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Program of Study

The discipline of sociology explores the nature, structure, and dynamics of social life, and also its causes and consequences for the world. With this broad mandate, sociology encompasses a diversity of substantive interests, methodological approaches, and theoretical orientations. Sociologists study diverse social phenomena ranging from online conversations, friendship, and families to neighborhoods, governments, and global markets. They study cities and communities, inequality, social mobility and social class, patterns of population change and migration, social identities such as race, class, and gender, ethnic relations and social conflict, social media and digital interaction, and social dimensions of sex, health, business, education, law, politics, religion, and science. Sociologists study the emergence, stabilization, disintegration, and wide-ranging implications of these social institutions, behaviors, and meanings. Methodologies of the field range from ethnography, interviews, and historical research to surveys, computational modeling, and big data analysis.

The University of Chicago’s sociology department was the first in the United States, and it stewards the American Journal of Sociology, the discipline’s longest running sociology journal. Chicago sociology builds on these legacies by continuing to sponsor pathbreaking research. Chicago training in sociology confers deep understanding of social organization and human relations, along with skill in drawing inferences from data, which has made it attractive for students considering careers in business, social media, data science, education, law, marketing, medicine, journalism, social work, politics, public administration, and urban planning. Chicago’s sociology education forms an excellent basis for specialized graduate work and affords entry to careers in federal, state, and local agencies, as well as into business enterprises, private foundations, and research institutes. Chicago’s sociology program provides a preeminent foundation for students considering careers in advanced research and university teaching. The program is designed to meet the needs of diverse students, and students declare a student-designed specialty that reflects their course work and BA thesis research, such as social policy or social analytics.

Program Requirements

Students pursuing a BA degree in sociology are expected to complete the following requirements. All required sociology courses are offered annually, and students should inquire directly of the director of undergraduate studies if they need to know when a course will be offered in the next academic year.

A. Social Theory

Two required courses acquaint students with some of the fundamental problems and analytic perspectives of the field of sociology.

SOCI 20002 Social Structure and Change. The central objective of this course is to introduce students to the sociological study of individuals in society—how individual actions are shaped by their position in society, while contributing to its structure and change. We focus on sociological approaches to American society, its position in the international system, and principal dimensions including race and ethnicity, age, gender, and social class.

SOCI 20005 Sociological Theory. Drawing on the classics as well as on contemporary works in sociological theory, this course raises questions about the nature of sociological theory and its relation to both empirical research and sociological inquiry. Authors include Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Dewey, Parsons, and Merton.

With the approval of the undergraduate program director, students may use other courses toward this requirement.

B. Methodology

Students are required to take at least one of the following methodology courses.

SOCI 20001 Sociological Methods. This course introduces the philosophy and practice of social research. It explores questions of causality in social research and the limits of knowledge. It then covers the basic practices that are components of all methods of social research through an in-depth examination of interviews, ethnography, surveys, and archival, online, and computational research. Students spend the quarter working on a series of assignments that culminate in a research proposal for the BA thesis.

SOCI 20111 Survey Analysis I. This course teaches students how to analyze survey data and write up the results: basic logic of multivariate causal reasoning and its application to OLS regression, percentage tables, and log odds, with an emphasis on communicating insights. 

SOCI 20140 Qualitative Field Methods. This course introduces techniques and approaches to ethnographic field research. Emphasis is placed on quality of attention and awareness of perspective as foundational aspects of the craft. Students conduct research at a site, compose and share field notes, and produce a final paper distilling sociological insight from fieldwork.

C. Statistics

Students must take the following statistics requirement.

SOCI 20004 Statistical Methods of Research. This required course provides a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences. Topics include analysis of variance and multiple regression, tools used often by practicing social scientists. Substitutes for this course are STAT 20000 Elementary Statistics or higher. Students with AP examination credit for Statistics may count it toward this requirement, although we encourage such students to take an additional social science statistics course.

D. Additional Courses

Students must take seven additional courses in sociology or related fields, and at least four of these must be in sociology. They may be drawn from any of the 20000-level courses in sociology and, after the student completes SOCI 20002 Social Structure and Change, from any 30000-level courses in sociology that have not been cross listed with undergraduate course numbers. Students may also count graduate courses (e.g., 40000-level or higher) in which they may enroll with permission of course instructors toward this requirement.

Courses outside of sociology must be approved by the undergraduate program director. Students must submit the College's General Petition Form for review. With a few exceptions, courses offered in the Division of the Social Sciences are accepted. Other courses with significant social science content or special relevance to a student’s BA thesis may also be accepted.

