Jul 14, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog


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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 Sociologists utilize a variety of information sources in their research, including census data, historical documents, transcripts from interviews, survey results, and observations of group behavior.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.


    Undergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorCertification



      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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