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Sociology

Degree: BS, BA

Campus: Columbus, Mansfield

College: Arts and Sciences

Sociology is the study of group life. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations and societies. The goal is to understand the characteristics, causes and consequences of human behavior and social relationships in various kinds of groups and settings. Because human behavior is diverse, the field of sociology covers a diversity of subjects. Sociologists may specialize in the family, the urban community, education, health and medicine, social movements, deviance, crime and law, religion, politics, work and occupations, sports and leisure, race and ethnic minorities, gender and sex roles, or other areas of human behavior. Sociology is a liberal arts/social science major that provides graduates with the scientific tools and the perspective necessary to better understand social issues and complex societal problems.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in sociology within the College of Arts and Sciences.

For students interested in majoring in sociology, the first step is to see an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Sociology to plan course work for the major and the completion of the general education requirements. 

Core requirements ­

As a prerequisite to declaring a major in sociology, students must complete Sociology 1101: Introduction to Sociology. This three-hour course may be taken concurrently with other lower-level sociology courses. Students majoring in sociology must complete the following core requirements: 

  • Sociology 3463: Social Stratification: Race, Class and Gender 
  • Sociology 3487: Research Methods in Sociology
  • Sociology 3488: Introduction to Sociological Theory 
  • Sociology 3549: Statistics in Sociology

Additional sociology courses 

Students majoring in sociology also must complete a minimum of 24 additional credit hours of course work in sociology, including a minimum of 12 hours of 4000- or 5000-level sociology courses. Sociology students are also required to complete either a research or internship experience. Students should consult with a sociology advisor to develop a plan of study that is appropriate for meeting their academic and career interests and goals.

The sociology major offers both BA and BS options. The BS allows for advanced study in one of three focus areas: Population Dynamics and Wellness; Criminology, Law and Society; and Social Inequality.

Students are encouraged to participate in one of the Department of Sociology's two education abroad programs, Genocide and its Aftermath in Rwanda and the Warsaw Summer School in Social Sciences. The department's faculty are also currently developing additional education abroad programs for the future.

The Department of Sociology has developed a strong internship program. Sociology students may augment their course work with career-related internship and volunteer field experiences. Students participate in community-based experiences at settings such as the American Red Cross, the Ohio Department of Youth Services and various state senators' offices. Students can receive credit for their internship experiences.

Honors students who pursue a major in sociology can enroll in Honors-specific courses, conduct research with faculty, attend departmental forums and engage in intellectual discussions as a member of the honors community. The following courses all have Honors sections: 

  • Sociology H1101: Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology H2367.01: The Political Elite and Interest Groups
  • Sociology H3410: Criminology
  • Sociology H3463: Social Stratification: Race, Class and Gender
  • Sociology H3487: Research Methods in Sociology

Honors students are exposed to research in several ways. Most courses at the 4000 level and above require students to read and critique research articles. Relationships developed in class lead many students to become involved in faculty-led research projects or conduct their own independent research (senior Honors thesis) under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Current undergraduate research assistants are working on faculty-led research projects such as Amish Directory Data, Understanding the Changing Perception of Student Loans, Strike Activity in the United States, and the National Sport & Society Survey.

Sociology students can join the national Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honorary society, which hosts annual recognition events and is a forum for intellectual exchange.

Students can also participate in Sociology and Criminology Club to do service work, attend speaking events, explore careers and participate in a variety of social activities.

An undergraduate major in sociology is good general preparation for a variety of careers. Major sectors of employment for undergraduate sociology majors include: health and social services (in family planning, substance abuse, group work with youth or the elderly, recreation, or administration); community work (in fundraising, social service organizations or child welfare agencies); criminal justice and corrections (in law enforcement, probation and parole); the business community; and the federal, state or local government (in transportation, housing, agriculture and labor). 

Many sociology majors go on to postbaccalaureate work in law, business, public administration, social work, public health and urban planning. 

Many students also use the undergraduate major as preparation for graduate work in sociology. Graduate degrees lead to teaching and/or research positions in universities or colleges, governmental agencies, business and industrial firms, or research institutes in the nonprofit sector. Some sociologists are employed in clinical or applied roles and help identify problems, define their root causes and implement possible solutions.

Students in the sociology program will:

  • develop comprehensive knowledge of the discipline of sociology;
  • understand sociological theories and concepts;
  • apply research methods and statistical analysis to examine social issues and complex societal problems;
  • prepare for employment or graduate school through a series of academic and experiential learning opportunities.

Undergraduate Student Services
Department of Sociology
141 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-1175
sociology.osu.edu/undergraduate-program

Students have the opportunity to study with some of the leading scholars in the world in their respective fields. Faculty within the Department of Sociology are nationally and internationally recognized for their contributions to research, scholarship and teaching. The contacts and references provided by these faculty members can be invaluable when applying to graduate school or for landing a great job after graduation.