Honors in Sociology:

Melissa L. Moreland and Maneul I. Saralegui, class of 2009

Manuel also won The Gaylord H. Patterson Memorial Sociology Prize


Susan Rose, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, effective 1 July 2009

Pauline Cullen, Associate Professor of Sociology with tenure, effective 1 July 2009

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge.

Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing the old. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: street crime and delinquency, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, how families differ and flourish, or problems of peace and war. Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field whose potential is increasingly tapped by those who craft policies and create programs. Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance, and how social systems work.

Sociology engages students in the world around them, encouraging them to examine the relationships between self and society. In what ways do socio-economic, historical, and cultural conditions influence one's thoughts, values, and behavior? How do one's thoughts, values, and actions help shape the world in which one lives? Sociology offers answers to these questions by studying social organization ranging from the macro to the micro. We are interested in the interactions among value, political, social and economic systems and individuals. The fundamental questions that we raise as a discipline concern the nature of human beings, the nature of society, and the relations between the individual and society.

Sociology is perhaps the broadest discipline of the social sciences and therefore provides opportunities for students to pursue diverse interests. In addition to coursework in sociology, our department encourages interdisciplinary work in such departments as: American Studies, Women's Studies,Environmental Studies, History, Psychology, and Anthropology.