The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Major Requirements

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

Students can enroll in the major at anytime by meeting with an advisor.

Please go to our advising page to learn about our advising hours and appointments.

The Basics

- Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of C (2.0) in their Sociology classes.
- Students must take at least six (6) courses within the UMass Amherst Sociology Department.
- Students must take at least forty (40) credits in Sociology.
- To count for the major, all courses in Sociology must be graded (not Pass/Fail).
- Only one (1) 100-level course may count toward the major.

The Required Courses

Check SocOnline for more information about the department's online course offerings, 

Sociology majors usually begin the major with a 100-level course.

The following 100-level courses are regularly offered:

- SOCIOL 103 Social Problems (also online)
- SOCIOL 105 Self, Society, and Interpersonal Relations
- SOCIOL 106 Race, Gender, Class, and Ethnicity (also online)
- SOCIOL 107 Contemporary American Society (also online)
- SOCIOL 110 General Introduction to Sociology (also online)

All students must take the following four (4) courses:

  • SOCIOL 212 Statistics (also online)
    (accepted courses include PSYCH 240, RES-ECON 211 or 212, STATISTC 111 or 240)
  • SOCIOL 213 Data Collection and Analysis (also online)
  • SOCIOL 301 Writing in Sociology​ (also online)
    (Junior Year Writing Requirement)
    Must be taken junior year!
  • SOCIOL 302 Sociological Theories and Perspectives (also online)

It is expected that SOCIOL 212 and 213 be taken during the sophomore year and SOCIOL 302 during the junior or senior years.

Distribution Requirement

(Applies to students entering after 5/31/2011.)

Take at least one course from each of the following areas:

Crime, Law, and Deviance

SOCIOL 218 The Law, Logic, and Social Science of Courtroom Evidence (new course Spring 2019)
SOCIOL 241 Criminology (also online)
SOCIOL 242 Drugs & Society (also online)
SOCIOL 248 Conformity and Deviance (also online)
SOCIOL 252 Intro to Human Rights
SOCIOL 323 Sociology of Law (also online)
SOCIOL 342 Deviance & Social Order
SOCIOL 343 Hate Crime in America
SOCIOL 344 Gender & Crime
SOCIOL 345 Juvenile Delinquency (also online)
SOCIOL 346 Communities & Crime
SOCIOL 347 Corporate Crime
SOCIOL 349 Race, Class, and Crime
SOCIOL 350 Policing and Surveillance
SOCIOL 364 Sociology of Mental Health (also online)
SOCIOL 391B Black and Orange
SOCIOL 392A Race, Class, and Crime
SOCIOL 392J Race & Policing (online only)
SOCIOL 394F Crime & Forensics (online only)
SOCIOL 395K Domestic Violence (online only)
SOCIOL 397CL Criminal Legal System (online only)
SOCIOL 397CP Crime and Public Policy (online only)
SOCIOL 397GF Gender, Crime, and Family (online only)
SOCIOL 397MC Mass Incarceration in the U.S.A.
SOCIOL 397PA Probation and Parole
SOCIOL 497S Surveillance and Society

Culture, Organizations, and Institutions

SOCIOL 204 Labor and the Global Economy
SOCIOL 220 Sociology of American Culture
SOCIOL 222 The Family (also online)
SOCIOL 223 Work and Society
SOCIOL 261 Population Studies (also online)
SOCIOL 271 Global City
SOCIOL 281 Society and the Individual
SOCIOL 287 Sexuality and Society (also online)
SOCIOL 291F Sociology of Higher Education
SOCIOL 292W Labor & Work in the U.S.
SOCIOL 297F Food as Culture
SOCIOL 297W Intro to Social Welfare (online only)
SOCIOL 321 Sociology of Religion (also online)
SOCIOL 322 Sociology of Education (also online)
SOCIOL 325 Political Sociology
SOCIOL 331 Food and Labor
SOCIOL 341 Social Welfare
SOCIOL 351 Social Network and Analysis
SOCIOL 352 Media, Technology, and Sociology
SOCIOL 353 Sociology of Medicine (also online)
SOCIOL 356 Social Forces, Health, and Lifecourse
SOCIOL 382 Sociology of Childhood (also online)
SOCIOL 384 Sociology of Love
SOCIOL 386 Complex Organizations
SOCIOL 389 Sexuality by the Numbers
SOCIOL 393E Economic Sociology
SOCIOL 397AM Asylums, Madness, and Mental Illness (online only)
SOCIOL 397ED Sociology of Eating Disorders
SOCIOL 397J Sociology of Aspirations (new course Fall 2019)
SOCIOL 420 Getting a Job: Social Forces Behind Modern Economy
SOCIOL 424 Sex Work in Global Perspectives
SOCIOL 492P Civil Resistance and Social Change

