Psychotherapist uses puppetry to bear witness to current events
Major in Sociology
The ways of the world.
Whether on Clark’s campus or in communities around the world, constantly evolving social dynamics impact each of our lives in powerful and sometimes hidden ways. As a sociology major, you will learn to reveal these social dynamics. You’ll study broad social processes — global dynamics, stratification, social movements, etc. — and explore diverse institutions, from the law and medicine to family and religion. Along the way, you’ll acquire conceptual and analytical tools that will enhance your understanding not only of your own life, but also of the world in which you live.
At Clark, our approach to studying sociology is grounded in empirical social science and classical theoretical traditions. You’ll put theory into action through a range of hands-on experiences, from internships and research projects to volunteer and study abroad opportunities. Because our students and faculty are deeply concerned about everything from criminal justice reform to social policies affecting immigrants, families, children, and the elderly, you’ll be part of a compelling learning community where you can both satisfy your intellectual curiosity and make a commitment to change our world for the better.
Why Study Sociology at Clark?
- Gain valuable hands-on experience through internships at vital nonprofits and regional institutions such as the Worcester Division of Public Health, Massachusetts Department of Corrections, and other organizations promoting positive change.
- You can choose to focus on a particular area, like law and social control, medicine and community health, or immigration and globalization.
- Take advantage of funding opportunities, like the annual Ross Social Justice Summer Internship Stipend — which provides $2,500 for students to complete research or an internship with a social justice organization.
Your Will. Your Way.
The Major Path
Courses in the sociology major examine a wide array of social processes, such as social stratification, social movements, and social change. Through the investigation of social institutions, you will acquire the conceptual and analytical tools to enhance your understanding of not only your own life, but also the world.
As a sociology major, you will be required to take 11 courses, which include three required foundation courses, two research-related courses, and a capstone seminar that includes a significant research component. Students who share interest in a topic not included in the curriculum may propose a seminar/reading group and meet with a faculty member on a weekly basis. For example, students organized a seminar on the sociology of disability studies.
Although we do not have specific tracks within the major, we do have concentrations in the areas of law and social control; medicine and community health; and immigration and globalization. In each of these areas, students can take two or more courses, which often culminate in a capstone experience involving research or an internship.
The Addams-Mills 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.
Qualified students can apply for membership in Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society. Alpha Kappa Delta sponsors annual student paper contests, presenting awards that include monetary prizes, travel support, and scholarships. In addition, by funding research symposia and honoraria for guest speakers, the society supports chapter activities that further education.
Skills you will learn include:
- Critical thinking
- Writing and communication
- Quantitative literacy
- Comparative analysis
- Logical reasoning
During your junior year, you might be accepted into the sociology honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice. Examples of recent honors theses topics are:
- Racialization of Asian and South Asian International Students in the United States
- The Ambiguity Paradox of Queer-Ass Folk: Problems, Solutions and Costs of Queer Identity
- What Makes a Woman?: A study of Ladies’ Home Journal and Its Constructions of Femininity from 1950 to 2012
- Consumerist Frames and Pornographic Products: College Students and Views on Pornography
- Leaving Orthodoxy: A Study of Religious and Cultural Transformation
Building your foundation
The Clark Experience
We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.
We’ve Got It Covered
American Jewish Life
What is Jewish and what is American about American Jews? How do they compare with other ethnic groups? Explore these questions along with related topics like immigration, economic mobility, gender and intermarriage.
Sport and Society
Explore sport as a product of culture. See how it reinforces and challenges understandings of race, gender, social class, and sexuality, and how globalization has [re]shaped sport in local and global contexts.
Community and Health: Nonprofit Grant Writing
Learn about philanthropy and grant writing while partnering with a local community health organization. The work of you and your classmates will result in funding being awarded to a real organization.
Punishment Politics and Culture: The New Jim Crow
Why do young African-American males make up a disproportionately large number of those imprisoned in the U.S.? Investigate mass incarceration using a variety of sources, and reflect on the meaning of punishment.
Explore what this department has to offer