'Dip Your Toes' into Sociology!

SOCIO 100 – Introduction to Sociology

Taking an Introduction to Sociology course is like unlocking a hidden map of society, offering you a journey through the complex web of human interactions and institutions that impact our lives everyday – things like the economy, politics, healthcare, family, and education. One way to think about it is that Sociology explains human behavior from the outside-in.

You may be wondering:

  • Why do we behave the way we do in groups?
  • What secrets can be found within subcultures?
  • What if you could predict the next big social movement, or understand the true power of your generation in shaping society?

Introduction to Sociology isn’t just a course, it’s a gateway to understanding the world around you and your place in it.

Unique Electives to Personalize your Degree Path:

Dive into a world of thought-provoking exploration with our engaging electives in the Sociology degree program. Uncover the complexities of society through unique lenses, delving into topics such as population dynamics, health disparities, racial identity, victimization, deviant behavior, gender roles, mental health, substance use, and family violence.

Our world is more connected than ever before. Behind headlines of shifting populations and emerging diseases are human stories—of families seeking safety, communities rebuilding after disasters, and healthcare workers battling global health crises. This course explores the intersection between demographics, environment, and wellbeing to have compassionate dialogues about the forces shaping society. Together, we will move beyond statistics to understand the personal impacts of population changes both locally and globally. You will study patterns of migration alongside events like pandemics and climate change to analyze how social determinants of health put some groups more at risk. The lessons of this class reach far beyond term papers and exams to real-world policy discussions. What social, economic, and cultural variables influence population growth over time? How can we create sustainable environments and healthcare access for all? Join us to interpret demographic data through an equity lens focused on human potential. You will build skills not only in analysis, but in bridging divides. Understanding global interconnectedness is the first step toward responsible leadership and planning for a just future.

Health transcends the doctor’s office. Behind clinical spaces are human stories of resilience and vulnerability. This course illuminates the societal forces shaping wellness experiences across communities. How do economic barriers, discrimination, and stigma influence access to care? Together we will go beyond the surface to understand health equity as an essential human right. You will examine systems of power and privilege that determine outcomes, while envisioning a future where no one suffers unequally from preventable illness. We build compassion through dialogue about such questions as: What social risk factors complicate care? How are diagnoses bound by cultural assumptions? Can we transform medicine to see and serve patients holistically? Join us as we lay foundations for change through critical analysis of health policies, cross-cultural competencies and best practices emerging worldwide. This course equips you with perspectives essential to navigate a complex healthcare landscape, useful for future study and practice in health fields as well as acting with awareness as patient or caregiver. The lessons we learn about biases in healthcare provide vital insight applicable to promoting equality, empathy, and empowerment across societies.

"If it bleeds, it leads" captures society's obsession with crime news and entertainment. From binge-worthy true crime shows to inescapable headlines about the latest tragedy, depictions of crime saturate our media landscape. But how does this constant crime exposure impact public perceptions and social realities?

In this course, you'll analyze the interactions between media representations of crime and their influence on attitudes, behaviors, and inequalities. We will dissect how various media forms - TV, film, news, podcasts, social media and more - construct narratives around criminality that can both reflect and reinforce stereotypes. Explore how media can distort public understanding of who commits crimes and the types of crimes that are harmful to society. Investigate media's complicated role as an instrument in crime itself - from newsrooms receiving threats to live-streamed violence.

Society has tended to cast women as unnatural if they dare to commit crimes, as passive victims, or as uninvolved in the criminal justice system at all. These images ignore the complex realities of women’s diverse experiences with criminality and the justice system. In this eye-opening course, you will critically examine the intricate relationships women have as offenders, victims, and professionals in the realm of crime and criminal justice.

Throughout the course we will examine intersecting forms of oppression based on race, class, sexuality, and other identities that impact women’s relationship to all aspects of crime. Thisincludes a focus on crimes that disproportionately impact women as victims, such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sex trafficking. It also challenges you to consider the unique contexts and pathways that draw some women into unlawful behavior. You will also question how institutional sexism and discrimination influence women who work as police officers, lawyers and even judges.

Whether you future career path may be, this class provides a powerful intersectional framework for examining women's lives touched by crime.

What does it mean to belong in America? This course explores the complex history and modern reality of racial and ethnic identity in the United States. Together, we will go beyond headlines and statistics to understand the real human impacts of inequality and prejudice. You will examine the sociopolitical forces that marginalize communities of color while conferring advantages to some groups over others. By analyzing aspects of our shared past like segregation and immigration policy, we can have more compassionate dialogues about diversity in the present. This class provides a supportive space to discuss challenging topics around racial justice openly and respectfully. You will apply sociological theories to intersectional issues like healthcare, education, housing discrimination, and the criminal justice system to consider constructive ways we can recognize and repair social divides. Through this awareness and inquiry, you gain invaluable perspective on building a more equitable nation that lives up to its ideals of inclusion and opportunity for all people. Join us to understand where we have fallen short in the quest to end enduring disparities - and how you can be part of positive change.

