The mission of the Sociology Department is to provide students with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills required to study groups, organizations, subcultures, cultures and societies. Our students study the dynamics of social interactions, identities, inequalities and social change by investigating social structures, norms and values which shape our lives, our institutions and our societies.
The primary goals of the Sociology Department are as follows:
1. Develop a sociological imagination in our students. The sociological imagination is defined as the ability to grasp the relationship between the individual and society in order to understand how larger social patterns influence the lives of individuals and, conversely, how individuals can exercise agency to effect change in society. Key to the development of a sociological imagination is fostering the growth of students’ creative and critical thinking skills.
2. Provide a strong disciplinary foundation. The foundation of the discipline of sociology rests upon two fields: research methods and social theory. Two required courses in research methods, on in quantitative methods and one in qualitative methods, provide the knowledge and skills necessary to design ethical and rigorous studies that involve the collection and analysis of empirical evidence. Two required courses, one in classical sociological theories and one in contemporary social theories, provide sociological perspectives that inform the selection of research methods for a particular project and guide the analysis of collected data. Together, these courses provide students with the abilities to produce theoretically driven and empirically grounded scholarship.
3. Encourage growth in each student’s ethical judgment and understanding of identity. We emphasize the development of ethical judgment in the production of and use of sociological knowledge because sociological knowledge has applied value when fostering intellectual growth and emotional maturity in students. In addition, we encourage students to examine diverse, complex, and situated identities, while increasing their awareness and understanding of the sources of social power which shape their own and others’ experiences.
4. Prepare students to live meaningful and productive lives. The sociology department is committed to helping student live meaningful lives that are filled with an ever-present critical awareness of social dynamics and with a commitment to bring about positive social change. In addition, the sociology department offers courses which develop a broad base of knowledge and skills applicable to a variety of occupational fields and various areas of graduate study.
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
34-36 credits minimum, 27-28 credits upper division.
|Choose one from the following: (3-4 units)||3-4|
|Introduction to Sociology|
|Contemporary Global Issues|
|SOC 407||Classical Sociological Theory||4|
|SOC 420||Contemporary Social Theory||4|
|SOC 430||Quantitative Methods||4|
|SOC 440||Ethnographic Methods - Capstone||4|
|Sociology Electives (at least 11-12 must be Upper Division) 1||15-16|
One elective may be taken from other departments as long as the course is pre-approved by the Sociology Chair as having significant sociological content.
Minor in Sociology
18-20 credits minimum, 11-12 credits upper division.
|Choose one from the following:||3-4|
|Introduction to Sociology|
|Contemporary Global Issues|
|Sociology Elective Credits (15-16 units, at least 11-12 must be Upper Division)||15-16|
SOC 101. Introduction to Sociology. (4).
Provides the foundational concepts and theories used by sociologists to understand social life. The student will be introduced to the power of social forces to affect human behavior - culture, socialization, social structure, inequality, social institutions such as family, religion, education and the effects of social change.
SOC 103. Contemporary Global Issues. (4).
A critical review and assessment will be undertaken of the origin and present condition of the major global issues and problems and how these are being addressed by the local and international organizations. We will also explore ideas and concepts of human trafficking, human rights, coexistence among peoples of different cultures and other critical global issues such as poverty eradication, environmental degradation, health crisis and family/gender issues. (cross-listed with GLST 103).
SOC 200. Sexuality and Society. (4).
This course, a lower division version of SOC 300, is geared towards those who are not completing a major or minor in sociology. Primarily focusing on the United States, this course examines sexuality through a sociological lens. We will explore how sexual attitudes and behaviors have changed over time, looking at which sexual attitudes and behaviors are considered "normal" vs. "deviant," and "moral" vs. "immoral" in mainstream society and different subcultures. At both the interpersonal and societal levels, the course will examine how these beliefs influence societal responses to current social problems related to sexuality: adolescent sexuality, teen pregnancy, contraception, STDs, sex education, sexualized violence, prostitution, pornography, sexual orientation, changing gender roles, and portrayals of sex in popular culture. (Taking this course for credit disallows taking SOC 300 for credit.).
SOC 210. Introduction to Women's Studies. (4).
