Sociology Courses (Sociology and Criminology) (SOC)

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

SOC Courses

This is a list of courses with the subject code SOC. For more information, see Sociology and Criminology (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) in the catalog.

SOC:1000 First-Year Seminar 1-2 s.h.

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.

SOC:1010 Introduction to Sociology 3-4 s.h.

How individuals are organized into social groups, ranging from intimate groups to bureaucracies, and how these influence individual behavior; nature and interrelationships of basic social institutions (family, education, religion, economy). GE: Social Sciences.

SOC:1022 Social Justice and Social Welfare in the United States 3 s.h.

Historical development of social welfare and social justice in the United States; individual values and ethics; role and responsibilities of enhancing society; contemporary practice to address social injustices including poverty, discrimination, various forms of violence; small group discussions and debates of various issues to allow for an exchange of diverse views and perspectives; volunteer work. GE: Values and Culture. Same as SSW:1022.

SOC:1030 Contemporary Social Problems 3-4 s.h.

Emergence and distribution of selected social problems; alternative solutions; may include population, inequality, female-male relationships, racism, crime. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

SOC:1040 Energy, Sustainability, and Society 3 s.h.

Energy is considered the lifeblood of modern societies, and as energy production and consumption accelerates worldwide, it is imperative that energy becomes sustainable or it is derived from resources that can maintain current operations without jeopardizing energy needs or climate of future generations; examination of global transition toward sustainable energy systems from a social science perspective; application of the concept of sociological imagination to understand challenges and opportunities presented by worldwide energy transformation towards sustainability. GE: Sustainability. GE: Social Sciences.

SOC:1220 Principles of Social Psychology 3-4 s.h.

Introduction to a range of theories that seek to explain behavior of people within their groups, and dynamics between groups, at various levels of society. GE: Social Sciences.

SOC:1310 Gender and Society 3 s.h.

Role and status of women in society; sex differences, sex role socialization, theories about origin and maintenance of sexual inequalities, changes in social life cycle of women, implications for social institutions and processes; focus on contemporary United States. GE: Values and Culture. Same as GWSS:1310.

SOC:2064 African American Families: Urban and Suburban 3 s.h.

Racial inequality and experiences of African American families in the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries; historical context for contemporary research on African American family; relative impact of structural and cultural factors on various aspects of African American family life, declining marriage rates, family formation patterns; intersections of race and class in family life; research methods used to examine dynamics of African American family life, including quantitative analysis, structured qualitative interviews, and ethnography. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as AFAM:2064.

SOC:2130 Sociological Theory 3 s.h.

Theoretical perspectives in sociology; construction, evaluation of sociological explanations. Prerequisites: SOC:1010 or SOC:1030 or SOC:1310 or CRIM:1410.

SOC:2160 Applied Statistics for Social Scientists 3 s.h.

Applied statistics for sociology majors: frequency distributions, graphic presentation, measures of central tendency, measures of variability, elementary probability, populations and samples, sampling distributions, estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, chi-square test, regression and correlation, analysis of variance; computer software used in data analysis; emphasis on appropriate use and interpretation of statistics in the study of sociological topics. Recommendations: sociology major.

SOC:2170 Research Methods 3 s.h.

Basic scientific concepts; emphasis on theoretical thinking, statement of researchable propositions, logic and meaning of proof operant in the research process; general issues in designing social research, including problems of sampling and measurement, analysis, presenting research data, interpreting research findings. Prerequisites: (SOC:1010 or CRIM:1410 or CRIM:1447) and (PSQF:4143 or STAT:1020 or STAT:2010 or SOC:2160 or STAT:3510 or STAT:1030). Requirements: sociology major, or criminology, law and justice major.

SOC:2710 The American Family 3 s.h.

Structure and process; change over the life cycle; interrelations with other institutions; historical changes; variations by social class and ethnic group. GE: Values and Culture.

SOC:2770 Black and White Community Politics 3 s.h.

Students study the movement for environmental justice within the broader context of U.S. land use and development to understand environmental racism's prevalence and how it can be addressed; topics include pollution, health, food access, transportation and agricultural practice to land loss, public space, and infrastructure; exploration of perspectives on the environment and environmentalism. Same as AFAM:2770, GHS:2770.

