Sociology Major | Kent State University

Sociology Major

Students can complete the Sociology major in its entirety at Kent State Stark.

Program Introduction

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology provides broad training in the theories and methods that sociologists use to understand contemporary social issues and problems. Students are encouraged to think critically as they examine issues ranging from small group behavior to global social movements. The core curriculum  focuses on social inequalities, social psychology and health and illness. In addition, the program offers courses on a variety of topics, including urban living, deviant behavior, religion and family.

Major Requirements

Concentrations
All students in the Sociology major select at least one concentration from the seven offered, in consultation with the undergraduate coordinator of sociology, department faculty or academic advisor.

Concentrations marked with an ** can be completed at Kent State Stark.

Cultural Sociology 
This concentration examines culture, which includes matters of social status and cultural distinctions; values, norms and beliefs; ethnicity and ethnic diversity; religion; language; art; popular culture, consumption/consumerism and style; and material culture (e.g., mass media, technology, architecture, food). This concentration addresses the role of culture in a diversity of social contexts, including urban life and organizations. It is relevant for students interested in careers in human or social services, nonprofit and community organizations, research and government agencies and human resources, as well as graduate study in the social sciences or humanities.

Family and Life Course Sociology 
This concentration introduces students to the cultural, political and historical realities and changes in families across the lifespan. Courses examine issues such as gender socialization, dating and romance, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, parenthood, domestic violence, death and dying, family diversity and family policy. This concentration is relevant to students interested in careers in health care promotion, public health, family counseling, long-term care institutions, program planning, community education and policy analysis, as well as graduate study in the social sciences.

** General 
This concentration is for students who either choose not to pursue a specialization within the major or wish to pursue an individualized program of study (through sociology electives) that does not align with the substantive concentrations.

Medical Sociology 
This concentration introduces students to the relationship between society and health. In this concentration, students study the impact of social, cultural, political and economic factors on health (and vice-versa). Courses in this area examine issues such as health behavior, physical and mental illnesses, doctor-patient interaction, medicalization, health care reform, health care delivery and health policy. This concentration is relevant for students interested in careers in administrative and program planning related to medicine, mental health, social services, patient advocacy, mental health facilities and nursing homes, as well as graduate study in the social sciences.

** Social Inequalities 
This concentration examines how social structural factors, such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, social class and sexuality relate to power, social status, wealth, income, health and morality. Courses in this area examine issues of poverty, race and ethnic inequality, sexism, age discrimination, neighborhood segregation, labor market processes and income disparity. This concentration is relevant for students interested in careers related to human or social services, nonprofit and community organizations, research and government agencies and human resources, as well as graduate study in the social sciences.

** Social Problems, Deviance and Crime 
This concentration examines a variety of social problems with special emphasis on types of behavior that are inconsistent with social norms, challenge to social order and are illegal. This concentration also examines the role of morality, public opinion, politics, government, law, and institutions of social control in the definition of, as well as the response to, social problems, deviance and crime. While containing some overlap with other concentrations in the Criminology and Justice Studies major, the sociological perspective here suggests important commonalities across the studies of crime, deviance and social problems, as well as the relevance of broad sociological themes, including critical inquiry, empirical research and increased awareness of social context. This concentration provides relevant preparation for students interested in further study in the areas of public safety, social policy, social services and civil service and graduate studies in law or social science. It can also be a convenient and constructive resource enabling a double major between Sociology and Criminology and Justice Studies.

** Sociological Social Psychology 
This concentration introduces students to the sociological approach to social psychology. Courses in this area examine theoretical perspectives that link structural factors such as gender, social class and race to individual factors and behaviors such as self-concept, identity, deviance and mental health. Courses typically include an overview of specific sociological topics such as socialization, emotions, social influence, group conflict and decision-making, prejudice and discrimination, status and power and interpersonal relationships. This concentration provides a foundation for students interested in careers or graduate work that focus on the many connections between individuals and the groups to which they belong.

Sociology graduates will:

  • Describe how sociology is similar to and different from other social sciences.
  • Show how one’s personal life is shaped by the time and place in which one lives.
  • Demonstrate how institutions of family, education, religion, medicine and the economy are interrelated.
  • Understand the interrelationships between social structures and individuals in society.
  • Distinguish between individualistic, cultural and structural explanations of social events.