"Sociology should be an instrument for the existential liberation of the individual; it should be a weapon in the revolutionary struggle to liberate society,” wrote renowned sociologist Peter Berger in 1971. The study of sociology helps us to understand the forces that shape and determine our lives. Sociology is the study of social life, social causes, and the consequences of human behavior. Focusing primarily on contemporary American society, the Sociology major emphasizes research, evaluation, and theory with additional development of communication and computer skills. In this fascinating program, you can also choose a concentration in Crime & Society or major in Elementary Education.
Why Choose Sociology?
Sociologists focus on a wide range of societal issues, including race, gender, class and their impact on society. Some examine larger social organizations such as the family, business, and governments, looking at their structures and hierarchies. Others look at culture and how people acquire their identity within society. Sociologists learn to see social patterns in individual behavior and to apply scientific reasoning to all aspects of social life.
What Will You Study?
You will study a variety of topics in courses such as Social Problems, Deviance, Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Sociology of Culture, and Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. You’ll have an opportunity to present your research at annual conferences, including the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society. Choosing the Crime & Society concentration allows you to focus on individuals who violate the law and seek explanations for that behavior from a sociological perspective. You may also elect to double major in Elementary Education, building an expertise in social science.
The Sociology major provides an excellent background for careers in social services, teaching, career counseling, personnel management, insurance, education, health administration, police, courts, and corrections. Graduates of this program have gone on to work in human resources, law enforcement, public administration, and education. Recent graduates are currently working as a family services assistant at a homeless shelter, client manager at a medical software firm, and life insurance agent. The emphasis on innovative courses, critical thinking, and research skills, assures that students are well prepared for graduate programs. Recent Sociology graduates have entered Ph.D. programs at the University of Missouri and Boston University, and the master's program at Colorado State University.
In this cross-disciplinary major, you will be taught by faculty experts in both Sociology and Criminal Justice. Your professors will lead you through your exploration of social relationships that emphasizes an understanding of human nature and society through research activities and critical thinking. You'll be taught in small classes by these professors who will also serve as your academic advisors. While they are active in research and writing in their field, their principal focus is teaching and mentoring you.
Unique Learning Opportunities
Internships and Field Work
Sociology students pursue fascinating internships in a variety of settings including community organizations, social services agencies such as women's shelters, businesses, animal clinics, and criminal justice agencies such as police departments. Our students have participated in internships work with the Salvation Army, American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations, as well as local service agencies. Other sites include the Center for Human Development, Doctor Franklin Perkins School, Eastern Hampshire District Court, and the Massachusetts Parole Board.
Study Abroad: Become a Global Citizen
Today’s workforce needs professionals who see the big picture. The College of Arts and Sciences will help you to become a student of world cultures and histories as they relate to your studies while making valuable contributions in your explorations. Whether you participate in a faculty-led summer seminar course or spend a semester at an international university, the experience will broaden your horizons and help you compete in the global landscape.