SOC:2810 Social Inequality 3 s.h.

Major theoretical perspectives for understanding inequality in economics, power, prestige; the magnitude of social inequality in the United States; sex and race inequality; trends in and causes of social mobility; selected consequences of social inequality. GE: Values and Culture.

SOC:2830 Race and Ethnicity 3 s.h.

Multidisciplinary study of intergroup relations, with emphasis on historical, sociological, and social psychological issues in the study of American minority groups. GE: Diversity and Inclusion.

SOC:3100 Critical Race Theory: Culture, Power, and Society 3 s.h.

Examination of the historical context of race and racism in U.S. history; focus on how social structures perpetuate longstanding patterns of racial inequality. Same as AFAM:3100, AMST:3100.

SOC:3110 Race, Organizations, and Workplace 3 s.h.

Examination of racial discrimination in the American workplace and organizations; historical context for development of complex organizations; various forms of racial discrimination; longstanding patterns of racial inequality central to American organizations. Same as AFAM:3110.

SOC:3170 Applied Research 3 s.h.

Ongoing research project investigating the Flint water crisis; organization and analysis of emails for sociological research purposes and ultimately to create a searchable website for public access to the data; how to construct and analyze a "big data" data set in an interdisciplinary collaborative research setting; how to apply and build sociological theory with empirical data; how to write an academic journal article. Prerequisites: SOC:2170 or CRIM:2470.

SOC:3171 Drugs and Society 3 s.h.

How people use drugs for recreation, performance enhancement, and medical treatment; implications for drug control, treatment, and public policy.

SOC:3215 Digital Footprints: Sociology in the Age of Social Media 3 s.h.

A comprehensive look at how digital technologies influence individual identities, interpersonal relationships, privacy, mental health, communication patterns, and social justice. Students will be equipped with research skills, learning to observe behavior, design simple surveys, and conduct experiments to explore various online social phenomena. Through a blend of engaging readings, discussions, and research projects, the course offers diverse perspectives on the complex interplay between technology and society, preparing students with critical thinking, practical knowledge, and research experience. Prerequisites: SOC:1010 or SOC:1030 or CRIM:1410.

SOC:3220 Sociology of Mental Health 3 s.h.

The socially constructed nature of mental illness; theoretical perspectives and research on social antecedents and social consequences of mental health.

SOC:3510 Medical Sociology 3 s.h.

Theoretical perspectives and research on social precursors and consequences of physical and mental health ailments; focus on contemporary United States with cross-cultural comparisons; stereotypes and diagnosis, gender and racial/ethnic differences, health inequalities related to socioeconomic status.

SOC:3525 Public Opinion 3 s.h.

Role in making public policy; formation, change of political attitudes and opinions; political ideology; measurement of public opinion; how opinion polls are conducted; experience with interviewing and conducting public opinion research. Same as POLI:3204.

SOC:3530 Social Psychology of Small Groups 3 s.h.

Internal processes governing small groups (e.g., friendship cliques, families, the president's cabinet, committees); how small groups relate to the larger social environment; groups' impact on their members. Prerequisites: SOC:1030 or SOC:1010.

SOC:3540 Social Psychology of Good and Evil 3 s.h.

Exploration of the social science of good and evil, how society shapes us, how people make and interpret their choices, and how we judge others; covers a range of fields including sociology, criminology, psychology, philosophy, and more.

SOC:3610 Organizations and Modern Society 3 s.h.

Approaches to the sociological study of economic and noneconomic organizations; the role of power and authority within the organization, and between the organization and its environment. Prerequisites: SOC:1220 or SOC:1010.

SOC:3630 The Racial Wealth Gap: Black Debt, White Debt 3 s.h.

Exploration of extent, historical origins, and contemporary factors of the racial wealth gap with special attention to role of debt in U.S. race relations; potential topics include education debt, monetary sanctions in criminal justice, redlining, recession, bankruptcy, and reparations. Same as AFAM:3630.

