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Sociology

Sociology | Courses | Faculty

Criminal Justice Program


722 Thompson Hall

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Gene Fisher

Office: 724 Thompson

Phone: 545-4056

Web site: www.umass.edu/sociol

Head of Department: Professor Randall Stokes. Chief Undergraduate Adviser: Gene Fisher. Professors Anderton, Chilton, Clawson, Demerath, Faulkner, Fisher, Gerstel, Harris, Lewis, Model, Platt, Sutton, Tessler, Zussman; Associate Professors Hurn, Irvine, Mehta; Assistant Professors Babb, Brandon, Budig, Gupta, Misra; Instructor Lao-Montes.

The Field

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 problemsócrime, drug addiction, and poverty, for exampleóthey 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.

The Sociology major provides the foundation of a broad liberal education, but it also prepares students to undertake rewarding careers. In addition to graduate work in the social sciences, sociology majors go on to graduate study in social work, law, and education, and to careers in business as well as in the human and social service professions and in the criminal justice system. The sociology major does not provide social work or criminal justice training, but it develops knowledge and skills useful for students who will enter careers in those fields.

The Major

Students interested in the major are encouraged to contact the department directly, or to visit our Website at www.umass.edu/sociol. New majors are accepted during the following periods: from October 1 through the end of pre-registration in the fall semester, and March 1 through the end of pre-registration in the spring semester. The Sociology major requires a minimum of 30 credits, including the following:

1. One introductory Sociology course (chosen from SOCIOL 102 through 120). This is required for progressing to other courses for the major. Note: Only one course at the 100 level will count toward major requirements. Sociology majors may count no more than two such courses toward their University graduation requirements.

2. 201 Theories and Perspectives

3. 212 Elementary Statistics. This requirement is waived for students who have taken an equivalent statistics course in another department.

4. 210 or 211 Data Collection and Analysis

5. 301 Writing in Sociology

6. At least four Sociology courses at the 200 level or above in one of the following areas of concentration: Social Research and Data Analysis; Criminal Justice (additional requirements apply to this concentration. See description of the Criminal Justice Program at the end of the section); Social Service; Social Inequality and Diversity; and Culture, Organizations, and Institutions. Courses required by each concentration are found in the department's Guide to Undergraduate Studies, available in the Undergraduate Office, 722 Thompson, and on the department Web page.

6. At least two other Sociology courses at the 200 level or above.

Note: A maximum of five courses transferred from other institutions may be accepted toward satisfaction of major requirements.

Students may meet with an adviser upon entering the major to discuss concentration choices. The Chief Undergraduate Adviser will meet with students wanting to develop their own area of interest using the Individualized Concentration.

Most students consult the Chief Undergraduate Adviser for academic issues but any students who prefer can be assigned a faculty adviser of their preference upon becoming a major.

Available in the undergraduate office is a guide to undergraduate studies. It includes a list of all sociology courses; all sociology faculty with their telephone numbers, offices and research interests; descriptions of our internship and honors programs; and descriptions of special programs in Criminal Justice, Population Studies, and Pre-Social Work/Social Welfare.

Career Opportunities

Sociology is a liberal arts major that provides an opportunity to study society objectively and systematically. It is designed to serve as the centerpiece of a broad liberal education. Although the major does not constitute occupational or professional training, the concentrations provide an excellent background for entry into a variety of occupations and careers. Students interested in employment in a government or state agency that administers social services, for example, might be interested in the department's course offerings related to social services. Courses related to criminal justice are useful preparation for a career in law enforcement or as a probation or corrections officer. Those thinking of a career in research, whether in government or private industry, can gain important knowledge and skills in courses in social research and analysis. Concentrating on courses related to social inequality and diversity may also appeal to those interested in social service careers, as well as to those interested in fostering social change. Courses in cultural organizations and institutions offer exposure to an array of contemporary issues and social institutions, and may appeal to students with a wide variety of career interests. The Sociology major affords preparation for graduate school in many fields as well as for employment in the public or private sectors.

Attractive job opportunities as well as a path to graduate education are open to those electing to earn an Undergraduate Certificate in Population Studies along with their Sociology major in a program sponsored in the department. This program prepares students for careers in which demographic knowledge is applied to a variety of social issues and problems in the society. Opportunities involving estimating and forecasting features of population and in the analysis of the effects of population developments on social policies appear to be increasing. Positions in federal and state government are numerous, and rising interest in this work is found in business organizations and in local communities.

The department also offers two special programs that lead to letters in Social Welfare/Social Work and in Criminal Justice. These letter programs require that students gain more intensive knowledge of the social welfare and criminal justice systems than is usual for majors, and serve as introductions to careers in these areas.

For students contemplating graduate school the major is an appropriate preparation for a considerable variety of graduate programs and professional schools; in public administration and government, city and regional planning, social work and social administration, education and educational administration, law and criminal justice, political science, economics, psychology, and sociology itself.

The Minor

Requirements:

At least 15 credits in sociology

Only one 100-level course can be applied to the Sociology minor.

All courses applied toward the minor must be taken on a graded basis.

At least three 3-credit Sociology courses at this University must be among the courses applied toward the minor.

Sociology | Courses | Faculty