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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.

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 an online petition through the Department of Sociology website 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 in an online form on the department website 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 advisor consent form available for printing from the department website, 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.

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 an online petition 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 on its website, 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): C.S. Lee     Terms Offered: Winter

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. Abbott     Terms Offered: Autumn
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 20102. Social Change. 100 Units.

This course presents a general overview of causal processes of macro-institutional level social changes. It considers a variety of types of cross-national, over-time changes such as economic growth, bureaucratization, revolutions, democratization, spread of cultural and institutional norms, deindustrialization, globalization and development of welfare states. It also covers various forms of planned changes in oppositional social movements (civil rights, environmental, women’s, and labor movements).

Instructor(s): D. Zhao, C. Lee     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30102

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: Winter
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: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 20104,GEOG 22700,GEOG 32700,SOCI 30104,SOSC 25100

SOCI 20105. Bidwell's Educational Organization and Social Inequality. 100 Units.

Education systems and schools play a critical role in reinforcing or reducing social inequality. This course explores the organizational structures and processes that influence and define educational and life trajectories for students. Drawing upon sociological theory, we will consider mechanisms at multiple levels within the educational system: at the individual student, classroom, school and school system levels. In doing so, we will explore sorting mechanisms within the system, such as tracking, ability grouping, course taking patterns and school sectors. At the same time, we will consider school district and policy efforts that  aim to change distribution of student outcomes or life chances and evaluate those efforts.

Instructor(s): S. Stoelinga     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30105,PPHA 39300

SOCI 20106. Political Sociology. 100 Units.

Political sociology explores how social processes shape outcomes within formal political institutions as well as the politics that occur in the family, civic associations, social networks, and social movements. This course surveys the emergence of the most historically significant forms of political ordering(particularly nation-states and empires); explores the patterns of participation, mobilization, and policy feedback's within nation-states, both democratic and non-democratic; and considers how transnational politics and globalization may reorder political relations.

Instructor(s): E. Clemens     Terms Offered: Autumn
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: Autumn
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: Winter
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): K. Cagney     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30122,ENST 20500,GNDR 20120,GNDR 30120

SOCI 20140. Qualitative Field Methods. 100 Units.

This course introduces techniques of, and approaches to, ethnographic field research. We emphasize 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 the fieldwork.

Instructor(s): O. McRoberts     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): CHDV Distribution, M*
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 20140,CHDV 20140

SOCI 20157. Mathematical Models. 100 Units.

This course examines mathematical models and related analyses of social action, emphasizing a rational-choice perspective. About half the lectures focus on models of collective action, power, and exchange as developed by Coleman, Bonacich, Marsden, and Yamaguchi. Then the course examines models of choice over the life course, including rational and social choice models of marriage, births, friendship networks, occupations, and divorce.  Both behavioral and analytical models are surveyed.

Instructor(s): K. Yamaguchi     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30157

SOCI 20179. Labor Force and Employment. 100 Units.

This course introduces key concepts, methods, and sources of information for understanding the structure of work and the organization of workers in the United States and other industrialized nations. We survey social science approaches to answering key questions about work and employment, including: What is the labor force? What determines the supply of workers? How is work organized into jobs, occupations, careers, and industries? What, if anything, happened to unions? How much money do workers earn and why? What is the effect of work on health? How do workers and employers find each other? Who is unemployed? What are the employment effects of race, gender, ethnicity, and religion?

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30179

SOCI 20184. Political Culture, Social Capital, and the Arts. 100 Units.

New work finds that certain arts and cultural activities are rising, especially among the young, in many countries. This course reviews core related concepts (e.g., political culture, social capital, legitimacy) and how they change with these new developments. Scenes, nightlife, design, the Internet, and entertainment emerge as critical drivers of the post-industrial/knowledge society. Older primordial conflicts over class, race, and gender are transformed with these new issues, which spark new social movements and political tensions. After a focus on the discussion of readings, the second part of the course is conducted as a seminar.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30184

SOCI 20191. Social Change in the United States. 100 Units.

