MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS : SOCIOLOGY (SOC)
Fletcher Winston, Chair/Professor
Riku Kawaguchi, Assistant Professor
Laura Simon, Assistant Professor
The Department of Sociology offers a wide variety of courses in sociology and criminal justice. Courses within the department prepare students for graduate school and professional degree programs in law, medicine, social work, public health, education, and other fields as well as careers in such areas as human services, criminal justice, marketing, public administration, and human resources. The critical thinking and communication skills students develop can be applied in many sectors of employment including nonprofits, government, and business.
Through the sociology major and minor, students gain an understanding of the social world and how to bring about social change. Sociology students learn about important sociological concepts such as racial, gender and social class inequality, the influence of culture and social structure on individual and group behavior, globalization, and social institutions including religion, medicine, and the family. Students receive a strong foundation in sociological theory, research methods, and data analysis. Sociology courses provide students with the tools necessary for a scientific understanding of social forces and how these forces impact our lives.
Sociology majors may receive Departmental Honors by maintaining a minimum grade point average of 3.75 in sociology courses and satisfactorily completing a substantial research project under the direction of a sociology department faculty member. Honors students must present their research paper at an approved conference. Students who wish to receive Departmental Honors are strongly encouraged to complete SOC 405 before their senior year.
Major in Sociology
30 semester credit hours minimum
SOC 101. Introductory Sociology
SOC 303. Sociological Theory
SOC 304. Introduction to Social Science Research Methods
SOC 405. Empirical Research Project
One Social Problems course from:
SOC 210. Social Problems
SOC 225. Social Movements
SOC 310. Social Work
SOC 385. Criminology
SOC 386. Race, Gender, and Crime 
SOC 387. Communities and Crime
One Social Structure course from:
SOC 312. Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
SOC 319. Social Class in the U.S.
SOC 321. Globalization and Society
SOC 323. Medical Sociology
SOC 325. Urban Ecology
SOC 360. Environmental Sociology
One Culture course from:
SOC 295. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
SOC 313. Deviance and Social Control
SOC 324. Health Disparities
SOC 330. The Sociology of Language, Culture, and Communication
SOC 334. Marriage and Family
SOC 340. Sociology of Religion
SOC 367. Law and Society
Three additional SOC courses from any of the courses in the three categories
listed above or from the following: SOC 198, 290, 390, 490, 495. At least 15 hours
toward the major must be from courses numbered 300 or higher.
Minor in Sociology
15 semester credit hours minimum
SOC 101. Introductory Sociology
SOC 303. Sociological Theory
SOC 304. Introduction to Social Science Research Methods
Two additional SOC courses
SOC 101. Introductory Sociology (3 hours)
A survey of the basic concepts, theories, methods, and research associated with the sociological analysis of society. Emphasis will be placed on the study of major forms of human association and interaction, as well as the social structures and processes that affect the individual. (Every semester)
SOC 198. Special Introductory Topics in Sociology: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
This course examines an introductory topic in sociology not covered in any other departmental offerings. This course may be repeated for credit if the topic is different. (Occasionally)
SOC 210. Social Problems (3 hours)
This course examines problems of social inequality, deviance, and social institutions in a local and global context. Some societal problems focused upon in the course include poverty, racial discrimination, sexism, crime, drugs, and educational inequality. Students will explore the consequences of social problems and use sociological theories to explain their persistence and define solutions. (Every year)
SOC 225. Social Movements (3 hours)
This course examines how college students and others in the community bring about social change through movements such as those for environmental protection, civil rights, peace, women’s rights, and the alleviation of poverty. The class will explore social movement strategy, participation in activist groups, and the ability of movement organizations to achieve their goals. Types of movements (e.g. liberal and conservative), the role of traditional and electronic media in mobilization, and coalitions between movement organizations are some of the other topics examined in the course. (Every two years)
SOC 290. Research in Sociology (1-3 hours) 
Prerequisites: SOC 101 and consent of instructor. 
