Sociology involves the study of the ways in which culture and social structure combine to shape people’s behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs. Sociologists examine the nature and dynamics of groups, organizations, institutions, subcultures, and societies. A key focus of the sociological perspective is the description and understanding of inequality, especially along the lines of social class, race and ethnicity, and gender. Sociologists use scientific principles to explore, describe, analyze, and explain social interaction and social relationships that range in context from the nuclear family to the global economy. Insights gained from sociological research form the foundation of many social policies developed to solve local, regional, national, and international problems. Sociological specialties include family, education, work and industry, religion, epidemiology and health care, crime and criminal justice, the economy, urbanization, politics, mass media and popular culture, social movements, globalization, and the environment.
Students may earn one of two degrees in sociology – B.A. or B.S. In addition to the general sociology stream, students may specialize in criminology and earn a B.A. or B.S. in sociology/criminology. Students may also complete a minor in either sociology or anthropology.
Criminology as a sociological specialization involves examining rates, types, patterns, causes, consequences, and control of criminal behavior. Criminology borrows heavily from sociological theory and methodology to describe and explain crime and to articulate sound criminal justice policy and practice.
The sociology major prepares students to work in a wide variety of vocational sectors including education, industry, government, business, and social service. Many sociology/criminology graduates secure employment in youth services, drug rehabilitation, law enforcement, corrections, probation/parole, case management, victim services, and private security.