Major in Sociology

Sociology is one of the fastest growing majors in the United States today.

It is a specific course of study that focuses on social life, change, the causes and consequences of human behavior, and the structure of groups, organizations and larger societies. Graduates are provided with these science-based perspectives on the human condition and how those factors influence the world around us.

What You’ll Learn

Sociology majors learn about the sociological perspective, theory, statistics and research methods. Students choose sociology electives from three areas—social and cultural differentiation, social organization and institutions, and social intervention. 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 pursuing both a sociology major and a social work minor may apply only SOC 211 toward both the major and minor.

Within the sociology major you may also elect a concentration in human services.

Major Requirements

All students majoring in sociology are required to take a minimum of 9.5 courses, including 8.5 courses in sociology plus an elementary statistics course. At least four of the 8.5 required sociology courses must be taken at Elmhurst College. Courses in sociology and social work may be accepted in transfer from other colleges.

Courses taken for the major must include the following required courses:

  • SOC 211 Society and the Individual—Introductory Sociology
  • 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 (.50 credit, spring of senior year)

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

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

Students may choose any sociology courses to fulfill the remaining five credits, preferably at the 300 level when possible. Courses in social work (SOC 308, SOC 404, SOC 406) cannot be applied toward the major. Only one cross-listed Criminal Justice course (SOC 319, SOC 340, SOC 408) can be counted toward the major.

A student may submit one course credit of independent study (SOC 491 or 492) and one credit of field experience (SOC 490) toward the sociology major if taken for a letter grade. Students are strongly advised to take SOC 490 Independent Field Work as part of their sociology major.

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 taking COM 315 Intercultural Communication; 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 211 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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