examine how gender inequality is built into the structure of social institutions such as family, media, and education, and how we actively construct the system of gender relations in our daily lives. Consideration will be given to the ways that gender intersects and interacts with other social categories such as race, class, ethnicity, age, ability and sexuality.

  • Prerequisite: Freshman and Sophomores only.
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Aguilar

SOC 131 (US) Sociological Inquiry (1)

This course introduces students to the nature of sociological inquiry through the exploration of a specifically defined topic. Emphasis will be given to how sociologists methodologically and theoretically study and derive meaning from the world around us. Topics of critical investigation may include, but are not limited to, art worlds, globalization today, our aging society, technology and the future, childhood and adolescence, religion and spirituality. Students may take this course multiple times for credit if the topic is different.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 132W (US) Sport and Society (1)

The world of sport touches all of us in one way or another. We participate in sports. We watch sports. We read about sports. Why are sports so important to us? What are their benefits socially and individually? In this course, we are interested in examining the sociological significance of sport as it relates to topics such as culture, social organizations, socialization, social stratification, race, gender, economics, and the mass media. Attention will be paid to the national and international influence of sport among individuals, groups, and societies. Freshmen and Sophomores only or consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Understanding Society
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Heuser

SOC 134 (US) Crime, Delinquency and the Criminal Justice System (1)

This course examines the sociological interpretation of crime and delinquency, the persons involved in crime and delinquency, the social context of criminal behavior, law enforcement agencies, and the court and penal systems in the United States. Students will be introduced to the fundamental sociological theories of crime and delinquency and apply these concepts as they critically analyze various types of crime and the elements of the criminal justice system.

  • Prerequisite: First and second-year students only, or consent of instructor.
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Vysotsky

SOC 144 (US) Social Problems and Social Justice (1)

This course seeks to introduce students to the sociological analysis and understanding of contemporary social problems. The topics covered include a variety of social issues such as racial prejudice, gender discrimination, poverty, economic exploitation, and globalization, among others. Students will be introduced to the major sociological paradigms that focus on the critical examination of the root causes of social problems and their possible solutions. Data and analyses will be utilized to create strategic solutions to social problems and to develop an understanding of the challenges associated with social justice activity.

  • Prerequisite: First and second-year students only, or consent of instructor
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Vysotsky

SOC 145 (US) Latina/o Sociology (1)

Latina/o Sociology is the systematic inquiry into the social lives of Latinas/os in the U.S. This course examines the ways in which Latina/o communities have developed and the social, political, and economic structures that have influenced them. Latina/o Sociology analyzes the ways in which hierarchical power relations and Latina/o resistance to domination have shaped their life chances across time and space in the U.S. and along the U.S.-Mexico border region. Major themes include identity, immigration, assimilation, gender, education, media, language, employment, and activism. Through these themes, the course will examine the barriers to opportunity and equity Latinas/os experience and the strategies they employ in order to resist such barriers.

  • Prerequisite: 1st and 2nd years only
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Davila

SOC 201 Navigating Social Worlds (1)

This course is organized as a "gateway" to the discipline of sociology, which is the study of processes and relationships we all know as "society." The course introduces the student (a) to the four primary dimensions into which sociology is loosely organized -- social systems, social institutions, human agency and interaction, and culture; (b) to the ways in which sociologists ask and analyze research questions; and (c) to the theories and research methods sociologists use to examine social relationships. The course emphasizes reading primary sources, class discussions, and other appropriate pedagogical methods. By the end of the course, students will have developed their own "sociological imagination" and, in particular, a critical perspective on relationships of power, on social inequality, and on social change.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 301 (QA*) Social Statistics (1)

This course introduces the student to the logic and procedures of descriptive and inferential statistical analysis as these are applied in the various social sciences, particularly the discipline of sociology. Topics examined include scales of measurement; frequency distributions; data graphing; measures of central tendency and dispersion; sampling distributions; confidence intervals and estimation; hypothesis testing; measures of association; and quantitative modeling using Chi-square, analysis of variance, and linear regression.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning (*)
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Heuser, Strawn

SOC 303 Sociological Theory (1)

This course introduces the undergraduate to the important theoretical paradigms that have historically oriented the discipline of sociology. Classical sociological theory emerged in the works of Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Weber, among others. Out of the ideas of these thinkers evolved the major schools of modern sociology, in particular Structural-Functionalism, Symbolic Interactionism, Neo-Marxism, and Neo-Weberian theories of modernity. Throughout the 20th century, new critical paradigms have emerged to challenge the modern schools, including postmodern and cultural critiques, as well as feminist, race, and queer theories. More recently, theories of globalization have attempted to synthesize a diversity of sociological paradigms to explain contemporary social phenomena.

  • Prerequisite: Any 100-level Sociology course or SOC 201
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Vysotsky

SOC 312 Individual in Society: Social Psychology (1)

In this course, we will uncover the ways people make sense of the world, how they figure out ways of getting along, and how they deal with conflict and differences in power. Since this course is a seminar, most of the time will be devoted to discussing readings, but we may also see a few films. Topics will include the nature of reality, the importance of language, and the process of defining situations.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Vysotsky

SOC 315 Social Movements, Collective Action, and Protest (1)

The course examines the theoretical frameworks used by sociologists to explain and understand collective action, protest, and social movements in society, as well as how these theories are used to answer fundamental questions about these phenomena. Topics addressed include resource mobilization, political opportunity and political process, framing, and new social movements. Critiques of theory are also examined, in particular those emphasizing the failure of mainstream theories to account for culture, their emphases on the experiences of only the U.S. and Europe, and the difficulty of applying theory to the prediction of future collective action. Case studies are examined throughout the course, with the final one-third of the semester dedicated specifically to Latin American social movements,