Area of Specialization. At least three of the additional courses in sociology or related fields, outlined above, must comprise a self-defined area of specialization. Students will declare a specialization which reflects an emphasis of their course work and BA thesis research. Students in the Class of 2019 and beyond are required to develop a specialization; students in the Classes of 2017 and 2018 may elect to do so. 

Students are encouraged to consider their specialization from the time that they enter the program in order to guide their selection of courses and prepare them for the substantial research project of the BA thesis. Students formally propose their specialization at the start of their penultimate quarter of residence (ordinarily, this will be due in January of the student’s fourth year). The proposal should include a theme with three (or more) courses in sociology or related fields that students have completed or are completing within that domain. These proposals are to be submitted on the College's General Petition Form and must be approved by the undergraduate program director. Some examples of specializations might be:

E. BA Thesis

During their fourth year, students majoring in sociology are expected to complete an original project of sociological inquiry on a topic of their choice, culminating in a final paper from twenty to forty pages in length. The project is an independent research project in which questions are formulated and data are collected and analyzed by the student. Recent projects have included studies of emerging forms of social interaction on the Internet, conflict and safety in urban Chicago neighborhoods, immigration and national identity in Germany and Guatemala, processes of gendering in the workplace, homosexuality and AIDS in South Africa, church leadership transition among Korean immigrants, the power of public rhetoric in public housing, role models among Mexican American youth, gender roles in families of graduate students, peer pressure and teenage pregnancy, and attitudes toward immigration.

The senior project is written under the guidance of an assigned preceptor from the department and a faculty member that students select during Spring Quarter of SOCI 29998 Sociology BA Thesis Seminar. After a faculty member agrees to advise a student’s thesis, the student will have the faculty member sign a hard copy of the BA Thesis Faculty Advisor Consent Form available for printing at, which is to be turned in to the Department of Sociology office. Students may register for additional reading courses (SOCI 29997 Readings in Sociology); however, only two sociology reading/research courses can be counted toward courses required for the sociology major.

BA Seminar. The senior project is researched, discussed, and written in the context of SOCI 29998 Sociology BA Thesis Seminar, which is a required yearlong course. Students are required to attend this senior seminar in Spring Quarter of their third year and in the Autumn and Winter Quarters of their fourth year, but they must register for the seminar in only one of the three terms. Students who plan to study abroad during any of these quarters must still participate in the seminar by completing required assignments and submitting them online and on time. The completed thesis is submitted during Spring Quarter of their fourth year. Students graduating in a quarter other than Spring Quarter must turn in their theses by Friday of seventh week of their final quarter. When circumstances justify it, the department may set individual deadlines and procedures.

Summary of Requirements

Two of the following:200
Social Structure and Change
Sociological Theory
or approved substitute
One of the following:100
Sociological Methods
Survey Analysis I
Qualitative Field Methods
SOCI 20004Statistical Methods of Research **100
Three approved courses in an area of specialization *300
Four additional courses in sociology or related fields *400
SOCI 29998Sociology BA Thesis Seminar100
Total Units1200

No more than three courses from outside sociology and no more than two reading and research courses may be used toward the major. Students must submit the College's General Petition Form for approval of courses outside sociology. See "Additional Courses" section for details.


May substitute STAT 20000 or higher


All courses required for completion of the sociology program must be taken for quality grades (e.g., not P/F). 


If the student's cumulative GPA is at or above 3.25 and the student's GPA in the major is at or above 3.5, the student may be nominated for graduation with honors on the basis of the excellence of the thesis. The thesis must be based on substantial individual research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member, and it must be evaluated both by the student's adviser and by the program chair at A- or A. 

Entering the Major

No special application is required for admission to the sociology program, but students should discuss their plans with their College adviser prior to declaring the major. They must then declare their intention to major at and inform the Department of Sociology at, which includes a short entry survey. Students may enter the program at any time upon completion of any social sciences general education sequence, but no later than the beginning of Spring Quarter in their third year.

Students are encouraged to complete the required introductory sociology courses (SOCI 20002 Social Structure and Change and SOCI 20005 Sociological Theory) as early as possible, and to enroll in a required methodology course by Spring Quarter of their third year, the quarter in which students begin SOCI 29998 Sociology BA Thesis Seminar.


Students should address technical questions regarding the program (e.g., required courses, petitions) to the undergraduate program director. During Spring Quarter of the third year, students will also select a faculty member to serve as adviser. Students may wish to contact their faculty adviser to address general questions regarding the discipline of sociology and to receive guidance in designing an individualized program of study and selecting a specialization.


