Program Highlights

A major in sociology provides the student with an understanding of the social causes of human behavior, as well as a familiarity with the basic processes of social life, emphasizing effects of social stratification and social global issues. Toward this end, course work focuses on theoretical, analytical and practical approaches (performance learning) to the study of human behavior. Students may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The sociology curriculum serves students who wish to 1) pursue social service as a career; 2) graduate study in sociology; 3)develop skills for careers in social service agencies such as law and law enforcement, counseling, administration, management, teaching, diversity training, and social, political or market research and; 4) complement academic specialization in other fields(such as criminal justice, law, politics, communication, and nursing) with the group-level perspective on social behavior which is increasingly being demanded of professionals in these fields. The sociology major pairs well with minors in criminal justice, psychology, humans services, communication, political science, history, and organizational leadership, as several of the courses in each other these disciplines are cross-listed in sociology, so that students are exposed to a variety of disciplines while studying in sociology. Sociology majors will engage in performance learning activities in several courses designed to foster an experiential, hands-on understanding of human behavior and social organization in action.

Students anticipating graduate study in sociology and social research are encouraged to elect additional course work in criminal justice, psychology, history, political science, philosophy and communication.

  • Required Courses
    • SO100. Introduction to Sociology
    • SO200. Social Solutions
  • Basic Skills
    • SO201/PS201. Statistical Methods in the Behavioral Sciences
    • SO221. Methods of Social Research
    • SO351. Sociological Theory
  • Fundamentals
    • SO320. Social Stratification. And ONE of the following:
    • SO330. Sociology of Gender;
    • SO313, Multiculturalism and Diversity; OR
    • SO326, Economy and Society
  • Capstone Course
    • SO450. Sociological Analysis

Students must choose four additional courses from Sociology or the following approved coures from Human Sevices, Psychology, and Communication: HM316, HM317, HM318, HM321, PS360, CO225, CO332 or other courses approved by the department chair.                                                                    

BA Advising Checklist

BS Advising Checklist

Sociology BA    Sociology BS

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.

Intro to Sociology This course acquaints students with the discipline of sociology and the sociological perspective, with an emphasis on social problems and inequality related to class, race and gender.  Students taking this course will learn how to view groups, communities, societies and major social institutions with what C. Wright Mills termed the “sociological imagination” in an effort to inform personal views and convictions about society within this broader analytical scope. (SO100)
Social Solutions This course explore basic terms, concepts, and theories in sociology in light of contemporary issues and current events, including inequality and discrimination within select major social institutions as, examined through the lens of various new media. Students will consider novel social solutions to modern social problems using their "sociological imagination." This course is not intended to be a full summation of the entire breadth of sociological knowledge that has been acquired over centuries; rather, the practice in this class is to think, reflect, talk, and then write about current sociological issues and events - understood through the lens of the sociological perspective. (SO200)
Intro to Anthropology Introduction to field of anthropology. Techniques and problems of major subfields of anthropology: linguistics, archeology, ethnology, physical anthropology and primatology, and applied anthropology. (SO120)
Statistical Methods in the Behavioral Sciences Application of elementary statistical methods to psychological and sociological data. Lecture and laboratory course in techniques of descriptive and inferential statistics and research design.Cross-listed with PS201. (SO201)
Multiculturalism & Diversity

This course is designed to apply sociological thinking through a multicultural viewpoint. A broad understanding of multiculturalism includes race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. In this course students will examine the history and culture of the various “races” and ethnicities that form the American society, including issues of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping.  In this course students will also study social institutions and stratification to understand how power and social control privilege some while disadvantaging others. The main objective is to help students to develop knowledge and understanding for effective functioning in a diverse and multicultural society. Cross-listed with IN350. (SO 313)

Sociology of Popular Culture and the Media This course introduces students to the media process, but also to media production and consumption, including a critical look at who controls the media and the current relationship between private, multinational media conglomerates and non-profit public media. Media messages are also examined from a social constructionist point of view, in that the course attempts to understand the exchange of attitudes, values and beliefs between these media systems and society itself. Offered as summer course or January immersion course. Cross listed with IN251. (SO220)
Methods of Social Research Covers most techniques commonly used in sociological research. Emphasis placed on selecting research strategies appropriate to the task. Topics include ethics and logic of research, concept formation, operationalizing variables, choosing techniques of data collection, data analysis and writing the research report. Pre-requisite: SO100, SO201. (SO221)
Deviance This course will examine the varied behaviors considered to be deviant in contemporary western societies, the socially constructed nature of deviance, and the development of public policies for the control of deviant acts. Special emphasis will be given to the definition of deviance, the measurement of deviance, theories of deviant behavior, the deviant career and the development of social control strategies in contemporary society. Cross-listed with IN251. (SO232)
Economy & Society