SOC:3650 Education, Schools, and Society 3 s.h.

Overview of sociology of education; historical and current sociological perspectives on education; race, class, and gender inequality in schooling; higher education; contemporary debates in education (e.g., affirmative action, school choice). Prerequisites: SOC:1030 or SOC:1010.

SOC:3750 Born in the USA: Fertility and Reproduction 3 s.h.

Exploration of when, why, how, and with whom Americans bear children; comparison to other developed and developing countries in the world; infertility and its treatments; ethics of surrogacy; voluntary childlessness; rapid rise of nonmarital childbearing in the U.S. and other countries; politics of childbirth; declining populations; rapid aging of rich where women have basically stopped having children. Same as GWSS:3750.

SOC:3851 Economy and Society 3 s.h.

Economic sociologists examine connections between economic processes and social relations; students take a sociological approach to phenomena that is typically understood in economic terms; economic life through a diverse set of theoretical perspectives—ranging from structural networks to cultural analysis—and at different levels of analysis (e.g., individual, organizational, institutional); topics include embeddedness of markets and social networks, morals and markets, rise of financialization, performativity of economics, economic inequality and discrimination, development of money and credit, and social construction of pricing and value.

SOC:3880 The Sociology of Networks 3 s.h.

Introduction to the basic properties of network structure (e.g., density, mutuality, cliques); substantive insights regarding the role and consequences of networks in social life; the role of networks in job searching/hiring processes; how innovations diffuse through networks; and relationships as social resources. Prerequisites: SOC:1010 or SOC:1030.

SOC:4000 Data Science for Social Good 3 s.h.

The availability of big data transforms the way we solve difficult social problems; programming and analytical skills to analyze data from social media and open-access administrative data sources; basic principles and skills in data science including how to collect, clean, curate, and manipulate data, simple statistics, and computational methods; emphasis on linking big data to real world social problems and social science insights; students learn problem-solving skills and a data-driven approach to contemporary social problems. Prerequisites: SOC:2160 or POLI:3000 or STAT:3120 or IGPI:3120 or CS:1210.

SOC:4200 Sociology of Religion 3 s.h.

Introduction to the study of religion from a sociological perspective; religions exist in social contexts, are shaped by contexts in which they are embedded, and then often change those social contexts; to understand the relation between religions and other social systems, we must examine the sociological as well as the historical, anthropological, social psychological, and political impacts; students will study religious organizations critically and objectively, exploring and debating classical sociological theories pertaining to religions, as well as contemporary theories that predict religious behavior; social scientific perspective will be presented.

SOC:4225 The Social Psychology of Leadership 3 s.h.

Techniques, proven by research, that enhance students' ability to know, work with, and lead people; recent research in social psychology, how it applies to practical leadership problems.

SOC:4230 Sociology of Self-Improvement 3 s.h.

How self-improvement as a cultural goal shaped development of political, business, educational, and religious institutions in the United States; history of self-improvement movement and industry; selected readings that show how much self-improvement is possible and which techniques are more useful than others.

SOC:4540 Political Sociology and Social Movements 3 s.h.

Social unrest; crowd behavior; social movements treated as a form of social change. Prerequisites: SOC:1030 or SOC:1010.

SOC:4680 Corruption: The Social Scientific Perspectives 3 s.h.

Social scientists and policy makers alike recognize corruption as an obstacle to economic development, democratic governance, and human rights around the world; students survey recent research from sociology, criminology, political science, and anthropology that addresses causes and consequences of corruption; why individuals engage in corrupt behavior, how organizations affect patterns of corrupt transactions, and how rates of corruption impact and are impacted by political regimes; consequences that corruption has for social inequality, civic mobilization, lives of women and immigrants, and stability of autocratic governments. Same as CRIM:4680.

SOC:4800 Research Practicum in Sociology 3 s.h.

Students engage in a sociological research activity that is not related to an honors project, conducted under the supervision of (or in collaboration with) a faculty member.

SOC:4820 Sociology of Sexuality 3 s.h.