Victimization hides in plain sight. Behind locked doors, in policy gaps, across social divides, victims often suffer silently—but how can we transform pain into progress? This course explores the complex societal forces that allow victimization to occur, from violent crime to institutional harm against marginalized groups. Together, we will move beyond stereotypes to understand victims in all their humanity, examining theoretical models that explain how people become vulnerable in the first place. You will gain practical skills to assess real cases while collaborating with community organizations, developing empathy along the way. Our class will craft thoughtful, constructive dialogues around prevention strategies that get to the root of exploitation. What perpetuates cycles that disadvantage some while favoring others? Can we envision interventions that restore power and dignity to those who need it most? The lessons of this course reach far beyond the classroom walls, equipping you to analyze the origins of violence, abuse, and neglect through a social justice lens. Join us as we lay the groundwork for positive system-wide change, working toward a society built on mutual care where no one must suffer life’s hardest blows alone. Along the way, you will gain invaluable skills in research, critical thinking, policy assessment, advocacy, and public service—assets that future employers will recognize and value.

What makes certain behaviors "deviant," and who decides? Why do some people choose paths radically different from the norm, and what can we learn from them? How does society react to those who break its rules, and what does that say about us? In studying deviant behavior, you’ll become better equipped to understand and explore the complexities of rebellion, crime, and countercultures as you examine differences in how various forms of deviant behavior emerge, are responded to and controlled. This course offers a lens for viewing the world differently, encouraging you to think critically about issues like criminal justice, mental health, and social inequality – as it also enables you to respond more mindfully and effectively to real-world challenges in these areas.

Go beyond studying legal rules and codes. Instead, this course uses a sociological lens to explore how law operates within society - how it shapes social norms and behaviors, how it reflects the power dynamics and inequalities present in society, and how it is influenced by social movements and shifts in attitudes over time.

You will explore how laws get created and enforced in ways that can uphold or challenge existing social hierarchies. Prepare to have your perspectives challenged as we deconstruct taken-for-granted assumptions about "justice" and "equality before the law." You'll grapple with theories around how social factors like race, gender or class can influence legal processes and legal outcomes in often subtle, institutionalized ways. You will also critically evaluate current and emerging legal debates in our society.

Whether you're interested in legal advocacy, policymaking, criminal justice reform, or simply being a more critically aware citizen, this course will equip you with an invaluable sociological toolkit for analyzing law through empirical research and social theory.

Embark on an eye-opening journey to understand gender and sexuality in a whole new light. This course goes beyond surface-level concepts to peel back the layers of norms, identities, and institutions that shape these complex aspects of ourselves and society. Together we will foster a brave space to have thoughtful dialogue, gain inspiring insights from community leaders, and build invaluable skills for life after graduation. Rather than memorizing facts for traditional grades, you will take ownership of your learning through experiential assignments, self-reflection, and peer collaboration. Join us to gain knowledge and connections for your career, but also to better understand yourself and others. By analyzing theories of gender and sexuality through an intersectional lens, you will develop empathy and see how we can create positive change. If you're ready to be enlightened, challenged, and empowered, this transformational course is for you!

SOCIO 450 – Drugs in Society 

What drives humanity to willingly alter our brains and consciousness through substance use? Drugs have been intertwined with culture and religion throughout history, acting as forbidden gateways to mystical experiences or demonized scapegoats for societal ills. In this course, you will go beyond the typical medical-model framing of drug addiction to sociologically examine the world of psychoactive substances. Immerse yourself in the fascinating subcultures that have sprung up around different substances. Delve into the stories behind today’s drug laws, unpack myths and facts about various illegal and pharmaceutical chemicals, and debate controversial harm reduction approaches. Why has marijuana become so mainstream while LSD and magic mushrooms remain countercultural? We’ll tackle intriguing questions around history, access, marketing, and meaning. Through a dynamic mix of readings, documentaries, discussion, and your own creative and critical contributions, we’ll cover diverse sociological viewpoints and theories. Gain a refreshing, new perspective that the polarized drug war debates often lack. Whether you hope to someday create more just policy or simply better understand an issue that intersects race, health, crime, and culture, this course aims to educate, expand minds, and empower thoughtful engagement with our chemical-seeking world.

Family violence afflicts far too many households, harming some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. This course takes a hard look at domestic abuse, exploring its causes and consequences across all stages of life. Together, we will move beyond statistics and preconceived notions to understand family violence sociologically, making connections between personal troubles and public issues. You will learn about current theories and methodologies, equipping you with tools to analyze vital questions around prevention. How can we protect children and elders from abuse, or intervene effectively in intimate partner violence? By questioning assumptions critically and compassionately, we take the first steps toward families, relationships, and a society built on respect and trust. Join us as we work toward positive change, using sociological insights to illuminate potential solutions for ending the cycle of violence behind closed doors. This course will challenge your perspectives and inspire civic engagement toward a more just future.

Equip yourself with invaluable skills and perspectives as you navigate the intricate fabric of human interaction and societal structures.

Join us on a journey of discovery and understanding, where every class offers a gateway to deeper insight and meaningful discourse, shaping you into a more informed and compassionate agent of change in the world!