This interdisciplinary course uses a social constructionist perspective to explore some major issues in contemporary women's studies: cultural constructions of femininity; women's roles in and perspectives on education, religion, politics, law, economics, and health care; women and the arts; feminist theories and philosophies. (cross-listed with WOMS 210).
SOC 221. Popular Culture. (4).
An introduction to important readings on popular culture from the perspectives of sociology and communication studies. The study of popular culture takes the forms, content, values and norms of popular culture products as data for analysis and critique. Students will focus on mass communication forms of popular culture such as movies, advertisements, television shows, magazines, music and music videos. This course will focus on the period from 1945 to the present. (cross-listed with COMM 221).
SOC 230. Introduction to World Cultures. (4).
People from different continents who speak different languages and possess different values and religions find themselves living closer and closer together in a new global village. To all members of this new community, cultural anthropology offers a unique invitation to examine, explain and critique human diversity. This course will introduce the student to the concepts, theories and methods used by anthropologists to analyze cultural systems particularly those from non-Western societies.
SOC 282. Selected Topic. (1-4).
SOC 285. Travel Course: Exploring Japanese Society and Culture. (2).
Japan has been one of the most economically advanced countries since the rise of globalization, yet unlike Europe and the U.S., it is a country of no Western origin. While globalization has accelerated the process of Americanization, Japan still retains uniquely Japanese customs, values/beliefs and social institutions. The course will meet during the spring semester and examine Japanese society/culture and the impact of globalization through documentary films, academic articles, popular magazines and Internet sources. Right after the semester, the students will visit Japan for approximately two weeks to directly observe interactions of Japanese people and experience Japanese life style. Back in the U.S., the students are required to write a reflection paper on their experiences in Japan. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 300. Sexuality and Society. (4).
Primarily focusing on the United States, this course examines sexuality through a sociological lens. We will explore how sexual attitudes and behaviors have changed over time, looking at which sexual attitudes and behaviors are considered "normal" vs. "deviant," and "moral" vs. "immoral" in mainstream society and different subcultures. At both the interpersonal and societal levels, the course will examine how these beliefs influence societal responses to current social problems related to sexuality: adolescent sexuality, teen pregnancy, contraception, STDs, sex education, sexualized violence, prostitution, pornography, sexual orientation, changing gender roles, and portrayals of sex in popular culture. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 318. Immigration in the Global Age. (4).
International immigration is an integral part of the globalization processes. This course explores the key current theoretical and empirical debates in the study of this global phenomenon. The course covers transnational networks, the formation and implementation of labor recruitment (including human trafficking), migration policies, political conflict, economic and social adaptation, the development of socio-cultural traditions (ethnic identities) and the transformation of gender relations. Minimum Sophomore standing. (cross-listed with GLST 318).
SOC 320. Religion and Culture. (4).
Investigates the relationship between religion and various forms of culture in contemporary American society, including literature, art, television, film, and popular music. Special emphasis will be given to the culture wars, to the sacred in everyday life, and to the production and reception of religious culture.
SOC 321. Medical Sociology. (4).
An introduction to the examination of health, illness, and healing from a sociological perspective. The course will address relevant sociological theories and research methods. The field of medical sociology operates independently from the medical profession and takes the perspective, values, norms, and practices of medicine as data for analysis and critique. This course will primarily focus on issues of health, illness, and healing in the U.S. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 322. Gender and Society. (4).
This course will examine the significance of gender in structuring experiences and social institutions. Emphasis upon the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of gendered social groups and upon the intersection of gender with other social categories, such as race, class, and sexuality. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 330. Death and Dying. (4).
It is in thinking about death that we begin to understand the meaning of life. Using sociological, psychological and spiritual perspectives, this course will examine such topics as American cultural influences on the meaning of death, how we die in a technological age, euthanasia and legal issues, the funeral and other death rituals, suicide, life after death, children and death, the grief process and cross-cultural perspectives on death and dying. The course will use active-learning methods such as journaling, field trips, guest speakers, interviewing and participant observation. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 334. Sociology of Education. (4).
