University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Sociology



Major in Sociology

The field of sociology studies virtually every aspect of human society: the family, gender, race and ethnic relations, aging, education, work, population, and many others. Its principle goal as a discipline is to understand the workings of human society and to explain social behavior. Although sociologists do study what are commonly regarded as social problems — crime, drug addiction, and poverty, for example — they also examine fundamental social processes present in any society: social change, conflict and inequality. Sociology is less concerned with finding practical solutions to social problems than with achieving a fundamental understanding of the social world.

Enrollment in the Major

Normally, students may enroll in the major the day after the current semester’s add/drop deadline through the 6th Friday after the add/drop deadline. New and transfer students may enroll when they matriculate, during orientation, or when they first arrive on campus.


Department of Sociology • Thompson Hall • University of Massachusetts–Amherst, MA 01003