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Sociology (B.A.)

Sociology prepares students to thrive in a complex world. Developing analytical skills enables our students to adapt to new situations, synthesize multiple perspectives, and work with others. Many of our students enter social justice-type careers with nonprofits or NGOs by pursuing jobs in local or international community development.

As a recent graduate told us:

“Marymount opened doors and presented opportunities that allowed me to grow and find my passion.”

Sociology Program Requirements and Information

Major Requirements

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Sociology Major requirements

(33 credits )
To fulfill the requirements of the major, all students in this program will take the following coursework in a sequence determined in collaboration with a faculty advisor. All students must also fulfill the Liberal Arts Core (LAC) and University requirements, most of the courses in the sociology program also fulfill LAC requirements.

  • SOC 131 Principles of Sociology
  • SOC 203 The Global Village
  • SOC 251 Working for Justice, Working for Change
  • SOC 350 Social Justice
  • SOC 351 Addressing Injustice: Research Methods
  • SOC 495 Senior Practicum
  • SOC 497 Community Engagement Experience
  • Four major electives:
    • SOC 200 Law and Society in Global Perspective,
    • SOC 204 Cultural Diversity,
    • SOC 261 Through the Sociological Lens I, 
    • SOC 306 Social Inequality in Arlington,
    • SOC 322 Racial and Ethnic Diversity,
    • SOC 361 Through the Sociological Lens II,
    • SOC 365 Gender Inequality in Global Perspective,
    • SOC 375 Topics in Human Rights,
    • SOC 385 Global Inequality and Community Development

Minor Requirements

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Five (5) courses or a total of 15 credits:

  • Two core courses (6 credits)

    • SOC 251 Working for Justice, Working for Change

    • Select one:  SOC 350 Social Justice
                            OR
       
                            SOC 351 Addressing Injustice: Research Methods

  • Select three electives:             

    - SOC 200 Law and Society in Global Perspective 
     - 
    SOC 204 Cultural Diversity 
     - SOC 261 Through the Sociological Lens I 
     - SOC 306 Social Inequality in Arlington 
     - SOC 322 Racial and Ethnic Diversity 
     - SOC 361 Through the Sociological Lens II
     - SOC 365 Gender Inequality in Global Perspective 
     - SOC 375 Topics in Human Rights 
     - SOC 385 Global Inequality and Community Development

Interdisciplinary minors

In addition, you can combine your sociology major with an interdisciplinary minor, such as:



 

Double-Majors

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With careful planning you can easily complete two majors within the 120 credits required for graduation. For example you can combine your interest in the major social challenges of our times such as immigration, human rights, cultural diversity, gender or racial inequality with other majors at the university.    

The following planning guides give you an idea of how this might work with other social science fields:

Talk with your advisor to ensure the proper sequencing of the requirements. ​  To read more about the potential of double majors, check out “Does it pay to get a double major in college?”  PBS NewsHour: Economy.  March 30, 2017.

Course Descriptions

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SOC 131 Principles of Sociology

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the discipline of sociology and explore the impact of social forces on everyday life. Students observe patterns of social behavior, consider how relationships among groups affect life chances, and explore the importance of culture and social institutions. Sociological insights are critical for an appreciation of diversity and to foster critical thinking. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: GP, SS-1. (3)

SOC 200 Law and Society in Global Perspective

This course offers an introduction to the field known as 'law and society' and explores the relationship between law and inequality. The sociological perspective on law is unique in that it calls upon us to critically examine the contexts in which law is practiced and developed. By taking a global perspective, we will compare how various social, cultural, political, and economic forces shape law formation, practice, and change in countries around the world. The course is framed around the following central questions: What are the major themes and debates that comprise this field of law and society? How does this perspective contrast with popular understandings of the law and its place in society? Can legal practice serve as an advocacy tool for social justice and social change or does the law simply serve to reproduce existing social inequalities? How does globalization influence the development and practice of law, globally as well as locally? Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-1. (3)

SOC 203 The Global Village

Globalization refers to the increasing connectedness of people around the world and has resulted from economic, political, and cultural exchanges that transcend national boundaries. Corporate growth, modern transportation, and technological innovation facilitate this connectivity. In this course, a sociological perspective will be used to examine how this increasing global interdependence impacts daily life. The degree to which social life still takes place within national borders will be analyzed and the meaning of citizenship in the new global village will be discussed. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: GP, SS-1. (3)

