Sociology (BA)


Sociology is the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of small groups to the study of global social change. We hold that social forces external to the individual play an important role in shaping behavior and beliefs. Social forces are the economic and political make-up of society, and cultural influences, such as our beliefs, habits, and values. The sociology major prepares students for a wide variety of careers and graduate fields, including sociology, social work, planning, public administration, education, public health, business, and law.

For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the Sociology website


Students must have a minimum grade of C in all required courses and maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in sociology.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the appropriate double major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.  Please note that students will receive only one degree, regardless of the number of majors they complete.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

In addition to the Sociology minor the department also supports two interdisciplinary minors: Child, Family and Community Studies and Peace and Justice Studies.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation.

Major Requirements

SOC 110Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 111Contemporary Social Problems3
HSV 303Research Methods in the Social Sciences3
Focused Method Option: Choose 13
Quantitative Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods
Statistics for Social Sciences
SOC 432Theories in Sociology3
Six 3 credit sociology electives18
Total Credits33

Major Electives

A student's electives must be 6 courses from any of the designated major tracks. 

Society and Culture Track

SOC 234Environment and Society3
SOC 273Social Movements and Social Change3
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
ANT 122Sociocultural Anthropology3
ANT 355Sociolinguistics3
PSC 249Protest, Politics, & the State3

Identity and Diversity Track

SOC 291Gender and Society3
SOC 341Race and Ethnic Relations3
SOC 390Marriage and Families3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
SOC 385International Migration3
PSC 241Human Rights and Globalization3

Crime and Society Track

SOC 355Deviant Behavior3
CRJ 320Criminology3
CRJ 337Violence and the Family3
CRJ 354Juvenile Delinquency3

Methods and Application Track

SOC 315Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences3
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
SOC 342Quantitative Research Methods (if not chosen as methods option)3
ANT 351Qualitative Research Methods (if not chosen as methods option)3
MAT 131Statistics for Social Sciences (if not chosen as methods option)3
SOC 498Internship3
SOC 499Independent Study3

Anthropology Track

A student can choose to focus in Anthropology by choosing 5 courses. Students must choose ANT 122 and ANT 351 plus 3 electives of their choice.

BIO 312Primatology3
ANT 121Biological Anthropology3
ANT 122Sociocultural Anthropology3
ANT 351Qualitative Research Methods3
ANT 341Environmental Anthropology3
or SOC 234 Environment and Society
ANT 355Sociolinguistics3
RST 221Native American Religions3
RST 222African Religions3
RST 224Islam: Tradition and Revival3
RST 229Religious Perspectives on Animals3
RST 324Biblical Archaeology3
RST 360Magic, Science and Religion3

Additional Course Considerations

The department encourages sociology majors to study a foreign language of their choice and to participate in the college study abroad program. Students considering study abroad should consult with their advisor regarding course sequencing.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

SOC 110SOC 111
HSV 303SOC elective
SOC elective 
Take one of the following research methods courses:SOC elective
SOC elective 
SOC 432SOC elective
SOC elective 

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Sociology majors will demonstrate that they are able to think critically about sociological concepts.

Students will: 
  • Objective A: apply scientific methodology to the study of sociology
  • Objective B: evaluate the quality of quantitative and qualitative research in sociology

Student Learning Goal 2

Sociology majors will demonstrate that they have the knowledge necessary for careers or graduate school.

Students will:
  • Objective A: become familiar with the major concepts, theories, and theorists in sociology.
  • Objective B: apply sociological theories and methods to real world situations.

Student Learning Goal 3

Sociology majors will appreciate the diverse nature of society.

Students will:
  • Objective A: conceptualize of diversity today and in the past.
  • Objective B: recognize of the vastness of human diversity.


SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology 3 Credits

Topics include theory, methods, culture, socialization, race and ethnicity, groups and organizations, and social inequality; analysis of everyday events, using sociological imagination.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall.

SOC 111 Contemporary Social Problems 3 Credits

Exploration of selected social problems from various sociological points of view, emphasizing some of the sociological concepts and methods employed in analyzing these problems.

