Sociology is the scientific and systematic study of the rationalities and principles of the cultural, political and economic aspects of social world. It is a theoretically driven science anchored in empirical data. Sociologists use a variety of methodological approaches to study the social world. They include advanced statistical analysis, field and observational research, surveys, in-depth interviews, archival and case studies – just to name a few.
Put simply, sociologist’s study why people do the things that they do. Some of the empirical questions sociologists ask is why do the children of teachers do better in school than the children of non-teachers? Why is cooperation better than competition for businesses? Why is social class such a bad predictor on understanding on voting behavior? Why are whites denied unemployment insurance based on a refusal to do work while blacks are denied unemployment insurance for insubordination? Why is there still a gender pay gap despite women making up the majority of college graduates and laws that are supposed to prevent workplace discrimination?
Sociologists also challenge common sense and popular understandings of the world. For instance, why do Americans cling to the understanding that simply working hard or obtaining a college degree will lead to success? Sociologists show that the importance of social networks is more important than both. Economic theory argues that people buy houses based on maximizing their investments. Sociologists show that the two most important factors people consider when they buy a house are schools districts and proximity to family.
What can you do with a degree is sociology? Sociology students have historically used their undergraduate education as a springboard to graduate school. Along with pursuing a M.A. or a Ph.D. in sociology, sociology students go on to Masters in social work (M.S.W.), law school (J.D) and increasingly the fields of public health (M.P.H.) and urban planning. Sociology majors who obtain graduate degrees work for universities, colleges, research firms, federal and state governments, research hospitals, and private consulting firms. Other sociology majors have opted to go directly into the workplace after completing their undergraduate degrees. Sociology majors with an undergraduate degree take jobs that range from business and marketing to non-profits and community centers. College degrees are credentials. Firms hire people based on their human capital – their talent, skills, and know how. The sociology major at Fredonia prepares undergraduates for entrance to either graduate school or the workplace by tailoring a student’s human capital for the 21st century.
If you are interested in learning more about the sociology major here at Fredonia, email one of our sociology faculty members. Or better yet, stop by and talk to one of us. We are located on the third floor of Thompson.
Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology
Required Courses - 21 hours
· ANTH 115 - Introductory Anthropology
· SOC 116 - Intro to Sociology
· SOC 200 - Social Statistics (or equivalent)
· SOC 202 - Social Analysis
· SOC 300 - Research Methods
· SOC 380 - Sociological Theory (offered in FALL Only)
· SOC 400 - Senior Seminar (offered in SPRING Only)
18 additional hours of Sociology electives
Requirements for a Minor in Sociology
· SOC 116 - Introductory Sociology
15 additional hours of Sociology electives (at least 9 hours at the 300 or 400 level)
Honor Societies and Clubs
Sociology majors and minors at Fredonia who have met these requirements have been recommended to join Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society; Alpha Iota of New York (Fredonia Chapter). If you are interested in becoming a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, please contact a sociology faculty members.