Academic Catalog

Department of Sociology

Bachelor of Arts

Alicia Swords, Professor and Chairperson

Students pursuing a degree in sociology in the School of Humanities and Sciences explore the complex dynamics that exist between individuals and the social forces and institutions that shape them.

How do societies change? What makes social order possible? What are the sources of conflict in society? How is power exercised and how is ideology used to control people? How do people organize to create change? How do racial and ethnic prejudices develop and become entrenched in society? How do we define human sexuality and sexual norms? How has the family unit evolved?

These are the kinds of questions students grapple with in courses in the sociology major at Ithaca College. In the process, they come to a deeper understanding of their own values and societal roles and begin to see how they can effect changes in individual behaviors and in society at large.

Faculty in the sociology department work closely with students to help them develop skills in writing and analysis, literature review, and research methods. All students develop their own research projects, may complete internships in real-world settings, or collaborate with faculty on independent studies or summer research.

The Departments of Sociology and Psychology are also partners in offering an interdisciplinary minor in counseling (see Counseling Minor in the Interdisciplinary Studies section). To complete the minor, students take courses in both departments; the minor also has a required internship component to provide practical, applied experience.

Individualized Study Opportunities

Research and hands-on experiences are provided in some departmental courses or can be pursued as independent study or tutorial projects. Independent study experience is arranged between the professor and the student and approved by the departmental Curriculum Committee. Some examples include projects on ethnic conflict in the Virgin Islands, food justice in the Southern Tier, transphobia in the southern US, racism and reparations, and trauma among social workers.


Internships are intended to provide students with a supervised and structured real-world experience. These are arranged by students and specific agencies in communities around the country, though most usually in the Tompkins County area. The sociology department believes that internships provide an opportunity to obtain work experience, apply classroom learning, and to analyze the social and political context of the specific agency. Field placements are available in a variety of local settings, including the Ithaca Youth Bureau, Southside Community Center, Tompkins County Social Services, Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca, lawyers' offices, Offender Aid and Restoration, and local juvenile institutions.

SOCI 10100 Introduction to Sociology (LA)

Basic scientific concepts related to social systems, recurring social processes, cultural factors, and social factors in the development of personality. Also offered through the London Center. (F,S,Y)
Attributes: SO, TPJ
4 Credits

SOCI 20200 Women in Britain (LA)

Examination of the various social, historical, political, and economic factors that affect the position of women in contemporary Britain. Comparisons are drawn with specific issues in other Western countries. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course in any of the following departments: ANTH, CMST, CSCR, ECON, EDUC, GERO, HIST, PHIL, POLT, PSYC, SOCI, WGST. Offered only through the London Center. (F,S,Y)
Attributes: 1, DV, INBG, SO2, SS, WGS
3 Credits

SOCI 20300 Juvenile Delinquency (LA)

Analysis of juvenile delinquency and its social reality. Systematic examination of issues in defining and measuring delinquency, theories of cause, gang behavior, the juvenile justice system, and issues and alternatives in response and treatment. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 20700 Race and Ethnicity (LA)

Critical analysis of race and ethnic relations in the United States from assimilationist, pluralist, and Marxist perspectives. Comparative analysis of black, Latino, and white racial/ethnic experiences. Examinations of race and ethnicity as dimensions of social stratification and control. Specific concepts include prejudice, discrimination, institutional racism, internal colonialism, and ethnic identification. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 20800 Social Change (LA)

Analysis of evolutionary and revolutionary social change from the perspective of critical sociology. Topics include the types of groups that mobilize for change, recruitment of new members, ideologies of groups, and leadership styles. Particular U.S. social change movements examined include labor, civil rights, antiwar, welfare rights, women's movement, and the new right. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 20900 Sociology of Education (LA)

