Florida State University


College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Graduate Course Descriptions

Sociological Theory

  • SYA 5125 Classical Social Theory (3) An introduction to the works of major social theorists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, i.e., from Comte and Marx to Mead,Mannheim, and Schutz.
  • SYA 5126 Contemporary Sociological Theory (3) An introduction to the works of a broad range of recent theorists, primarily post-1945. Major emphasis is given to central issues and problems of recent theory and to critical analyses of logical- structural adequacy of theorizing. A student ordinarily completes SYA 5125 or its equivalent prior to this course.
  • SYA 5205 Theory Construction (3) An examination of theory construction and formalization issues such as epistemic premises and assumptions, modes of concept formation, modes and structures of explanation, implicated rules of evidence and data construction, and techniques of formalization. Usually, a student completes SYA 5125 and SYA 5126 or their equivalent prior to this course.
  • SYA 6934r Selected Topics in Theory (3) Prerequisites: SYA 5125 & SYA 5126 or equivalents. Specialized topics in social theory. May be repeated to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.

Research Methods and Statistics

  • SYA 5310 Qualitative Methods in Sociology (3) A seminar in qualitative research methods that allows for the systematic collection and analysis of (non-numeric) observational and interview data obtained from individuals, social groups, and organizations.
  • SYA 5345 Introduction to Research Methods (3) Reviews rationales for performing sociological research and examines the relationship between sociological theory and research design. Reviews the dimensions of research, e.g., measurement theory, definition and concept formation, strategies of theory testing, inadequacies and deficiencies of different research designs, statistical and causal inference.
  • SYA 5355 Comparative Historical Sociology (3) Seminar on methodological issues in historical comparative research, emphasizing principles of research design. Covers techniques such as archival research, analysis of government documents, analysis of household census data. Substantive areas may include the family, welfare state, social movements, class relations, and culture.
  • SYA 5406 Multivariate Analysis (3) Prerequisites: SYA 5345 and SYA 5455 or comparable knowledge. Covers the general linear model and application of a variety of techniques derived from this model to the analysis of data common to social science. The techniques include partial correlation, multiple regression, analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, and contingency table analysis. Reviews assumptions of models and methods for handling violations of the assumptions.
  • SYA 5407 Advanced Quantitative Methods (3) Prerequisites: SYA 5345, SYA 5455, SYA 5406. The fourth course in a sequence. Deals with recursive and non-recursive structural equation models, the identification problem, and issues in estimation and statistical inference. Additional topics include time- ordered data (time-series and panel models), the causal approach to measurement error and latent variables equation context, and current developments in quantitative analysis in sociology.
  • SYA 5455 Social Statistics and Data Analysis (3) Prerequisites: SYA 5345. Building on critical issues formulated in SYA 5345, the course provides a bridge between theoretical issues, research methods, and statistical analysis. Topics include the phenomenology of research, reliability and validity, research design strategies, elementary probability theory, probability distribution, hypothesis testing, elementary descriptive statistics, and computing skills.
  • SYA 5515 Sociological Research Practicum (1) (S/U grade only) Prerequisite: SYA 5345, SYA 5455; Co-prerequisite: SYA 5971r. Provides hands-on experience in formulating questions for sociological research and developing a master’s paper research project. In concert with a faculty supervisor, students write a report of a theoretical or empirical problem of sociological relevance. Students must simultaneously enroll in a two (2) credit hour, Master’s Paper Research, SYA 5971r with a supervising faculty member.
  • SYA 5516 Reporting Sociological Research (3) (S/U grade only) Prerequisite: SYA 5515. Participants edit each others’ work, discuss critiques in working sessions, revise drafts, and arrive at a final revision of their master’s research paper. The papers are ideally ready for presentation at professional meetings or submission to a journal. The seminar develops students’ skills as writers, critics, and editors.
  • SYA 6936r Selected Topics in Research Methods (3) Prerequisite: SYA 5406. A seminar devoted to current issues in sociological methods. May be repeated to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.

