Course Descriptions

A list of all Undergraduate courses in Sociology.
Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this department with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C– or better in the prerequisite course.

Lower Division

2 Introduction to Sociology
Sociological theory, methods and the sociological perspective are studied. This perspective enables students to see how the self, human behavior and attitudes are shaped by social structures and institutions, e.g., social class, popular culture, and the family. The social world is re-examined (social rules, deviance, gender, inequality, the economy, etc.).

4 Social Problems
An overview of the causes, characteristics, and responses to social problems in the United States. Topics such as crime, substance abuse, racism, ageism, and family instability are studied through the sociological framework.

Upper Division

All upper-division courses have a prerequisite of Sociology 2, Sociology 4, or the consent of the instructor.

101 The Sociological Imagination
This course will reinforce and expand upon many of the concepts you have been introduced to in lower division courses. We explore the basic theoretical perspectives within sociology, the use of theory in sociological research, the logic of sociological research and introduction to methodological approaches used by sociologists.

111 Sociology of Families
A concentration on modern, westernized societies where kinship and marriage are still the basis of society yet are undergoing significant changes.

112 Race and Ethnicity
This course presents sociology’s key concepts and theories in the study of race and ethnicity. Focusing primarily on the U.S., this course looks at the cultural and social constructions of race and ethnicity.

114 Urban Studies
Traces the development of modern communities, ranging from suburbs to the megalopolis. Studies the benefits and problems of contemporary urban life and projects future trends based on sociological models.

115 Wealth and Poverty

This course offers and in-depth study of wealth, poverty, and the economic system in which they are grounded in the United States. Toward this end, students will apply various theoretical frameworks on economic inequaity to current social problems in order to evaluate each framework's explanatory power. Further, students will critique past and current programs for lessening the impacts of poverty and use this knowledge to imagine and critique possible future policies.

116 New Immigrants and Refugees
Looks at the attitudinal and legal reactions to immigrants and refugees in the United States in this century. Emphasis is placed on the new Americans, why they are coming, and how they differ from earlier migrants. Special attention is given to the impact of new immigrant groups in California.

118 Health and Illness
Presents social and cultural factors influencing health and illness. Looks at the roles of health care professionals, patients, and medical settings in our society. Discusses the relationships between the current health care system and the political and economic system.

120 Social Movements and Social Change
Each course focuses on one or more social movements, which are collective actions aimed at social change. The course addresses factors that can bring about social movements and determine their success or failure.

122 Education, Culture, and Society
Examines formal education from a sociocultural perspective. Provides students with an understanding of the concepts of schooling and learning, of culture and culture reproduction, the linkages of education to other social institutions, the school as a social organization, and the role of education in the transmission of culture and social change. Emphasis is placed on the political, religious, ethnic and economic aspects of education shown by ethnographic studies of schooling in the United States and cross-culturally.

123 Ethnic Groups in the United States
Each course in this series looks at one of the following American ethnic groups: Latino, Asian American, African American. While emphasizing the contemporary period, each course focuses on the social, cultural and historical experiences of each group. Areas covered are assimilation and resistance, distribution in the social and power structure, family systems and cultural values, labor and migration, role of religion, status of women, etc. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

124 Justice and Community
Addresses the use of state power in the carrying out of crime control, retribution and the over-all protection of the community. The course has three main parts: a theoretical look at how we have ended up with the justice system that we have today; the practice of justice through field studies on police, courts, and prisons; and an in-depth investigation into an area of criminal justice of current relevance (such as “Three Strikes,” the expansion of prisons, or race and justice).

125 Gender and Society
While sex differences are biological, gender encompasses the traits that society assigns to and inculcates in males and females. This course studies the latter: the interplay between gender and society. It takes an inclusive perspective, with a focus on men and women in different cultural contexts defined by ethnic group membership, sexuality and socioeconomic status.

126 Field Experience
Opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience conducting sociological analysis in the field. Supervised work in community agencies, government bureaus, museums, and political or industrial organizations.

128 Crime and Delinquency
The course addresses different theoretical and sociological approaches to crime, follows changes in these approaches over time and looks at how these changes reflect broader shifts in our comprehension of human nature and behavior. Students gain insights not only to changes in the understanding of crime but also to changes in our fundamental view of human behavior.

130 Sociological Theory
Analysis of the works of major theorists who have influenced sociology. Emphasis on explaining what is essential about particular theoretical frameworks, how they can be used, and why they should be studied. Students must have completed Sociology 2 and Sociology 101. This course should be taken in the senior year.

132 Sociological Research Methods
Logic of research procedures and the theoretical and practical issues arising from sociological research. Skills and methods of designing and analyzing research explored in readings and exercises. Design of an original research proposal. Students must have completed Sociology 2 and Sociology 101. This course should be taken the last semester of the junior year or in the senior year.

133 Senior Thesis
Continuation of Research Methods course where honor students undertake individual research, culminating in the senior project. This should be taken in the senior year. A faculty sponsor is required. 

134 Contemporary Social Issues
Each contemporary social issues course concentrates on one particular social problem in the United States today. Areas covered include racism, classism, sexism, ageism, poverty, environmental degradation as well as deviance. Among the topics covered in regard to these issues are causation, stratification of resources, distribution of power and attempts to resolve these problems. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

135 Special Topics
Special topics in sociology include such issues as international race relations, criminology and emotion, sociology of disaster, sociology of film, and other topics. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

195 Special Study Internship
This course is usually taken by an upper division student who wishes to complete his/her education with related work experience and is maintaining at least a C average. In addition to work experience (6-8 hours per week), outside research and a term project are usually required. Sponsorship by a sociology faculty member and approval of the department chair is required.

197 Independent Study
This course entails independent study or research for students whose needs are not met by courses available in the regular offerings of the department. The course usually requires the writing of a term project. Sponsorship by a sociology faculty member and approval of the department chair is required.

199 Special Study - Honors
This course is only available to upper-division majors with a B average or higher and entails independent study or research under the supervision of a sociology faculty member. Approval of the department chair is required.