Undergraduate Course Descriptions


  • SYG 1000. Introductory Sociology (3). An introduction to the fundamentals of sociology. Emphasis is placed on exposure to the basic findings of empirical research studies in a wide range of areas traditionally examined by sociologists.

Theory & Methods

  • SYA 4010. Sociological Theory (3). This course introduces the student to the kind of theory that has developed in the field of sociology since its foundation, moving through to the contemporary scene. Major theoretical fields, major theorists, and dominant theoretical issues that continue to be part of the sociological approach to explanation are covered. This is a required course for sociology majors.
  • SYA 4300. Methods of Social Research (3). Broad coverage of research design, data collection, and data analysis. This is a required course for sociology majors.
  • SYA 4400. Social Statistics (3). This course involves the application of statistical techniques to sociological data as illustrated in the research and writing of social scientists. As a course for majors, it represents an important part of the student’s methodological training with respect to the statistical analysis of data typically used by sociologists. The student is expected to carry out a number of exercises involving the statistical analysis of sociological data and to interpret the results. This is a required course for sociology majors.


  • SYG 2430. Sociology of Marriage and the Family (3). This course focuses on marriage and family relationships over the life course. Topics covered include dating, love, sexuality, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, reconstituted families, parenting, and marital and family relationships in later life. The major course objective is to critically analyze some of our most private social relationships from a sociological perspective.
  • SYO 3100. Family Problems and Social Change (3). A basic sociological approach to conditions, issues, and problems of familial organization within the context of changing institutional structures of modern society. Attention is given to such questions as: How have spouse roles changed, and why? How do changes in the organization of work affect family experience? How are family and kinship patterns affected by an aging population?

Social Psychology

  • SYP 3000. Social Psychology of Groups (3). This course represents the study of social psychology from a sociological perspective. Specifically, it is an analysis of the influence of groups and the individual on each other, including the study of norms, group pressure, leadership, motivation, and social personality.
  • SYP 4650. Sports and Society (3). This course explores the topic of sport from a critical perspective focusing especially on inequalities in gender, race, class, and power. This class jointly examines sports as a social mirror that reflects status inequalities as well as the role of sports in perpetuating social inequalities.


  • SYD 3020. Population and Society (3). This course examines the causes and consequences of population change in the United States and the world with an assessment of the impact of demographic change on various social institutions.

Social Issues & Change

  • SYD 3800. Sociology of Sex and Gender (3). This course provides a look at the sociological facets of gender and its effect in society.
  • SYD 4510. Environmental Sociology (3). This course examines the larger social forces that shape our natural environment; the social foundations of environmental problems; and the social responses to environmental issues, conflicts, and movements.
  • SYD 4700. Race and Minority Group Relations (3). An introduction to prevalent sociological concepts and theories utilized in the study of dominant-subordinate relationships between groups. The social significance of minority status is emphasized. Once introduced, concepts and theories are applied to the experiences of several nonwhite ethnic groups in the U.S. with special attention being devoted to contemporary black-white relationships. The reemergence of white ethnicity is discussed in relation to the above.
  • SYG 2010. Social Problems (3). This course represents a study of various contemporary social problems in an urbanized society, which may include such topics as education, the family, politics, the economy, race relations, drug use and alcoholism, over-population, and other issues.
  • SYO 4402. Medical Sociology (3). This course explains why and how social structure influences the distribution of health and illness and illustrates how the medical care system is organized and responds.
  • SYP 3454. The Global Justice Movement (3). This course critically examines the history, organization, strategies, ideology, opponents, culture, and future prospects of the global justice movement.
  • SYP 3730. Aging and the Life Course (3). In coming years, Americans will have to make important decisions regarding the consequences of population aging. This course explores how changing life course patterns have influenced retirement, health care, politics, and family structure. It also considers the policy choices that will have to be made in the twenty-first century as the baby boom generation reaches retirement age.
  • SYP 4550. Alcohol and Drug Problems (3). This course presents a review and analysis of sociological approaches to the study of alcohol and drug problems. It addresses theoretical perspectives on recreational and deviant drinking and drug use and introduces important empirical methods in the study of alcohol and drug problems and current debates over alcohol and drug policy.
  • SYP 4570. Deviance and Social Control (3). This course focuses on major theories and research traditions, including structural and social psychological causes of deviant behavior, processes of labeling deviants, and social conflict over definition and treatment of deviance.
  • SYP 4764. Aging Policies and Services (3). This course examines issues faced by older people and the current federal and state policies and services designed to address these issues. It explores these policies and issues, in the context of both political economy and the long-term care continuum of services from independence to dependence.