Population and Demography

  • DEM 5906r Directed Individual Study (1-3) (S/U grade only) Readings in an area of demography with subject tailored to the student. May be repeated to a maximum of six (6) semester hours.
  • DEM 5910r Supervised Research (1-6) (S/U grade only) Research one demographic topic under faculty supervision. Subject varies with the student. May be repeated to a maximum of six (6) semester hours.
  • DEM 5930r Special Topics in Demography (3) Prerequisite: SYD 5135. May be repeated to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.
  • SYD 5045 Introduction to Demography (3) Introduces the scope and content of population study, with attention to demographic theories, data, research; factors affecting population change, mortality, fertility, mobility, and population composition and distribution; and empirical and policy consequences of population dynamics.
  • SYD 5105 Population Theory (3) A seminar on historical and contemporary population thought and theory, with emphasis on critical evaluation of different ideas and theoretical frameworks useful for demographic analysis.
  • SYD 5135 Techniques of Population Analysis (3) A course on techniques of demographic data collection and evaluation as well as measurement of population processes, composition, and distribution, and social and economic characteristics of population.
  • SYD 5136 Life Course Epidemiology (3) Classic social epidemiology and the sociological perspective of life course studies are brought together, along with empirical studies that employ a life course development explanatory framework, to understand the structures and processes that underlie the production of social inequalities in health. Life course epidemiology considers early life experiences and the historical and social contexts in which they occur as important contingencies in the emergence of systematic social group differences as well as person-level variation in health. The epidemiology of chronic and noncommunicable diseases, particularly mental and substance use disorders in the general population, will be emphasized. Students will apply a life course theoretical perspective to probe questions about how unequal social distributions of ill health arise. They will further be able to describe applications of this knowledge toward the amelioration of health discrepancies across social groups.
  • SYD 5145 Population Policy (3) Seminar on issues of fertility, mortality, mobility, and population distribution policies, with attention to policy goals, means of implementation, and demographic consequences.
  • SYD 5215 Mortality (3) Reviews conceptual and theoretical approaches, measurement problems, analytical strategies, and literature in the areas of morbidity and mortality.
  • SYD 5225 Fertility (3) Addresses global trends in human fertility, conceptual approaches to the study of fertility, and policies that affect fertility.
  • SYD 5235 Population Mobility (3) A seminar focused on residential mobility. Theoretical, research, and methodological issues are reviewed critically.
  • SYD 5425 Urbanization and Population Distribution (3) A seminar on the processes of urbanization and changes in urban life in the U.S. and worldwide. Both determinants and consequences of these developments are analyzed and future trends are discussed.

Community, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender

  • SYD 5605 The Community (3) A seminar using an institutional and organizational approach to the study of communities. Theories of community as a special form of social organization are reviewed including early classical theories. Special attention is paid to the metropolitan U.S. and its inner cities and suburbs, emphasizing urban lifestyles and social organization/ disorganization.
  • SYD 5705 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity (3) A seminar that examines sociological concepts and theories utilized to explain dominant-subordinate relations in society. Applies various frameworks to the study of contemporary U.S. ethnic and race relations.
  • SYD 5815 Contemporary Theories of Gender (3) The course critically examines contemporary gender theories: explores how feminist theorizing affects mainstream social theory; and asks how gender intersects with other forms of structured inequality (race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class). Topics include core themes in gender scholarship; affinities and dialogues with other traditions; origins of feminist theories; conceptualizing gender and the field of gender relations; and theorizing substantive and political issues.

