Sociology

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The sociology major is concerned with the scientific study of culture, social structure, social processes, social interaction, and social change, from the largest to the smallest scale. Many courses focus on important social issues, including gender, and sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social class, and inequality.

A degree in sociology prepares students for a wide range of careers in educational institutions, private industry, NGO's (non-governmental organizations) and government agencies, as well as further, postgraduate study in the discipline. For students with more specific career goals in mind, appropriate programs to meet their particular needs may be designed in consultation with the sociology faculty.

The sociological perspective can provide clarification to troubles and issues in social life and improve the quality of everyday life. Learning outcomes include:

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR

To earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in sociology, a student must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  1. General College Requirements (see “Curriculum” section), including the following requirements to satisfy the major:
  2. Thirty-six credit hours of coursework carrying sociology credit and distributed as follows:
    1. Required Courses (16 credit hours):
      • SOCI 101: Introduction to Sociology
      • SOCI 201: Social Statistics
      • SOCI 260: Sociological Theory
      • SOCI 385: Research Methods
    2. Twenty additional credit hours of coursework designated SOCI.
  3. In their senior year, majors may elect to complete eight credit hours of a St. Mary’s Project (SOCI 493 and 494), or complete the Sociology Senior Seminar (SOCI 490) and one additional four-credit hour course in sociology at the 300 or 400 level.
  4. The 44 credit hours of major requirements may include field experience and independent study as approved by the department chair.
  5. All courses counting toward a major in sociology must have a grade of at least C-.

All students majoring in sociology shall plan an individual program with their adviser to arrive at a combination of courses that will meet the requirements for the major as well as satisfying their goals and interests. The sociology faculty strongly recommends that students choose an adviser from among the sociology faculty by the beginning of their junior year.

The following schedule is suggested as a model for satisfying the requirements of the sociology major:

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

To earn a minor in sociology, a student must satisfy the following requirements.

  1. General College requirements (see “Curriculum” sections).
  2. At least 20 semester-hours in sociology as specified under the required and elective courses.
    1. Required core course (4 semester-hours): SOCI 101: Introduction to Sociology
    2. Elective courses (16 semester-hours) in sociology, 12 of which must be taken at the 300-400 level.
  3. A grade of C- or better must be received in each course of the minor.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION

Students interested in Maryland state certification in social studies should study the description of the College’s Teacher Education Program in the catalog. In addition, they should, by the end of the first semester of their sophomore year, consult with the chair of the Department of Educational Studies, and the education advisers in their major fields.

FACULTY

Andrew Cognard-Black (adjunct), Helen Ginn Daugherty, Louis Hicks, Dawn Norris (visiting assistant professor), Elizabeth Osborn (department chair), Curt Raney, Stephen Steele (adjunct).

SOCIOLOGY COURSES (SOCI)

SOCI 101. Introduction to Sociology (4E)

This course examines social order and change using fundamental sociological concepts. It establishes a framework for the systematic and critical interpretation of society and the analysis of social problems, and facilitates an understanding of how and why individuals and groups behave as they do. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Social Sciences.

SOCI 201. Social Statistics (4S)

An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics as employed in sociology. Covers graphical presentation of data, measures of central tendency, measures of variation, correlation and regression, sampling, estimation, and tests of significance. Includes substantial use of a computer statistics package. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 230. Sociology of Gender (4AF)

The focus of this course is on the social construction of gender and the interaction of gender in social relationships. Historical and cross-cultural issues of gender equality in social, economic, and political settings will be discussed. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 240. Social Interaction (4AF)

The sociology of everyday experience. This course covers the cultural ordering of routine social interaction in ordinary social settings. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 260. Sociological Theory (4S)

The focus of this course is the history and evolution of classical and contemporary sociological theory. This course addresses several goals: 1) to illustrate the general relationship between theory, research, and practice needed for a solid liberal arts education; 2) to prepare students for St. Mary’s Projects; and 3) to prepare students who select sociology careers for the job market or graduate school. The course is conducted in a seminar format in which participants discuss the work of sociological theorists, with special attention to how theory relates to research methodology and social issues. Prerequisite: SOCI 101

SOCI 302. Medical Sociology (4AS)

The primary objectives of medical sociology are to explain how particular societal arrangements affect the types and distribution of health, disease, and medical care. This course will show that the organization of the medical care system and its responses to demands for services are historical, specific, and inseparable from other issues. Medical sociology as a field of study strives to be independent of the medical profession, taking the profession’s medical values, assumptions, and perspectives as data for study and analysis. Prerequisite: SOCI 101 or instructor's permission.

