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.
Preparation. High school students planning to major in sociology should take courses in history and social studies. 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.
Careers. Recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees in sociology are found in all the pursuits traditionally open to liberal-arts graduates—especially social work, personnel work, and recreation. 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.
Undergraduate courses in sociology are offered at three levels. Courses at the 200 level provide an introduction to the field. Basic courses are Introduction to Sociology (SOC 204) and Social Inequality (SOC 207).
Courses at the 300 level extend the student’s knowledge of subjects covered in the 200-level courses and provide an introduction to social research methods and social theory.
Courses at the 400 level are advanced and specialized. Most build on background obtained in the 200- and 300-level courses. Students require, as prerequisites for enrollment, the successful completion of the core courses (SOC 310–312). Upper-division (300- and 400-level) classes are usually smaller in size than the lower-division classes and provide more opportunity for faculty-student interaction.
- A minimum of 44 credits in undergraduate sociology courses
- At least 36 of the 44 credits must be upper division and 16 of the 36 must be numbered 407 or 410–491; 12 of the 16 credits in 400-level courses must be taken at the University of Oregon
- No more than 8 credits in courses numbered 401–406 and 408–409 may be applied to the major
- Courses used to satisfy major requirements must be taken for letter grades and passed with grades of C– or better; at least a 2.00 grade point average (GPA) must be achieved in these courses. Courses numbered 401–406 and 408–409 may be taken pass/no pass (P/N); P grades must be earned to apply them to the major
- Completion of the following core courses:
- Development of Sociology (SOC 310)
- Introduction to Social Research (SOC 311)
- Quantitative Methods in Sociology (SOC 312)
Planning a Program
A faculty advisor is assigned to each student when the major is declared. The department maintains an active peer advising program for undergraduate students. Peer advisors keep regular office hours in the advising office, 706 Prince Lucien Campbell Hall.
With the help of peer advisors and the faculty advisor, each student should select courses that emphasize experiences most useful for the student’s educational and career objectives. Students with specific career plans may also go to the Career Center, 220 Hendricks Hall, for advice about suitable course programs.
Work in sociology begins with SOC 204 or 207, both of which provide an introduction to the discipline. They emphasize how sociology can be applied to contemporary social issues. Students specializing in general sociology move on to courses that provide a more in-depth study of social institutions. Courses on social stratification, social psychology, social change, and sociological theory help to tie these diverse areas together by providing perspectives that are useful in the study of any institutional area. Finally, courses in methodology and statistics provide a tool kit of analytical and research skills that are useful both in sociology courses and in whatever activities the student pursues after graduation.
Students can focus upper-division course work in one or more areas of concentration listed below. Concentrations are optional; it is each student’s responsibility to plan far enough in advance to complete concentration requirements and to complete the required form in the sociology office. A list of courses to be offered during the academic year is available in the sociology office or peer advising office each fall.
Each concentration requires completion of at least four courses from the respective category with grades of C– or better. Students who successfully complete a concentration receive formal recognition upon graduation. In addition to the courses listed below, approved internships (SOC 404) and special topics courses (SOC 407 and 410) may count toward the completion of the concentration. Information about internships is available in the sociology department office.
Crime and Delinquency. Introduction: Deviance, Control, and Crime (SOC 380), Urbanization and the City (SOC 442), Crime and Social Control (SOC 480), Issues in Deviance, Control, and Crime (SOC 484)
Culture, Education, and Religion. American Society (SOC 301), Sociology of Mass Media (SOC 317), Sociology of the Family (SOC 330), Sociology of Religion (SOC 461), Sociology of Education (SOC 491)
Environment, Population, and Society. American Society (SOC 301), World Population and Social Structure (SOC 303), Community, Environment, and Society (SOC 304), Social Demography (SOC 415), Issues in Sociology of the Environment (SOC 416), Urbanization and the City (SOC 442), Sociology of Developing Areas (SOC 450)
Family, Gender, and Sexuality. American Society (SOC 301), Sociology of the Family (SOC 330), Sociology of Women (SOC 355), Issues in Family Sociology (SOC 425), Social Stratification (SOC 451), Issues in Sociology of Gender (SOC 455), Feminist Theory (SOC 456), Sex and Society (SOC 457)
International Systems. Political Economy (SOC 420), Sociology of Developing Areas (SOC 450), Systems of War and Peace (SOC 464), Political Sociology (SOC 465)
Politics and Social Movements. American Society (SOC 301), Social Issues and Movements (SOC 313), Sociology of Mass Media (SOC 317), Political Economy (SOC 420), Urbanization and the City (SOC 442), Systems of War and Peace (SOC 464), Political Sociology (SOC 465), Marxist Sociological Theory (SOC 475)
Race, Ethnicity, and Social Change. American Society (SOC 301), America’s Peoples (SOC 305), Race, Class, and Ethnic Groups (SOC 345), Experimental Course: Asian American Experience (SOC 410), Social Demography (SOC 415), Sociology of Race Relations (SOC 445), Social Stratification (SOC 451)
Social Interaction. Introduction to Social Psychology (SOC 328), Interaction and Social Order (SOC 335), Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (SOC 435)
Social Theory and Methods. Sociological Research Methods (SOC 412, 413), Feminist Theory (SOC 456), Marxist Sociological Theory (SOC 475)
Work, Labor, and Economy. American Society (SOC 301), Work and Occupations (SOC 346), Complex Organizations (SOC 347), Political Economy (SOC 420), Issues in Sociology of Work (SOC 446), Issues in Sociology of Organizations (SOC 447), Social Stratification (SOC 451), Marxist Sociological Theory (SOC 475)
When planning a program, students should keep in mind the ways in which concentration areas and major requirements fit with career objectives. Careers pursued by sociology graduates are discussed below.
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 want to complete one of the concentrations listed above in order to focus on a specific group of 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 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 the 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 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 honors, high honors, or highest honors based on the evaluation of the quality of their work by their advisors and the honors program advisor. The honors distinction (but not the level) 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 sophomore or junior year. Application forms are available in the sociology department office or the department’s web page.
During fall term of the senior year, honors students take part in the honors seminar (SOC 407), in which they work closely with an 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 and spring terms, students work independently with their advisor and proceed with data collection and analysis. Students complete, publicly present, and submit their theses during spring term.
The minor in sociology is inactive.
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 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.