Social Inequality and Diversity

SOCIOL 224 Social Class and Inequality (also online)
SOCIOL 225 Sociology of Revolutions
SOCIOL 240 Sociology of Asian American Experience
SOCIOL 244 Sociology of Immigration (also online)
SOCIOL 245 Race and Society (also online)
SOCIOL 262 Globalization and Inequality
SOCIOL 283 Gender and Society
SOCIOL 288 Introduction of Latin American Culture
SOCIOL 291E Social Change in the Middle East
SOCIOL 292A Age and Society
SOCIOL 297S Sports, Labor, and Social Justice (new course Fall 2019)
SOCIOL 316 Environment and Society
SOCIOL 326 Asian Americans in Media and Pop Culture
SOCIOL 328 Introduction to Social Work (also online)
SOCIOL 329 Social Movements
SOCIOL 330 Asian Americans and Inequality
SOCIOL 334 Sociology of International Disasters
SOCIOL 335 Radical Movements
SOCIOL 357 The Wire and Urban Inequality
SOCIOL 360 Urban Sociology
SOCIOL 361 Demography of Minority Groups
SOCIOL 381 Racism at Work
SOCIOL 385 Gender and Family
SOCIOL 388 Gender and Globalization
SOCIOL 391C Consumption and Inequality
SOCIOL 391V Aid & Activism: International Development
SOCIOL 392D Survey of Sex/Social Demography of Sexuality
SOCIOL 394A Asian and Black Relations
SOCIOL 394W Gender and Work
SOCIOL 397CT Introduction to Caribbean Thought
SOCIOL 397K Youth, Social Inequality
SOCIOL 461 Seminar on Race and Racism

Intercultural/International Course

(Applies to students entering UMass Amherstin Fall 2018 or later.)

Students choose one of the following options:

- Three (3) credits in foreign language.
- Three (3) credits from study abroad.
- A departmental course designated as intercultural/international:

SOCIOL 204 Labor and the Global Economy
SOCIOL 220 Sociology of American Culture
SOCIOL 240 Sociology of Asian American Experience
SOCIOL 244 Sociology of Immigration
SOCIOL 245 Race and Society
SOCIOL 252 Intro to Human Rights
SOCIOL 261 Population Studies
SOCIOL 262 Globalization and Inequality
SOCIOL 271 Global City
SOCIOL 283 Gender and Society
SOCIOL 287 Sexuality and Society (also online)
SOCIOL 288 Introduction of Latin American Culture
SOCIOL 321 Sociology of Religion
SOCIOL 330 Asian Americans and Inequality
SOCIOL 334 Sociology of International Disasters
SOCIOL 343 Hate Crime in America
SOCIOL 360 Urban Sociology
SOCIOL 382 Sociology of Childhood
SOCIOL 388 Gender and Globalization
SOCIOL 397CT Introduction to Caribbean Thought
SOCIOL 424 Sex Work in Global Perspective


NOTE: Students who entered UMass Amherst Before Fall 2018 must complete the SBS Global Education Requirement.

AND twelve (12) additional credits of Sociology electives at the 200-level or above. Eight (8) of your elective credits must be at the 300-level or above.