Sociology (SO)

SO 101. Introduction to Sociology.3 Credits.

Our society and culture influence who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and how we interact with others. This course investigates the ways in which our social institutions such as the family, the government, politics, religion, health care and others shape our experience. Students also look at the ways in which gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and social class affect their life. The differences that characterize a stratified society in opportunity, reward, achievement and social class are discussed.

Offered: Every year, All

SO 101H. Honors Introduction to Sociology.3 Credits.

Our society and culture influence who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and how we interact with others. This course investigates the ways in which our social institutions such as the family, the government, politics, religion, health care and others shape our experience. Students also look at the ways in which gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and social class affect their life. The differences that characterize a stratified society in opportunity, reward, achievement and social class are discussed.

Offered: Every year, All

SO 201. Sociological Theory.3 Credits.

This course helps students develop a working knowledge of theory and understand its relevance in other sociological courses they will take. In part, it examines Freud's depiction of the human condition as an epic battle between our individual selfish drives and society's overbearing shame, Marx's claim that revolution is inevitable, Weber's belief that we have sacrificed the human spirit at the altar of efficiency, Mills' claim that we have become cheerful robots in a machine-like society, and Baudrillard's thesis that truth has been murdered in the perfect crime.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 205. From College to Career (CJ/GT 205).1 Credit.

This course introduces sociology, gerontology and criminal justice majors to the preprofessional skills and knowledge they need to practice prior to obtaining their internship. Students also are introduced to practical skills that will benefit them throughout their professional careers ranging from self-reflection to resume writing and email etiquette. Students meet regularly to discuss the breadth of potential careers in sociology, criminal justice and gerontology through interaction with departmental faculty and practitioners in the field. For sociology majors only. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Offered: Every year, Spring

SO 225. Social Problems.3 Credits.

What is a social problem? How does something become defined and recognized as a social problem? In this course, students debate what is meant by the terms "social" and "society"--the relationships, benefits and duties that shape our lives, both locally and globally. What are the major problems facing society today? Why do we think these things are problematic? What are their consequences? How can we effectively address social problems? Students explore these questions through reading about and researching topics such as race, class, family, violence, immigration and the environment. In discussing these and other issues, students develop their sociological imaginations, learning how to see their individual lives as connected to patterns in the larger social world.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 232. Women in the Criminal Justice System (CJ/WS 232).3 Credits.

This course examines the changing patterns of women's criminality, the experiences of women who are processed as crime victims, and the evolution of women's role in law, law enforcement and corrections.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 235. American Culture and Society: The 1950s-1980s.3 Credits.

The course examines what it means to be an American. Students explore the structure of American culture and discuss more specific American cultural manifestations in areas such as love, consumerism, childrearing and sport. These topics are covered via an assessment of the health versus pathology of American culture. Course material is rooted in sociological literature within the field of culture and personality.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 238. Sociology Through Film.3 Credits.

This course is an examination of American society through film viewing, academic reading and discussion. Historically, film has been used to depict American culture as distinct from other cultures, socialize American children, represent the individual in American family life, religion and education, and to create cultural representations of gender and race. Each of these themes is examined, and the course concludes with an analysis of the concepts of social class and corporate power and as conveyed through film.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 241. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.3 Credits.

The impact of ethnic and racial identity in the United States is examined with particular consideration of the processes of prejudice and discrimination, social class identity and mobility, and the distribution and exercise of social, economic and political power.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 244. Social Stratification.3 Credits.

This course examines systems of inequality and how they grow out of, and are reinforced by, both structural and cultural factors. Topics include: social class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, the interrelationships of all of these as forces of stratification, and how they are manifested in societal institutions such as the economy, the educational system and the criminal justice system.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 250. Youth Crime (CJ 250).3 Credits.

This course deals with youth crime as distinct from adult offending. Students examine the development of the juvenile delinquency concept and justification for classifying juvenile offenders as separate from adults. Factors contributing to the onset of juvenile delinquency and relevant research also are examined. The course considers development and current functions of the juvenile justice system, paying particular attention to the challenges justice officials face daily. A range of widely used treatment strategies for dealing with juvenile offenders is examined.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 255. Sociology of Families (WS 255).3 Credits.