Social Organization

  • SYO 5105 Sociology of the Family (3) A survey course on family sociology with a focus on modern U.S. family systems. Course surveys family research and family functioning in modern American society to understand relationships between societal and family conditions and dynamics.
  • SYO 5126 Contemporary Family Theory (3) Reviews major theoretical perspectives on families and kinship such as functionalist, symbolic interaction, exchange, critical, radical, rational choice, and feminist theory.
  • SYO 5185 Family and Work Linkages (3) Focuses on changing relations between the family and work, with attention to issues such as how transformations in one sphere affect change in the other; how inequality between the sexes is socially constructed through work and family activities; and how work and family interconnections produce conflicts among family members.
  • SYO 5255 Sociology of Education (3) A seminar surveying education in contemporary society. Emphasizes education as a social institution and the school as a social organization. Examines the educational system’s role in creating inequality and the contribution of formal education to individuals’ physical and mental well-being.
  • SYO 5306 Political Sociology (3) Offers intensive study of sociopolitical processes, structures, and institutions of modern society. Topics include relations of power, authority, and legitimacy; state formations; collective action and revolution; structures of domination and hegemony; socialization and political identity formation; processes of global integration.
  • SYO 5335 Sociology of Political Economy (3) Broad overview on the macro-sociology of political and economic institutions and historical dynamics governing their interplay. Issues include perspectives in political economy; economic organization in the historical development of U.S. capitalism; economic cycles, waves, and periodization in capitalist development; theories of the state; institutionalized and non-institutionalized political processes; politics of class and the labor movement; macro-distributional processes (market and non-market) that foster structured inequalities.
  • SYO 5376 Sociology of Gender and Work (3) A political-economic analysis of the organization of work, production and reproduction of labor, and linkages between work in the market and work in the home relative to gender. Topics include occupational sex segregation, segmented labor markets, dialectics of paid and unpaid labor, comparable worth, bureaucracy, emotional work, domestic labor, and strategies for change.
  • SYO 5405 Health Institutions and Social Policy (3) Seminar on U.S. health institutions and the forces that shape them. Issues include the role and status of physicians, hospitals, mechanisms of finance, health care crisis, politics of health and relations to broad social and economic issues, historical and current.
  • SYO 5416 Stress and Mental Health (3) Will consider both conceptual and measurement issues that are central to research on the role and significance of social-environmental factors for health and well-being. Although some consideration will be given to the importance of such factors for physical health, the primary focus will be upon mental health and substance use problems. This course includes an overview of this substantial body of research and of the significant progress that has been made in this area. The course will review conceptual and measurement issues associated with the constructs of psychiatric and substance use disorders, and exposure to social stress. General consideration will be given to what has come to be called the “stress process” model and to the capacity of this model to account for both individual and group differences in risk for mental health and substance use problems.
  • SYO 5505 Theories of Organizations (3) Seminar on major theories of organizations and the institutions in which they are embedded. Examines theoretical perspectives from bureaucratic, population ecology, and neo-institutional, to post- structural, alternative, feminist, and post-modern, among others.
  • SYO 5535 Social Stratification (3) Reviews theories of inequality in contemporary societies. Research on inequality and social mobility in the U.S. and other nations is also reviewed, with a focus on conceptualization and measurement.
  • SYO 5545 The Changing Workplace (3) Seminar on changes in the form and practices of organizations relative to control, cooperation, jobs and industries, and labor processes. Addresses workplace effects on members’ lives and members’ use of work organizations for personal ends. For-profit, governmental, non-governmental (non-profit), and other (e.g., feminist, grassroots) organizations are analyzed relative to societal inequality.
  • SYO 6356 Labor, Class, and Social Movement (3) Course on theoretical and empirical developments in the sociology of labor processes, social classes, and labor movements. Focuses on historical transformations in the relationship between the social organization of work, class formation, and movement mobilization.
  • SYO 6373 Sociology of Work and Labor Markets (3) Seminar on theories and research about work including new forms of organization and labor markets. Topics include de-industrialization, markets, unions, and professions; internal/external labor markets; worker control; and race, gender, sexuality, age, and work/ family intersections.
  • SYO 6538r Advanced Research Seminar in Stratification and Inequality (3) An advanced seminar where students work closely with a faculty member to explore the latest theory, research, and developments in social stratification and inequality.