SOC 204 Cultural Diversity

The process of globalization increases our exposure to diverse cultures and ethnic traditions that characterize the peoples of the world. This rich diversity can form the foundation for addressing the global challenges we collectively face or can be viewed as a polarizing force that generates conflict. This course focuses on the key concepts and skills of inter-cultural communication and develops analytical tools from the social sciences for understanding how social identity shapes living and working in the global community. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-1, WI. (3)

SOC 251 Working for Justice, Working for Change

So you want to make a difference? But where to begin? This course examines a range of organized efforts to promote social justice and social welfare in contemporary society. The course identifies and surveys the major approaches to social change work, including direct service provision, policy advocacy, and popular organizing and mobilization. Sociology provides us the tools to better understand and compare these various models of social change. Developing a deeper understanding of these efforts and their theoretical foundations, will help assure that our attempts to 'make a difference' are done in informed and thoughtful ways. In this course, you will have the opportunity to volunteer and make site visits to nonprofit and governmental service providers, public policy and advocacy organizations, and social movement organizations, as well as hear from guest speakers. This course is designed for social science majors or others who are interested in working in local organizations to make a difference. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-1, DSINQ. (3)

SOC 261 Through the Sociological Lens I

This course is an introductory sociology class that focuses on applying sociological concepts to study abroad. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the discipline of sociology and the practical use of the discipline by exploring the impact of social forces on everyday life. Through the Sociological Lens I involves a focus on culture, diversity, and community using a sociological perspective. Students will also be introduced to basic qualitative sociological inquiry by applying visual research tools. Sociology broadens social insights, fosters critical thinking, trains students in methods of gathering and analyzing data, and helps students develop their writing skills. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: GP, SS-1, WI. (3)

SOC 306 Social Inequality in Arlington

This course examines how social class influences day-to-day life and how structural barriers can limit a person's life chances by focusing on those who live in the local community. Social class and inequality are central concepts in sociology that challenge the commonly held assumption that people who live in poverty are doing so because they make poor decisions or are unwilling to work hard. In studying social class, inequality, and stratification, students will gain an appreciation for the insights that come from systematic sociological research. Prerequisite: SOC 131 or SOC 203. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2. (3)

SOC 322 Racial and Ethnic Diversity

An examination of the various systems, structures, and processes that surround majority-minority relationships in various societies. Topics addressed include the social and cultural meanings of race and ethnicity and the social outcomes of contact, stability, and change. Prerequisite: SOC 131 or SOC 203. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2. (3)

SOC 350 Social Justice

This upper-division seminar presents a social science analysis of social justice using a series of case studies. Specific ethical dilemmas faced in contemporary society are investigated, with an emphasis on the key players and conflicting interests involved, as well as the social, economic, and political institutions that gave rise to these dilemmas. Contemporary and historical case studies focus discussion on the social context of issues such as the human rights of women, children, and refugees; economic justice associated with the international debt; and environmental protection. Prerequisite: SOC 131, SOC 203, or SOC 251. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2. (3)

SOC 351 Addressing Injustice: Research Methods

This course is an introduction to the methods that social scientists use to advance social change in an unjust world. Social science methods, such as interviews, observation, and focus groups can serve as tools for identifying unequal social patterns, raising awareness about unfair treatment, evaluating policies or programs, or informing the strategies we use to take action. The methods we will discuss in this class involve working with human participants and are the most commonly used in the work of nonprofit or government research studies. Prerequisite: SOC 131, SOC 203, or SOC 251. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, DSINQ. (3)

SOC 352 Addressing Injustice: Quantitative Research Methods

This course introduces the basic design of sociological research with a focus on the quantitative methods, procedures, and techniques appropriate to researching issues of social justice. Empirical data are fundamental to evaluating claims and challenging injustice. Our emphasis will be on choosing appropriate methods for analyzing data and using those methods to understand how statistical results can be applied to solving global problems. Students will share their research results using effective report writing skills. A primary goal of the course is to learn how to critically analyze sociological research. A secondary goal is to demonstrate how statistical data and quantitative methods can be powerful tools for addressing injustice as well as a marketable skill for the sociology major. Prerequisite: SOC 131 or SOC 203. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, DSINQ. (3)

SOC 361 Through the Sociological Lens II

Through the Sociological Lens II involves a focus on culture, diversity, and community. This advanced sociology class focuses on using visual research methods to gain a comparative perspective during study abroad. The purpose of this course is to enable students to gain practical experience using the discipline by comparing the impact of social forces on everyday life. Students will engage in qualitative sociological inquiry by applying visual research tools. Sociology broadens social insights, fosters critical thinking, trains students in methods of gathering and analyzing data, and helps students develop their writing skills. Prerequisite: SOC 131, SOC 203, SOC 261, or permission of the instructor. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, GP, WI. (3)