Fulfills College Core: (part of the Sustainability Core Pathway), Diversity, Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: spring.

SOC 234 Environment and Society 3 Credits

Explores connections between environmental issues and their social causes and consequences. Topics of analysis include environmental racism, environmental health, risk and uncertainty, political economy, globalization and sustainability.

Fulfills College Core: (part of the Sustainability Core Pathway), Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: spring.

SOC 273 Social Movements and Social Change 3 Credits

Explores the development of social movements as a force of social change in society. Focus is on theoretical developments in movement theory, as well as explorations of social movements through history.

Fulfills College Core: (part of the Global Citizenship Core Pathway), (part of the Sustainability Core Pathway), Field 5 (Social Sciences), Justice

Offered: spring.

SOC 291 Gender and Society 3 Credits

Exploration of origin of gender roles; socialization into masculine and feminine roles; intersection of gender and social institutions such as family, work and education.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

SOC 300 Special Topics in Sociology 3 Credits

Critical examination of a selected topic in sociology. Subject matter determined by the instructor.

SOC 315 Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences 3 Credits

This course will introduce students to basic mapmaking skills using the program ArcGIS, and the ways that those skills can be applied to the study of human society, relationships, and environments. By the end of this course, students will know how to find or create geographic data, build a spatial data base, and analyze that data to answer specific research or predictive questions. Students will also consider the principles of cartography, design, and storytelling which contribute to an effective map, and will produce a map project by the end of the course.

Prerequisites: none.

Offered: every spring.

SOC 324 Visual Sociology 3 Credits

Emphasizes a visual approach to analyzing social concepts. Analysis of visual media forms to explore core ideas in sociology such as gender, race, environment, social class, family and global diversity.

Offered: spring.

SOC 340 Sociology of the City 3 Credits

Exploration of how people experience and understand city life, how cities grow and develop, and various issues affecting cities today such as suburbanization and urban sprawl.

SOC 341 Race and Ethnic Relations 3 Credits

Focus is on issues surrounding race and ethnicity in the United States, including the social construction of race and ethnicity, prejudice and discrimination, unequal opportunity structures, and the racial/ethnic makeup of the U.S. population.

Fulfills College Core: (part of the Global Citizenship Core Pathway), Field 5 (Social Sciences)

SOC 342 Quantitative Research Methods 3 Credits

Overview of the major steps in constructing social science research, from developing a research question, operationalization and measurement through quantitative data collection and analysis.

Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in MAT 131.

Offered: fall.

SOC 355 Deviant Behavior 3 Credits

Students will explore how societies define some behaviors and characteristics as deviant as well as explanations of social deviance, how societies and groups respond to social deviance. Alternative social science theories about such behavior are compared and contrasted. Research methodologies and findings in recent social-science literature are examined and interpreted.

SOC 385 International Migration 3 Credits

This course is an examination of the issues arising from the movement of peoples across national boundaries, including labor migration, illegal migration, forced migration, and trafficking.

Prerequisite: SOC 110. Restrictions: Junior or Senior standing.

Offered: every other fall.

SOC 390 Marriage and Families 3 Credits

Covers family development from relationship formation through marriage, divorce and remarriage. Includes sexuality, sexual orientation, cohabitation, parenting and the intersection between the family and major social institutions.

SOC 432 Theories in Sociology 3 Credits

Course emphasizes theory development as a tool to understand society. Focuses on major social theorists and their contributions as well as classical and modern theoretical schools in sociology.

Restriction: must be a sociology major or minor with senior standing.

Offered: fall.

SOC 461 Sociology Capstone 1 Credit

Integrating experience for majors; focus is on demonstrating proficiency in the discipline and preparation for post-graduate studies or employment.

Offered: spring.

SOC 498 Internship 2-4 Credits

Opportunity for students to participate in the daily work of an agency or organization. Internships require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: minimum GPA of 2.75, signature of instructor, and approval by both the chair & associate dean.

Offered: fall & spring.

SOC 499 Independent Study 1-3 Credits

Independent studies allow in-depth study of a specific topic and are most often reserved for seniors who cannot otherwise fulfill a graduation requirement. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.

Offered: fall & spring.