Courses in Sociology

Professor Kelly A. Dagan
Associate Professor Jan E. Buhrmann
Assistant Professor Paul Fuller

The Department of Sociology, rooted in the liberal arts at Illinois College, is dedicated to developing students’ awareness of the interconnections between individual lives and the larger social context. Through our courses and faculty advising, we ask students to question the taken for- granted, by requiring them to examine the impact of society on individual choices, behaviors, and attitudes, as well as how patterns of individual choices, behaviors, and attitudes create the society in which we live. In addition, we encourage our students to recognize the ways in which their sociological knowledge is useful in understanding other disciplines in which they are participating.

A major in Sociology consists of a minimum of 40 semester hours and must include a general requirement of at least 32 hours as follows: SO 101; SO 210; SO 286; SO 384; SO 387; and SO 401; one course designated as a diversity course: SO 206, SO 302, or SO 307; and one course designated as a civic engagement course: SO 206, SO 337, or SO 343. The remaining 8 hours needed to fulfill the sociology major are electives. Here are a few examples of combining courses that will focus on the various subfields offered in the department:
  • Criminology: SO 341, 343, 344
  • Inequality/Stratification: SO 206, 302, 307
  • Family Studies: SO 224, 327, 338
Majors are also urged to complete courses in federal, state, and local government and in computer skills. These courses do not count toward fulfillment of major requirements.

A minor in Sociology consists of 20 hours within the department, including SO 101, one course designated as a diversity course from SO 206, SO 302, or SO 307; and one course designated as a civic engagement course from SO 206, SO 337, or SO 343. The remaining 8 hours needed to fulfill the sociology minor are electives. Students must earn a ‘C’ (2.0) or better in each course to be counted towards the major or minor.

SO 101 Introduction to Sociology (4)
This course is an introduction to the study of society, including the basic concepts of society, culture and personality, and their relationship to one another.

SO 206 Social Stratification (4)
This course is focused on the study of the major concepts, theories and findings regarding dimensions of social class in the United States. A major component of this course is service in one of many community organizations and therefore, this is considered a service learning course. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered every fall semester.

SO 210 Social Statistics (4)
This course introduces the student to the basics of social statistics-techniques which sociologists and other social scientists use to summarize numeric data obtained from censuses, surveys, and experiments. The topics include frequency distribution, central tendency, variability, probability theory, and estimation. The student will also learn how to test hypotheses for group differences in means (z test, t test) and for association between two variables (correlation, chi-square test). Offered every fall semester.

SO 218 Social Problems (4)
This course entails a sociological examination and analysis of selected social phenomena that are defined as social problems by a significant number of persons. The focus is on the various sociological theories utilized to understand social problems. The following problems are ordinarily studied: abortion, divorce, child abuse, spouse abuse, drug abuse, AIDS, homosexuality, environmental pollution, sexism, ethnic conflict, crime, educational problems, and social alienation. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered every spring semester.

SO 224 Family Relationships Across the Life Course (4)
This course covers various forms of the family in their historical and societal settings. Interpretation of the nature and meaning of marriage and family by the application of sociological theory and research is of special focus. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate fall semesters.

SO 260 Sociological Aspects of Deviance (4)
This course involves the study of the definition, identification, treatment, and control of types of legal, moral and status deviance, such as crime, mental illness, alcoholism, and other individual pathologies. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate fall semesters.

SO 280 Sociology of Sport (4)
This course approaches the understanding of sport by applying sociological theory and concepts. Specific issues that will be addressed include the history of sport in America, the centrality of sport to American culture, and how sport reflects and affects the structure of social class, gender, sexuality, and race in America. Prerequisite: SO 101.

SO 282 Social Psychology (4)
Prerequisite: SO 101. (See PS 282.)

SO 286 Introduction to Social Science Methods (4)
This course provides an introduction to social research from an interdisciplinary perspective, and examines a number of research methodologies that include both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Course objectives include gaining an understanding of the value and importance of social research, and learning to evaluate key components of research design. During the course of the semester, students initiate and develop a comprehensive research proposal integrating theory, data collection strategies, and ethical considerations. Prerequisite: SO 101 or PS 101. Offered every fall semester.

SO 302 Race and Ethnicity (4)
This course is a study of the social processes that create minorities and govern the interrelations between minority and dominant groups including both ethnic sub-societies and other socially differentiated collectivities that are stereotyped, stigmatized, and subjected to discrimination. A few specific topics will be chosen to focus on such as desegregation, multiethnic immigration, reparations, etc. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate spring semesters.

SO 307 Gender and Sexuality (4)
This course highlights the social construction gender and sexuality, and highlights how these concepts are intricately intertwined. This course will examine the history of gender sexuality and theories of gender and sexuality. A variety of topics may be chosen for inclusion by the instructor, such as gender and sexuality in the workplace and sexuality in the military, etc. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate spring semester.

SO 317 Environment and Society (4)
This course explores the relationship between human societies and the natural world. Examining the environment from a sociological perspective allows students an opportunity to consider ways that individuals and societies affect both the natural and built environments, and reflect on the influence of these environments on human communities. This course also provides an opportunity to: assess impacts of the built and natural environments on human behavior, social organizations, and social movements; examine the relationship of consumption patterns to existing environmental problems; explore the role of technology, both in creating and addressing environmental problems; and identify patterns of social organization and their impacts on resource use. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate spring semesters. (See EV 317.)