Students interested in pursuing the BA degree in sociology are encouraged to read the brochure Undergraduate Program in Sociology, which is available in the Office of the Department of Sociology (SS 307).


Sociology Courses

SOCI 20001. Sociological Methods. 100 Units.

This course introduces the philosophy and practice of social research. Working from the idea that the research process is fundamentally a critical dialogue, we begin by exploring questions of causality and the epistemology of social research. Then we turn to examine the basic practices that are a component of all methods of social research through an in-depth examination of interviews, ethnography, surveys, and archival research. Assignments culminate in a research proposal for the BA thesis.

Instructor(s): D. Zhao     Terms Offered: Spring

SOCI 20002. Social Structure and Change. 100 Units.

The title of this course is traditional more than it is descriptively accurate. It should be called How to Think Sociologically. Rather than attempt to survey the state of the field as introductory courses typically do, this course advances a particular vision of the discipline. We will be reading authors that fundamentally inform this vision (not all of whom were sociologists proper), including Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Garfinkel, Goffman, Geertz, Levi-Strauss, Mauss, Bourdieu, and Fanon. We will learn how to identify properly sociological objects and how to engage in various modes of sociological analysis. We will discuss social facts, forms, types, and relations; the collective nature of social reality, social identities such as race and gender, and social class. We may even get to talk about social structure and change. The course has been designed to provide students majoring in sociology a more solid—although, again, a very particular—disciplinary foundation. The readings fill the gap between the classical sociology covered in the social science cores Self and Power and the contemporary sociology covered by other departmental offerings.

Instructor(s): M. Garrido     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 20004. Statistical Methods of Research. 100 Units.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences. Topics include analysis of variance and multiple regression, considered as they are used by practicing social scientists.

Instructor(s): S. Raudenbush     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Students are expected to attend two lectures and one lab per week. UG Sociology majors and Sociology PhD students only. Others by consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30004

SOCI 20005. Sociological Theory. 100 Units.

The course provides a basic introduction to modern sociological theory. Readings focus on classic texts by Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, and Dewey, ending with an individually chosen (by each student) text by a theoretical writer from outside Europe and North America. Lectures provide a background history of modern social thought.

Instructor(s): A. Glaeser     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Required of students who are majoring in Sociology.

SOCI 20101. Organizational Analysis. 100 Units.

This course is a systematic introduction to theoretical and empirical work on organizations broadly conceived (e.g., public and private economic organizations, governmental organizations, prisons, professional and voluntary associations, health-care organizations). Topics include intraorganizational questions about organizational goals and effectiveness, communication, authority, and decision making. Using recent developments in market, political economy, and neoinstitutional theories, we explore organizational change and interorganizational relationships for their implications in understanding social change in modern societies.

Instructor(s): E. Laumann     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 23000,SOCI 30101

SOCI 20103. Social Stratification. 100 Units.

Social stratification is the unequal distribution of the goods that members of a society value (e.g., earnings, income, authority, political power, status, prestige). This course introduces various sociological perspectives about stratification. We look at major patterns of inequality throughout human history, how they vary across countries, how they are formed and maintained, how they come to be seen as legitimate and desirable, and how they affect the lives of individuals within a society. The readings incorporate classical theoretical statements, contemporary debates, and recent empirical evidence.

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30103

SOCI 20104. Urban Structure and Process. 100 Units.

This course reviews competing theories of urban development, especially their ability to explain the changing nature of cities under the impact of advanced industrialism. Analysis includes a consideration of emerging metropolitan regions, the microstructure of local neighborhoods, and the limitations of the past American experience as a way of developing urban policy both in this country and elsewhere.

Instructor(s): F. Stuart     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 20104,GEOG 22700,GEOG 32700,SOCI 30104,SOSC 25100,ENST 20104

SOCI 20106. Political Sociology. 100 Units.

This course provides analytical perspectives on citizen preference theory, public choice, group theory, bureaucrats and state-centered theory, coalition theory, elite theories, and political culture.  Theses competing analytical perspectives are assessed in considering middle-range theories and empirical studies on central themes of political sociology. Local, national, and cross-national analyses are explored.  The course covers readings for the Sociology PhD. Prelim exam in political sociology.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of the general education requirement in social sciences
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 23500,PBPL 23600,SOCI 30106

SOCI 20107. Sociology of Human Sexuality. 100 Units.

After briefly reviewing several biological and psychological approaches to human sexuality as points of comparison, this course explores the sociological perspective on sexual conduct and its associated beliefs and consequences for individuals and society. Substantive topics include gender relations; life-course perspectives on sexual conduct in youth, adolescence, and adulthood; social epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections (e.g., AIDS); sexual partner choice and turnover; and the incidence/prevalence of selected sexual practices.

