The topics that sociologists examine are common to many disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities: crime and punishment, the formation and dissolution of families, bureaucratic organizations, conflicts between classes, generations, nations. Sociology is distinctive in its focus on social organization rather than individuals as the unit of study and also in its methods of understanding that combine elements of both the humanities and the sciences. Sociologists utilize many different kinds of information sources in their work, including census data, historical documents, transcripts from interviews, survey results, and observations of group behavior.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 majors opportunities to gain both a wide range of understanding of sociology as an academic discipline and more in-depth knowledge of particular subareas. Regardless of the particular plan of course work that is chosen, sociology students will develop critical thinking, oral and written communication skills, and a familiarity with technology that will significantly enhance their future career options. Recent sociology graduates have obtained positions in a variety of fields, including criminal justice, corrections, education, social services, and business management, among many others. Many graduates have found that the skills acquired in our program have prepared them for further academic studies in sociology, demography, law, social work, and education.
The department has a number of facilities and resources that undergraduate students may use to enhance their educational experience. The Center for Social Science Instruction contains U.S. Census Bureau publications and data, a collection of census maps for the local area, and several computer work stations. The director of the center is also available to assist students in utilizing several large databases that are available in the center. The Office of Survey Research has involved many undergraduate students in the construction and administration of surveys of Western students and alumni. The department also has a 30-station computer laboratory for student use. Faculty are engaged in a variety of research activities, and have often involved undergraduate students in their work.
Students who are interested in becoming sociology majors should carefully read the Declaration of Major section that follows, and are encouraged to meet with the departmental advisor to establish a study plan as soon as possible.
KAREN BRADLEY (1992) Chair and Professor. BA, Providence College; MA, Boston College, Stanford University; PhD, Stanford University.
KRISTIN ANDERSON (2001) Professor. BA, University of Northern Iowa; PhD, University of Texas-Austin.
RICHARD BULCROFT (1999) Associate Professor. BA, University of New Hampshire; PhD, University of Minnesota.
MICK CUNNINGHAM (2000) Professor. BA, Pacific Lutheran University; PhD, University of Michigan.
SETH FEINBERG (2005) Associate Professor. BA, Tufts University; PhD, Ohio State University.
RONALD HELMS (2000) Professor. BA, California State University- Chico; PhD, University of Oregon.
JAMES INVERARITY (1985) Professor. BA, University of Michigan; PhD, Stanford University.
JENNIFER LOIS (2000) Associate Professor. BA, Dartmouth College; PhD, University of Colorado.
LIZ MOGFORD (2007) Assistant Professor. BA, St. John’s College, MA, MPH, PhD, University of Washington.
JAY D. TEACHMAN (1998) Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, PhD, University of Chicago.
GLENN TSUNOKAI (2003) Associate Professor. BA, PhD, University of California-Riverside.
The number of students admitted to the major is limited as a result of the structure of the sociology curriculum and departmental staffing capabilities. Students wishing to major in sociology must submit an application to the Department on or before Friday of the 2nd week of fall, winter, spring, or summer quarter. Applications are available from the Sociology advisor (AH 513) or the Sociology Office (AH 510). Students will receive notification regarding their admission status during the week following the application deadline.
Admission to the major is contingent on space available on a quarterly basis. Applications require the following minimum qualifications:
- Successful completion of at least 45 college-level credits
- Successful completion or current enrollment in SOC 210
- Successful completion of at least 10 credits in Sociology at Western
- A minimum (cumulative) Western GPA of 2.7 (based on at least 12 credits); OR a minimum (average) GPA of 3.0 earned in Sociology courses taken at Western.
- A student who has met the first three criteria, but has not attained the minimum GPA requirements may petition for admission to the Department in any quarter. The petitioning student’s admission will be based on a combination of overall GPA, sociology GPA, and available space.
Other Departmental Information
Students seeking to complete a BA degree in sociology within a four-year time span should have completed the following courses by the end of his/her junior year. Major omissions from this list will make it difficult or impossible to complete this degree within the additional year.
Access to courses for minors is limited as a result of space limitations. See registration policy for additional information.
Due to high demand, registration for most 300-level courses is restricted to declared sociology majors for the first five class days of Phase I registration (see online Timetable of Classes for courses designated as major restricted). Registration for all 200-level courses, including SOC 210 and 215, is open to all students. Restrictions for most courses will be removed starting on the sixth class day of Phase I registration. If space is available, non-majors will be able to register for 300-level courses at that time. See the sociology website for instructions on wait lists for filled classes (override requests) at http://www.wwu.edu/socad/registration.shtml.
For a concentration leading to the Master of Arts degree, see the Graduate School section of this catalog.
Undergraduate Degrees and Programs
Sociology - Elementary, BAE
Sociology/Social Studies, BA
Criminology/Sociology of Law Minor
Population Studies Minor
Graduate Degrees and Programs