2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog


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 areas: research methods and social theory. Two required courses in research methods, one in quantitative methods, 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

38 credits minimum, 30 credits minimum upper division.  

Choose one from the following: (3-4 units)3-4
Introduction to Sociology
Contemporary Global Issues
SOC 407Classical Sociological Theory4
Choose one from the following4
Contemporary Social Theory
Applied Sociology
SOC 430Quantitative Methods4
SOC 440Ethnographic Methods - Capstone4
Sociology Electives (Minimum 14 must be Upper Division) 1Minimum 18
Total Hours19-20

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
Total Hours18-20



Lower Division

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 how these issues are being addressed by the local and international organizations. We will also explore the subjects of human trafficking, human rights, coexistence among peoples of different cultures, and other critical global issues such as poverty eradication, environmental degradation, health crises and family/gender issues. (cross-listed with GLST 103).

SOC 1ST. Special Topics. (2).

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 204. American Indian Studies. (4).

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of American Indian Studies. The course covers three general areas related to American Indians. The first part of the course explores American Indian lifeways before sustained European invasion. The second part examines the dramatic consequences of invasion between 1492 and 1850, and includes an examination of Indian slavery, removal and reservation, and genocide. Special attention will be given to how American ideology, politics, and economic interests shaped Indian policies and practices. The third part examines the more critical issues facing American Indians, such as federal recognition, racism in the media, and poverty. Because American Indian women remain one of the most disadvantaged groups in the United States, the course pays particular attention to the consequences of Indian boarding schools and inadequate health care for Indian women. Each part will includes readings written from the perspectives of American Indians.

SOC 210. Introduction to Gender 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 214. Introduction to Public Health. (4).

This course introduces students to key public health concepts and provides a foundational understanding of the history, systems, and practice of public health. Students learn the process of how health issues in a population are identified, treated and prevented through public health efforts and utilizing epidemiologic tools. Additionally, the social, behavioral and environmental factors that impact health are examined within a public health framework. The course also explores how factors such as age, race/ethnicity, sex/gender, social class, and dis/ability status impact lifelong health. Through real world examples and the current political, economic, and cultural news of the day, students gain a clear understanding of the scope of today's public health problems and possible solutions.

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 282C. ST: (core). (1-4).

Select Topic approved for core.

SOC 285. Travel Course:Japanese Society/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 end of 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 2ST. Selected Topics. (4).

SOC 3ST. Selected Topics. (4).

SOC 4ST. Selected Topic. (4).

Upper Division

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 identities0, 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, the sacred in everyday life, and 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. Contemporary Issues in Gender Studies. (4).

The course examines the significance of gender in structuring experiences and social institutions with an emphasis on the reproduction of gender-based privileges. Specific course topics will vary as the course delves into a selected area in which gender plays a significant role. Topics might include identities, the body, masculinities, globalization, consumer culture, work, and media. 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, hospice and palliative care, euthanasia, the medicalization of death, the grieving process, suicide and homocide, how children come to understand mortality, and cross-cultural perspectives on death and dying. Students will also critically analyze their own perspectives on end-of-life issues and consider how to prepare for, pay for and experience the end of life. Through this pragmatic and theoretical approach, students will not only reflect on their own mortality, but be empowered to live their lives more fully. The course will use active-learning methods (e.g., journaling, field trips, guest speakers, interviewing, debate, oral presentations as well as applied and interactive exercises). Prereq: 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. We will examine the role of schooling in both reproducing and challenging 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 from historical and cross cultural perspectives. The course will explore the transformative effects of globalization and the 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, a fundamentally social phenomenon, reveals regular and recurrent patterns. Globally, 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, a prominent influence in socializing children around the world, allows study of positive aspects of human behavior (e.g., leadership, cooperation and tolerance) and also negative issues (e.g., sexism, racism and violence. This course explores the debate about sport and globalization from a sociological perspective through an analysis of different aspects and dimensions of both phenomenons as vehicles for critically evaluating the tensions between the amateur and the professional, the national and the international, tradition and modernity, community and individualism. Case studies will focus on non-Western cultures,.

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 421. Applied Sociology. (4).

In this course, students explores the ways in which sociological knowledge and skills are applied to tackling various social problems and improving the lives of people both inside and outside of American society. Students learn about occupational opportunities which serve different communities, while developing skills in networking and effective cross-cultural communication to support them in becoming agents for positive change. Prerequisite: Take SOC-101 or SOC-103.

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 develop and execute a field research project involving data collection, analysis, and a report. Minimum Junior standing. Pre-requisite: SOC 101 or equivalent.

SOC 482. Selected Topics. (1-4).

SOC 482C. ST: (core). (1-4).

Select Topic approved for core.

SOC 485. Seminar. (2-4).

SOC 490. Independent Study. (1-4).

SOC 492. Internship. (1-4).

(graded P/NC only).

SOC 495. Exploring Japanese Society, Pop Culture. (2).

SOC 496. Directed Research. (1-3).



Adina Nack

Akiko Yasuike

Assistant professor

Jonathan Cordero


Cynthia Duarte