Sociological perspectives on sexuality, including theoretical and conceptual developments, empirical regularities, and social implications; sexual expression in the United States. Prerequisites: SOC:1010 or SOC:1030. Same as GWSS:4820.

SOC:4900 Selected Topics in Sociology 3 s.h.

Topics vary.

SOC:4902 Selected Topics in Family, Health, and Well-Being 3 s.h.

Varied topics in family structures and practices; social institutions and forces that shape or are shaped by families.

SOC:4909 Graduation Portfolio 0 s.h.

Submission of final graduation portfolio first assembled in capstone course required for sociology major. Corequisites: SOC:4910.

SOC:4910 Capstone Course in Sociology and Criminology 3 s.h.

Senior project illustrating student's accomplishments during the undergraduate career; prepared in collaboration with sociology faculty member or other experts in the student's area of sociological interest; record for student's own reflection, information for potential employers and graduate programs. Prerequisites: SOC:2130 and (SOC:2170 or CRIM:2470). Requirements: major GPA of 2.00.

SOC:4920 Social Services Organization Internship 3 s.h.

Student volunteer work with social services organizations. Prerequisites: SOC:1010 with a minimum grade of C or SOC:1030 with a minimum grade of C or SOC:1310 with a minimum grade of C or SOC:2810 with a minimum grade of C. Requirements: sociology major or minor, and junior standing.

SOC:4930 Teaching Internship 3 s.h.

Experience providing supervised support for instructors teaching basic courses in sociology. Requirements: appointment as sociology undergraduate teaching aide.

SOC:4990 Directed Individual Study arr.

SOC:4997 Honors Seminar 1 s.h.

Topic development for senior honors projects. Offered spring semesters. Requirements: sociology honors standing.

SOC:4998 Honors Research arr.

Research projects under faculty supervision.

SOC:5110 History of Sociological Theory 3 s.h.

Ideas of major 19th- and 20th-century social thinkers (e.g., Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Mead).

SOC:5130 Sociology of Education 3 s.h.

Effects of school and school organization on educational outcomes; course-taking patterns and tracking, desegregation, differences in school sector; focus on entire span of student's academic career; examination of school and organizational effects at the primary, secondary, and postsecondary levels of education. Same as EPLS:5130.

SOC:5160 Research Design and Methods 3 s.h.

Research designs; sampling designs and techniques; questionnaire construction, interviewing techniques; participant and nonparticipant observation; coding and preparation of data for analysis; measurement techniques, reliability, and validity. Requirements: SOC:6170 or graduate standing.

SOC:5250 Graduate Writing 3 s.h.

Students improve their skills in academic writing and publication; how to write abstracts and project summaries; preparation of articles for submission to professional journals; creation of grant proposals.

SOC:5310 Gender Theory 3 s.h.

Introduction to sociological analysis of gender; multiple ways that gender patterns the social world in which we live; predominant theoretical stances related to study of gender; how gender structures everyday social interaction; how social institutions (e.g., work, family) give rise to and recreate gendered meanings, expectations, structures; possibilities for interventions and change to gender system.

SOC:5510 Sociology of Health 3 s.h.

Overview of relevant theories and related research in sociology of health field; topics related to social construction of health and its historical variation; focus on social determinants of health including social stressors, labeling processes, cross-cultural differences, and epigenetics or social genomics.

SOC:5680 Sociology of Higher Education 3 s.h.

Sociological approach to study of higher education; issues of inequality and stratification in higher education; focus on relationship between higher education and larger economic and demographic processes; college access, college destinations, attainment, and returns to a college degree. Same as EPLS:5142.

SOC:5810 Education and Social Change 2-3 s.h.

Role of educational institutions, in connection with political and economic structures, in the process of social change; illumination of theories of social change through case studies of educational systems in both less-developed and industrialized nations. Same as EPLS:5210.

SOC:6080 Master's Thesis arr.

SOC:6110 Theory Construction and Analysis 3 s.h.

Contemporary theoretical issues and nature of theory, theory's place in research, strategies of theory construction. Requirements: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:6140 Seminar: Selected Topics in Sociological Theory 3 s.h.