SO 327 Parenting (4)
A survey of the parent-child relationship from a sociological, psychological, and philosophical viewpoint is the focus of this course. Emphasis is placed on interpersonal relationships and communications skills. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered every third spring semester.

SO 337 Aging and the Life Course (4)
Patterns and problems of older persons in contemporary society with emphasis on analysis and treatment of problems experienced by the aging will be highlighted. Prerequisite: SO 101.Offered every third spring semester. (See PS 337.)

SO 338 Childhood and Adolescence (4)
This course examines the processes of childhood and adolescence within contemporary U.S. culture. Readings, discussions, and coursework focus on the evolution of childhood and adolescence and how these phases of the life course have been constructed and shaped by human societies, both historically and in the present day. This course involves a critical examination of the impacts of these social constructions to children and adolescents themselves, but also to parents, other family members, and peers, the society as a whole. This course also examines the two-way relationship between specific social institutions, and ways that these institutions both impact and are influenced by children and adolescents at this point in our culture. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered every third spring semester.

SO 341 Criminology (4)
Crime and delinquency as major forms of deviance; scope and distribution of crime and delinquency, and character of offenders; treatment of relevant theory as well as treatment, prevention, and control will be highlighted. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate fall semesters.
SO 343 Prisons and Institutions of Social Control (4)
This course will familiarize students with the treatment of adult offenders in detention and incarcerations in both short and long-term institutions. This course also emphasizes the analysis of punishment in our criminal justice system, with a focus on why we punish. This is all examined in the context of correctional philosophies, history and development of corrections, including relevant theories, practices, systems analysis, and treatment modalities. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate spring semesters.

SO 344 Juvenile Delinquency (4)
This course will focus on the nature, extent and causes of juvenile delinquency with attention also given to methods of prevention and treatment. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered alternate spring semesters.

SO 347 Alcoholism and Addiction (4)
This course will highlight various patterns of alcohol and drug usage, the problems of alcoholism and addiction, and treatment approaches used in dealing with these problems. Prerequisite: SO 101. Offered every spring semester. (See PS 347.)

SO 349 Environmental Health (4)
This course makes an in-depth examination of the relationship between human health and environmental degradation, focusing on the role of social values and decisions that have resulted in increasing levels of pollution, impacting air quality, water quality, solid waste issues, and climate change. Our examination will not be limited to environmental health issues in the U.S., but will consider impacts of environmental toxicity to cultures in other parts of the world, as well. Students will be required to think critically about the relationship between what we believe and value as human societies, and how those beliefs and values manifest in decisions that result in environmental disease and illness. Offered alternate spring semesters. (See EV 349.)

SO 365 Organization Theory (4)
A study of human behavior in organizations. The course seeks to develop an ability to analyze and evaluate organizational conditions. Emphasis on understanding the interaction between the individuals and the organization. Prerequisite: 200-level SO course. (See MG 365.)

SO 376 Sociology of Religion (4)
A study of the interrelationships of society, culture, and religion. Special emphasis given to the relationship of religion to social stratification, economics, and social change. Prerequisite: 200-level SO course. (See RE 376.)

SO 384 Data Collection and Analysis (4)
This course begins with a brief review of the basic assumptions, designs and ethics of quantitative social research. We will make an in-depth examination of both qualitative and approaches to data collection, and explore effective ways to analyze data collected from each of these methodological approaches. Students will collect and analyze data from their own original research projects, and develop a comprehensive research paper integrating all components of research design. Prerequisites: SO 101 and SO 286. Offered every spring semester.

SO 387 Sociological Theory (4)
This course focuses on understanding theories and concepts of sociological theory from Comte to the present. We will investigate the historical context in which Sociology developed, as well as how contemporary theory has built upon classical theory and how they all offer insight into social issues. Students will be asked to not only understand the theories themselves, but to engage in critiques of them as well as application of them to real-world issues. Prerequisite: SO 101, one 300-level SO course and junior standing. Offered every fall semester.

SO 401 Senior Seminar (4)
Senior Seminar is a capstone course for senior-level students. This course is designed to build upon, refine, and improve theoretical, research, and writings stills in the discipline for both future careers and graduate school. Classes will be spent engaging in peer and faculty mentoring, as well as career and professional development. Guest speakers will be invited to class and students will give presentations on the progress of their work. Generally, students will be asked to synthesize their previous coursework in Sociology (and other courses) to prepare them for the next stage of their lives. Prerequisite: one 300-level SO course. Offered every fall semester.

SO 403 Practicum in Applied Sociology (1 - 4)
This course is for the application of sociology theory and research methods to field work. Emphasis is on interviewing, data gathering, agency organizations, interrelationships, and of the evaluation of programs and approaches. Participation in these hours will be graded on a credit/ no credit basis. Prerequisite: one 300-level Sociology course and junior standing, or consent of the department chair.

SO 461, 462 Independent Study in Sociology (1 - 4)
This course provides the opportunity for junior or senior sociology majors to investigate a topic of
special interest by means of theory and research. Participation in these hours will result in a grade.
Prerequisite: one 300-level SO course and junior standing, or consent of the department chair.

SO 463, 464 Internship in Sociology (1 - 4)

SO 465, 466 Independent Research in Sociology (1 - 4)

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