Social Processes

  • SYP 5105 Theories of Sociology Psychology (3) A seminar surveying theories of contemporary social psychology including expectations states/status characteristics theory, cognitive theory, behavioral theory, interactional theory, emotions work theory, and Goffman’s dramatization theory, among others.
  • SYP 5305 Collective Behavior and Social Movements (3) Seminar on theories and research about collective behavior and social movements. Particular movements are studied relative to competing theories of mobilization.
  • SYP 5446 Sociology of National Development (3) Seminar on theories, processes, and problems of national development. Considers societal evolution, industrialization, capitalist expansion, modernization, dependency, inequality, and related topics.
  • SYP 5516 Sociological Theories of Deviance (3) Reviews major theoretical perspectives in the sociology of deviance. Anomie, social learning, interactionist, and conflict theories are reviewed and critiqued. The problems and characteristics of deviance theory are considered and new directions for theoretical development are explored.
  • SYP 5735 Sociology of Aging (3) Seminar analyzes the social institutions that structure the lives of the elderly in modern society. Topics include age status and stratification, labor-force participation and retirement, structures of dependency, political participation and mobilization, and social policy and reform.
  • SYP 5737 The Dynamics of Aging and Social Change (3) Seminar on the dynamics of aging at various social-organizational levels of analysis. Topics include organizational dynamics of an aging labor force, structural changes relating to morbidity and mortality, and the changing dynamics of group identity formations with a focus on age.
  • SYP 6356 Sociology of the Contemporary Women’s Movements (3) Seminar on theories of social movements relative to the second wave feminist movement. Issues include labor market/workplace equality, violence against women, economic, political and cultural issues (poverty, family, marriage, sexuality) relative to women’s collective organization and mobilizing.
  • SYP 6506r Advanced Research Seminar in Social Organization (3) An advanced seminar where students work closely with a faculty member to address the latest theory, research, and development in social organization.


  • SYA 5625r Proseminar in Sociology (0-3) (S/U grade only) Course introduces students to issues they will confront as professional sociologists in colleges and universities and government or private contexts. Content changes to reflect developments in the discipline.
  • SYA 5907r Direct Individual Study (3) (S/U grade only) Consent of instructor and departmental chairperson required. May be repeated to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.
  • SYA 5909r Direct Individual Study (1-3) (S/U grade only) Consent of instructor and departmental chairperson required. Credit can vary and course may be repeated to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.
  • SYA 5912r Supervised Research (1-5) (S/U grade only) May be repeated to a maximum of five (5) semester hours.
  • SYA 5946r Supervised Teaching (1-5) (S/U grade only) May be repeated to a maximum of five (5) semester hours.
  • SYA 5971r Master’s Paper Research (1-6) (S/U grade only) Research project leading to a paper that is required for the master’s degree. Students may register for this course up to a maximum of six (6) hours.
  • SYA 6660 Teaching At the College Level in Sociology (3) A graduate seminar focusing on pedagogical issues and practical problems in teaching sociology at the college and university levels.
  • SYA 6933r Selected Topics in Sociology (3) May be repeated to a maximum of fifteen (15) semester hours.
  • SYA 6938r Selected Topics in Social Organization (3) (S/U grade only) May be repeated up to a maximum of nine (9) semester hours.
  • SYA 8945r Doctoral Review Paper (1-12) (S/U grade only) A comprehensive review of empirical/theoretical literature in a topical area selected by a student in consultation with the student’s major professor and supervisory committee. May be taken in 1 to 12 hour increments to a maximum of twelve (12) credit hours.
  • SYA 6980r Dissertation (1-12) (S/U grade only) Students must complete with a grade of satisfactory (S) at least 24 hours of dissertation research, to show competency in conducting original research that adds to sociological knowledge. May be repeated in 1 to 12 hour increments until the dissertation is complete.
  • SYA 8962r Major Area Doctoral Preliminary Exam (0) Students register for this course in the semester they take the Major Area preliminary exam.
  • SYA 8967r Preparation for Major Area Preliminary Exam (1-12) (S/U grade only) Students may register for this course in one to 12 hour increments, up to a maximum of 12 hours, to prepare for the Major Area Exam.
  • SYA 8976 Master’s Paper Completion (0) Students register for this course in the term they plan to complete their Master’s Paper.
  • SYA 8981 Doctoral Review Paper Completion (0) Students register for this course in the term they plan to complete their doctoral review paper.
  • SYA 8985 Dissertation Defense (0) Students register for this course in the term they plan to defend their doctoral dissertation.
  • SYA XXXXr Sociological Internship (1-12) A mechanism for students to apply knowledge and skills from the classroom to practical issues or problems. May be taken in one or more hour credits up to a maximum of twelve.