Sociology

People walking

The Undergraduate Sociology Program: Goals and Requirements

The Sociology Departments offers a major, minor and electives for undergraduates.

The Department has two principal missions. The first is disciplinary and involves introducing students to the theoretical and methodological content of sociology. The second addresses the general education goals of a liberal arts program of study. Sociology is a broad field unified by its theoretical attention to history, culture and social structure and their effects on human behavior. Although there is substantial variation in method and perspective, at Clark we offer an approach to the discipline that is largely grounded in empirical social science and classical theoretical traditions.

Departmental Learning Outcomes

  1. To be able to explain or predict empirical phenomena with reference to a theoretical model.
  2. To be able to identify, compare, and contrast basic theoretical orientations in the discipline.
  3. To be able to identify, compare, and contrast basic Methodological approaches.
  4. To be able to design a research study in an area of choice and to explain why various methodological decisions were made.
  5. To be able to critically assess the methodology of sociological research and to explain how the study could be
    improved/strengthened.
  6. To be able to identify and explain the historical and cultural variation in defining categories such as race, class, gender, and age.
  7. To be able to discuss the social processes that produce difference and inequality at different levels and scales. This includes
    the institutional, cultural, and structural mechanisms that create and sustain inequality.

Internships

Internship placements for Sociology students can be found in a variety of areas, those of which include Criminal Justice, Elderly Services, Health Related Services, Media, and Women's Services and Programs. Some specific programs and agencies that sponsor student internships are the Public Defender's Office, Worcester Juvenile Probation Office, The Age Center of Worcester, Kulin Adult Day Health Center, American Civil Liberties Union, Abby's House (shelter for homeless women), Daybreak (battered women's services), Planned Parenthood, legislator's offices and the City Planning Department. For a more extensive list of agencies that offer student internships, please consult the Career Services Office, 122 Woodland Street.

Directed Readings and Projects

Students may take up to two full course credits in Directed Readings or Special Projects or some combination of the two in any given semester. There is no limit to the total number of such courses that may be counted toward the B.A. degree.

Addams-Mills Award

In 1983-84, the Sociology Department established the Addams-Mills Award. This award is given annually to honor one or two graduating sociology majors who exemplify the community service ideas of Jane Addams, a founder of community-based social work and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the intellectual tradition of C. Wright Mills, an outspoken sociologist and critic of American power structures.

Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society

The Department of Sociology has been accepted as a charter member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society. The purpose of Alpha Kappa Delta is to promote human welfare through the association of a fellowship group interested in developing scientific knowledge that may be applied to the solution of social problems. Student scholarship is recognized by Alpha Kappa Delta in several ways. The Society sponsors student travel to regional meetings, supporting those who want to present their own work and learn from the scholarly presentations of others. The Society sponsors annual student paper contests, presenting awards which include monetary prizes, travel support, and scholarships. In addition, by funding research symposia and honoraria for guest speakers, the Society supports chapter activities which further education.

Senior Honors Thesis

The senior thesis is intended to give the exceptional student an opportunity to pursue an intensive course of independent study under the direction of a Department faculty member. The course culminates in a thesis completed during the senior year.

Thesis projects vary from highly theoretical to heavily empirical, but all theses are expected to provide a critical overview of the relevant literature in the discipline, provide a well-defined problem raised by this literature, and engage in the rigorous analysis of the question. Through the research process students demonstrate a mastery of the discipline by exceeding the expectations of regular course work and directed readings.