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Sociology Program

“The fascination of Sociology lies in the fact that its perspective makes us see in a new light the very world in which we have lived all our lives.”
Peter Berger

Sociology focuses on the study of human relationships. Society and its many groups are our subject matter. As the American Sociological Association has noted, "sociology BA graduates have an advantage in understanding human behavior on three levels:

  • how individuals behave in organizations, families, and communities
  • the ways in which these social units function as groups
  • the wider social, political, and economic contexts in which decisions are made and in which groups function."
The major leading to a Bachelor of Arts in sociology requires a minimum of 32 semester hours in the discipline plus one cognate course. Students begin the sequence of courses in the major by taking one of the 200-level sociology courses. This provides an introduction to the concepts and methods of sociology through the study of a particular content area (such as family, criminal justice, or aging). Majors then take Classical Sociological Theory (Sociology 300), Research Methods I (Sociology 302), Contemporary Sociological Theory (Sociology 400), Research Methods II (Sociology 404), and other 300-level or 400-level sociology courses. Senior Seminar in Sociology (Sociology) 460 should be taken last. Only one 200-level course is counted towards the 32 semester hours required for the major.

The sociology program has ten major learning goals, as follows:
  1. A familiarity with the history of and major thinkers in sociology
  2. An understanding of basic sociological concepts, theories, and paradigms
  3. An understanding of the relations between theory and research
  4. An appreciation of the research process
  5. An ability to do sociological research
  6. An ability to articulate sociological analyses in oral and written form
  7. An understanding of statistical methods in social research as well as an ability to use computers appropriately in sociological work
  8. An understanding of the contribution of sociology to understanding the social world
  9. An ability to apply sociological perspectives to interpersonal and intergroup relations
  10. A familiarity with the occupational opportunities provided by sociological skills and understanding.
B.A. graduates in sociology nationwide pursue a wide range of occupations. One-third are employed in the professions; one quarter in the service occupations. The most commonly identified job titles among recent graduates (nationwide and at RIC) are social worker and educator. Among recent RIC sociology graduates are the dean of enrollment at a college, a special agent for the Naval Investigative Service, and the executive assistant to the president of a corporation.

Page last updated: May 4, 2012