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Sociology Course Descriptions

Sociology Courses

SOCI 203 – General Sociology (3 cr): This course introduces the student to the concepts and theories that pertain to social relationships and social organization. The course covers topics that range from micro interpersonal relationships to macro-social structures. The course is a prerequisite for all other courses in sociology and/or social welfare.

SOCI 205 – Social Problems (3 cr): In large, complex, heterogeneous, and rapidly changing societies, social problems are inevitable consequences. The problems may vary in their nature, extent, and volume but the negative impact has equally significant implications for all aspects and members of the society. Although these problems are an integral aspect of society, their impact needs to be and can be controlled within a normal range. In order to ameliorate the negative consequences of these social conditions so that they do not reach a pathological state, it is imperative to understand their source, nature, and effects. This course examines these aspects of various social problems and the suggested corrective strategies to deal with them.

SOCI 303 – The Family (3 cr): This course is an objective description and analysis of families. The course will examine the development and functions of traditional family forms as well as explore a variety of other family forms. Problems and issues facing contemporary families will be addressed. Diversity among American families will be emphasized.

SOCI 307 – Demography (3 cr): This course is concerned with the study of human populations and their interaction with the physical environment. It examines how societies are affected by changes in the size, composition, and distribution of their populations, as well as how those population trends affect the organization of social life. The course will introduce students to the procedures demographers use to collect, analyze, and interpret population data such as birth, death, and migration rates.

SOCI 309 – Sociology of Religion (3 cr): This course examines the structure and functions of organized religion in traditional and modern societies with an emphasis on reciprocal relations among religion, economic, family, educational, and political systems. Also, various patterns of cults, sects, and denominations will be examined.

SOCI 321 – Social Stratification (3 cr): A study of the factors which account for differences in influence, power, and social prestige held by different individuals and groups in the community and the society. Also considered are the theories of stratification and the relationships between social class and education, occupational choice, political preference, and religious affiliation. The relationship between social class and social mobility is reviewed.

SOCI 322- Social Theory (3 cr): This course introduces the student to the fundamental forms of social thought. The philosophical beginnings of social theory are presented in order to form the basis for the analysis of classical social theory. The influence of social conditions and classical social theory is discussed in order to trace the development of contemporary social theory.

SOCI 323 – Social Research Methods (3 cr): This course focuses on the assessment of social phenomena for research analysis within sociology. The student is introduced to the principles of the scientific method and alternative approaches for conducting sociological investigation. The course also includes an overview of the various methods of investigation, as well as the role quantitative and qualitative analysis play in research. Students will design a research proposal that may be used as the basis for their Senior Thesis project (which may require Institutional Review Board approval).

SOCI 324 – Introduction to Social Statistics (3 cr): This course introduces students to the theory and application of basic statistical analysis for the investigation of patterned social phenomena. Students will learn the basics of sampling theory, frequency distribution, central tendency, measures of variability, t-tests, analysis of variance, correlations, and simple regression techniques.  This course will teach statistics using examples related to sociological investigation. Prerequisites: MATH 101 or higher and junior standing; or permission of instructor.

SOCI 333 – The Sociology of Sport (3 cr): This course surveys the principles that underlie the social structure and processes that create and transform the social institutions within the institution of sport. It also investigates the social milieu in which sport participation is embedded with respect to who participates, when, where, and the consequences of participation.

SOCI 340 – Sociology of Humor (3 cr): This course is designed to introduce the student to the various theories and scientific analyses of humor. The student will learn about the importance of humor within interpersonal communications. Interpersonal dynamics, such as group formation and the generation of cultural identity, are also presented and discussed. The evolution of a national character is evaluated and assessed. The material stresses the use of humor in the media and how humor is used as a vehicle for cultural domination. The topics of humor that are examined included the areas of politics, race and ethnicity, and gender.

SOCI 390 – The Sociology of Violence (3 cr): This course is a survey of patterns and trends of violence in American society. These patterns and trends concern interpersonal, domestic, police, corporate, prison, schools, media, collective, and political violence. The course also examines theories, preventive treatment and public policies concerning violence.

SOCI 403 – Ethnic Relations (3 cr): The content of the course goes beyond the literal meaning of its title. It involves an analysis of stratification based on race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other social categories such as caste. Such a structure is not deliberate, but rather dictated by the inextricable relationship and uniformity of the consequences of the various forms of stratification. While emphasis is placed on the social arrangements in the American society, the issues are also examined from a cross-cultural perspective. The course tries to provide a general theoretical framework of stratification by exploring the factors, the process, and the consequent tensions and hostilities associated with it.

SOCI 404 – Sociology Seminar (3 cr): Designed for students who have a major or minor in sociology and who expect to pursue graduate study in the field.

SOCI 406 – Communication in American Society (3 cr): Special emphasis is placed upon mass communications and the structure of function of communication as the art of transmitting information, ideas, concepts, and attitudes from one person or group to another.

SOCI 407 – Collective Behavior (3 cr): This course centers on the relatively unstructured, spontaneous, unpredictable, temporary, and usually irrational aspects of human behavior, including such social behavior as rumors, fads, fashions, crazes, panics, escapes, riots, protests, collective delusions, migrations, and disasters.

SOCI 409 – Contemporary Theory (3 cr): This course focuses on the European influence upon intellectual thought in American sociology. The impact of Marx through the Frankfurt School, neo-Marxists, and critical theory is introduced. The development of symbolic interaction is presented in an examination of dramaturgy, ethnomethodology, and phenomenological sociology. Structural-functionalism, systems theory, and exchange theory are also presented. In addition, contemporary feminist theory as well as critical theories of race are discussed. The course ends with an overview of modern theories of modernity and globalization.

SOCI 412 – Medical Sociology (3 cr): The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the general field of medical sociology. Research and analysis of the medical environment from a sociological perspective will be explored. The course will focus on the major concerns of medical sociology: social facets of health and illness, the social functions of health institutions and organizations, the relationship of systems of health care delivery to other social systems, and the social behavior of health personnel and consumers of health care services.

SOCI 419 – Internship in Sociology/Criminal Justice (3 cr): This course provides supervised field experience enabling students to integrate theory and practice. A variety of community-based organizations are used for student placement. The course may not be repeated. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing; 2.5 minimum overall GPA; permission of sociology faculty.

SOCI 420 – Senior Thesis (3 cr): Students will design and conduct original research which entails forming a focused research question, engaging in a literature review, identifying an appropriate source of data and accompanying methodology, compiling results and analyses, and organizing each component into a formal research paper. Proper sampling techniques, ethical practices, and social scientific technical writing skills will be vigorously applied. A complete report of the research will be submitted and findings will be presented in a public forum. This is the Department of Sociology’s writing intensive course.

SOCI 421 – Social Organizations (3 cr): This course focuses upon the nature and structure of social organizations. This includes the assessment of the impact of organizational structure upon individuals and society. A discussion of both informal and formal groups is presented within the course material. The course also introduces the student to the concept of globalization and the effects of this process. Issues originating with the works of Weber, Taylor, and Ford lead to the contemporary analyses of Ritzer, Tomlinson, Giddens, and others. The material focuses upon the relationship between the structure of the organization and the resulting consciousness of the participants of the organizations.