This course provides students with concepts, facts, and methods for understanding the social structure of the contemporary United States, recent changes in the U.S. social structure, survey data for measuring social structure and social change in contemporary industrial societies, and data analysis methods for distinguishing different types of change. This course is taught by traditional and nontraditional methods: traditional by a combination of readings, lectures, and discussions; and nontraditional by in-class, "live" statistical analysis of the cumulative file (1972–2004) of the NORC General Social Surveys (GSS).

Instructor(s): R. Stolzenberg     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Two prior sociology courses or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30191

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: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30192

SOCI 20222. Philanthropy: Private Acts and Public Goods. 100 Units.

Under what conditions do philanthropy and other forms of private action come to be significant elements of the provision of public goods? What are the consequences of organizing society in this way? In this course, we will address the social role of philanthropy, its historical development as a significant economic and political institution, and the place of philanthropy in contemporary public policy and civic projects.

Instructor(s): E. Clemens     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of at least 2 SOSC courses or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 27070

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 20232. Sociology of Religion. 100 Units.

What is religion? How can religion be studied sociologically? How did religion's significance change as the world enters the modern age? What affects the different importance and position of religions in different societies? How do we account for the growth and decline of religious groups? What social factors and processes influence individuals' religious beliefs, commitments, practices, conversions, and switching? In what ways can religion impact economy, politics, gender, and race relations in modern times? These are the core questions that this course intends to deal with. The course is designed to cultivate in students an understanding of the distinctively sociological approach to studying religion and familiarize students with the important theoretical approaches as well as major findings, problems, and issues in the field.

Instructor(s): Y. Sun     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30232,AASR 30232

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: 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 20245. Global Health and Inequality. 100 Units.

This course introduces the principal health problems of the world's populations, focusing on the health situation in the developing world. This course draws upon literature from sociology, demography, economics, public health, epidemiology, and medical anthropology. At the end of the course students will have developed a working knowledge of the key health patterns, their causes, and the main obstacles to improving health indicators in the developing world. We focus on the social conditions associated with health, disease, and mortality, and on their distribution on a global scale. Beyond engaging the major theoretical debates and the empirical approaches used to address them, students are expected to identify and evaluate scientific evidence on global health issues and advance their own research in this area.

Instructor(s): J. Trinitapoli     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30245

SOCI 20248. Inequality, Health, and The Life Course. 100 Units.

By virtue of who we are born to and the social world that surrounds us as we grow, some individuals have a better chance of living a long, healthy life than others. In this course, we leverage sociological and social scientific concepts, theories and methods to examine how these inequalities in morbidity, mortality, and health behaviors develop and change across the life course from infancy to later life. We will pay particular attention to how individual characteristics (namely gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, but also genetic vulnerabilities) interact with social-structural, institutional, and cultural realities to shape individual’s physical and mental health. We will also discuss how social conditions, particularly during key developmental stages, can have lifelong consequences for individual’s health and well-being.

Instructor(s): A. Mueller     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: B*, C*; 2*, 4*
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 30440,SOCI 30248,CHDV 20440

SOCI 20252. Urban Innovation: Cultural Place Making and Scenescapes. 100 Units.

Activists from Balzac, Jane Jacobs, and others today seek to change the world using the arts. Ignored by most social science theories, these new cultural initiatives and policies are increasing globally. Urban planning and architecture policies, walking and parades, posters and demonstrations, new coffee shops and storefront churches reinforce selective development of specific cities and neighborhoods. These transform our everyday social environments into new types of scenes. They factor into crucial decisions, about where to work, to open a business, to found a political activist group, to live, what political causes to support, and more. The course reviews new case studies and comparative analyses from China to Chicago to Poland that detail these processes. Students are encouraged to explore one type of project.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30252

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, rate smoothing, spatial autocorrelation, cluster detection and spatial data mining. An important aspect of the course is to learn and apply open source software tools, including 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 20255. Crime, Justice, and Inequality in the American City. 100 Units.