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course, or consent of instructor.
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Strawn

SOC 327 Power in Society (1)

This course examines how power is embedded in both the visible structures and institutions of society--particularly those related to politics--and in the less obvious or less visible dynamics of culture, convention, consensus, and discourse. Students are introduced to both classical and contemporary perspectives on power in society, and challenged to critically examine these through a range of specific topics. These can include the nature of political power, state structures and democracy, international political economy and globalization, social movements, citizenship, and social welfare, among others.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201, any 100-level Sociology course, or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternating years
  • Instructor: Strawn

SOC 328 Families (1)

The focus of this class will be on examining the variation of family structures and how decisions, patterns and practices that appear personal are socially patterned. Our examination of families will explore what role the political economy plays on the construction and maintenance of the family, and how race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, sexual identify and other social categories impact childhood, mating, divorce and other experiences of domestic life. We will also examine how family ideologies often ignore the complexities of family life and create false expectations about what families should be.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Aguilar

SOC 332 Urban Sociology (1)

The urban metropolis, the quintessential "social laboratory," allows us to better understand group relations, social roles and status, the relationship between structures, culture, and the roles of context, history, and power in shaping social reality. Through this course, students will come to see the city as a "cultural product" and articulate its relevance to our making and remaking society. Special attention will be given to contests over space, social stratification, and movements for social justice that affect the larger society and the processes of globalization.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Alternate Years
  • Instructor: Drew

SOC 334 Inequality in Society (1)

Social stratification, the hierarchical arrangement of groups of people, creates and maintains inequalities in society based upon status and differential access of legitimized power. The course examines how this core concept in sociology helps to explain empirical questions about the structuring of inequality, its social and political consequences, and its maintenance and transformation. Consideration will be given to how the social systems of gender, sexuality, social class, race, age and disability shape individual life opportunities, institutions, and the cultural norms and values of society.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 339 Deviance and Social Control (1)

In this course, we will focus on how sociologists explain behaviors that many of us see as dangerous, distasteful or unpleasant. The assignments will focus on theories of deviance, some discussion of the preferred methods used in studying deviance, and several topical sections focusing on deviant behaviors such as sex work, drug use, crime, and mental disorders. Rather than condemning deviance and deviants, the course seeks to explain people's behavior and society's responses to them.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Vysotsky

SOC 358 Special Topics in Sociology (.5 or 1)

This course offers timely exposure to a variety of relevant topics in sociology. Topics might include the study of homelessness, poverty, death and dying, or cultural diversity.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 361 Sociology of Education (1)

This course analyzes education as a major social institution that influences individuals, groups, and society. It considers both classic and contemporary theoretical formulations of education and schooling and methodological approaches to the sociological study of education. This course will examine the historical, social, political, and economic forces that shape educational experiences. It will explore separate and intersecting effects of race, class, gender, and immigrant status on educational attainment and achievement.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Davila

SOC 362 Sexualities (1)

This course will examine and challenge essentialist and biologically determinist perspectives regarding sexual identity, desire, and expression. It will use a sociological perspective to analyze social influences on sexuality and the consequences of the sexual stratification system in place in U.S. society. Particular attention will be placed on examining techniques of social control, sites of sexual injustice and oppression, and how sexual inequality is built into and stems from the structure of social institutions. Consideration will be given to how sexuality intersects and interacts with other social categories, such as race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, and gender.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 or any 100-level Sociology course or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Aguilar

SOC 401W (QA) Quantitative Methods in Social Research (1)

This course teaches students the fundamental methods of systematic data collection in sociology, including survey design and data base construction, and extends their understanding of the quantitative analytical methods to which they were introduced in SOC 301 (or its equivalent). The student will also continue to develop their understanding of research design procedures, data coding, and research ethics, among other topics. The relationship between theory and research will be considered as it pertains to the topics under analysis. Students will be required to conduct original research, write a literature review, and produce a research report of their findings.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201, SOC 301 and SOC 303
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning
  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 402W Qualitative Methods of Social Research (1)

This course will introduce students to qualitative research methods in sociology and cover the major forms of qualitative inquiry including research design, data collection, data coding and analysis, and research ethics through the study of a specific research topic in sociology. The relationship between theory and research will also be considered as it pertains to the topic under analysis. Students will be required to conduct original research, write a literature review, and produce a research report of their findings.

  • Prerequisite: SOC 201 and SOC 303
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Staff

SOC 490 Research and Independent Study (.5 or 1)

This course is intended only for the qualified advanced student with a solid preparation in the theory and methods of sociology who wishes to do an intensive research analysis or advanced independent study in an area not covered by an existing course in the department.


SOC 495 Internship in Sociology (1)

This course provides an opportunity for students to work in selected social service and other organizations supervised by on-site professionals. Opportunity to observe the operation of agencies and develop some skills in working with people. Students spend 12 to 15 hours a week interning and attend a weekly seminar.


SOC 497 Senior Thesis (1)

Open to majors in Sociology Honors Program, the senior thesis involves a comprehensive study of a topic chosen by the student and approved by her/his thesis advisor/s. As an original, quantitative and/or qualitative investigation undertaken as an independent study, the thesis includes the collection and analysis of primary or secondary data grounded in relevant theoretical and empirical literatures. A written thesis and oral presentation of the study's findings are required. Satisfactory completion of this course fulfills the Senior Year Experience requirement for Sociology majors.


SOC 499 Senior Seminar in Sociology (1)

Through an original research project, students will apply the theoretical and methodological knowledge gained in the major to a concrete research question (or issue) studied throughout the semester. This research project, as well as weekly seminar discussion around a selected topic, will allow students to consider the range of sociological sub-specialties composing the discipline, collect and analyze relevant data to enhance sociological knowledge, and effectively communicate research and the research process.