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College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Sociology

215 Merrill Hall
Tel: 330-672-2562


The Bachelor of Arts in Sociology provides broad training in the theories and methods that sociologists use to understand contemporary social issues and problems.  Students are encouraged to think critically as they examine issues ranging from small group behavior to global social movements.  In addition to a core curriculum that focuses on social inequalities, social psychology and health and illness, the program offers courses on a variety of topics, including urban living, deviant behavior, religion and family.

All students in the Sociology major select at least one concentration from the seven offered, in consultation with the undergraduate coordinator, department faculty, or the academic advisor.

  • The Cultural Sociology Concentration
  • The Family and Life Course Sociology Concentration
  • The General-Sociology Concentration
  • The Medical Sociology Concentration
  • The Social Inequalities Concentration
  • The Social Problems, Deviance and Crime Concentration
  • The Sociological Social Psychology Concentration

The Cultural Sociology concentration examines culture, which includes matters of social status and cultural distinctions; values, norms and beliefs; ethnicity and ethnic diversity; religion; language; art; popular culture, consumption/consumerism and style; and material culture, including, for example, mass media, technology, architecture and food. This concentration addresses the role of culture in a diversity of social contexts including urban life and organizations. It is relevant for any student interested in careers in field such as human or social services, nonprofit and community organizations, research and government agencies and human resources. In addition, this is an excellent concentration for students interest in graduate school in the social sciences or humanities.

The Family and Life Course Sociology concentration introduces students to the cultural, political, and historical realities and changes in families across the life course. Courses in this area examine issues such as gender socialization, dating and romance, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, parenthood, domestic violence, death and dying, family diversity, and family policy. This concentration is relevant to any student interested in jobs related to: health care promotion, public health, family counseling, long term care institutions, program planning, community education, and policy analysis. In addition, this is an excellent concentration for students interested in graduate school in the social sciences.

The General concentration is for students who either choose not to pursue a specialization within the major or wish to pursue an individualized program of study (through general Sociology electives) that does not align with the substantive concentrations.

The Medical Sociology concentration introduces students to the relationship between society and health. In this concentration, students will study the impact of social, cultural, political, and economic factors on health and vice-versa. Courses in this area examine issues such as health behavior, physical and mental illnesses, doctor-patient interaction, medicalization, health care reform, health care delivery and health policy. This concentration is for students interested in jobs related to medical, mental health, or social service fields, patient advocacy, mental health facilities or nursing homes, administrative positions, and program planning. In addition, this is an excellent concentration for students interested in graduate school in the social sciences.

The Social Inequalities concentration examines how social structural factors, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality relate to power, social status, wealth, income, health and morality. Courses in this area study issues such as poverty, race and ethnic inequality, sexism, age discrimination, neighborhood segregation, labor market processes, and income disparity. This concentration is appropriate for students interested in jobs related to human or social services, nonprofit and community organizations, research and government agencies, and human resources. In addition, this is an excellent concentration for students interested in graduate school in the social sciences.

The Social Problems, Deviance and Crime concentration examines a variety of social problems with special emphasis on types of behavior which are inconsistent with social norms, challenging to social order, and/or illegal. This concentration also examines the role of morality, public opinion, politics, government, law, and institutions of social control in the definition of, as well as the response to, social problems, deviance and crime. While containing some overlap with available concentrations in the Criminology and Justice Studies major, the sociological perspective here suggests important commonalities across the studies of crime, deviance and social problems, and the relevance of broad sociological themes including critical inquiry, empirical research, and increased awareness of social context. This concentration provides relevant preparation for students interested in further study in the areas of public safety, social policy, social services and civil service, and graduate studies in law or social science. It can also be a convenient and constructive resource enabling a double major between Sociology and Criminology and Justice Studies.

The Sociological Social Psychology concentration introduces students to the sociological approach to social psychology. Courses in this area examine theoretical perspectives that link structural factors such as gender, social class and race to individual factors and behaviors such as self-concept, identity, deviance and mental health. Courses typically include an overview of specific sociological topics such as socialization, emotions, social influence, group conflict and decision-making, prejudice and discrimination, status and power, and interpersonal relationships. This concentration provides an excellent foundation for individuals interested in careers or graduate work that focus on the many connections between individuals and the groups to which they belong.

Career Opportunities

A BA in Sociology prepares students for a wide variety of jobs in such sectors as health services, counseling, community programs, journalism, group and recreation work, sales and marketing, human resources, social services, the criminal justice system, public administration, government programs, and social research. Sociology not only provides students with a strong liberal arts background in scientific and humanistic perspectives of social life, but also enables them to develop investigative skills in research design, statistics, and data analysis which will be useful when entering the labor market.

Admission Requirements

General Admissions for Freshman Students: Admission Requirements at the Kent Campus: The freshman admission policy at the Kent Campus is selective. Admission decisions are based upon the following: cumulative high school grade point average, ACT and/or SAT scores, strength of high school college preparatory curriculum and grade trends.

The university affirmatively strives to provide educational opportunities and access to students with varied backgrounds, those with special talents and adult students who graduated from high school three or more years ago. For more information on admissions, visit the admissions website for new freshmen.

General Admissions for Transfer Students: Generally, a transfer applicant who has taken 12 or more semester hours with a college cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale may be admitted. An applicant who has taken fewer than 12 semester hours will be evaluated on both collegiate and high school records. For more information on admissions, visit the admissions website for transfer students..

Graduation Requirements

Minimum 120 total credit hours and 42 upper-division hours for graduation. Minimum 2.000 GPA overall and 2.000 GPA in major required for graduation.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

1. Describe how sociology is similar to and different from other social sciences.

2. Show how one’s personal life is shaped by the time and place in which one lives.

3. Demonstrate how institutions like the family, education, religion, medicine, and the economy are interrelated.

4. Understand the interrelationships between social structures and individuals in society.

5. Distinguish between individualistic, cultural, and structural explanations of social events.

Study Abroad/Away Opportunities

There are many Study Abroad/Away Opportunities; for more information contact the Office of Global Education.

Student Organizations

Sociologists for Women in Society; Undergraduate Student Sociological Collective; Alpha Kappa Delta, the Sociology Honor Society; Pi Gamma Mu the International Honor Society for the Social Sciences.

Advanced Degree Programs

Sociology (M.A., Ph.D.)