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Southern Oregon University

Program Strengths

The well-educated sociology major acquires a sense of history, other cultures and times; the interconnectedness of social life; and different frameworks of thought. He or she is proficient at gathering information and putting it into perspective. Sociological training helps students bring breadth and depth of understanding to the workplace. A sociology graduate learns to think abstractly, formulate problems, ask appropriate questions, search for answers, analyze situations and data, organize material, write well, and make oral presentations that help others develop insight and make decisions. Sociology majors have an advantage in understanding human behavior on three levels:

  • how individuals behave in organizations, families, and communities
  • the ways in which these social units function as groups
  • the wider social, political, and economic contexts in which decisions are made and in which groups function.

When we ask sociology majors who are already employed outside academic settings to reflect on their education with the wisdom of hindsight, they value most highly their undergraduate courses in social research methods, statistics, and computer skills. These courses help make sociology undergraduates marketable, especially in today's highly technical and data-oriented work environment. In addition, sociology majors develop analytical skills and the ability to understand issues within a "macro" or social structural perspective. Learning the process of critical thinking and how to bring evidence to bear in support of an argument is extremely important in a fast-changing job market.

Consequently, as a sociology major, you have a competitive advantage in today's information society. The solid base you receive in understanding social change--as well as in research design, data analysis, statistics, theory, and sociological concepts--enables you to compete for support positions (such as program, administrative, or research assistant) in research, policy analysis, program evaluation, and countless other social science endeavors.

Vintage school bus photo

Research and Community-Based Learning

Practicum experiences at organizations throughout our region can bring to life the sociological concepts and theories you study in books and in the classroom. You can sample potential careers, build your resume, and learn new skills during a well-chosen internship experience. Participation in an practicum affords an excellent way to explore career options and help determine what aspects of sociology interest you.

A wide range of practicum placements are available to sociology undergraduates. Whether you enjoy working with families or learning more about statistical methods to track population growth, you can find an organization that will give you the opportunity to gain experience while you work toward their goals. Sociology majors often combine work and volunteer experiences with sociological analysis to earn practicum credits.  Some sociology courses include a community-based learning experience so that students have practice in applying sociological concepts, methods, and theories.

Linking to Other Majors and Minors

You can amplify the power of your sociology major by taking a multidisciplinary approach. Employment analysts predict that the most successful people will be those who have been exposed to a wide variety of disciplines and have taken the time to study in some depth outside their field.

You can begin the process of multiplying your perspectives as an undergraduate major in sociology by planning a double major. Or, you can take a minor or concentration in education, international studies, or women’s studies --just to name a few possibilities. Work with your advisor to develop an integrated set of courses that will provide depth in one or more areas.

Adapting to Change

Where students once thought in terms of one career, now an increasingly complex technological and global economy often requires people to pursue a series of careers. Most young adults will explore more than one option before settling on a clear path, and older students may find themselves re-tooling with sociology after a successful career in another field. A liberal arts education and a major in sociology provide the flexibility necessary in today's employment market. Graduate work in sociology can help others shift gears mid-career.

Solid training in sociology at the undergraduate or graduate levels forms a foundation for flexible career development. The better your training and the more skills you have acquired, the better you will be able to take advantage of new opportunities. Sociology offers a rich source of conceptual frameworks into which the most pressing issues of our times can be placed, and a powerful set of methodological tools with which to study them.


BA or BS in Sociology

Becoming a Sociology Major

Students interested in majoring in sociology should first meet with a faculty member to dicuss the program and the major requirements.  Students who then decide to pursue the major should apply to the department when they have completed approximately 48 credits and most lower division University Studies requirements.  Application forms are available from the department faculty, and the completed application materials may be turned in to any faculty member.  To be accepted as a major, students must have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 in SOC 204 and 205; completed University Seminar (or received credit for equivalent courses from institutions previously attended); and fulfilled their Quantitative Reasoning University Studies requirement by taking MTH 243 or EC 232.  Transfer students must provide GPA evidence from their previous institutions.  The department notifies students who have succeeded in becoming majors.  Some upper division courses in the field are restricted to majors.

Degree Requirements

1.Fulfill baccalaureate degree requirements as stated in the SOU catalog.

2) A minimum of 56 credits in sociology; 48 credits must be upper division and 8 credits lower division.  Of the 48 upper division credits, 24 must be upper division elective.  All credits counted toward the major must be taken for a letter grade, except practicum.

3) Research and Writing requirement: SOC 301, 326, 327

4) Quantitative Reasoning component: MTH 243 and EC 232

5) An average GPA of 2.5 or higher and a minimum grade of C- in all sociology and anthropology courses.

Interdisciplinary Major Emphasizing Sociology

As with the sociology major, students who wish to obtain a baccalaureate degree in interdisciplinary studies with sociology as a major field must apply to the department by submitting a personal statement describing their goals for the major, evidence of a cumulative GPA of 2.7 in Soc 204 and 205, and proof of having completed University Seminar and Mth 243 or EC 232. Transfer students must provide GPA evidence from their previous institutions. All candidates work with an advisor from the department at the time of application. The department notifies applicants if they qualify as interdisciplinary degree students with a primary field in sociology. Some sociology courses are restricted to majors and interdisciplinary degree candidates with sociology as the primary field.


The sociology capstone requires students to bring sociological expertise to bear on selected social issues. This is usually done in a seminar in which students review writing, research, and current controversies in the field and apply their expertise to individual research and analysis of selected issues or social problems.