SOC 365 Gender Inequality in Global Perspective

What does it mean to be 'male' or 'female' in different countries around the world? How does being a man or a woman affect our life choices and economic opportunities? This course will address gender in a global context to appreciate how people's lives differ depending on gender relative to class, and cultural and racial heritage. Emphasis will be placed on using social science research to work for justice, addressing gender inequality in both global and local communities. Prerequisite: EN 102, and SOC 131 or SOC 203. Recommended: IS 200. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, DSINQ, GP, WI. (3)

SOC 375 Topics in Human Rights

Although a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was introduced by the United Nations in 1948, this was neither the beginning nor the end of the global dialog surrounding the rights associated with being human. This course provides a background on the social context from which this Declaration emerged, including some of the controversies associated with a claim of 'universality,' and focuses on one specific human rights topic such as human slavery, migration and citizenship, or food security. Existing social science scholarship will be applied to the analysis of a case study, with a focus on evaluation of global to local connections. Prerequisites: SOC 131, SOC 203, SOC 204, or permission of the instructor. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, GP. (3)

SOC 385 Global Inequality and Community Development

Why is inequality so severe in the world today and what can we do about it? The course explores how global inequality is conceptualized, where it comes from, and what consequences it has for peoples and places around the world. The course also looks at efforts by ordinary people, NGOs, and official development agencies to undermine global inequality and ameliorate its harshest effects. Students are introduced to various examples of contemporary community development initiatives and the impacts of these attempts to improve the living conditions for the world's least powerful. Students will identify promising ways to address global inequality and to act as responsible global citizens in the world today. Prerequisite: SOC 131, SOC 203, SOC 204, or permission of the instructor. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: SS-2, GP. (3)

SOC 400 Internship

During the senior year, students are placed with community-based organizations to apply sociological skills to social justice issues. This community-based learning experience is intended to help students make connections between the local and global, as well as gain an appreciation for how to make a difference by working for justice and working for peace. The internship is a required course for the sociology major and can lead to employment upon graduation. Fall semester only. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: EXP, WI. (3)

SOC 421 Project

Research of an original topic in sociology in collaboration with or under the direction of a faculty advisor. The project is intended to demonstrate ability to conduct and report independent research. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. (1-3)

SOC 433 Research

A student in this course will conduct collaborative research (scholarly work leading to new knowledge) under the direction of a faculty member. Prerequisite: application and approval of department chair. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: EXP. (1-6)

SOC 495 Senior Practicum

This capstone course provides students with an opportunity to engage in conversations and apply their sociological imagination to current events. In addition, students will practice academic and professional skills when working on a community-based research question or topic. The Senior Practicum is designed to build on prior coursework and open to sociology minors who successfully complete the prerequisites. Successful completion of all assignments is required to pass the course. Prerequisites: SOC 251, SOC 350, and SOC 351. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: DSINQ, WI. (3)

SOC 497 Community Engagement Experience

This senior-level seminar is an opportunity to learn by 'doing sociology.' Students apply the sociological skills developed in previous courses to contemporary issues. Making connections between the local and global and appreciating diverse perspectives for achieving social justice become important analytical skills needed when working in community-engagement settings. With guidance from an academic advisor, students select the path that best meets their career goals: an internship placement, a research experience, or a teaching apprenticeship. Class sessions are spent sharing experiences and discussing sociological insights in a seminar format. This course is a required course for the sociology major and open to sociology minors. Prerequisites: SOC 251, SOC 350, and SOC 351. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: EXP, DSINQ. (3)

Transferring Students—Pathways & Info

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The Sociology Department welcomes transfer students!  We work with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to make your transfer process an easy transition.  MU has articulation agreements with local community colleges and transfer policies that will ensure you get all eligible credits from your prior academic work. 

How many credits can you transfer to Marymount?

Marymount accepts a maximum of 64 credit hours from freshman and sophomore level courses and an additional 20 credit hours from junior or senior level courses. Marymount generally accepts credits for courses completed with a grade of C or higher at other regionally accredited institutions of higher education. For more details on our current transfer policies, see the Marymount University Undergraduate Catalog.

Our Faculty

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Leticia Nkonya

I am passionate about sociology and its ability to explain how structures in the society impact both the individual and the society, how the structures in a society work together and change, and the impact of that social change. We live in a global and changing community, so I am privileged to be part of the process that prepares students for a lifetime of change by inspiring, challenging, and nurturing them to discover their purpose and develop their maximum human potential. This includes equipping them with the tools they need to be critical thinkers who can challenge not only their own knowledge and beliefs, but also those of others, and to critically address the complexities of different social issues facing their local community and the world in general.