This course explores perspectives on street gangs and criminal activity; policing and the criminal justice system; and obstacles to securing housing, employment, and services for reentry after incarceration. Students will examine advances in the social science of adolescence and innovations in government policy and community-based programs aimed at encouraging public safety and youth development, improving policing and prisons, and promoting criminal desistance and decarceration. In addition, we will delve into the lived experience of adolescence and beyond in the context of racially-segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods, with a focus on Chicago. Our approaches will include discussion and lecture; ethnographic, autobiographical, and policy-oriented readings; panels and guest speakers; and documentary films and other media.

Instructor(s): Broughton, C.     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 25860

SOCI 20257. The Third World City. 100 Units.

The term “Third World” has become outmoded and politically incorrect. The category has become increasingly differentiated over time, and academic discourse has shifted its focus from difference to integration in the form of “globalization.” If, today, it would appear naïve to use the term indiscriminately, it would be equally naïve to dispense with it altogether. We continue to make the distinction between “first” and “third” worlds (although using different, euphemistic terms) because it marks real differences between domains. In this course, we take up the difference in urban structures and processes. We will consider the “Third World city” a meaningful analytical category—to be distinguished, on the one hand, from the “First World” cities that inform so much of urban sociology, and, on the other, from global cities. We will spend the course discussing how and why these cities are different. In particular, we will talk about their explosive growth in the twentieth century, the precarious nature of urban employment, informal settlement as a major urban form, the housing divide as a social structure distinct to such cities, class formation, the impact of neoliberal reforms, democratization, urban spatial restructuring in the 1990s, and urban politics. You will be expected to conduct extensive research on a Third World city of your choice.

Instructor(s): M. Garrido     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30257

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 hand, is it so easy to get rich for some participants? Perhaps the answer is the real markets are complex social and cultural institutions which are quite different form 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 and other areas.

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

SOCI 28070. Gender and Development. 100 Units.

In this class, students will engage basic issues, conflicts, and innovative field research in gender and development. In particular, we will review theoretical foundations of gender and development, data and methods of research on gender and development, psychosocial, economic, political development, intersections of religion and conflict and development, and a review of recent work in international research and impact evaluations related to gender and development.

Instructor(s): A. Gonzalez     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ECON 19800 or PBPL 22200; STAT 22000 recommended
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 14510,PBPL 24510,GNSE 14510,ECON 14510

SOCI 28071. Sociology of Law. 100 Units.

This course investigates what different kinds of social actors know about the law; how they interpret, use, and respond to the law and with what consequences for the social order. We investigate how judges, lawyers, legislators, law enforcement, citizens, aliens, and activists claim and act on different understandings of the law, and how their perspectives coordinate to make up a legal “system.” Our empirical foci are criminal and immigration law in the United States, and we rely on a wide array of primary and secondary sources.

Instructor(s): R. Owens     Terms Offered: Autumn

SOCI 28072. Urban Space and Place. 100 Units.

This course examines space and place in urban sociology. It explores the connection between space, the social theories of city planners, and efforts to intervene in the urban built environment to shape behavior, build community, and improve health. What has given rise to the design and governance of urban public spaces, from parks and gardens to public housing and city streets? What role have designers, together with the state and private interest groups, played in shaping individual urban experiences and community development?

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

SOCI 28073. Sociology of the Arts. 100 Units.

How do objects of art become valuable, precious, and even sacred in the eyes of social subjects? Regarding the gallery arts, literature, music, and performance, this course considers how artists and administrators navigate value through networked hierarchies, positioning within fields, and institutional judgments. Within the intersecting and perhaps competing dimensions of culture and economy, we seek to understand the social processes setting apart art from crafts, collectibles, and commodities.

Instructor(s): W. Johnson     Terms Offered: Spring

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     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
Jenny Trinitapoli
SS 414

Administrative Contact

Departmental Contact
Pat Princell
SS 307