SOC:6170 Introduction to Sociological Data Analysis 3 s.h.

Statistical measures for descriptive methods and association; logic of statistical inference, hypothesis testing; background essential to understanding linear models, models for categorical data analysis. Requirements: introductory statistics.

SOC:6175 Qualitative Methods 3 s.h.

Logic of qualitative research; basic skills necessary for a qualitative research project. Requirements: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:6180 Linear Models in Sociological Research 3 s.h.

Statistical techniques associated with general linear model; emphasis on multiple regression, its generalizations; corresponding computer programs. Requirements: SOC:6170 or graduate standing.

SOC:6210 Contemporary Approaches to Social Psychology 3 s.h.

Review and critical analysis of current theoretical approaches and systems of social psychological analysis. Recommendations: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:6220 Seminar: Selected Topics in Social Psychology 3 s.h.

Selected theoretical and methodological issues.

SOC:6264 Post-Industrial Cities 3 s.h.

Aspects of urban inequality in post-industrial cities; racial inequality, urban poverty, neighborhood inequality, and municipal bankruptcy.

SOC:6310 Gender Stratification Seminar 3 s.h.

Occupational gender segregation; gender gap in pay; role of family caregiving in women's lower pay; evaluation of caregiving work; comparable work.

SOC:6320 Sociology of Religion 3 s.h.

Introduction to the sociological perspective for studying religion; examination of sociological, historical, anthropological, social psychological, and political impacts of religion on social behavior to understand the complex relation between religious institutions and other social systems; exploration of works by classical sociological theorists, as well as contemporary theories and empirical research that describe, explain, and perhaps predict religious behavior; materials focus on religion in the United States; students who wish to use a cross-cultural perspective in discussions and papers are encouraged to do so.

SOC:6420 Seminar: Selected Topics in Deviance and Control 3 s.h.

Critical analysis of current research; emphasis on theoretical contributions and methodological foundations.

SOC:6425 Criminological Theory II 3 s.h.

Advanced study of criminological theories; contemporary criminological theories; testing criminological theories. Prerequisites: CRIM:5410. Same as CRIM:6420.

SOC:6435 Feminist Perspectives on Crime and Punishment 3 s.h.

Feminist criminology; gender theory; intersectional approaches; gender and crime; critical theories; system-involved girls and women. Recommendations: previous upper level or graduate course in sociology or criminology. Same as CRIM:6430.

SOC:6440 Crime and Health in the Life Course 3 s.h.

Patterns of physical and mental health, and deviant and criminal behavior across the life course; focus on intersection between health and deviance and crime; topics incorporate research from evolutionary biology, psychology, criminology, and public health; themes include policy, developmental context, social change, and population health. Same as CRIM:6440.

SOC:6450 Seminar: Comparative Criminology 3 s.h.

Survey of theoretical and empirical literature on crime across nations with primary focus on homicide; exploration of why we even bother to study crime across nations, how crime is measured at cross-national level; where to find cross-national crime data; whether source matter for crime data across nations matters; discussion and evaluation of theoretical and empirical explanations for why some nations have more/less crime than others. Same as CRIM:6450.

SOC:6460 Criminal Punishment 3 s.h.

Sociological theories and research on criminal punishment; classical and contemporary theories; race and gender inequality in punishment; collateral consequences; research on imprisonment, community sanctions, monetary sanctions. Same as CRIM:6460.

SOC:6490 Immigration and Crime 3 s.h.

Historical trends in immigration and crime; media portrayal of immigration and its impact on public sentiment; relationship between immigration and crime at individual and aggregate levels; social impact of immigration policies including those that relate to deportation and militarization of U.S. borders. Recommendations: previous upper level or graduate course in sociology or criminology. Same as CRIM:6490.

SOC:6550 Environment and Society 3 s.h.

Examination of research at the intersection of society and environment; theories of environmental sociology, politics, and corporate social responsibility; opportunity to develop an understanding of complex relationships between human prosperity and natural environment; development of a micro-, meso-, or macro-level research project (e.g., determinants of environmental attitudes and behaviors, adoption of clean technologies by organizations, outcomes of environmental activism, diffusion of national environmental policies).