Instructor(s): E. Laumann     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Introductory social sciences course
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 27100,SOCI 30107

SOCI 20112. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Models. 100 Units.

A number of diverse methodological problems such as correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis share a common feature—a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations. This course will survey the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrate how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems.

Instructor(s): S. Raudenbush     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Applied statistics at a level of multiple regression
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30112

SOCI 20116. Global-Local Politics. 100 Units.

Globalizing and local forces are generating a new politics in the United States and around the world. This course explores this new politics by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues, ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism, gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements, transformed political parties and organized groups, and new efforts to mobilize individual citizens.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 20116,HMRT 30116,PBPL 27900,SOCI 30116,LLSO 20116

SOCI 20120. Urban Policy Analysis. 100 Units.

This course addresses the explanations available for varying patterns of policies that cities provide in terms of expenditures and service delivery. Topics include theoretical approaches and policy options, migration as a policy option, group theory, citizen preference theory, incrementalism, economic base influences, and an integrated model. Also examined are the New York fiscal crisis and taxpayer revolts, measuring citizen preferences, service delivery, and productivity.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 24800,SOCI 30120

SOCI 20122. Introduction to Population. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to the field of demography, which examines the growth and characteristics of human populations. It also provides an overview of our knowledge of three fundamental population processes: fertility, mortality, and migration. We cover marriage, cohabitation, marital disruption, aging, and population and environment. In each case we examine historical trends. We also discuss causes and consequences of recent trends in population growth, and the current demographic situation in developing and developed countries.

Instructor(s): L. Waite     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): 1st and 2nd year undergraduates only
Note(s): Only offered at the undergraduate level in 2017-18
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 20500,GNSE 20120

SOCI 20125. Rational Foundations of Social Theory. 100 Units.

This course introduces conceptual and analytical tools for the micro foundations of macro and intermediate-level social theories, taking as a basis the assumption of rational action. Those tools are then used to construct theories of power, social exchange, collective behavior, socialization, trust, norm, social decision making and justice, business organization, and family organization.

Instructor(s): K. Yamaguchi     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30125

SOCI 20126. Japanese Society: Functional/Cultural Explanations. 100 Units.

The objective of this course is to provide an overview of social structural characteristics and the functioning of contemporary Japanese society by a juxtaposition of universalistic functional (or rational) explanations and particularistic cultural (and historical) explanations. It will become clear these are complementary to each other. Substantively, the course primarily focuses on 1) the forms of social interaction and structure, 2) work organization and family, and 3) education, social inequality, and opportunity. The course also presents discussions of the extent to which Japan is "unique" among industrial societies. In covering a broad range of English-language literature on Japanese society, the course not only presents reviews and discussions of various alternative theoretical explanations of the characteristics of Japanese society, but also a profound opportunity to critically review and study selected sociological theories.

Instructor(s): K. Yamaguchi     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30126

SOCI 20175. The Sociology of Deviant Behavior. 100 Units.

This course examines how distinctions between "normal" and "deviant" are created and how these labels shift historically, culturally, and politically. We analyze the construction of social problems and moral panics—smoking, "satanic" daycares, internet trolls—to explore how various moral entrepreneurs shape what some sociologists call a "culture of fear." Additionally, we investigate the impact on individuals of being labeled "deviant" either voluntarily or involuntarily, as a way of illustrating how both social control and social change operate in society.

Instructor(s): K. Schilt     Terms Offered: Autumn

SOCI 20192. The Effects of Schooling. 100 Units.

From at least the Renaissance until some time around the middle of the twentieth century, social class was the pre-eminent, generalized determinant of life chances in European and, eventually, American societies. Social class had great effect on one's social standing; economic well-being; political power; access to knowledge; and even longevity, health, and height. In that time, there was hardly an aspect of life that was not profoundly influenced by social class. In the ensuing period, the effects of social class have receded greatly, and perhaps have even vanished. In their place formal schooling has become the great generalized influence over who gets access to the desiderata of social life, including food, shelter, political power, and medical care. So it is that schooling is sociologically interesting for reasons that go well beyond education. The purpose of this course is to review what is known about the long-term effects of schooling.

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30192

SOCI 20215. Urban Health. 100 Units.

This course examines health status, healthcare access, and healthcare service delivery in the urban environment. It draws on historic and contemporary research in urban sociology to frame these discussions and uses data from the City of Chicago to illustrate themes. Specific attention is given to race and ethnic differences in disease trajectories and neighborhood-level social and institutional resources. The course also explores both local and national policy implications.

