Program Highlights

This major will expose you the broad, liberal arts discipline devoted to the study and scientific analysis of social groups and processes. Sociology courses will help you develop knowledge about key social factors influencing the diversity of human behavior, especially that diversity characterized by race, class, and gender. You will also develop the necessary research and statistical skills to critically analyze social patterns and values.

The integration of service learning and experiential education in this major will push you to examine questions of ethics and values regarding social values and inequalities. Moreover, you will learn to synthesize existing theoretical knowledge with research findings to develop practical solutions for society's needs. Course work in this major will prepare you for:

  1. graduate study in sociology;
  2. careers in social service;
  3. careers in social, political or market research; and /or
  4. complement academic specialization in other fields (such as business, communications, law and nursing) with the group-level perspective on social behavior which is increasingly being demanded of professionals and managers.

You are encouraged to elect additional course work in history, economics, political science, and computer science. If you plans include graduate study, you may want to combine a major in sociology with another discipline, or a double major in sociology and psychology.

Sociology majors have the option of pursuing a B.A. (0-12 credits in a second modern language) or B.S. degree (10 additional credits of courses in math or natural sciences).

Plan of Study

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.

Intro to Sociology This course acquaints students with the discipline of sociology and the sociological perspective, with an emphasis on social problems and inequality related to class, race and gender.  Students taking this course will learn how to view groups, communities, societies and major social institutions with what C. Wright Mills termed the “sociological imagination” in an effort to inform personal views and convictions about society within this broader analytical scope. (SO100)
Intro to Anthropology Introduction to field of anthropology. Techniques and problems of major subfields of anthropology: linguistics, archeology, ethnology, physical anthropology and primatology, and applied anthropology. (SO120)
Juvenile Delinquency This course is designed to provide an overview of the study of juvenile delinquency. In as objective a manner as possible this course will examine the contemporary theories, laws, policy, and practice of the juvenile justice system within the United States. The sociological perspective will be emphasized, however, the interdisciplinary nature of this course will require the use of alternative perspectives from time to time. Pre-requisite SO100. (SO211)
Sociology, Pop Culture and Media This course examines the theoretical basis of media and cultural studies from both a critical and constructionist perspective, taking a closer look at the production and consumption of culture, the societal impacts of corporate media systems vs. public media outlets, and reflecting on relevant ethical and social justice issues.  From a more pragmatic standpoint, this course also examines how popular culture in the U.S., manifests in our daily lives through the media and other social institutions, and actually reflects and perpetuates social inequities such as class, race, religious, regional, age and gender differences.  Students will actively search for these messages within social institutions, focusing on popular culture, and engage in observational activities designed to reflect responsible democratic citizenship in the U.S.  As such, this course had been constructed to offer a critical perspective on mass media systems but also engages the student in the world of popular culture as a venue for understanding the role of media systems on society. (SO220)
Methods of Sociology Research Covers most techniques commonly used in sociological research. Emphasis placed on selecting research strategies appropriate to the task. Topics include ethics and logic of research, concept formation, operationalizing variables, choosing techniques of data collection, data analysis and writing the research report. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO221)
Poverty and Welfare The study of the causes, persistence, and consequences of poverty in the U.S. Attention will also be paid to the history, patterns, and policies of the welfare systems. Cross-listed with IN250. Taught every spring. (SO224)
Approaches to Sociology Theory A study of the development of the discipline of sociology. Particular emphasis placed on the classic theories, which are analyzed in terms of the social context in which they were developed. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO250)
Social Psychology Systematic study of social behavior of the individual as well as the group. Social perception, motivation, learning, attitudes and values. Dynamics of social groups. Emphasis on research methods and projects. Cross-listed with PS305. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO305)
Racial and Ethnic Group Relations A concentrated study of racial and ethnic group interaction in societies such as the United States. Special focus is placed on racial and non-immigrant minorities, such as African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO310)