SOC:6610 Complex Organizations 3 s.h.

SOC:6740 Racial Inequality 3 s.h.

Historical and contemporary overview of race scholarship with primary focus on the United States; students track the evolution of race scholarship from Du Bois and the Chicago School to contemporary theories on racial formations, systemic racism, color-blind racism, and critical race theory.

SOC:6750 Race and Crime 3 s.h.

Relationships among race/ethnicity, crime, and the justice system through rigorous engagement with empirical research and data; emphasis on historical evolution of major branches of the justice system; sociological and criminological theories that predict racial/ethnic variation in crime and victimization; sociological, economic, and political reasons behind racial disparities in the justice system. Same as CRIM:6750.

SOC:6810 Social Stratification 3 s.h.

Classical and contemporary theories; current research on the causes and magnitude of inequality in economics, power, and prestige; social mobility; critical issues in stratification.

SOC:7010 Teaching Sociology 2-3 s.h.

Supervised preparation for teaching sociology courses; literature on teaching; course objectives, alternative teaching techniques; preparation of course syllabus, lectures, discussions, exams.

SOC:7030 Readings and Research Tutorial arr.

SOC:7090 PhD Dissertation arr.

SOC:7170 Advanced Statistical Modeling of Data 3 s.h.

Models for analysis of categorical data, including loglinear, logit, related discrete data models. Requirements: advanced graduate standing.

SOC:7175 Social Science Research: Big Data 3 s.h.

New opportunities and challenges faced by social science research with the advent of technologies that collect, store, and analyze massive human digital traces; data collection, manipulation, and curation skills; survey of computational methods commonly used in computational social science; different from other big data courses in connecting new data sources to theory-focused social science; emphasis on how to ask research questions informed by data and how to design analytical strategies to answer those questions. Prerequisites: SOC:6170 and SOC:6180.

SOC:7270 Scholarly Professionalism and Integrity I 2 s.h.

General introduction to department and discipline for entering graduate students; departmental and graduate college requirements, program and career planning, interaction with faculty members, consideration of student interests and concerns; two semesters beginning in fall. Requirements: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:7271 Scholarly Professionalism and Integrity II 2 s.h.

General introduction to department and discipline for entering graduate students; departmental and graduate college requirements, program and career planning, interaction with faculty members, consideration of student interests and concerns. Requirements: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:7400 Seminar: Selected Topics in Criminological Research 3 s.h.

Critical analysis of current research; emphasis on theoretical contributions and methodological foundations. Same as CRIM:7400.

SOC:7410 Communities and Crime 3 s.h.

Distribution of crime as rooted in community-level conditions such as concentrated affluence or poverty, racial residential segregation, unemployment, family disruption, and immigration. Requirements: sociology graduate standing. Same as CRIM:7410.

SOC:7420 Gender and Violence 3 s.h.

Research and theories on gender and violence (victimization, offending); masculinities and femininities; intersectionality approaches considering the combined impact of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, social class, etc. Same as CRIM:7430.

SOC:7440 Social Psychology of Violence 3 s.h.

Social psychological and criminological theories of aggression and violence; laboratory and observational research; contemporary theories; sources of data and research designs; interdisciplinary approaches. Recommendations: previous upper level or graduate course in sociology or criminology. Same as CRIM:7440.

SOC:7460 Sociology of Law Seminar 3 s.h.

Relationship between law and society explored through writings and research of classical and contemporary sociologists and legal scholars. Requirements: sociology graduate standing.

SOC:7500 Seminar: Topics in Political Sociology 3 s.h.

Overview of current research in political sociology; topics related to inequality, citizenship, social change, institutions, social movements, political regimes, and globalization; survey of multiple methodological and theoretical approaches.

SOC:7620 Social Networks: Theory and Sociological Applications 3 s.h.

Relational, data-oriented approach to representing linkages or relationships among social units, and to examine the relevance of these social structures in social processes. Requirements: basic multiple regression.

SOC:7820 Seminar: Selected Topics in Social Stratification 3 s.h.

Requirements: social science graduate standing.