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Sociology Courses

Course offerings reflect the 2021-2022 Elmhurst University Catalog. One unit of credit equals four semester hours.

*Prerequisites: The department will waive SOC 100 as a prerequisite for upper-level courses in sociology if the student has passed the CLEP exam in introductory sociology or if, in the opinion of the instructor, the student’s prior education or experience provides the conceptual foundation necessary to take the course.

A scientific study of society and social interaction and their effects on individual behavior. An introduction to the concepts, theories and methods used by sociologists to study social life. Special attention is given to how the sociological perspective can enhance our ability to understand society and to function more effectively in it.

A study of the meaning and influence of culture and its societal variations. The course focuses on culture as the way people live, with a focus on media, popular culture, and the culture industry.

An examination of common social problems using theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Students investigate individual deviance, patterns of social injustice, specific problems affecting major U.S. institutions, and international issues, along with various mechanisms and resources for solving and preventing social problems.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent or junior/senior standing.

A study of the basic concepts and theories of race and ethnicity in the United States. Historical and contemporary societal reactions to racial and ethnic groups are examined. Special attention is given to issues of social justice.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent or junior/senior standing.

A study of gender roles and sex inequality—their forms, causes, effects on behavior and life chances and patterns of change. An examination of the significance of gender roles and sex inequality for understanding both social behavior and social institutions.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

A study of the structure and processes of social inequality in societies. Primary emphasis is on socioeconomic inequality with secondary emphasis on racial and sexual inequality. An examination of aspects of social inequality, including its causes, historical trends, contemporary patterns, effects on social behavior, efforts to reduce inequality and future possibilities.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

A study of the structure and function of health care as a societal institution. Topics include sociocultural and structural factors that influence health care professionals’ roles, families’ health practices and the interactions of clients and providers. Students will also examine critiques of the U.S. health care system and proposed reforms.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

A historical and intercultural analysis of the family as a social institution in contemporary American society. Topics include: dating, mate selection and marital adjustment, as well as problems of the family in modern Western culture.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

An introduction to the logic and procedures for conducting social research. An examination of the foundations of social research, research design, methods of observation, data analysis and ethical issues in research.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or CJ 100.

An analysis of globalization is essential in understanding today’s world. The increasing interconnectedness of people and the exchange of ideas, cultural products, and social problems greatly impact our everyday lives. This class will explore sociological theories and ideas that deal with global issues. From the increasing economic integration of nationstates, to the worldwide migration crisis, to the tackling of global problems, such as war and climate change, sociological theories can provide a useful lens in understanding the modern world.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the role of society in shaping our personal identities, with an emphasis on the reciprocal relationship between individual-level and group-level phenomena. Students will work from the foundational sociological approach of symbolic interactionism to better understand how individuals’ identities emerge and affect social interaction, how individuals perceive other people and situations, the impact of “processing short cuts” on assessments of a situation, how people’s attitudes emerge and impact their behavior, how individuals experience and express emotions in various situations, and group processes related to status and power.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

This course will contemplate contemporary issues of labor in the United States and around the world. During the semester, students will learn about the labor conditions experienced by a wide range of workers, and they will think critically about how the structure of work today impacts our everyday lives. Students will reflect intersectionally on how gender, race, immigration status, disability, and age impact people’s experiences in the workforce. They will also explore the polarization of “good” and “bad” jobs in the labor market. Finally, the course will focus on how broader structures, such as globalization and neoliberalism, impact labor.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

This course explores how children and youth constitute a particular social group. We will study how concepts and ideologies around children and youth have changed and developed overtime. We will look at the social position of children and youth today, taking a critical perspective into the power relations and structures that both constrain and provide opportunities for young people. Paying particular attention to the intersection of age with other social locations, such as gender and race, we will analyze youth’s experiences of dependency and agency. Finally, this course will provide a survey of various institutions and structures that are important in youth’s lives, such as education, family, media, and technology.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

This course is an opportunity for students to be introduced to the theoretical and empirical analysis of the interaction between the environment and human society. We will explore the ways in which the culture and structure of human society impacts the environment and how, in turn, changes in the environment inequitably impact society. In exploring the social roots of environmental issues, students will critically analyze how technologies, patterns of consumption and production, status and power systems, religion, and population trends impact our environment.

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or equivalent.

An introduction to several theoretical perspectives used to explain social phenomena: the intellectual roots of these perspectives, their major concepts, their explanatory structures, their contributions and weaknesses and their uses in research.

Prerequisites: Two courses in sociology or equivalent. Recommended in the Spring of the junior year.

A focus on a specific theorist, sociological school, problem area or application of sociology using a seminar format. Topics vary upon student and faculty interest. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. Upon request.

.50, .75 or 1.00 credit

Independent, guided field work in sociology or social work. Field work in sociology involves work in an agency, organization or community setting using sociology to analyze and solve problems. Field work in social work involves supervised work in an accredited social service or welfare setting. A minimum of 140 hours on site is required during the term for 1.00 credit. Repeatable for credit.

Prerequisites: Field work in sociology: two courses in sociology and consent of instructor. Field work in social work: SW 303, location of a suitable field site and consent of instructor. Upon request.

.50, .75 or 1.00 credit

A course in independent, guided research. Practical experience is acquired in the stages of designing and conducting a research project in sociology. Repeatable for credit.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and either SOC/CJ 323 or three courses in sociology. Upon request.

.50, .75 or 1.00 credit

An independent and concentrated reading course focusing on a specific problem area, field of specialization or the thought of a major social thinker in sociology. Repeatable for credit.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and two courses in sociology. Upon request.

.50 credit

This course gives Honors Program students the opportunity to design and implement a significant research project in the field of sociology, culminating in an appropriate public dissemination of research methods and findings. This research must build upon previous coursework taken within the major or minor, facilitating faculty supervision and guidance. Repeatable for credit.

Permission of the faculty supervisor and the director of the Honors Program required prior to registration.

1.00 credit

A seminar course required of all sociology majors and designed to facilitate the transition of sociology majors from the undergraduate degree program to employment or graduate school. The course will enable students to answer four questions: What can I do with a major in sociology? What do I know (knowledge)? What can I do (skills)? How can I use the knowledge and skills that I have acquired to achieve my professional goals? Students will explore applications of sociology and opportunities for sociology-related careers and post-graduate education; apply sociological knowledge, methods and theory in a service-learning experience; and create an electronic portfolio and other material in preparation for application for employment or graduate school. Students should enroll in SOC 496 in the fall term closest to their graduation.

Prerequisite: Senior standing.

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