This course provides an opportunity for students to develop their research skills by assisting faculty in conducting research. Students are expected to work at least three hours per week for every hour of credit. Graded S/U. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours, but no more than 3 credit hours may count toward the major. (Every semester)  
SOC 295. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (3 hours)
(Same as AFR 295)
This course examines the social factors that have shaped understandings of race across time and place, and the implications of these categories for race relations and racial identity. Students will examine the intersections between race and social institutions (e.g., education, media, and criminal justice) and how prejudice, discrimination, and racism operate through these institutions. (Every two years)
SOC 303. Sociological Theory (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101.
This course provides an examination of classical and contemporary sociological theories. Key perspectives such as functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict, feminist and structural theories will be covered in-depth and considered in relation to the nature of theory construction. Emphasis is on critical engagement with theorists and perspectives, and their respective strengths and weaknesses. (Every Fall)
SOC 304. Introduction to Social Science Research Methods (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CRJ 160.
In this course students are introduced to fundamental ideas and methods of social science research, including the link between theory and research, the evaluation of research literature, the basics of research design, and the principle elements of surveys, experiments, and field research. Students will complete laboratory exercises in these areas and will learn basic descriptive statistics through the use of a standard statistical analysis program (e.g. SPSS). (Every Fall)
SOC 310. Social Work (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101.
An historical and philosophical examination of social welfare services and social work practice. Attention is given to the societal and value context in which the American social welfare system evolved and to the development of social work as a profession. (Every two years)
SOC 312. Sociology of Gender and Sexuality (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 312)
An examination of social factors that influence our understanding of gender, sexuality, and sexual identities in society. Students will develop a critical, empirically-based understanding of the structural and historical foundations of gender and sexuality in society through study of topics related to gender performance, gender inequality, sexualities, sexual behavior, sex education, and sexual health. (Every two years)
SOC 313. Deviance and Social Control (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CRJ 160.
An examination of deviance and social control, including (1) social processes that deem attributes and behaviors as deviant, (2) functions of deviance in society, (3) effects of deviant labels, and (4) formal and informal attempts to control deviance. The course covers both criminal and noncriminal deviance, with more focus on noncriminal deviance.(Every two years)
SOC 319. Social Class in the U.S. (3 hours)
This course examines the uneven distribution of wealth, income, power, and prestige in the United States and the effect of this inequality upon the opportunities and lifestyles of those who inhabit different social classes. The course explores the cultural and economic systems that maintain inequality, movement between social classes, as well as poverty and welfare policies. (Every two years)
SOC 321. Globalization and Society (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101.
This course focuses on the processes of globalization (economic, political, and geographic) and the nature of their impact in modern societies. It examines sociological theories of globalization that relate to arguments of dependency, modernization, neo-colonialism, and cultural and civilizational clash. The course is centrally concerned with the unequal distribution of wealth and power for social cohesion and stability at different scales (global-local). (Every three years)
SOC 323. Medical Sociology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or GHS 200.
An examination of the social and medical models that define health and illness in society, especially in terms of physical health, mental health, and disability. Students will explore the development of illness as a way to manage and control behavior and social factors that affect health and illness, including their association with social distributions of health and implications for healthcare access and medical treatment. (Every two years)
SOC 324. Health Disparities (3 hours) 
Prerequisite: SOC 101. 
An examination of the relationship between social inequality and health outcomes including cultural, economic, and demographic considerations. This course explores how social forces influence health and disease, the intersection of individual and societal level factors, and corresponding divergent health outcomes, including racial, economic, and gender disparities. (Every two years) 
SOC 325. Urban Ecology (3 hours)
The study of how human beings interact with the natural environment across increasingly urbanized landscapes. The course will focus on how cities create sustainable urban environments that protect and improve the natural environment while increasing human well-being. Topics include the study of the historical development of cities, current urbanization trends and impacts, systems-based thinking, the critical role of community engagement, and modern urban-planning concepts and strategies for creating sustainable cities. (Every two years)
SOC 330. The Sociology of Language, Culture, and Communication (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101.
The sociological study of language and communication with attention given to language as the organ or medium for comprehending reality; semantics and the problem of meaning; the relation between language and the cultural history of a people. (Occasionally)
SOC 334. Marriage and Family (3 hours)
(Same as WGS 334)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or WGS 180.