In this introductory course, students critically examine families in the U.S., both historically and in the current day. Topics include the ways in which families have evolved over time and the effect of economic and social factors (such as race, class and gender) on family life. Students learn about the diversity of families in other cultures and current issues facing families.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 260. Social Control and Deviance.3 Credits.

This course covers classical and contemporary sociological theories of deviance as well as a discussion on the ways in which sociologists define the concepts of deviance and stigma. Course material covers a variety of social issues, which are situated within the intersection of deviance and race, social class, sexuality and religion. Topics include: privileged/underprivileged deviance, substance abuse and physical violence. Participants also look at the ways in which social behavior is formally and informally controlled through various sanctions and the implementation of public policies.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 263. Sociology of Aging (GT 263).3 Credits.

This introduction to gerontology focuses on the myths and realities of aging explored through historic, demographic and sociological analyses of the conditions of elderly people in our society. Students critically examine the diversity of aging experiences in the U.S. The ways in which social and cultural factors enter into the aging process are also considered.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 264. Social Welfare Institutions.3 Credits.

The interplay between economics, politics and the American value system is explored as well as the conflict between market determinism and social protection and regulation. Students evaluate the historical and contemporary tensions between conservative and progressive/liberal positions, values and beliefs in regard to what contributes to the well-being of American citizens as well as the role of the state. Sources of power determining our policies in regard to topics such as health, mutual safety, inequality, environment, the elderly and corporate welfare are considered.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 266. Population and Society.3 Credits.

The components of population change--births, deaths, migration--and the importance of demographic trends for individual life changes are explored. Students also discuss the lasting effects of the Baby Boom generation, the migration to the Southwest, and changes in marriage patterns.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 270. Program Planning and Administration (GT 270).3 Credits.

Program planning and administration of services to the elderly are considered, as well as models of needs identification, the process of problem analysis, styles of leadership and administrative dilemmas, and elements of grant proposal writing.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every other year

SO 271. Public Order Crimes (CJ 271).3 Credits.

Approximately two-thirds of the inmates in U.S. correctional institutions have been found guilty of public order crimes, "moral crimes," or crimes not likely to have a self-identified victim. This course concentrates on crimes associated with such activities as illegitimate gambling, consensual sex, and the criminal use and sale of both legal and illegal substances.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 272. Education and Society.3 Credits.

Schools from kindergarten to the university as they relate to the community and the economic and political systems are considered. Also explored are the historical development of education; values imparted through education; the social process in the classroom; contemporary conflicts centering in the schools.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 280. Illness and Disability.3 Credits.

This course examines the ways in which society shapes our understanding, experience and definitions of health, illness and disease. Topics include the social factors related to disease such as age, gender and social class; the social roles of medical practitioners and patients; labeling and treatment/mistreatment of the ill and disabled; changing definitions of illness; and the politics of disability.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every other year, Fall

SO 284. Gay and Lesbian Identities and Communities (PS/WS 284).3 Credits.

This course explores the social, socioeconomic, historical, psychological and political factors that have contributed to our understanding of what it means to be gay or lesbian today. Psychological research on gay and lesbian identity development, the social construction of identity and the psychological, social and political benefits associated with "identifying" as gay or lesbian, are discussed. The course explores historical events that led to the development of gay and lesbian communities and the benefits of being involved in these communities. The course also explores how the gay and lesbian community has become more mainstream, in both positive and negative ways.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 285. Protest and Change (WS 285).3 Credits.

This class presents in-depth explorations of American social movements with an emphasis on understanding the underlying societal factors that influence the emergence of each. The socioeconomic and cultural identities of those involved and the ways in which strategies, tactics, and outcomes are shaped also are addressed. Discussions cover, but are not limited to, the labor, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, anti-war and environmental movements.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 290. Research Methods (GT 290).3 Credits.

This course provides an introduction to social science research methods. Students examine how qualitative and quantitative research methods apply to social science research. The course places particular emphasis on the importance of scientific methods in reaching informed conclusions. Students examine a number of methods commonly used in social science disciplines and learn how to interpret the results of research conducted using these methods. Understanding how social scientists investigate social phenomena allows students to accurately interpret and apply findings from social science research. Students should complete the course by the end of their sophomore year or second year in the major.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 304. Sociology of Gender (WS 304).3 Credits.