Instructor(s): K. Cagney     Terms Offered: Spring

SOCI 20226. Urban Schools and Communities. 100 Units.

This course focuses on urban communities and the contextual factors influencing the organization of schools. It emphasizes historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives as we explore questions about the purpose and history of public schools, the influences on the character of their structure and organization (especially in urban areas), and the surrounding context, such as housing, policy, race and class. The topics detailed below provide essential intellectual perspectives on the history, work, and complexities of urban schools.

Instructor(s): S. Stoelinga     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: C
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 27821,PBPL 27821

SOCI 20233. Race in Contemporary American Society. 100 Units.

This survey course in the sociology of race offers a socio-historical investigation of race in American society. We will examine issues of race, ethnic and immigrant settlement in the United States. Also, we shall explore the classic and contemporary literature on race and inter-group dynamics. Our investigative tools will include an analysis of primary and secondary sources, multimedia materials, photographic images, and journaling. While our survey will be broad, we will treat Chicago and its environs as a case study to comprehend the racial, ethnic, and political challenges in the growth and development of a city.

Instructor(s): S. Hicks-Bartlett     Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30233

SOCI 20239. Urban School Reform: History and Policy. 100 Units.

This course explores the goals, logic, and contradictions of the American education and school improvement efforts. We will consider the history of school reform and the processes that influence education policy implementation and enactment. Current school reform debates and policies will be analyzed from historical, contemporary, and divergent perspectives, considering theories of organizational change. The strengths and shortcomings of current school reform policies will be considered with a stress on understanding the wide range of goals for education, the process of policy-making, and the complexity of organizational and systemic change implied in reform policy.

Instructor(s): S. Stoelinga     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 27823

SOCI 20242. States, Markets, and Bodies. 100 Units.

An introduction to political economy, this course will introduce students to theories, concepts, and tools for studying relations between states and markets that affect the structure of power relationships. Taking a global approach, we will examine the different forms of state repression, the consequences of a neoliberal and decentralized global market, and its affects on individual people/workers. This course is motivated by three interrelated questions: (1) What is the appropriate role of the government in the economy? (2) How should states govern their citizens? (3) What is the role of the individuals who make up civil society?

Instructor(s): K. Hoang     Terms Offered: Autumn

SOCI 20251. Trade, Development, and Poverty in Mexico. 100 Units.

With a focus on the past two decades, this interdisciplinary course explores the impact of economic integration, urbanization, and migration on Mexico and, to a lesser extent, on the United States—in particular, working class communities of the Midwestern Rust Belt. The course will examine work and life in the borderland production centers; agriculture, poverty, and indigenous populations in rural Mexico; evolving trade and transnational ties (especially in people, food products and labor, and drugs) between the U.S. and Mexico; and trade, trade adjustment, and immigration policy.

Instructor(s): C. Broughton     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): 2nd year standing required; attendance on the first day of class is required or registration will be dropped.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 24901,PBPL 24901

SOCI 20253. Introduction to Spatial Data Science. 100 Units.

Spatial data science consists of a collection of concepts and methods drawn from both statistics and computer science that deal with accessing, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about geographical data. The course introduces the types of spatial data relevant in social science inquiry and reviews a range of methods to explore these data. Topics covered include formal spatial data structures, geovisualization and visual analytics, spatial autocorrelation, cluster detection regionalization and spatial data mining. An important aspect of the course is to learn and apply open source software tools for the analysis of spatial data, such as R and GeoDa.

Instructor(s): L. Anselin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): A multivariate statistics course: familiarity with GIS is helpful, but not necessary
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30253,GEOG 20500,MACS 54000

SOCI 20258. Maverick Markets: Cultural Economy and Cultural Finance. 100 Units.

What are the cultural dimensions of economic and financial institutions and financial action? What social variables influence and shape 'real' markets and market activities? 'If you are so smart, why aren't you rich?' is a question economists have been asked in the past. Why isn’t it easy to make money in financial areas even if one knows what economists know about markets, finance and the economy? And why, on the other hand, is it so easy to get rich for some participants? Perhaps the answer is that real markets are complex social and cultural institutions which are quite different from organizations, administrations and the production side of the economy. The course provides an overview over social and cultural variables and patterns that play a role in economic behavior and specifically in financial markets. The readings examine the historical and structural embeddedness of economic action and institutions, the different constructions and interpretations of money, prices and other dimensions of a market economy, and how a financial economy affects organizations, the art world and other areas.

Instructor(s): K. Knorr Cetina     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25440,ANTH 35405,SOCI 30258

SOCI 20260. The Past and Future of Knowledge. 100 Units.

