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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 10 courses, including 9.5 courses in sociology plus an elementary statistics course. At least four of the 10 required sociology courses must be taken at Elmhurst University. 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 100 Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC/CJ 323 Methods of Social Research (sophomore or junior year)
  • SOC 424 Sociological Theory (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


Inequalities (choose 2)

  • 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

Institutions (choose 2)

  • SOC 212 Sociology of Culture
  • SOC 316 Society, Health, and Illness
  • SOC 317 Marriage and Family
  • SOC 352 Sociology of Work
  • SOC 351 The Sociology of Identity
  • REL 326 The Sociology of Religion

Structure (choose one)

  • 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 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 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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