This course provides an overview of sociological theories of education and current research about education in the United States. Analysis will include the school as a social institution comprised of specific roles, values, and norms. In so doing we will examine the role of schooling in both reproducing and redressing social inequalities with an emphasis on how social class, race, gender, ethnicity, immigration, and sexual orientation impact the organization of school, the development of curricula, and the experiences of students. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 340. Family and Intimate Relationships. (4).
The course examines the peculiarity of the "modern" Western family system in historical and cross cultural perspectives. The course will explore transformative effects of globalization and post-industrial economy on family practices, structures and intimate relationships. In addition, the course will address the intersections between family life and social structures, such as race/ethnicity, social class and sexuality. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 360. Racial and Ethnic Relations. (4).
The course examines the historical, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of racial and ethnic relations in the United States from the mid 1800s to the present, with an emphasis on racism. Includes an investigation of the link between residential segregation and opportunity for African Americans, a critical interrogation of whiteness and white privilege, and an exploration of racism in California, particularly for California Indians. Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 370. Deviance in U.S. Society. (4).
Introduces students to sociological concepts of deviance, social control, social power, and identity construction/management. Focusing on the topic of deviance, an exploration of how groups of people have the power to shape and apply social definitions of "normalcy" and "morality" will provide an analytical lens through which to look at the consequences for those labeled as "deviant." Minimum junior standing. (cross-listed with CRIM 370).
SOC 407. Classical Sociological Theory. (4).
A survey of the most significant developments in classical sociological theory, emphasizing the critical reading of primary source materials. The characteristics and origins of major sociological paradigms are explored, including the works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Prerequisite: SOC 101; Minimum Junior standing.
SOC 413. Global Aspects of Sociology and Sport. (4).
Sport is a fundamentally social phenomenon. Like other forms of human behavior, it reveals regular and recurrent patterns. In the context of these patterns, sport has become highly organized, institutionalized, bureaucratized and commercialized. Technology has standardized sport, created new sports, increased spectator interest and access, and produced new levels of excellence in sport. Sport is also a prominent influence in socializing children. Sport is often described as a microcosm of society. Sport offers an opportunity to study positive aspects of human behavior, such as leadership, cooperation and tolerance, but it also reveals negative social issues such as sexism, racism and violence. Throughout the semester we will engage in an exploration of these and other aspects of sport. We will go beyond the mass-mediated images that you receive via the television, radio & newspaper. We will push past the taken-for-granted aspects of sport that are instilled in you when you first pick up a ball, swing a racket or dive into water. We will see what lies beneath the surface of sport in contemporary society, how this institution interacts with others, and what effects it has on both the culture and the individuals within the culture.
SOC 420. Contemporary Social Theory. (4).
This course is a critical examination of significant developments in contemporary social theory, such as symbolic interactionism, postmodernism, poststructuralism, critical theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Prerequisites: SOC 407; Minimum Junior standing.
SOC 430. Quantitative Methods. (4).
This class will prepare students to critically analyze and conduct quantitative sociological research. Emphasis is on the use of surveys, the primary quantitative method used in social research. Students will learn the principles of study design and deductive logic for the purpose of carrying out quantitative data analysis. Pre-requisite: SOC 101, Minimum Sophomore standing.
SOC 440. Ethnographic Methods - Capstone. (4).
Skill development prepares students to conduct qualitative sociological research. Emphasizes ethnographic techniques including: intensive interviewing, direct observation, coding, participant observation, and report writing. Students conceive and execute a field research project with data collection, analysis, and a report. Minimum Junior standing. Pre-requisite: SOC 101 or equivalent.
SOC 482. Selected Topics. (1-4).
SOC 485. Seminar. (2-4).
SOC 490. Independent Study. (1-4).
SOC 492. Internship. (1-4).
(graded P/NC only).
SOC 496. Directed Research. (1-3).
Dr. Adina Nack
Professor, Sociology Department; Director, Center for Equality and Justice
Dr. Akiko Yasuike
Associate Professor, Sociology Department and Global Studies Program
Dr. Jonathan Cordero
Assistant Professor, Sociology Department; Interim Department Chair of Sociology
Dr. Molly George
Assistant Professor, Sociology Department and Criminal Justice Department