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The Department of Sociology, through its curriculum of courses and faculty support, prepares students to think critically and theoretically about social issues, develop the ability to interpret and evaluate information, and develop as sharp thinkers, clear writers, and effective public speakers capable of producing meaningful original sociological work.

Sociology majors understand the big picture; the context and the texture of our everyday lives.

Students engage the social theories that allow us to think actively and not just absorb passively—to make integrated, intelligent sense of a world of seemingly endless information.

They also learn the craft of social research. Faculty mentors train our students in quantitative and qualitative research methods so that students can produce original research of their own on topics like poverty, race, the city, popular culture, criminal justice, gender, public space, health care, and education.

Through the practice of theory, hands-on research, and analysis, students gain the skills they need to navigate the complex society we live in and to succeed in the job market as well. The habits of mind students cultivate in the Department of Sociology—clear, incisive, systematic, evidence-based thinking; writing; and public speaking—are precisely the skills and habits that are most valuable on today’s job market.

Most importantly, these habits of mind—what C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination—“enable its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals…By such means the personal uneasiness of individuals is focused upon explicit troubles and the indifference of publics is transformed into involvement with public issues.

The first fruit of this imagination—and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it—is the idea that the individual can understand her own experience and gauge her own fate only by locating herself within her period, that she can know her own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in her circumstances. In many ways it is a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one…The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society. That is its task and its promise.”


Founders Hall 222A