Academics

SOCIOLOGY
Professor Kelly A. Dagan
Associate Professor Janet E. Buhrmann
Assistant Professor Paul Fuller
Visiting Instructor Amy McCombs
 
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:
Criminal Justice: 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 alternate spring semesters.

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 alternate spring semesters.
 
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. Offered alternate spring semesters.
 
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. Offered fall
semesters. Prerequisite: SO 101 or PS 101 (previously PS 201).
 
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 fall 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 fall 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
fall 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. (See PS 347)

SO 349 Environmental Health (4)
This course introduces a range of environmental health issues, and asks students to think
critically about the relationship between social values, beliefs, and environmental quality as it
relates to illness and diseases resulting from environmental degradation. The course also focuses
on issues of environmental justice, food culture, and other aspects of the social world as they
relate to issues of human health. (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 370 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.
 
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 or SO 130, SO 286, and one 300-level SO course. Offered alternate spring semesters.
 
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: one 300-level
SO course and junior standing.
 
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 fall semesters.

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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