The goal of sociology is to understand how the social world works. Sociologists study people in all sorts and sizes of communities, from couple relationships to whole societies and even groups of societies. We seek to understand what leads to consensus and conflict, whether within relationships, families, neighborhoods or whole societies. We examine work settings, health care institutions, social service agencies, and other organizations, asking how they influence employees, clients and/or customers. We study individual experiences in order to understand how discrimination, immigration, and the class structure influence such things as health and illness, educational achievements and frustrations, occupational possibilities, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

If you choose to study in this department, we will help you to develop what C. Wright Mills called a "sociological imagination." This way of looking at the world will help you to understand how social order and personal problems interrelate — how larger social forces shape the course of our individual lives. It will also help you to analyze people's lives in the historical contexts in which they are being lived, encouraging you to make sense of the social pressures surrounding both your own life and the lives of others in whom you have an interest. Sociology has the power to transform people, and many of these people go on to transform society.

Our department includes six full-time faculty and many other adjunct faculty. Currently, about 150 students major in sociology with another 40 opting for the criminal justice minor. Faculty expertise lies in many areas including criminology, race relations, social policy, gender, medical sociology, education, aging, urban problems, demography, developing countries, and the family. Many faculty members are engaged in research and consulting in their areas of expertise. The department of sociology is located on the second floor of Wheeler Hall.