 

Matt Bakker - Chair, Sociology Department

Matt Bakker

Why do I love teaching sociology? The continual engagement with young people as they embark on their journey into adulthood fills me with hope and excitement about the future. I enjoy introducing students to sociology and accompanying them as they acquire a new, more critical perspective on the social world they inhabit and remake on a daily basis. More than anything, I relish the discipline's transformative potential, its ability to present students with alternative modes of thinking- and being-in-the-world, to encourage them to critically examine existing social conditions and imagine how things could be different.  I consider myself quite lucky to return year after year to this space where the bright-eyed energy of youth combines with the transformative power of sociology.
 
Currently, I’m working on research projects focused on local efforts to resist federal deportation policies across the United States and on urban development projects and displacement in the DC metro region. What fascinates me about this research is that it helps us to better understand how communities respond to adversities and work to create local social structures and relations that foster justice, inclusion, and community well-being. 

Delario Lindsey

Teaching sociology (or any subject for that matter), begins with a genuine love for the field. But, I believe in order to be an effective teacher of sociology, one must be genuinely willing to engage in a constant struggle with the concepts, theories, and methodological approaches that make up the discipline we know today.  Like society itself, sociology is always changing.  This means that teaching sociology, and teaching it well, requires an instructor to be comfortable in the role of student.  As a proud ‘learner’ of sociology, my most recent explorations have taken me into the area of housing inequality, and community displacement in the greater Washington, D.C. area.


Janine DeWitt

Learning isn’t a spectator sport – you can’t sit on the sidelines and expect to understand the world in which we live! Rather than just reading about the work that sociologists do, I want students to get a feel for doing sociology, to discover the ways our lives are shaped by the social relationships that we often take for granted. At Marymount, our students bring a global perspective to the classroom. Together we strive for intellectual excellence by analyzing issues from diverse perspectives, considering views of people from all walks of life, and giving voice to those who are marginalized.  More often than not I learn from my students, getting a new perspective by seeing the world through their eyes. Our conversations spark intellectual curiosity and challenge us to value the insights that come from our differences and thinking beyond those cultural and geographical boundaries that define our comfort zones.

Erica Lesto

I have often been asked why I left a different social science to pursue a career in Sociology and the answer is simply this; Sociology is such a powerful science because it can expose so many truths about the real workings of societies both domestically and globally. Sociology looks at the big picture of the issues that make most of us uncomfortable and pulls the veil off, revealing the facts that we all need to grow and change for the overall betterment of humankind. Sociology has allowed me to find the answers to the questions I have had regarding inequality and marginalization, gender, sexuality, identity, and social performativity. A recent graduate, I have found that I have an even greater passion for teaching and continuing my research in topics that are connected with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  I incorporate feminist, queer, and intersectional theories within my research and practice as a new and very excited sociologist on a new journey in higher academia. I am also a Marymount Saint and a veteran of the United States Army.

Leszek Sibilski 

I am a firm and passionate believer that the theories presented through instruction must meet the realities of the world and be able to stand the test of compelling classroom discussion. As an instructor, I strive to bring to my classroom: enthusiasm, energy, and perhaps a bit of eccentricity that result in lasting intellectual excitement. I include in my presentations extensive empirical experience, expertise, and every now and then, breaks for exercise. It is important to me that my classes are educationally enriching, enlightening, and I hope that sometimes they are even entertaining. As a professor who gives his best, I also expect the best from my students in return.

Studying Abroad

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Sociology majors often take advantage of study abroad opportunities available at Marymount.  We closely with Marymount's Center for Global Education (CGE) to offer a variety of study abroad experiences, including the Global Classroom Series  and the Short Term Summer Programs.

Some recent sociology study abroad courses include:

  • Amsterdam: Through the Sociological Lens (Spring 2014)
  • Kenya: Addressing Injustice (Summer 2014)
  • Belize: Through the Sociological Lens (Summer 2015)
  • France: Diversity, Community and The Church (Summer 2015)
  • El Salvador: The Global Village (Spring 2016)
  • Groningen: Through the Sociological Lens (Spring 2017)

Global learning on campus


The Sociology Department offers another exciting global learning experience.  Students can take a globally networked class that connects faculty and students who are located in another country.  In collaboration with partners at Hanze University of Applied Science, Dr. Janine DeWitt and her colleague, Loes Damhof, have pioneered this form of global learning by offering The Global Village. This course is taken simultaneously by  students at both universities.  The professors and students meet together for presentations and guided discussions, sharing their observations of globalization in the communities where they live, work, and play.  Through these exchanges students on both sides of the Atlantic gain a deeper understanding of globalization, identify its different impacts on people within their communities, and build valuable career skills by working on intercultural teams.  Plans are underway to expand our globally networked classroom offerings.  Stay tuned!