Social Organization

  • SYD 3600. Cities in Society (3). This course explores changes in societal scale and structure associated with development of cities and urban societies; the impact on individuals and social groups of the urban context; and the ways that life in cities is influenced by social inequalities related to ethnicity, social class, and other dimensions of social organization.
  • SYO 3200. Sociology of Religion (3). A basic sociological perspective on the social organization and forms of religious life in modern society. Religious groups are studied as organizations that contribute to social stability, social conflict, and social change.
  • SYO 3460. Sociology of Mass Media (3). This course provides a sociological view of mass communications by critically examining the origin, history, and functions of the American mass media and its effect on social life.
  • SYO 3530. Social Classes and Inequality (3). Basic theory of social stratification is presented and used in description of the stratification system in the United States and other nations. Opportunity for social mobility in the social structure is assessed and compared with rates of mobility in other countries.
  • SYO 4250. Sociology of Education (3). This course presents a sociological approach to the study of education as a social institution, its structure, functions, and role in contemporary life.
  • SYO 4300. Sociology of Politics (3). This course deals with American political institutions, political organizations, pressure groups, and the public’s participation in political processes. Discussion focuses on current political issues from a sociological perspective.
  • SYP 3540. Sociology of Law (3). This course examines the interrelationship between the legal order and the social order. Limitations of civil and criminal law for conflict management and for implementation of social policy are considered.

Other Courses

  • IFS 2003. Sexual Health in the Modern World (3). This course analyzes and synthesizes information centering on a number of current sexual and reproductive health issues. Course materials include the interdisciplinary theorizing of feminists, medical social scientists, anthropologists, demographers, and public health scholars.
  • IFS 2004. The Hunger Games Trilogy: Collective Action and Social Movements (3). This course is an introduction to the sociological study of collective behavior and social movements. This course is organized to highlight themes in the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, which students analyze during the semester. Students have an opportunity to research a movement of their choosing during the semester.
  • IFS 3016. Examining the Educational Achievement Gap (3). This course empowers students to critically examine the Achievement Gap in education by exploring how personal, political, cultural, economic and social experiences and structures shape the educational landscape. Students gather and analyze research and empirical evidence in order to explicate the arguments, assertions and assumptions about the achievement gap through a range of assessments.
  • IFS 3024. Sociology of Hip Hop Culture (3). This course challenges students to examine themes and messages expressed within the subculture of Hip Hop through the application of major sociological perspectives and theories. The course examines the reciprocal relationship between Hip Hop culture and the broader American society, through engagement with scholarly literature, examination of empirical evidence and execution of student research projects.
  • SYA 4905r. Directed Individual Study (3). Consent of instructor and departmental chair required. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
  • SYA 4930r. Selected Topics in Sociology (3). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
  • SYA 4931r. Honors Work (3). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
  • SYA 4932r. Tutorial in Sociology (1). Prerequisite: Upper-division sociology major or minor status. Reading and analysis of primary literature on selected topics in contemporary sociology. May be repeated to a maximum of three semester hours.
  • SYA 4935r. Capstone for Outstanding Majors (3). Through course readings, discussion, and projects, students learn more about how to apply social theory and methods to conduct research and design programs to address social inequality. The course focus varies from offering to offering, depending on the instructor’s area of expertise. Students are invited to enroll in this course based on GPA. May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours when content changes.