This course introduces students to the relevance of the sociological perspective in understanding economic activities. Unlike classical economic theory, which mainly postulates that the market ideology is the only tool for economic explanation, sociology has long argued that economic life is profoundly ‘embedded’ in social relations. (SO 326)

Approaches to Sociological Theory A study of the development of the discipline of sociology. Particular emphasis placed on the classic theories, which are analyzed in terms of the social context in which they were developed. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO250)
Social Psychology Systematic study of social behavior of the individual as well as the group. Social perception, motivation, learning, attitudes and values. Dynamics of social groups. Emphasis on research methods and projects. Cross-listed with PS305. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO305)
Racial and Ethnic Group Relations A concentrated study of racial and ethnic group interaction in societies such as the United States. Special focus is placed on racial and non-immigrant minorities, such as African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO310)
Juvenile Delinquency This course is designed to provide an overview of the study of juvenile delinquency. In as objective a manner as possible this course will examine the contemporary theories, laws, policy, and practice of the juvenile justice system within the United States. The sociological perspective will be emphasized, however, the interdisciplinary nature of this course will require the use of alternative perspectives from time to time. Cross-listed with IN251. (SO211)
Restorative Justice This course will introduce students to the theory, concept, and practice of restorative justice. After an extensive review of the tradition and history of restorative justice, and contemporary research and scholarship, students will have a performance learning opportunity to participate in a restorative justice program or activity in the local community. Course learning materials and assignments will be directed toward a cumulative assignment in which students evaluate a criminal justice program or agency in relation to its use of restorative justice principles and practices. (SO312)
Human Behavior and Social Environments This course, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, introduces social systems theories, psychological theories and developmental theories to examine why people behave as they do and to apply this knowledge to generalist social work practice across the life span. The course integrates major concepts from the social and behavioral sciences with micro, mezzo and macro social work practice approaches. The impact of culture and environmental conditions on individuals, families, small groups and communities is examined. Pre-requisites SO100 or PS130, Sophomore standing. (SO315)
Social Issues in Healthcare The purpose of this course is to introduce the changing role in health care in our country. The identification of key issues involving interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of strategic interventions with other health care professionals and teams is explored. Roles in social work, discharge planning, case management, home care, hospice care, and the historic and current policies that affect health care will be studied. An overview of managed care and payment systems will be covered. Offered as an Immersion Course. Pre-requisite: SO100 or Psychology 130 or 140 or consent of the Instructor. (SO316)
Social Stratification The study of the patterns of social, economic and political inequality among individuals, families and social groups. Particular attention paid to the causes and consequences of inequality and to such issues as social mobility, class consciousness and power. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO320)
Community Mental Health This course will focus on mental health policy, programs, services, funding, organization structure and populations served. Additionally there will be guest speakers and opportunities for students to visit sites to gain first hand knowledge of the community mental health field. Pre requisite: SO100, PS130, sophomore standing or consent of instructor. (SO321)
Economy and Society

This course introduces students to the relevance of the sociological perspective in understanding economic activities. Unlike classical economic theory, which mainly postulates that the market ideology is the solely tool for economic explanation, sociology has long argued that economic life is profoundly ‘embedded’ in social relations. Understanding how society shapes the economy helps us answer many important questions, such as: How can we explain the persistence of economic inequalities between men and women and across racial groups? How does advertising get people to buy things? How do people use their social connections to get jobs? Why do some countries become rich while others stay poor? This course will also explore the role of economic institutions in society, the influence of culture on economic exchange, production, and consumption, the process of rationalization and the social division of labor. Cross-listed as IN350. (SO 326)

Sociology of Gender A study of the structure of gender in societies. The focus of the course in any semester may be on some of the following issues: the social construction of gender, gender socialization, institutional aspects of gender, and economic and social inequality. Pre-requisites: Sociology 100. (SO330)
Field Study in Chicago Design and implement a field study research project in Chicago. Utilize the resources of the city to do primary research through interviews, observation, surveys and/or other research methods. Students complete a group research project as well as an individual field study related to their respective majors. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO340)
Organizational Leadership