This course is a broad survey of the recent history and current prospects of formal knowledge practices. Topics to be covered include institutions like universities, laboratories, research institutes, and scholarly publication; knowledge practices like experimentation, statistics, data mining, and archival analysis; and scholarly groups like professions, disciplines, and collaborative networks. The course draws on a wide variety of theories of knowledge change and also considers contextual forces like technological and political change. The course will be in lecture format.

Instructor(s): A. Abbott     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 20261. Demographic Technique. 100 Units.

Introduction to methods of demographic analysis. Topics include demographic rates, standardization, decomposition of differences, life tables, survival analysis, cohort analysis, birth interval analysis, models of population growth, stable populations, population projection, and demographic data sources.

Instructor(s): X. Song     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): One Introductory statistics course. No Auditing
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30261

SOCI 20262. Pragmatism, Sociology and DuBois. 100 Units.

There is renewed interest in sociology in looking to pragmatism for insights as to ways of conceptualizing sociology as a form of study.  Here we want to look at the sociological work of W E B DuBois in the context of 19th century American sociology, social reform movements, and pragmatist philosophy.  Do we see a way of thinking about large scale social research that offers different orienting principles than those that have guided the discipline until now?  We begin with a review of Peirce, James, and Dewey, then turning to the context of social work by James Adams, and then examples of late 19th century American sociology. We then examine DuBois's sociological work, paying chief attention to the Philadelphia and Atlanta work.  We close with a comparison of DuBois's theory of race to that of Robert Park.

Instructor(s): J. Martin     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Only offered at the undergraduate level

SOCI 20263. Human Migration. 100 Units.

At any moment, spatial location is a fixed, essential characteristic of people and the places they inhabit. Over time, individuals and groups of people change places. In the long run, the places themselves move in physical, social, economic and political space. These  movements can be characterized by their origins and destinations, as intentional or accidental, forced or voluntary, individual or collective, within political borders (e.g. the farm-to-city migration of the 1940’s in the U.S), migration across political boundaries (e.g. “displacement” of pariah ethnicities after World War II), and by other criteria.  All of these phenomena are aspects of migration This course reviews contemporary demographic research and theory concerning the nature of migration, and its extent, causes and consequences for individuals and collectivities. The demographic perspective absorbs a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including those of psychology (e.g. individual decision-making), sociology (collective behavior, stratification, race and ethnicity), economics (rational behavior, macroeconomic conditions), and more.

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30263

SOCI 20264. Wealth. 100 Units.

Wealth is the value of a person’s accumulated possessions and financial assets. Wealth is more difficult for social researchers to measure than earnings and income, and wealthy people are notoriously uncooperative with efforts to study them and their assets. Further, wealth data conveys less information than income data about the lives of the middle- and lower-classes -- who tend to have little or no wealth at all. However, information about wealth gives fundamentally important insight into the values, attitudes, behavior, consumption patterns, social standing, political power, health, happiness and yet more characteristics of individuals and population subgroups. This course considers the causes and consequences of wealth accumulation for individuals, the social groups to which they belong, and the societies in which they dwell.

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30264

SOCI 20265. World Social Theory. 100 Units.

This course will consider Western social theories in the context of social thought from elsewhere around the world. It will begin with a review of classical Western contractarianism. It will then consider classical social texts from China and from Islamic societies. It will then turn to recent works from outside the Western metropolis, reviewing works from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South, Southeast and East Asia. As their main written work, students will be expected to choose and discuss a non-Western theorist outside the course list.

Instructor(s): A. Abbott     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 20266. The Social Life of Statistics. 100 Units.

Full Title: The Social Life of Statistics: Production, Power, and Performativity.  Modern societies are saturated with statistics and numerical representations of social and natural worlds. Statistics are produced by major institutions, governmental, academic, and corporate, and have far ranging effects on everything from social policies to social imaginaries. Since the founding of the discipline, sociology has heavily based itself on statistics. However, while sociologists have treated numbers and statistics as “raw” data for social explanations, it has only rarely approached them as objects worthy of sociological investigation in their right. Drawing on sociological, historical, anthropological scholarship and work in science and technology studies, this course explores the social and political life and effects of numbers on modern societies.

Instructor(s): M. Rodriguez-Muniz     Terms Offered: Autumn

SOCI 20267. Politics and the Sacred: Divinities, Essences, Order. 100 Units.

