Major in Sociology

Sociology prepares students to be critical thinkers who can respond to the challenges of the social world.

It is a course of study that focuses on social life, inequality, the causes and consequences of human behavior, and the structure of groups and organizations. Graduates are equipped to apply social science perspectives to community organizations, social service agencies, nonprofits, and research on human behavior.

What You’ll Learn

Sociology majors learn about the sociological perspective, theory, statistics and research methods. Students choose sociology electives from three areas: inequalities, institutions, and structures. Independent field work, in which students apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world situations, is a highly recommended culmination of the major requirements.

A sociology major may study toward a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. To earn a B.S. degree in sociology, students take at least two mathematics courses except MTH 325, 326, 440 and 441. Students may also apply SOC 100 to a social work minor.

This curriculum was implemented in the Fall of the 2020 academic year. Students who began coursework with Elmhurst prior to that semester should follow the requirements outlined in the Academic Calendar for their entry year.

Major Requirements

All students majoring in sociology are required to take a minimum of 10 courses, including nince courses in sociology and an elementary statistics course. At least four of the ten required sociology courses must be taken at Elmhurst University. Courses in sociology and social work may be transferred from other colleges.

Courses taken for the major include the following required courses:

  • SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
    or SOC 301 Social Problems
  • SOC/CJ 323 Methods of Social Research (sophomore or junior year)
  • SOC 424 Sociological Theory (fall of junior or senior year)
  • SOC 496 Capstone Seminar (senior year)

One of the following statistics courses should be taken before SOC/CJ 323:

  • PSY 355 Statistics for Scientific Research
  • MTH 345 Elementary Statistics
  • MTH 346 Statistics for Scientists


In addition, students should choose five electives:

Two Electives in “Social Inequalities”

  • SOC 304 Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 305 Sex and Gender in Society
  • SOC 353 Childhood and Youth
  • SOC 310 Class and Status
  • CJ 319 Juvenile Delinquency and the Justice System

Two Electives in “Institutions”

  • SOC 311 Sociology of Culture and Media
  • SOC 316 Society, Health, and Illness
  • SOC 317 Marriage and Family
  • SOC 351 The Sociology of Identity
  • SOC 352 Sociology of Work
  • REL 326 The Sociology of Religion

One Elective in “Structures”

  • SOC 330 Global and Transnational Sociology
  • SOC 370 Environmental Sociology
  • SOC 320 Latina/os in the United States
  • CJ 408 Criminology

Only one Criminal Justice course can be counted toward the major. A student may submit one credit of independent study (SOC 491 or 492) or one credit of field experience (SOC 490) toward the sociology major if taken for a letter grade. A grade of C- or better is necessary to satisfy major, minor and prerequisite requirements.

Students are also strongly advised to develop some competence in the use of computers. CS 111 Introduction to Software Applications and Digital Technology covers basic concepts in computer science and digital technology. Students should also consider completing a minor in social work, psychology, criminal justice and/or intercultural studies; and studying Spanish to expand their career opportunities.

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.

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