Juvenile Delinquency This course is designed to provide an overview of the study of juvenile delinquency. In as objective a manner as possible this course will examine the contemporary theories, laws, policy, and practice of the juvenile justice system within the United States. The sociological perspective will be emphasized, however, the interdisciplinary nature of this course will require the use of alternative perspectives from time to time. Pre-requisite Sociology 100. (SO311)
Restorative Justice This course will introduce students to the theory, concept, and practice of restorative justice. After an extensive review of the tradition and history of restorative justice, and contemporary research and scholarship, students will have a performance learning opportunity to participate in a restorative justice program or activity in the local community. Course learning materials and assignments will be directed toward a cumulative assignment in which students evaluate a criminal justice program or agency in relation to its use of restorative justice principles and practices. (SO312)
Social Work Theory and Practice A detailed study of social work practice, including a review of values, ethics and theoretical perspectives supporting intervention strategies and methods of the field. Attention will also be paid to interpersonal, analytical and problem-solving skills required for professional social work. Pre-requisite: departmental major, sophomore standing, Sociology 100 or Psychology 130 or 140. (SO314)
Human Behavior and Social Environments This course, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, introduces social systems theories, psychological theories and developmental theories to examine why people behave as they do and to apply this knowledge to generalist social work practice across the life span. The course integrates major concepts from the social and behavioral sciences with micro, mezzo and macro social work practice approaches. The impact of culture and environmental conditions on individuals, families, small groups and communities is examined. Pre-requisites SO100 or PS130, Sophomore standing. (SO315)
Social Issues in Healthcare The purpose of this course is to introduce the changing role in health care in our country. The identification of key issues involving interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of strategic interventions with other health care professionals and teams is explored. Roles in social work, discharge planning, case management, home care, hospice care, and the historic and current policies that affect health care will be studied. An overview of managed care and payment systems will be covered. Offered as an Immersion Course. Pre-requisite: SO100 or Psychology 130 or 140 or consent of the Instructor. (SO316)
Practice with Diverse Populations This course presents concepts for understanding, measuring, and evaluating cultural competence for working with persons from cultures other than one's own. Focus is on the impact of discrimination and oppression on the development and delivery of social work services to people of color and other marginalized populations. The course will also explore why cultural competence is important to human service professionals and will identify skills necessary to become culturally competent. Pre-requisites SO 100 or PS 130, SO 314. (SO317)
Social Gerontology This course provides an introduction to the field of Social Gerontology and the services available to meet the needs of the geriatric population. The processes and realities of aging in contemporary American society will be examined. Some topics will include health care, social roles, community life, personal aging, death and dying, and the community/ social programs that support the aging population. Community professionals who provide services to seniors will be included in classroom presentations and site visits to senior programs will be completed. Offered as an Immersion Course. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100 or Psychology 130 or 140 or consent of the Instructor. (SO318)
Intro to Child Welfare This course provides an introduction to Child Welfare in the United States and examines current child welfare policies and practices. The course explores the rights of children, the rights and responsibilities of parents and society and their points of conflict. It provides
relevant content for students considering careers in child welfare, schools, juvenile justice, and family. Pre-requisites SO314 Social Work Theory and Practice, SO315 Human Behavior and the Social Environment. (SO319)
Social Stratification The study of the patterns of social, economic and political inequality among individuals, families and social groups. Particular attention paid to the causes and consequences of inequality and to such issues as social mobility, class consciousness and power. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO320)
Community Mental Health This course will focus on mental health policy, programs, services, funding, organization structure and populations served. Additionally there will be guest speakers and opportunities for students to visit sites to gain first hand knowledge of the community mental health field. Pre requisite: SO100, PS130, sophomore standing or consent of instructor. (SO321)
Sociology of Gender A study of the structure of gender in societies. The focus of the course in any semester may be on some of the following issues: the social construction of gender, gender socialization, institutional aspects of gender, and economic and social inequality. Pre-requisites: Sociology 100. (SO330)
