Sociology Department

Contemporary society is nothing if not interesting. Our 24-hour news and entertainment media flood us with a daily orgy of sex and violence; disintegrating, dysfunctional families are suddenly the norm; deadly global diseases lurk in the shadows; corrupt, conniving CEOs control vast wealth; we are haunted by the specter of terrorism; each ride in an SUV further accelerates global warming; Kodak ships more jobs than cameras to China. Meanwhile, our increasingly self-absorbed pop culture of American Idol and Lady Gaga spins aimlessly out of control. The ominous signs of gloom and doom feel overwhelming, as today’s students confront a variety of complex challenges. The Sociology major represents an effort to make sense of this avalanche of spectacular social change and to provide students with the skills and tools to navigate an ever-shifting and altering world after graduation and into the future.

The Sociology major is designed, above all, for inquisitive students who are curious about the strange and amazing society that they call home. For example, why do almost half the prime-time television shows involve either solving crimes or putting people in jail? How does drug use among SJFC undergraduates differ from drug use among SJFC professors? Does VH1 shape social attitudes toward gays and lesbians or do social attitudes shape VH1 programming? How can the U.S. compete in a new global information economy when less than 30 percent of the population has college degrees? Given the divorce rate, isn’t it likely that the notion of long-term, monogamous marriage is today just an old-fashioned, outdated concept? What kind of society do I want to live in 20 years from now?...40 years?... 60 years? Sociology is about trying to figure out the current and future social trends across all these domains and more.

Given the broad range of topics addressed by sociology, there are a number of career options for which our majors are especially well-suited. These include law, criminal justice, human services, social work, business, journalism, politics, etc. For this reason, Sociology majors may choose a career-related department concentration. The department concentrations Criminal Justice and Human Services are described under Program Requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Lastly, Sociology majors are strongly encouraged to consider a double-major to further enhance their knowledge base, skill set and career prospects. Likewise, it is suggested that non-Sociology majors consider either a minor or double-major option, given the need for everyone to anticipate and adjust to the enormous social changes affecting all of our professional and personal lives.

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