This course focuses on how society constructs notions/images of femininity and masculinity and how these influence our lives. Participants look at cultural views of language, body and the media, as well as theoretical approaches to understanding the complexities of gender distinctions in our society.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 305. Death, Grief and Bereavement (GT 305).3 Credits.

Death is studied from the perspective of social interaction between the dying person, professional caregivers and family members and loved ones. Attitudes and values about death, cultural components of grief, and the function of bereavement are examined. Particular attention is paid to the social organization of "death work" and dying in bureaucratic settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, as opposed to the non-bureaucratic structure of hospice care.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 307. Sociology of Sport (SPS 307).3 Credits.

This course includes the analysis of sport as a social and cultural institution and the interrelations between sport and societal subsystems. Students explore selected sociocultural aspects of sport and exercise, and analyze contemporary problems associated with sport, including race relations, the tradition and emergent role of females, leisure behaviors, aggression and violence, as well as political and economic concerns.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SO 308. The Immigrant Experience.3 Credits.

For much of its history, people have come to the U.S. from other countries seeking religious freedom, political asylum or better economic opportunities. Some Americans want to restrict migration, worrying that immigrants might create economic and cultural problems for the U.S. In this course, students explore questions such as: Why do people migrate? How has immigration shaped the U.S. throughout its history? How does immigration impact the American economy and culture? How has immigration policy changed over time? Using a sociological perspective, students learn what shapes the decisions and experiences of immigrants and about the impact of immigration on society.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 310. Children: Social Issues and Policies.3 Credits.

This course presents an overview of the social, economic and political factors that have influenced the historical and contemporary experiences of children and the child rearing process. Students examine concepts such as the effects of the changing character of the American family, educational institutions, the growing power of peer groups and of the media. The diversity of the childhood experience is considered as well as the impact of poverty, divorce, community violence, bullying, the juvenile justice system and teenage pregnancy on the welfare of American children.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 311. Introduction to Social Work (GT 311).3 Credits.

The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the field of social work including historical roots, fundamental principles and fields of practice. The course emphasizes an integrated overview of social work methods, skills, values, ethics and the social service delivery system. Key social work concepts and service delivery systems are illuminated from micro, mezzo and macro perspectives that reflect past and present relevant issues. Students develop an introductory understanding of how psychological and social theories influence social work practice with individuals, groups and communities.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 315. Case Management (GT 315).3 Credits.

Case management is a process used widely throughout health and social services as a means of assessing, planning, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the services needed to respond to an individual's health and/or service needs to attain the dual goals of quality and cost effective care. Students in gerontology, sociology, psychology, and criminal justice are likely to encounter the various roles or models of case management practice as they pursue careers in human services. This course provides a foundation for case management practice in various social service settings.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SO 317. Religion and Society.3 Credits.

This course examines religion from a sociological perspective. The class begins with an introduction to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. The remainder of the course examines the relationship between religion and society. Students ask question such as: Are Americans becoming less religious? Do some religions cause more violence than others, and/or face more discrimination than others? How does religion shape attitudes about gender and sexuality? Can religion be a source for protest and social change? Using a sociological perspective, students learn about why religion continues to have a strong influence on social life in the modern world.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every other year

SO 320. Sociology of Hip-Hop Culture.3 Credits.

This course examines the formation, growth and current state of hip-hop culture through a sociological lens. Through a rigorous analysis of hip-hop, students are challenged to think critically and sociologically about the culture and its place in society and develop a clearer understanding of the history and social significance of the culture. Participants cover topics such as race, capitalism, misogyny, cultural appropriation, urban policy and feminism. This course serves as a space for students to analyze the societal structures and forces that influence the culture, as well as how hip-hop influences the world.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 330. Perspectives on Violence (CJ 330).3 Credits.

This course explores the many ways that violence is viewed in our society. Topics include types of violence, empirical evidence of incidence, characteristics of violent crimes, offender motivation, victim profiles, and sociological and theoretical explanations.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SO 333. Drugs, Alcohol and Society (CJ 333).3 Credits.