Politics is replete with references to phenomena that are themselves imagined to lie beyond political inference. Four such phenomena that are imagined as absolutes stand out in the making of the Europeanoid world: 1. the idea of a single all-knowing, all-powerful creator god; 2. the idea that the world as it appears to us is grounded in unchanging essences; 3.  the idea that there can be a sovereign power that has the final and undisputable say in all matters political; and 4. the idea that like the material world human affairs are governed by unchanging laws which can be systematically exploited for creating a better social order. This course looks at the historical context in which these ideas have both emerged (or re-emerged) and found lastingly impactful formulations in the Hebrew Bible, Plato’s Philosophy, the works of Bodin and Hobbes, as well as in the works of Comte and Marx. It also explores the reasons and theorizes why references to absolutes appear to be so appealing to politicians.

Instructor(s): A. Glaeser     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 23003 01

SOCI 20268. Health, Medicine, & Human Rights. 100 Units.

The World Health Organization, United Nations and other international bodies consider health a fundamental human right. At the same time, most countries around the world are characterized by profound inequalities in health and wellbeing. In this course, we leverage sociological and social scientific concepts through a human rights framework to understand how these inequalities in mental and physical health are perpetuated by the structure and culture of society, with an emphasis on U.S. society. We will also examine medicine as an institution with a problematic history of repeated human rights violations (in the U.S. and around the world) and explore how that history shapes the current practice of medicine, medical research, and relations between doctors and patients. Finally, we will explore how institutions provide (or fail to provide) equal access to healthcare, and how state understandings of the right to health influence the lives of individuals and communities.

Instructor(s): Mueller, Anna; Offidani-Bertrand, Carly      Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B, C, D
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 23440,CHDV 23440

SOCI 20269. Policing the City. 100 Units.

This course explores the historical origins, evolution, and current manifestations of policing the United States. Using a political sociological perspective, this course explores policing in ways that will provide broader lessons about societal issues of social control, social order, race, class, crime, social psychology, and politics. The course examines key issues in policing, such as police brutality, racial profiling, and the management of social protest. It also reviews the historical origins of the police in order to understand that modern day policing issues are much more of a continuation of the past than most think. Reading and course material will be discussed in relation to current events.

Instructor(s): R. Vargas     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 20271. Sociology of Consumption and Marketing. 100 Units.

We live in a consumer society, and key challenges of today are intertwined with consumption: climate change and resource depletion, discrimination and exclusion, debt and deprivation, declining health and malnutrition, etc. In this class, we cover the mayor theoretical concepts that have been mobilized to study, explain and critique contemporary marketing and consumer society, such as fields, system, practices, or subcultures. We then explore contemporary empirical work explaining e.g. how Elias’ civilizing process is at work in Heavy Metal, how narratives of Anderson’s Imagined Nation fuel the transformation of tequila, and why political Islam aligns with Western brands in the Turkish lower-middle class Habitus.

Instructor(s): N. Weormann     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30271

SOCI 20276. Love, Hate, and Everything In-between. The Sociology of Personal Relationships. 100 Units.

The concept of relationship is a cornerstone of sociological theory. Personal relationships are a primary field of empirical investigation for sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and social psychologists, to mention only a few. What is a relationship though, and what does it mean to be in a relationship, to start, to sustain, or to end one? How are personal relationships transformed, for instance, from friendship to enmity? And how do Internet platforms such as social media impact relationships? The course analyzes types of personal relationships in their temporal dynamics, including, but not limited to, romantic relationships, friendships, rivalries, or enmities. In doing so, it starts from the premise that personal relationships have not only a temporal dimension, but a transformational one too. The course asks how structural factors (social class, economic and technological shifts, or professional ones, among others) impact friendships, rivalries, or romantic relationships. A central aspect consists in examining how communication formats shape features, phases, duration, and character of personal relationships: special attention is given here to face-to-face vs. traditional media (e.g., letters) vs. electronic communication formats (e.g., social media). In addressing these issues, the course combines theoretical literature from across social science disciplines (emphasizing classical and contemporary sociology) with current empirical studies.

Instructor(s): A. Preda     Terms Offered: Spring

SOCI 20277. From Archives to Algorithms. An Introduction to Quantitative Description. 100 Units.

In the course of their research, social scientists are often faced with quantitative data, or with qualitative data that could be quantified. Organization and administrative registers, bio- and bibliographic information, data about practices or responses to ad hoc surveys have long been used by researchers, and the ongoing digitization of everyday life makes such data, big or small, more readily available. The goal of this course is to offer an introduction to a form of social scientific investigation currently on the rise, quantitative description. Located between inferential statistics and qualitative approaches, these methods of quantification are increasingly used, for exploratory or confirmatory purposes. The course will present some of the most important techniques in this area. It will show how to operationalize a research question and create a new dataset, and how to analyze this dataset through a range of techniques. It will also present the ontological underpinnings of each technique. Starting with descriptive statistics, this course will explore dimensionality reduction, clustering, social network analysis, or sequence analysis. It will also offer a brief overview of machine learning, in order to expound the main principles of this new class of statistical methods. Each week will include a lab session, but no knowledge in statistics is required.