Field Study in Chicago Design and implement a field study research project in Chicago. Utilize the resources of the city to do primary research through interviews, observation, surveys and/or other research methods. Students complete a group research project as well as an individual field study related to their respective majors. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO340)
Chicago Communities and Culture Focus on the ethnic, religious, racial, economic and lifestyle diversity of Chicago's neighborhoods and the social dynamics of the city. Includes visits to city neighborhoods, major political and economic institutions, and meetings with community leaders. Studies how racism, economic displacement and violence impact the city and examines solutions surrounding these issues. Also emphasized is the role of artistic expression in community development, including blues and jazz, museums, poetry, off-Loop art galleries, dance film and theater. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO350)
The Family The study of the family and its relationship to the larger society, focusing especially on American family structures. Particular attention paid to the changing roles of men and women, domestic violence, class and ethnic variations, social change, love, sexuality, marriage, divorce and parenthood. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO351)
Chicago Internship/Practicum An internship experience in Chicago. Varied placements available for all majors. Combines practical experience and training within an academic framework through a placement in an agency or organization. Students must complete an internship contract and a daily journal, as well as a summary paper on the internship. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO355)
Criminology An analysis of theories of criminal behavior and criminal control procedures. Emphasis on causation, criminal laws, and crime control by police and criminal or juvenile courts. Overview of preventive methods and treatment of penal systems. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO361)
Sociology of Globalization This course studies the changes in the social and economic structures of the world especially since World War II.  It focuses on the historical, economic, and social causes of globalization and the effects of these processes on global lifestyles, the environment and social inequality.  Since this course is cross-listed with IN 350, Global Issues, it is writing intensive and includes significant components of reflection and attention to ethical reasoning. (SO365)
Interventions with Families and Groups Generalist practice with a focus on families, small groups, and individuals in a group context. Skills of assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, termination and follow-up phases of the problem-solving process are developed. Pre-requisites: departmental major, SO370. (SO371)
Social Movements The focus of this course will be social movements as a major cause of social change. Topics will include the social construction, history, recruitment of new members, strategies, tactics, and outcomes of major social movements. Special emphasis will be given to the role of individuals in promoting or resisting social change. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO372)
Environmental Sociology This class examines various impacts of human societies on the physical environment, as well as environmental impacts on human societies and culture. Specifically, we will explore how the U.S. and the global community are struggling to find ways of meeting our human needs for development and survival in the face of changing environmental conditions. We will explore the impact that human growth has had on our planet, the social impacts of land and resource development, and contemporary struggles over natural space involving competing ideological attachments to various landscapes and natural resources. In addition, we will explore the eco-philosophy of deep ecology and the modern environmental movement, paying specific attention to recent grassroots organizations and environmental justice issues. (SO390)
Urban Sociology American urban development with emphasis on the social and spatial patterns of U.S. cities, emerging life styles in the urban setting, and urban problems. Attention will be paid to urban planning, metropolitan government, the distribution and movement of jobs and industry, urban transportation, and inter-group relations. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO392)
Sociological Analysis A required capstone course for Sociology majors. Students in this course will review their sociological knowledge and analytical skills, and prepare a major paper. This paper will then be presented at the Behavioral Sciences Research Symposium or the Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium in the Spring. Taught each fall. Pre-requisite: senior sociology major and satisfaction of the departmental writing proficiency. (SO450)
Capstone Internship A capstone experience required for Human Services majors. The student is placed as an intern in a selected community, state, social service, welfare or research agency, based on student interest and agency acceptance. These placements, which are supervised by a faculty member, are considered pre-professional experiences, and the expectation is that students will be using the knowledge, skills, and values learned while pursuing their major. Through seminars, journals, and writing a paper, students will reflect on their experiences and integrate their knowledge with their experience. In addition, students will complete their portfolios, which demonstrate their satisfaction of departmental learning goals. Pre-requisite: senior standing or junior standing and approval of Behavioral Sciences faculty, SO370. (SO460)