This analytical discussion-based course explores the use of drugs and alcohol in U.S. society. The emphasis is on drug and alcohol use and abuse as a social phenomenon. Students explore issues such as the relationship of drug use to particular groups in society (age, sex, race/ethnicity); patterns of drug use and abuse; the promotion of drugs by the media; and drug and alcohol abuse in historical perspective. Students also learn about drug categories, drug education, prevention and treatment and about drug laws.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 355. Crime and Media (CJ 355).3 Credits.

Despite little direct contact with offenders or the criminal justice system, people typically hold strong opinions about crime-related issues. The goal of this course is to understand how media sources shape our attitudes and beliefs about crime and how we "should" respond to it. To this end, participants examine media involvement in constructing the reality of crime and justice and its implications for the justice process.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101 or CJ 101.
Offered: Every other year

SO 360. Sociology of Mental Illness.3 Credits.

This course examines the ways in which society shapes our understanding of mental illness and mental health. It provides students with an overview of issues affecting the definition, causes, recognition and treatment of mental illness. The course is organized into five sections: 1) the major theoretical perspectives on mental illness; 2) symptoms of selected mental disorders; 3) the epidemiology of mental illness; 4) stigma; and 5) available treatment and lack of treatment for people with mental disorders.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SO 365. Aging: Problems and Policies (GT 365).3 Credits.

This course considers social problems associated with aging, particularly in the areas of health, housing, financing and family life and the governmental policies past, present and future that deal with these problems.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 370. Adoption in the Community.3 Credits.

This course provides an overview of adoption, past and present, including the major changes in adoption practice and public perception of adoption over the years. Course material includes issues pertaining to the adoption of children born in the U.S. and those born overseas, children adopted as newborn infants and those adopted past infancy from the foster care system. Discussion and readings address unplanned pregnancy considerations, trans-racial and transcultural adoption, children with special medical and emotional needs, open adoption and birth-family contact search and reunion, and adoption-related issues across the lifecycle.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 375. Sociology of the Everyday.3 Credits.

The course examines how everyday interactions both create and shape social reality. Through an examination of humor, embarrassment, street behavior, family behavior and work behavior, as well as interaction between acquaintances, friends and intimate partners, the course examines how we make up everyday reality as we go. Emphasis is placed on micro-level theoretical perspectives drawing from social psychology and symbolic interactionism.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101.
Offered: As needed

SO 382. Studying Social Issues with Statistics (GT 382).3 Credits.

In this course, students learn basic introductory-level statistics and quantitative reasoning skills necessary for careers in sociology, including social services and health-related fields. Through hands-on application, students learn research design, basic statistical data collection and data analysis. For sociology majors only, junior or above.

Prerequisites: Take SO 290.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SO 385. Senior Seminar (GT 385).3 Credits.

This senior seminar is designed as the capstone course for students majoring in sociology and gerontology. Students research a sociological or aging-related topic of their choosing and write a thesis based on their work. All senior theses represent a culmination of majors' academic experiences in the department. For sociology or social services majors only in the senior year.

Prerequisites: Take SO 290.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 392. Internship in the Community (GT 392).3 Credits.

For sociology or social services majors in their junior or senior year only. Students each complete 120 hours of supervised fieldwork in a community agency along with one hour per week in a seminar. Course work and seminar content include written and oral reflection focusing on the student's experience. Professional issues, along with academic concepts and theory, are explored in relation to the agency and the community it serves. Successful completion of the course requires adherence to a high standard of professionalism. Students are required to meet with the internship coordinator one semester prior to begin the placement process.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101 SO 205.
Offered: Every year, All

SO 394. Advanced Internship in the Community.3 Credits.

A second internship for sociology or social service majors in their junior or senior year only. Students complete 135 hours of supervised fieldwork in a community agency along with one hour per week in the advanced internship seminar. Students build upon the knowledge gained from their first internship experience to deepen their understanding of concepts and theory through extended written and oral reflection. Students also assess their interpersonal strengths and weaknesses in preparation for graduate school and/or future employment. Successful completion of the course requires adherence to a high standard of professionalism. Students are required to meet with the internship coordinator one semester prior to begin the placement process.

Prerequisites: Take SO 392.
Offered: Every year, All