This course promotes leadership development through the study of leadership theory and concepts and encourages the practical application of leadership at all levels in the organization.  It includes examination of historical approaches to leadership and leadership theories that focuses on influential contemporary leadership perspectives such as Servant Leadership, Situational Leadership and Transformational Leadership. Through an examination of leadership theory and research, self-assessments and reflection, and application to the work environment, students create a personal leadership philosophy. (SO 344)


Self-Leadership focuses on developing the understanding of personal character as the foundation for effective leadership within an organization. Within the framework of becoming a more effective leader, students will examine the positive leadership characteristics they practice, consider their personal challenges as springboards for growth, reflect on their own ethical practices, and recognize the importance of communication to cogent leadership.  Cross-listed with IN251. (SO 345)

Group and Team Dynamics

This is a hands-on course designed to prepare students for the world of teams. Focus is to develop students’ understanding of team dynamics including team development, member roles, leadership, norm development, role of conflict and diversity in teams, delegation of authority, and team management. (SO 346)

Chicago Communities and Culture Focus on the ethnic, religious, racial, economic and lifestyle diversity of Chicago's neighborhoods and the social dynamics of the city. Includes visits to city neighborhoods, major political and economic institutions, and meetings with community leaders. Studies how racism, economic displacement and violence impact the city and examines solutions surrounding these issues. Also emphasized is the role of artistic expression in community development, including blues and jazz, museums, poetry, off-Loop art galleries, dance film and theater. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO350)
Sociological Theory A study of the development of the discipline of sociology. Particular emphasis placed on the classic theories which are analyzed in terms of the social context in which they were developed. 
Chicago Internship/Practicum An internship experience in Chicago. Varied placements available for all majors. Combines practical experience and training within an academic framework through a placement in an agency or organization. Students must complete an internship contract and a daily journal, as well as a summary paper on the internship. This course is taught in Chicago when students study at the Urban Life Center. Pre-requisites: Admission to the Urban Life Center. (SO355)
Criminology Through the lens of major criminological theories we will explore the criminal justice system in America. Some of the topics to be included in this sociological inquiry include an extensive review of theory, contemporary criminal law/philosophy, the current face of corrections today, and cutting edge alternative paradigms that radically challenge existing notions of criminality. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO361)
Sociology of Globalization This course studies the changes in the social and economic structures of the world especially since World War II.  It focuses on the historical, economic, and social causes of globalization and the effects of these processes on global lifestyles, the environment and social inequality. Since this course is cross-listed with IN 350, Global Issues, it is writing intensive and includes significant components of reflection and attention to ethical reasoning. (SO365)
Interventions with Families and Groups Generalist practice with a focus on families, small groups, and individuals in a group context. Skills of assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, termination and follow-up phases of the problem-solving process are developed. Pre-requisites: departmental major, SO370. (SO371)
Social Movements The focus of this course will be social movements as a major cause of social change. Topics will include the social construction, history, recruitment of new members, strategies, tactics, and outcomes of major social movements. Special emphasis will be given to the role of individuals in promoting or resisting social change. Pre-requisite: SO100. (SO372)
Environmental Sociology This class examines various impacts of human societies on the physical environment, as well as environmental impacts on human societies and culture. Specifically, we will explore how the U.S. and the global community are struggling to find ways of meeting our human needs for development and survival in the face of changing environmental conditions. We will explore the impact that human growth has had on our planet, the social impacts of land and resource development, and contemporary struggles over natural space involving competing ideological attachments to various landscapes and natural resources. In addition, we will explore the eco-philosophy of deep ecology and the modern environmental movement, paying specific attention to recent grassroots organizations and environmental justice issues. (SO390)
Urban Sociology American urban development with emphasis on the social and spatial patterns of U.S. cities, emerging life styles in the urban setting, and urban problems. Attention will be paid to urban planning, metropolitan government, the distribution and movement of jobs and industry, urban transportation, and inter-group relations. Pre-requisite: Sociology 100. (SO392)
Sociological Analysis A required capstone course for Sociology majors. Students in this course will review their sociological knowledge and analytical skills, and prepare a major paper. This paper will then be presented at the Behavioral Sciences Research Symposium or the Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium in the Spring. Taught each fall. Pre-requisite: senior sociology major and satisfaction of the departmental writing proficiency. (SO450)
Sociology Internship This course provides for an internship experience for sociology majors and minors. The student is placed as an intern in a selected community, state, social service, welfare or research agency, based on student interest and agency acceptance. (SO 470)