The Department of Sociology was established by President Edward Conradi in 1918. At that time the university was Florida State College for Women, and it remained a single-sex institution until 1947 when it was renamed Florida State University. The founding and sole member of the Department of Sociology was Dr. Raymond Bellamy, who described Tallahassee in those days as a place where “mules and oxen were more frequently seen than automobiles.” Dr. Bellamy was a widely read scholar who taught with passion in numerous areas besides sociology, including economics, political science, history, anthropology, and statistics. Dr. Bellamy was head of the department through 1950, a remarkable 31-year term, and the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy is housed in the campus building bearing his name.

Dr. Raymond Bellamy with FSCW students, ca. 1920

The Department of Sociology today is considerably larger than during Dr. Bellamy’s time and its faculty are more specialized and research focused. Nonetheless, instructional excellence and departmental collegiality remain trademarks of the department today as they did during the early years under Dr. Bellamy’s leadership. Our faculty have won more University Teaching Awards and University Distinguished Teaching Awards than any other department in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. Our graduate students are usually among the handful of Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award recipients each year. The department also emphasizes collaborative research, continuing a long tradition of working closely with graduate and undergraduate students.

The topics explored in teaching and research in the Department of Sociology cover a range of subjects and methodological approaches. These are captured broadly by the three areas of concentration that define the PhD program: aging & health, demography, and inequality & social justice. Many faculty and students collaborate in research on these areas through affiliations with the Center for Demography and Population Health and the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy.

Faculty and graduate students are active in regional association such as the Southern Sociological Society and the Southern Demographic Association, as well as, national associations like the American Sociological Association, Population Association of America, and the Gerontological Society of America. Our faculty and graduate students actively support the local chapter of Sociologists for Women in Society, and the Department benefits from an active Sociology Graduate Student Union.

We offer a Bachelor’s and a PhD in Sociology. Our faculty also contribute significantly to FSU’s Master’s in Demography and Master’s in Public Health programs and the undergraduate African American Studies and Bachelor’s in Public Health programs.