Dr. DeWitt’s The Global Village course was designed as part of the Collaborative Online International Teaching project (COIL) at the Global Center of the State University of New York.  In addition, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities recently mentioned this global networked classroom experience on its list of the “Ten ways that Catholic higher education lives the vision of Gaudium et Spes.” 

Sociology Internships

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The nearby resources of Washington, DC offer abundant and exciting career  opportunities for sociology majors. Sociology majors gain practical work experience by completing one of two options during their senior year: an internship (SOC 400) or a community engagement project (SOC 497). 

 

SOC 400 requires students complete a semester long placement for 120 hours of supervised work and the related academic requirements.  SOC 497 requires students complete ten week placement for a minimum of 80 supervised hours and the related academic requirements.  Working with their advisor, students select the placement that best meets their career goals.

 

Recent internship placements include:

  • Bonder & Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation

  • Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter

  • Tenants and Workers United

  • Community Gardens, D.C.  Department of Parks & Recreation

  • Offender Restoration of Arlington

  • Northern Virginia Family Services

  • The Shepherd Program Internship Program

  • Earth Day Network
  • 3greenmoms
  • Youth Service America
  • Separated Children Seeking Asylum Service - Dublin, Ireland

Teaching apprenticeships: Developing information literacy lesson plans for sociology students;  Support strategies for international students.
 

Research experience: Inclusionary local immigration policy; Nature writing with women in the Philippines.

 

3+3 Law Program for Sociology Undergrad Students

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A partnership agreement between Marymount University and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (CUA Law) makes it possible for eligible students pursuing Sociology to receive direct admission to CUA Law after successful completion of three years of undergraduate study.  Interested students should meet with their advisors as soon as possible to review program requirements and fit.

 

3 + 3 Advantage

Students who pursue a Sociology degree will be able to use their first-year law school courses at CUA Law to fulfill the required fourth-year coursework at Marymount. First-year law school credits will be accepted by Marymount to complete the student's bachelor's degree.  3 + 3 students can earn their bachelor's degree and their Juris Doctor (J.D.) in only six years.  

3 + 3 Eligibility

Third-year Marymount students who are pursuing a Sociology degree will be eligible for direct admission to CUA Law by having:
  •     Completed at least three (3) years of coursework  
  •     Earned a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.60 by the end of their junior year
  •     Scored above the 66th percentile on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  •     Remained in good academic and disciplinary standing; and
  •     Met all of the fitness, character, and other criteria for admission required by the Office of Admission of CUA Law

About Our Department

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“That ALL may have life, and have it to the full”
 RSHM 

Faculty in the Department of Sociology at Marymount University value diversity and will foster inclusive classrooms in which all students — independent of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or immigration status —contribute to classroom activities, and become engaged members of our university community. In our curriculum and in our teaching, we challenge individual and systemic discrimination, and we evaluate the role that historical injustices continue to play in our communities. By promoting mutual recognition and respect across our differences in the classroom, we hope to better understand the world from multiple perspectives ourselves, and to cultivate that understanding in our students. Valuing our differences makes it possible for us to address the vexing social challenges we face today.

 



Make the difference. Build communities.

Address the major social challenges of our time:

Sociology prepares students to adapt to new situations, work with others, and become engaged community members.  Our applied sociology program at Marymount focuses on addressing inequality and achieving justice in a world of diversity and difference. Unlike other sociology programs, all of our required courses contribute to this departmental focus.

A recent graduate told us:  

“Studying what is going on around the world as a sociology major, you discover how you can make a change.”

Choosing Sociology


 



Sociology. Differently.

The world is our classroom...

As a community of students and faculty, we share the common interest in understanding global connections and the benefits of using our knowledge about cultural diversity to address these and other issues.  Your coursework will focus on the contemporary social challenges in immigration, human rights, cultural diversity, gender and racial inequalities, and community development. 

A recent graduate told us:
 

“…while it’s a small program on campus that’s a positive because we become like a family and have become closer with our professors.”

Learn more


 



Careers for Difference-Makers

How students can use their sociology degree

Sociology students develop critical reasoning, data collection and analysis skills, and foundational knowledge for working with diverse communities. These in-demand, transferable skills prepare students for a range of job settings working in government service, community development or  urban planning. Students graduating with a Marymount sociology degree seek careers that will affect change on a global scale.

 

 

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