Sociology provides the theoretical and empirical foundation for understanding how societies function and how they change over time. Sociologists are interested in the causes and consequences of processes such as the social construction of groups and identity, the evolution of culture, intersubjective meanings, intergroup relations, and hierarchies and social norms. They conduct research on individual behavior and outcomes such as educational attainment, jobs and careers, religious commitment, and political involvement; interpersonal processes such as intimate relationships, sexuality, social interaction in groups, and social networks; the behaviors of organizations and institutions; the causes and consequences of group differences and social inequality; and social change at the societal and global level.
The Sociology major provides both a solid foundation for students interested in careers in the social sciences and a strong background for a variety of professions in which knowledge about social processes and how societies work is relevant. Many recent graduates have gone on to law school, medical school, or graduate programs in public health, business, education, urban planning, criminology, or sociology. Others work in finance, consulting, publishing, marketing, city planning, teaching, research, and advocacy.
The Sociology department offers four undergraduate programs leading to the B.A. degree: (1) the standard program focuses on sociological concepts, theories, and methods; (2) a combined program allows students to combine sociology with a concentration in another field; (3) a concentration in markets and society focuses on the cultural frameworks, social ties, and social institutions that give rise to markets and that shape economic behavior; (4) a concentration in health and society emphasizes social processes as they affect health and medicine. Students interested in the major are encouraged to contact the director of undergraduate studies early in their academic careers to discuss potential options.