Instructor(s): E. Ollion     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30277

SOCI 20278. Computing for the Social Sciences. 100 Units.

This is an applied course for social scientists with little programming experience who wish to use computational analysis in their research. After completion of this course, students will be able to write basic programs that fulfill their own research needs. Major topics to be covered include data wrangling, data exploration, functional programming, statistical modeling, and reproducible research. Students will also learn how to parse text files, scrape data from other sources, create and query relational databases, implement parallel processes, and manage digital projects. Class meetings will be a combination of lecture and laboratory sessions, and students will complete weekly programming assignments as well as a final research project. Assignments will be completed primarily using the open-source R and Python programming languages and the version control software Git.

Instructor(s): Benjamin Soltoff     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): MACS students have priority. Others admitted with instructor consent.
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40176,PLSC 30235,MAPS 30500,MACS 30500

SOCI 28074. Sociology of Social Media. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to a range of debates on the nature and effects of online social networks. How are virtual communities like in-person communities and how are they different? How do people’s online and offline worlds relate? What are the social consequences of new communications technologies? Students will learn the theories and methods that sociologists use to approach these questions. After being introduced to sociological tools that can be used to study online communities, such as virtual ethnography and content analysis, students will practice using these methods to conduct their own research projects. This course will prepare students for further study in the social sciences by expanding their theoretical knowledge and methodological skills. It will help them think critically about the part that technology plays in their social worlds. It will also be of interest to students pursuing a variety of careers in growing fields associated with social media (e.g., online marketing, advertising, and user experience) in which a strong background in social science methods is valued.

Instructor(s): N. Taplin-Kaguru     Terms Offered: Spring

SOCI 28075. Social Networks and Social Capital. 100 Units.

Social network analysis focuses on the inherent interdependence of actors and treats relationships between them as the building blocks for large-scale social structures. This course covers core concepts and findings in the field with empirical examples from diverse areas of social life like adolescent cliques, gang homicides, scientific discourse, and online gaming. Towards the end, we devote special attention to applications in the study of inequality, politics, and the Internet to consider and interrogate the utility of network ideas for answering specific substantive questions.

Instructor(s): J. Murphy     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 28076. Gentrification: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 100 Units.

Ruth Glass coined the term “gentrification” in 1964 to describe changes she was seeing in London, in particular the fact that “one by one, many of the working class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle classes.” A physical and social transformation of urban neighborhoods, gentrification might have gotten its name in the 1960s, but it has its roots in social processes that run from the early twentieth century through today. In this class, we will explore the causes and consequences of gentrification, with a focus on the United States.

Instructor(s): J. Parker     Terms Offered: Winter

SOCI 28077. Sociological Perspectives on Gender, Work and Family. 100 Units.

In this course students will learn to think critically about how gender structures work and family practices in American and Western society. Each week will bring together scholarly readings as well as materials from popular culture and current events to illustrate issues related to gender, work, and family. This course will also consider how race, class, and sexuality shape the interface of gender, work, and family.  Students will be graded on class presentations and participation, and three response papers (4-5 pages each) based on class readings.

Instructor(s): J. Wong     Terms Offered: Spring

SOCI 29997. Readings in Sociology. 100 Units.

Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. With consent of instructor, students may take this course for P/F grading if it is not being used to meet program requirements.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and program chair.

SOCI 29998. Sociology BA Thesis Seminar. 100 Units.

This required yearlong course is a forum for students who are majoring in sociology to present their BA papers. Students attend the seminar in Spring Quarter of their third year and in Autumn and Winter Quarters of their fourth year. They may enroll during any one of these quarters, but must attend all three. They submit a completed thesis during Spring Quarter of their fourth year. Students who are not graduating in June should participate in three quarters of the senior seminar in the twelve months before graduation. Students who plan to study abroad during Spring Quarter of their third year should consult with the Undergraduate Program Chair well in advance of their trip. For a general statement about the BA paper, students should obtain the brochure Undergraduate Program in Sociology in the departmental office.

Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Open only to students who are majoring in sociology.
Note(s): Must be taken for a quality grade.


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Undergraduate Program Chair
Forrest Stuart
SS 319

Administrative Contact

Departmental Contact
Pat Princell
SS 307