Tim Delaney, Chair
313 Mahar Hall
Directory of Professors
Sociology involves the systematic study of groups, organizations, societies, cultures, and the interactions between people. As a member of the social sciences, sociology embraces the idea that knowledge is attained, and should be tested by, the scientific method.
Sociology promotes understanding and tolerance of others and instructs us to look beyond intuition, so-called common sense, and limited individual past experiences. The sociological perspective, while acknowledging that we are all unique individuals, holds that we are shaped by our social environment and our various group memberships. The sociological perspective also advances the notion that we can best understand ourselves, and our place in society, if we understand diverse groups.
The sociological perspective places great emphasis on the ways in which social forces, such as the social institutions of family, education, politics, and economics, influence human behavior. These social forces are created by collective action over time, which makes them potentially amenable to change. Because of the significance of social forces, sociology tends to be a macro-oriented (large-scale) discipline. Sociologists, however, also acknowledge that even though we are products of the social world, we are still “captains” of our own paths in life. That is, small group participation and individual decision-making play important roles in shaping who we are. Because of this, sociology also employs a micro-orientation to the study of human behavior.
A degree in sociology serves as a qualification for a number of careers and professions including: administration, advertising, banking, counseling (family planning, career, substance abuse, and so forth), community planning, criminal justice, gerontology, government, health services, journalism, group and recreational work, marketing and market research, recreation, sales, teaching (if certified), human resources/personnel work, social services, social work, and social research. In addition, a degree in sociology is excellent preparation for graduate work, not only in sociology itself but also in related areas such as law, criminology, social work, public administration, and business.
The Department of Sociology contributes to these programs: