Sociologists examine topics encompassing a vast array of human behavior: crime and punishment, the formation and dissolution of families, bureaucracy in organizations, conflicts between classes, and global inequalities. Sociology is distinctive in its focus on the way individuals’ lives are embedded within multiple social contexts that facilitate and constrain the range of possible actions. These contexts include generation, occupation, gender, religion, sexual orientation, family, health, nation, race and ethnicity, and many others. Sociologists utilize a variety of information sources in their research, including census data, historical documents, transcripts from interviews, survey results, and observations of group behavior.
The Department of Sociology at Western has designed a program of course work that provides our majors with multiple opportunities to gain 1) understanding of theoretical perspectives within sociology, and 2) mastery of the methods of data collection and analysis. Sociology students develop an aptitude for critical thinking, the ability to write effectively for a social scientific audience, and competence with statistical computing that will enhance their future career options. We also offer faculty-led study abroad programs and encourage our students to experience immersion in cultures outside the United States. Recent sociology graduates have obtained positions in a variety of fields, including criminal justice, corrections, education, social services, market research, and business management. Graduates have found the skills acquired in our program have prepared them for further academic studies in sociology, demography, law, social work, marriage and family counseling, and business and education.
The Sociology Department offers four distinct bachelor’s degrees as well as a Sociology Minor. The department maintains facilities and resources that undergraduate students may use to enhance their educational experience. The Tedrow Lab for Social and Demographic Research contains U.S. Census Bureau publications and data, and a computer lab for use by Sociology students. The director of the lab is also available to assist students in accessing and analyzing large survey and census databases. Faculty are engaged in a variety of research activities, and frequently involve undergraduate students in their work.
Students who are interested in pursuing a sociology degree should carefully read the section labeled ‘Admission to Sociology Major’ and are encouraged to meet with the departmental program coordinator to establish a study plan as soon as possible.
KRISTIN ANDERSON (2001) Chair and Professor. BA, University of Northern Iowa; MA, PhD, University of Texas-Austin.
CRYSTAL BEN (2022) Assistant Professor. BA, Whitworth University; MA, University of California-San Diego.
MICK CUNNINGHAM (1999) Professor. BA, Pacific Lutheran University; MA, PhD, University of Michigan.
SETH FEINBERG (2005) Professor. BA, Tufts University; MA, PhD, Ohio State University.
PAT GILLHAM (2015) Associate Professor. BA, Eastern College; MA, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder.
RONALD HELMS (2000) Professor. BA, California State University-Chico; MA, PhD, University of Oregon.
JENNIFER LOIS (2000) Professor. BA, Dartmouth College; PhD, MA, University of Colorado at Boulder.
LIZ MOGFORD (2007) Professor. BA, St. John’s College; MA, MPH, PhD, University of Washington.
MELISSA OSBORNE (2019) Associate Professor. BA, Reed College; MA, PhD, University of Chicago.
PHILIP PENDERGAST (2023) Assistant Professor. BS, Western Washington University; MA, PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder.
GLENN TSUNOKAI (2003) Professor. BA, MA, PhD, University of California-Riverside.
CAMERON WHITLEY (2019) Associate Professor. BA, University of Colorado at Boulder; MA, PhD, Michigan State University.
BATOOL ZAIDI (2019) Associate Professor. BA, Mount Holyoke College; MA, PhD, University of North Carolina.
Admission to Sociology Major
The number of students admitted to the major is limited as a result of the structure of the sociology curriculum and departmental staffing capabilities.
All students wishing to become Sociology majors should meet the following criteria:
- Completion of at least 45 college-level credits
- Completion of at least 5 credits in Sociology with a grade of C- or better
If the preceding criteria are met, students should complete the Sociology Major Admission form. There are two paths to becoming a Sociology major.
Path 1 (Immediate Declaration): Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.85 or higher may submit their admission form at any time to the Sociology Department Program Coordinator for approval and admission to the major.
Path 2 (Application Review): Students with a cumulative GPA lower than 2.85 should submit their admission form to the Sociology Program Coordinator on or before Friday of the 2nd week of fall, winter or spring quarter. These applications will be reviewed and admission to the major will be based on a combination of overall GPA, Sociology GPA, and space available in the program. Students will receive notification regarding their admission status during the fourth week of classes.
Other Departmental Information
Access to courses for minors is limited as a result of space constraints. See registration policy for additional information.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate Minor
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.
- SOC 221 - Introduction to Population Issues
- SOC 234 - Special Topics in Sociology
- SOC 251 - Sociology of Deviant Behavior
- SOC 255 - Social Organization of Criminal Justice
- SOC 260 - The Family in Society
- SOC 268 - Gender and Society
- SOC 269 - Race and Ethnic Relations
- SOC 271 - Immigration
- SOC 300 - Directed Independent Study
- SOC 302 - Classical Sociological Theory
- SOC 304 - Statistics for Sociology
- SOC 306 - Sociological Research Methods
- SOC 320 - Computer Applications for Social Science Data
- SOC 321 - Demography
- SOC 322 - Enslaving Others: Past and Present
- SOC 326 - American Family and Household Demography
- SOC 330 - The Self, Emotions, and Society
- SOC 332 - The Sociology of Human Relationships
- SOC 333 - Aging and Societies
- SOC 334 - Contemporary Chinese Society
- SOC 338 - Sociology of Sexual Behavior
- SOC 339 - Women, Sexuality, and Society
- SOC 340 - Sociology of Organizations
- SOC 341 - Sociology of Social Movements
- SOC 342 - Sociology of Religion
- SOC 345 - Contemporary American Families
- SOC 347 - Gender and Development
- SOC 348 - Global Health
- SOC 350 - Climate Change and Society
- SOC 351 - Police, Social Control & Democracy
- SOC 352 - Criminology
- SOC 354 - Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System
- SOC 355 - Criminal Justice System
- SOC 356 - Law Enforcement and Society
- SOC 360 - Marital and Family Interaction
- SOC 361 - Sociology of Education
- SOC 362 - Sociology of Higher Education
- SOC 363 - Law and Social Stratification
- SOC 364 - Social Stratification
- SOC 365 - Gender, Bodies, and Sports
- SOC 366 - Colonialism, Slavery, and Links to Contemporary Racism
- SOC 367 - Sociology of Work and Occupations
- SOC 368 - Gender and Education
- SOC 369 - Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
- SOC 371 - Directed Internship
- SOC 372 - Animals, People and Nature
- SOC 373 - Topics in Gender
- SOC 374 - Sociology of Environmental Inequality and Justice
- SOC 376 - Research and Policy in Criminal Justice Organizations
- SOC 377 - Social Change and Latin America
- SOC 378 - Military Sociology
- SOC 380 - Sociology of Youth
- SOC 381 - Sociology of Culture
- SOC 382 - Community and Urban Sociology
- SOC 383 - Sociology of Risk
- SOC 384 - Sociology of Health
- SOC 386 - Environmental Sociology
- SOC 388 - Sociology of Jails
- SOC 389 - Applied Sociology
- SOC 390 - Globalization and Families
- SOC 400 - Directed Independent Study
- SOC 422 - Global Social Problem Solving
- SOC 426 - Advanced Topics in Demography
- SOC 430 - Field Research Methods
- SOC 435 - Population Health Advocacy
- SOC 436 - Sociology of Children’s Health
- SOC 438 - Health and Illness in Society
- SOC 440 - Globalization
- SOC 450 - Sociology of Law
- SOC 452 - Advanced Criminology
- SOC 456 - Seminar in Policing
- SOC 460 - Advanced Topics in Family
- SOC 461 - Special Topics in Education
- SOC 466 - Sociological Analysis of Modern African States
- SOC 469 - Advanced Topics in Race and Ethnicity
- SOC 480 - Learning and Teaching Sociology
- SOC 481 - Research Assistantship
- SOC 492 - Senior Thesis