This course examines the role of education and the structure of educational institutions (including colleges and universities) in American society and studies the process by which skills, cultural norms, and cultural views are transmitted. It also explores the distribution of educational opportunity. These issues are dealt with at the level of the classroom, the school, and the community. The latter part of the course focuses on possibilities for change in the educational system. Prerequisites: One course in the liberal arts. (IRR)
Attributes: DV
4 Credits

SOCI 21200 Changing Contours of Work (LA)

Consideration of the changing composition and organization of work and the impact workplace practices have on individuals and the larger social order. Examination of gender, race, class as intersecting with jobs and careers. Students research their own intended professions and consider how job demands in the new economy may affect their lives and those of others. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
Attributes: DV, SO, SO3, TPJ, WGS, WGSC
4 Credits

SOCI 21300 Sociology of Sexualities (LA)

Examination of how sexuality is defined in our society, stressing that it is cultural as well as biological and often defined in oppressive ways. Students investigate how the intersection of gender with capitalism, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation has a strong impact on the definition of sexuality. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
Attributes: CNSL, DV, SO, SO4, TIDE, WGS, WGSI
4 Credits

SOCI 21400 Definitions of Normality (LA)

Critical, analytical study of what it means to be outside the limits of society and of the processes that define normality in particular historical moments. Study of exclusion and normality focuses on those defined as "bad" (criminals, delinquents, sexual outsiders, addicts), "mad" (mental patients), "sad" (blind, deaf, physically different), and "awe-ful" (freaks). Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
Attributes: DV, SO4
4 Credits

SOCI 21700 Mental Health in Historical and Social Contexts (LA)

Explores the historical and contemporary contexts of mental health and distress from both sociological and psychological perspectives. Examination of the social construction of mental health through time, and consideration of how social and cultural factors such as race, class, and gender intersect with diagnostic paradigms and clinical treatment models employed by practitioners. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (F,S,Y)
Attributes: CC, DV, SO1
4 Credits

SOCI 22000 Sociology of Aging (LA)

This course presents the prominent sociological theories and research about aging and the ways in which the experience of aging is socially constructed. Cross-listed with GERO 22000. Students may not receive credit for both SOCI 22000 and GERO 22000. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course in any of the following departments: ANTH, CMST, CSCR, ECON, EDUC, GERO, HIST, PHIL, POLT, PSYC, SOCI, WGST. (F,Y)
Attributes: CNSL, DV, SO3, SS
3 Credits

SOCI 22300 Rich and Poor in the U.S. (LA)

Examination of the causes and consequences of class inequality in the U.S. today. Explores how class is defined, how it functions, and how it is sustained across generations in a purportedly democratic and meritocratic society. Applies a sociological perspective to this exploration, with a focus on the growing gap between rich and poor and the impacts of inequality on daily lives. Prerequisites: One course in the liberal arts. (Y)
Attributes: CNSL, SO
4 Credits

SOCI 22800 Men's Lives (LA)

Sociological analysis of manhood. Consideration of the dynamics of race, class, historical moment, fatherhood, and sexuality in defining and structuring men's lives. Sociological concepts such as the social construction of gender, ideology, patriarchy, power, roles, and socialization are employed in developing an analysis of men and masculinity. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
Attributes: SO4, WGS, WGSC
4 Credits

SOCI 24200 Research Design (LA)

This course prepares students for more advanced coursework by focusing on the research methods used by sociologists. Topics covered include the scientific method and its application to the social world (including theory building and hypothesis testing); quantitative and qualitative research methods (including their differences and appropriate uses); the relationship between empirical questions and research methods; conducting systematic observations and recording data (including sampling); causality; and research ethics. Students will engage in hands-on practice via several small research projects to practice research methodologies introduced in the course. Prerequisites: 2 courses in SOCI. (F,Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 25000 Gender, The Environment and Global Change (LA)

Explores interconnections between gender and the environment. Studies patriarchy, colonialism, capitalist development, globalization, and environmental crises. Special focus on case studies of social movements that challenge gender hierarchies and environmental degradation, including feminist, indigenous, and environmental justice movements. Prerequisites: One liberal arts course. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 25300 Sociology of Health and Illness (LA)

