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.

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 courses must be taken at the 300 or 400 level.

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

  • SOC 211 Society and the Individual—Introductory Sociology
  • SOC 323 Methods of Social Research (sophomore or junior year)
  • SOC 424 Sociological Theory (junior or senior year)
  • SOC 496 Capstone Seminar (0.5 credit, senior year)

One of the following statistics courses should be taken before SOC 323:
PSY 355 Statistics for Scientific Research or MTH 345 Elementary Statistics or MTH 346 Statistics for Scientists

At least one course must be taken from each of the following three categories:

Social and Cultural Differentiation

  • SOC 212 Cultural Anthropology
  • SOC 304 Race and Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 305 Sex and Gender in Society
  • SOC 310 Social Inequality
  • SOC/CJ 340 Gender and Crime

Social Organization and Institutions

  • SOC 316 Society, Health, and Illness
  • SOC 317 Marriage and the Family

Social Intervention

  • SOC 301 Social Problems
  • SOC/CJ 319 Juvenile Delinquency and the Justice System
  • SOC/CJ 408 Criminology

A student may submit one course credit of independent study, SOC 491 or 492/292; one course credit of field experience, SOC 490; and one sociology January Term course toward the sociology major if taken for a letter grade.

Students pursuing both a sociology major and social work minor may apply only SOC 211 toward both the major and minor.

At least four of the eight required sociology courses must be taken at Elmhurst College. Courses in sociology and social work may be accepted in transfer from other colleges.

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 100 Computers in Science and Technology is a computer-literacy course for liberal arts students. The College also offers IS 221 Computer-Based Productivity Tools, a quarter course emphasizing the use of word processing, spreadsheets, and database management packages.

Students should also consider taking COM 315 Intercultural Communication, a minor in intercultural studies, as well as courses in Spanish to increase their opportunities in the labor market.

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