This course provides an overview of marriage and family issues. Students will examine historical changes in the meaning and role of marriage and family in society by considering the impact of social structure and culture. Students will also examine different ways in which class, gender, race, and other social positions influence people's experiences in relation to marriage and family. (Every two years)
SOC 340. Sociology of Religion (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101.
This course will review the history and meaning of a wide variety of western, eastern, and indigenous religions. In addition, the course will deal with the social construction of religious life, new religious movements, religion and violence, and multicultural religious themes of tolerance. It will expose students to the forces that legitimate, sustain, and challenge religious systems of belief and ritual in the midst of our scientific- and technologically-oriented world. (Every two years)
SOC 360. Environmental Sociology (3 hours)
This course uses the sociological perspective to examine environmental problems on the local, national, and global level. It explores how culture and social institutions affect the environment as well as the distribution of environmental problems according to socio-economic conditions. This course also examines the environmental movement and its potential to address environmental problems. (Every two years)
SOC 367. Law and Society (3 hours)
Prerequisite: CRJ 160 or SOC 101.
This course considers the relationship between law and society from sociological perspectives. Students will examine the development, maintenance, and application of law within cultural, social, and political processes. Students will also analyze the role of social change and social inequality (such as race, class, and gender) to achieve compliance, deterrence, and social control. (Every two years)
SOC 385. Criminology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CRJ 160.
A theoretical and empirical examination of contemporary issues in crime. This class provides an overview of key sociological and criminological theories to gain deeper understandings of the etiology of crime and delinquency. (Every spring) 
SOC 386. Race, Gender, and Crime (3 hours) 
(Same as WGS 386 and AFR 386) 
Prerequisite: CRJ 160, SOC 101, WGS 180, or AFR 190. 
A theoretical and empirical study of the significance of race and gender to criminal offending and criminal justice processing. Students will examine how gender and race influence criminal involvement and experiences in the criminal justice system and consider the implications of intersections of race, gender, and other social positions to contemporary issues of crime and criminal justice. (Every two years) 
SOC 387. Communities and Crime (3 hours) 
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or CRJ 160. 
A theoretical and empirical examination of the relationship between communities, neighborhoods, and crime. Students will examine how community/neighborhood development, structure, culture, and other contextual processes influence delinquency and crime. Students will also consider the implications of community processes for social and crime control. (Every two years) 
SOC 390. Special Topics in Sociology: (Subtitle) (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101 or consent of instructor.
This course examines a significant topic in sociology that is not available through other departmental course offerings. This course may be repeated for credit if the topic is different. (Occasionally)
SOC 397. Preceptorship (1-2 hours)
Prerequisite: permission of department chair.
Selected students will serve as learning facilitators in a class typically at the 100-200 level. Preceptors commonly attend all classes, read assigned texts, participate in class discussions, and take on other duties as assigned, but are not allowed to grade the work of students enrolled in the course. Each preceptor will reflect on the preceptorship experience in accordance with departmental practices, usually by keeping a journal during the semester. At least three hours of work per week are required for every hour of credit. Successful completion of the course meets the EXP requirement (EXP 408). Graded S/U. May not be counted toward the major or minor. May be repeated once for a maximum of four credit hours. (Occasionally)
SOC 405. Empirical Research Project (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 304.
In this course, students will choose a topic to investigate, review the literature on the subject, design the research methodology, and collect and analyze the data. Students will prepare a research paper and present their findings. (Every spring)
SOC 490. Internship in Sociology (1-3 hours)
Prerequisites: SOC 101 and consent of instructor .
This course involves an internship at an approved business, non-profit organization, government agency, or academic institution. It provides the opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of sociological concepts, develop career-related skills, and better define their career paths. Students will complete the course under the direction of a faculty member and an on-site supervisor. In addition to handling internship site work responsibilities, students complete reading and reflection assignments, and meet periodically with the faculty sponsor. Students must engage in projects or assignments requiring at least three on-site hours, or equivalent, per week for every hour of credit. (Every semester)
SOC 495. Directed Independent Research in Sociology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 405 and permission of instructor and department chair.
This course involves the development of an independent student research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students who enroll in this course are expected to present their research projects at an approved conference. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours, but no more than 3 credit hours may count toward the major. (Every semester)