Sociology Curriculum

Sociology is the systematic study of human interaction within society. It differs from other social sciences by its focus on human groups, and the influence of structured patterns of social interactions on human groups and the individuals within them.

Sociologists examine all forms of group-related behavior from riot to religion, debutantes to delinquent gangs, and warfare to welfare.

The Juniata sociology curriculum takes advantage of the college’s liberal arts context to promote critical thinking and analysis skills that are essential both for students pursuing a wide range of career opportunities and for students who move to graduate education settings.

The sociology curriculum introduces students to both descriptive and analytical methods to study such social phenomena as:

  • Social institutions of religion, economy, politics, education and family
  • Multicultural and intergenerational interaction
    Inequalities of social class, race, ethnicity and gender
  • Social stratification or layering of our society based on wealth, power, prestige
  • Social deviance
  • Dynamics of large scale social change

Many sociology students at Juniata choose to design individualized Programs of Emphasis that take full advantage of a multidisciplinary application of their interest in sociology, combining it with other academic or career interests.

Students who choose to participate in internship and research experiences gain a full appreciation for the value of thinking sociologically in a variety of settings and occupations.


SO-101   Introduction to Sociology (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,SW-US) The study of human social groups and the social processes that lead to both structural and cultural integration and differentiation primarily within contemporary American society. Pre-Req or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

SO-199   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Offered at the discretion of the department to qualified students Topic titles may vary from semester to semester and more than one may be offered per semester. Note: Students may take each ST: course for credit.

SO-203   Minority Experiences (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) An exploration of the factors that shape the experiences of minority group members in both domestic and global contexts. The social processes that functions to construct minority identity among racial, ethnic, gender, and ability groups are studied. Prerequisites: SO101 or AN151.

SO-204   American Families (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Examines the structure and functions of the family as a vital social institution. Particular emphasis is placed on emerging trends within the family including dual careers, non-traditional families, divorce, and conflict management. Prerequisite: SO101 or AN151.

SO-241   Child & Family Services (Spring; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S) An overview of child and family services policies and practice. Primary emphasis is on the dynamic interaction between the child, family, community and social service delivery system. Service areas are explored including abuse and neglect, adoption, foster care, status offenders, and special needs of children and families. Prerequisites: SO101 or AN151.

SO-242   Aging & Society (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Analyzes the physical, psychological and social processes involved in aging, and the societal response to aging. Prerequisite: SO101 or AN151.

SO-243   Death & Dying (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,SW-ER) This course introduces and explores cross-cultural attitudes, ethical dilemmas and the existential challenges of death and dying. Topics of the course include: self-examination of death attitudes, exploration of death customs and rituals, an overview of the dying process, exploration of difficult topics surrounding death and grief and bereavement. Pre-Req or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

SO-244   Drugs and Society (Spring; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S) This course explores the history of substance abuse, models of addiction, physiological effects of commonly abused substances and treatment effectiveness. Some of the programs that will be examined include the 12-step program. Prerequisites: SO101.

SO-245   Cross-Cultural Perspectives Family Dev (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,WK-SI) Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Family Development: This course provides a theoretical, functional, and research-informed approach to studying family life from a cross-cultural perspective. Issues related to marital relationships, parenting styles, work-family life balance, family communication, sexuality and gender, domestic violence, family stress and coping, and aging are addressed using cross-cultural comparison, including comparisons between indigenous and non-indigenous cultures. Pre- or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

SO-260   Introduction to Criminal Justice (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Explores the nature of crime, the history of criminal justice, and the process of the modern justice system. Prerequisites: SO101 or AN151.

SO-299   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Offered at the discretion of the department to qualified students Topic titles may vary from semester to semester and more than one may be offered per semester. Note: Students may take each ST: course for credit.

SO-302   Social Deviance and Criminology (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Examines contemporary psychological and sociological theories of behavior deviation, including crime, delinquency, substance abuse and selected other categories. Typologies for classifying and studying crime are developed and evaluated. Trends in behavior deviation, including the characteristics of offenders and victims, are critically explored. Informal and formal, as well as proactive and reactive, social control systems aimed at managing behavior deviation are described and analyzed. Prerequisites: SO101 or AN151.

SO-305   Gender and Society (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course is designed to explore the history and discourse related to the experiences and sociological definitions of gender roles across global and domestic contexts. Students will participate in critical analysis of the scholarship of gender roles using classical and contemporary works. The course will explore domestic and international experiences of men and women in biological, cultural, economic, environmental and political contexts. Prerequisites: SO101 or PY101.

SO-320   Wealth, Power, & Society (Fall; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S,CW) An investigation of the stratification of American society. The roots and repercussions of social inequalities are studied with special emphasis given to inequalities relating to social class, race, ethnicity and gender. Social structures through which these inequalities are sustained are critically examined. Prerequisites: SO101 and Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing.

SO-335   Social Change (Spring; Variable; 3.00 Credits; S,CW) Exploration of causes and consequences of social change. Forms of social change are examined through case study analysis of significant economic and political developments, revolutions and wide-spread shifts in normative social patterns and their socially constructed meanings. Forces that drive social change will be studied, including changing demographics and technological innovation, as well as social movements and other intentional efforts to stimulate change through human agency. Prerequisites: SO101 and sophomore, junior or senior standing.

SO-350   Social Movements (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) This course provides a comprehensive critical analysis of collective action and social movement in global society. The course explores sociological literature on social movements and collective behavior. Students will produce a final video exploring a modern social movement. Students' projects will include the selected movements' history, leadership and membership, the impact of new media, public policies impacting the movement. Prerequisites: SO101 and SO, JR, or SR standing.

SO-362   Juvenile Justice (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; CW,S,SW-ER) The issues, trends, and challenges facing juvenile justice professionals are explored in this course. The history and philosophy of juvenile justice, processing, detention, and diversion of juvenile offenders are topics of the course. Pre-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109.

SO-399   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer special topics not normally offered. Departments may offer more than one special topic. Prerequisites vary by title.

SO-401   Sociology Senior Seminar (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Sociology Senior Seminar is the capstone course for students who have focused their academic work in the sociological discipline. The course provides an opportunity for students to apply key curricular components previously explored during their undergraduate sociology coursework. The course is a designated service learning and experiential learning course. Students will assume substantial responsibility for the exploration of materials and presentation of those materials to their student colleagues. Students will also interact with campus and community partners during the semester. The course uses a student-led seminar format, coupled with community engagement and service learning components. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

SO-492   Sociology Internship (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-9.00 Credits; S) Minimum GPA of 2.50 and good academic standing required for internship eligibility. Development of internship proposal must occur a minimum of six weeks prior to start of internship. Corequisite: SO495. Prerequisite: 2.50 GPA, Permission and Junior or Senior standing.

SO-495   Sociology Research/Seminar (Fall & Spring; Yearly; 2.00-6.00 Credits; S) Requires students to reflect on the internship experience and pursue research related to the placement. Corequisite: SO492. Prerequisite: by permission.

SO-499   Special Topics (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer subjects not on the normal schedule. Prerequisites vary by title.

SO-ADVANCE   Completion of Advanced Studies At: Participating International Programs: Muenster, Lille, Bockholt, Lincoln, Marburg (Variable; Variable; 45.00 Credits)

SO-TUT   Sociology Teaching Assistant (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits) Individualized study wherein the instructor designs the course in consultation with the student and is responsible for its administration. In the Tutorial, the instructor and student work closely on a regularly scheduled basis involving discussions, demonstrations, explanations and evaluations.