Sociology is the analytical study of the development, structure, and function of human groups and societies. It is concerned with the scientific understanding of human behavior as it relates to, and as a consequence of, interaction within groups. The undergraduate program in the Department of Sociology provides a broad understanding of human society for students in every field and integrated programs for majors in sociology.
High school students planning to major in sociology should take courses in history and social studies; in addition, a course in statistics should be considered. Substantial work in English composition, mathematics, and second languages is also desirable. Two-year transfer students are advised to come with a year’s work in introductory sociology courses as well as courses that fulfill university group requirements.
Recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees in sociology are found in all the pursuits traditionally open to liberal-arts graduates—especially social service, management, marketing, teaching, library, and research-statistics occupations in industries related to health, education, business, government, and the environment. Some graduates seek additional training in graduate professional schools of social work, business administration, and law. A bachelor’s degree alone is seldom sufficient to allow a person to enter a professional career as a sociologist. Students who seek careers as social scientists enter graduate programs in sociology or related fields.
Academic advising in sociology is provided Public Policy, Society and Identity Flight Path through Tykeson College and Career Advising. The advising office is located on the first and second floors of Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall. Advisors may be reached via Navigate, Microsoft Teams or by phone at 541-346-9200.
Internship advising and information is available through the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jessica Vasquez-Tokos. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The department also maintains an active peer advising program for undergraduate students. Peer advisors keep regular office hours in the peer advising office, 706 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall.
With the help of advisors, each student should select courses that emphasize experiences most useful for the student’s educational and career objectives. Career advising is available through the University Career Center, located in the Garden Level of Tykeson Hall. Appointments can be scheduled through Navigate. The career center may be contacted through Microsoft Teams or at 541-346-3235. Jobs and internships are listed in Handshake.
When planning a program, students should keep in mind the ways in which major requirements fit with career objectives.
Social Service Professions
Social service professions include social work, work in nonprofit organizations, counseling, community relations, housing, labor relations, and human resources. Sociology majors who want to enter a helping profession should take at least one course each in sociological methodology and social psychology and several courses dealing with social issues and problems.
Students may supplement their programs with courses in the psychology and political science departments and in the College of Education. Many of these occupations require graduate or field training. Students can get more detailed information from the University Career Center.
Business or Government Service
Business or government organizations typically require general human-relations skills, some awareness of organizations and the surrounding social environment, and an ability to analyze and understand basic social data.
Students interested in business should include in their programs courses in methodology, social psychology, and organizations and occupations. Programs may be supplemented with courses in the Lundquist College of Business and in the Department of Economics.
Students with career goals in governmental service should include courses in community, urban affairs, population, and resources; social psychology; organizations and occupations; and methodology. Related courses in economics, political science, and planning, public policy and management departments also are useful.
Honors in Sociology
Motivated students may participate in the honors program in sociology. Qualified senior year students work closely with faculty members and fellow honors students on a yearlong project of their own design, and write an honors thesis. The thesis may be based on existing data or data collected by the student.
Students who successfully complete the honors program are awarded departmental honors. The honors distinction is noted on the student’s official transcript and diploma.
Applicants to the honors program must demonstrate a high level of competence and motivation for advanced studies in sociology. A GPA of no less than 3.40 in sociology courses or a nomination by two faculty members is required for admittance but does not guarantee acceptance. Students selected for the program are notified during spring term of their junior year. Application forms are available in the sociology department office or the department’s web page. Students also receive an e-mail describing the application process in the spring term.
During fall and winter terms of the senior year, honors students take part in the two-credit honors thesis seminar, Seminar: [Topic] (SOC 407), and also enroll in Thesis (SOC 403). In fall term, they work closely with the course instructor and other students to refine research questions and design. By the end of the term, each student submits a thesis proposal for approval. During winter term, students work with the course instructor and classmates to collect data and begin their analysis. In the spring term, students complete, publicly present, and submit their theses.
Twelve credits of sociology degree requirements are earned through the honors program: 8 credits of SOC 403 and 4 credits of SOC 407. The SOC 407 credits count toward the 400-level requirement for the major.
Preparing for Graduate Study
Students planning graduate work in sociology should have a strong background in sociological theory and social research methods well beyond courses required for the major. Besides taking advanced courses in areas of special interest to them, students should take a substantial number of upper-division courses in other social sciences.
Applications to graduate school should be made in fall or winter the year before the student plans to enter a graduate program. Students considering graduate school should talk to their faculty advisors before their final year of school about programs at various schools, experiences that increase chances for admission, and requirements for students in graduate programs in sociology.
Kindergarten through Secondary Teaching Careers
Students who complete a degree with a major in sociology are eligible to apply to the College of Education’s fifth-year program for a license in middle-secondary teaching or the fifth-year program for a license in elementary teaching. Refer early to information in the College of Education section of this catalog.