Thinking about Sociology as a Major or Minor?
Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior and human social groups from individual families to nations. It has a lot to offer, especially today in an increasingly diverse and globally connected world. Sociology focuses on the ways that social environments, such as family, neighborhood, school, and society influence individuals’ lives. It encourages us to think about complex situations in a new way by showing us how the social environment influences people’s life options, advantages and disadvantages. With sociological knowledge we become more aware of ourselves, of other people, and of the world we all live in. Sociology also helps us understand how societies operate and change, and the impact of large scale events such as hurricanes, economic recessions, and social movements on individuals, groups, and societies. The workings of societies and the social world are often invisible to us as individuals - sociology helps to make these processes visible to us. University Park sociology courses focus on topics that are relevant in today’s world, including family, education, religion, culture, the economy, government, sociological theories, and dimensions of social inequality, such as class, gender, and race/ethnicity. Courses also focus on the how to conduct research and the statistical techniques that sociologists use to do their research. This training is useful in a wide range of career paths.
The Sociology (Soc) B.A. degree provides students with strong training in sociology. Students study a broad range of sociological topics as well as sociological theory and statistical research methods, together with the University and College of Liberal Arts course requirements, which provide a very broad education in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. For this degree, students must complete 38 credits (with a grade of C or better) in required courses and electives including introductory and upper level statistics, sociological theory, 6 credits of their choice in lower level courses, 9 credits of their choice in upper level (400 level) sociology courses, and the senior research seminar. This degree option provides strong training in the basics of sociology, sociological theory and research methods and would be appropriate for students interested in graduate school in sociology or a variety of careers in fields such as social/human services, the non-profit sector, corrections, or the business sector.
The Sociology (Soc) B.S. degree also provides strong training in sociology, sociological theory and research methods. In this more degree option students are required to complete 61-63 credits (with a grade of C or better) in required courses and electives including introductory and upper level courses in statistics, sociological theory, 9 credits of their choice in lower level courses and 9 credits of their choice in upper level (400 level) sociology courses, and a senior research seminar. In addition, to earn the Soc. B.S. degree students must take additional advanced courses in math and statistics as well as 18 credits in a social science other than sociology. This degree option provides students with a broad social science background and greater emphasis on training in mathematics and statistical research methods. This degree option is a good choice for students who are interested in developing their statistical research skills even further than is possible with the B.A. degree, who are aiming for graduate school, especially with a focus on research methods, or who are interested in research careers in the public or private sector such as with the U.S. Bureau of the Census or other organizations.
The Crime, Law and Society Certificate in the Soc B.A. (link) or Soc B.S. (link) is a sequence of courses designed for students who wish to pursue careers in the criminal justice system or who plan to attend law school or graduate school. In addition to completing coursework in law and the criminal justice system, students receive training in sociological research methods where they learn skills that give students a competitive advantage on the job market or when applying to graduate programs. Also, through studying a variety of social processes and institutions (such as inequality, race and ethnicity, family, gender, religion, and urbanism), students gain a strong background for understanding current issues in law and criminal justice. Students interested in completing the concentration and obtaining the certificate should enroll with the undergraduate advisers.