What is a Sociology Major?
While all social sciences are interested in understanding human behavior, sociology is distinguished by its focus on understanding patterns of human behavior and emphasizing the social forces that shape and influence these patterns. Often, this perspective is surprising and can challenge assumptions of how the world works. The subject matter of sociology is broad—anything about social life one is interested in can be (and likely has been) studied by sociologists. Ultimately, students of sociology develop an appreciation for ways in which social structures and culture shape the world they live in and thus shape their own lives.
This breadth of social life is reflected in the sociology curriculum. After taking SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology, which is a prerequisite for other sociology courses, students are free to pursue other areas of interest. Courses on social institutions (such as religion, medicine, and the criminal justice system), social processes (such as the relationship between the self and society, social movements, and deviance), and social stratification (such as race, class and gender) represent the rich diversity of social life that sociologists are interested in understanding. These offerings are complimented by grounding in social theory and methodology. As a social science, sociological knowledge is based on empirical observation and analysis that is informed by and informs social theory.
The standard major provides a mix of seven core courses and six elective choices. Students with an interest in criminal justice can pursue a concentration in that area taking an additional list of core courses in the criminal justice emphasis. Students who wish to pursue the minor take the introductory course and then choose five elective courses. SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology, and SOC 168 Social Problems, also fulfill Area I General Education requirements. Sociology majors are encouraged to take MATH 140 College Algebra, to fulfill the general education mathematics competency requirement.
Student and Faculty Engagement
All Western State Colorado University Sociology faculty are members of the Midwest Sociological Society. Each year the faculty attend this professional association's annual conference and take a select group of Sociology majors with them to experience an academic conference and to present student research. Last year Dr. Cress presented on teaching qualitative research methods.
Additionally, the department organizes an annual symposium with other small colleges/university's in Colorado. This gives students an opportunity to present their research in an academic setting and prepares them for further study and public speaking. In 2008, Western hosted the symposium and 5 Western State Colorado Univesity students presented on topics ranging from sexual assualt, domestic violence, and addiction.
Colorado Statewide Articulation Agreements for Approved Majors: http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/Transfers/Students.html