SOCI 304. Work and Occupations (4AF)

This course presents a sociological approach to work and occupations in the U.S. and globally, with emphasis on the history and meaning of work, sociological theories related to work, the work-family balance, and work-related problems. Upon completing the course, students should be able to understand the interplay between structural and individual factors regarding work-related issues, problems, and historical work-related trends, and apply this understanding to current events. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 312. Economic Sociology (4AF)

This course explores the relationships between social actors and their economic environments. These relationships include micro-level processes such as rents, credit card purchases, gambling, as well as large-scale processes such as multinational corporations, aid to developing countries, and social welfare systems. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 316. Sociology of Children and Childhood (4AS)

The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to the sociological concepts, methods, and theoretical perspectives for understanding relations between children and their environment. We examine socialization processes at the micro-level and structural environments at the macro-level. We assume a global perspective in exploring the diversity of children’s experiences in relation to family structure, ethnicity, race, social class, and gender. Prerequisite: SOCI 101 or instructor's permission.

SOCI 320. Sociology of the Family (4AS)

The focus of this course is the institution of the family and its relationship to other social institutions. Historical and cross-cultural issues of family composition, marriage and divorce patterns, childbearing, and child rearing will be discussed. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 329. Sociology of War and Peace (4AF)

This course surveys the social contexts of organized armed conflict: war and peace as social institutions; the origins of the modern war system; military sociology; and modern issues such as women in the military, weapons proliferation, ethnic and religious strife, peace movements and peacekeeping organizations. Prerequisite: SOCI 201.

SOCI 330. Sociology of Organizations (4S)

This course surveys complex organizations as a particular form of social interaction. The course covers classical and contemporary theory of organizations, the nature and growth of bureaucracy, the rhetoric and practice of management and leadership, and significant empirical studies of modern organizational life. Prerequisite: SOCI 201.

SOCI 345. Social Change (4AF)

This course surveys social change. It includes developmental trends such as technological advance; aggregate phenomena such as traffic congestion; motivational trends such as intoxication; institutional trends such as unionization; and adversarial trends such as the outcomes of battles and elections. Prerequisite: SOCI 201.

SOCI 347. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (4AF)

Theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of race and ethnicity are studied in this course. Analyses of social and political issues such as racism and discrimination are also covered. Prerequisite: SOCI 101.

SOCI 349. Sociology of Religion (4AF)

The study of religion as the genesis of social order and as a force for stability and change, a refuge from embattled existence, and the source of cultural metaphysics. Prerequisite: SOCI 101, and SOCI 260 or instructor's permission.

SOCI 351. The Sociology of Deviance (4AF)

The history of explanations of nonconformity beginning with criminology, the science of crime control, ending with the sociology of deviance, a major contribution to a general theory of social order. Prerequisite: SOCI 101 and SOCI 260 or instructor's permission.

SOCI 352. Topics in Sociology (4)

Topics shall vary each semester the course is offered. There will be an analysis of a substantive issue in sociology. The topic will address current interests of students and the instructor. May be repeated for credit.

SOCI 355. Demography (4AS)

This course is a study of the dynamics of population growth and demographic issues. Topics include childbearing, death, migration, and policies of population control.

SOCI 365. Social Stratification (4S)

This course is a study of the structural hierarchy of society, with particular emphasis on concepts such as race, gender, and class. Differential problems are discussed. Attention is given to mobility and factors associated with mobility. Prerequisite: SOCI 201.

SOCI 385. Research Methods (4F)

The tools that sociologists use in conducting empirical research are examined. Included are the following topics: research design, theory, variables, sampling, instruments, data collection and analysis, interpretation of data, and research report writing. Students work towards developing the skills needed to carry out original research, gaining experience with each basic step of the research process. A knowledge of introductory statistics is required. Prerequisite: SOCI 201.

SOCI 398, 498. Off-Campus Internship (4-16E)

A variety of off-campus experiential learning opportunities can be arranged through the Career Development Center. The off-campus internship is an individually designed experience that allows the student to explore the relationships between learning in the classroom and practical application of knowledge in everyday work situations. Prerequisites: Admission to the Internship Program and approval of the department chair. (See “Internships” under “Academic Policies” section.) Credit/no credit grading.

SOCI 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by a sociology faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. (See “Independent Study” under “Academic Policies” section.)

SOCI 490. Senior Seminar (4S)

This course analyzes a selected issue from the perspectives of sociology. The seminar is structured to enable the student to integrate the knowledge gained in major coursework and apply it to a specific topic. The goal of the seminar is to produce a professional research paper. Students opting to do a St. Mary’s Project may not take the senior seminar for credit. Prerequisites: SOCI 101, SOCI 260, and SOCI 385.

SOCI 493/494. St. Mary’s Project (1-8E)

The project, which may take many forms, draws on and extends knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. The student initiates the project, identifies an area to be explored, and proposes a method of inquiry appropriate to the topic. The project should include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which it is a contribution. It must be shared with the College community through posters, presentations, or other means. The project may be within this discipline, across disciplines, or in an established cross-disciplinary studies option. The project is supervised by a faculty mentor.  Prerequisite: Approval of faculty mentor and department chair of the student’s major(s). Consult faculty mentor for project guidelines. Students are strongly urged to complete SOCI 350 (Sociological Theory) and SOCI 385 (Research Methods) before beginning their projects.