Examines health and illness from a sociological perspective. Includes understanding how health and illness are socially distributed, how the meanings of health and illness vary by culture, and how people experience health and illness similarly and differently at the intersection of their race, class, and gender locations. Prerequisite: One liberal arts course. (Y)
Attributes: DV, LMEL, LSCO, SO2
4 Credits

SOCI 30500 Practicum in Social Change: Urban Mentorship Initiative (NLA)

An academic mentorship program that offers students the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary coursework and field-based service-learning aimed at supporting underserved youth in their pursuit of higher education. Course includes required participation in a two-day trip (Friday to Saturday) to a partner school. This course is a cross-listed course; students cannot receive credit for both SOCI 30500 and CSCR 30500. (F,Y)
3 Credits

SOCI 31100 Sociological Theory (LA)

Analysis and evaluation of some theories of society. Development of a critical framework within which to generate hypotheses of social structure and social change. Emphasis is placed on the historical and contextual nature of theory. Prerequisites: Two courses in SOCI. (F,Y)
Attributes: SS
4 Credits

SOCI 31700 Sexuality and Health (LA)

This course explores the intersections of sexuality and health and focuses on both as social concepts. We will investigate the manner in which sexuality and health are shaped by individual, social and cultural factors and how ideas about our bodies and our sexuality are related to ideas about our health. Prerequisites: Two courses in Sociology. (F,Y)
Attributes: SS
4 Credits

SOCI 32100 Punishment in Public Schools (LA)

Examines the social, historical, and political underpinnings of the mass enforcement of zero-tolerance school policies in the U.S., and the resulting creation of punitive schooling regimes. Explores the political and economic contexts of 20th-century punitive school disciplinary policies through a critical framework grounded in contemporary social theories of discipline, power, and academic distinctions. Special attention is paid to issues of race, class, and gender inequality and the administration of discipline across social groups and geographic locales, as well as to alternatives to punitive school policies. Prerequisites: Two SOCI courses. (IRR)
Attributes: CNSL, LXME, SO2, SS
4 Credits

SOCI 32500 Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality (LA)

This course is taught from the perspective that race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect to form a matrix of domination. The course is designed to help students develop the analytical tools needed to understand this perspective and apply it to specific situations, case studies, or fictional characters. Students will also be encouraged to focus on both privilege and oppression and how they interact with each other. Prerequisites: 2 courses in SOCI. (Y)
Attributes: SO2, SS, WGS, WGS3, WGSI
4 Credits

SOCI 32600 Social Movements (LA)

This course examines the emergence, achievements, failures, and possibilities of social movements in the United States and other countries. Through cases studies, historical documents, and ethnographies, students learn about peoples' struggles in the context of global capitalism, including liberation movements of people of color, workers, women, and indigenous people; they also learn about the lessons these movements offer for social change efforts today. Prerequisites: 2 courses in SOCI. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 32700 Work and Family (LA)

Analysis of the impact of work on family dynamics and the impact of family factors on work orientation. Topics include the roles and socialization of provider and homemaker, typologies of work and of family experience, and work and family in various historical periods and classes. Focus on dual-career families and policies regarding work and family. Prerequisites: 2 courses in SOCI. (Y)
Attributes: DV, SO3, SS, WGSC
4 Credits

SOCI 32900 Health and the Family (LA)

Examines the meaning of health and illness in the family context and against a shifting backdrop of family policies, healthcare values and goals, and intersecting inequalities. Investigates how we define family and health, how marital status affects health, how health is negotiated among family and community members, and how inequalities shape health opportunities. Includes in-depth interviewing to apply course concepts to one’s own health status and family dynamics. Prerequisites: 2 SOCI courses. (IRR)
Attributes: CNSL, SS, WGSC
4 Credits

SOCI 34100 Minorities in the United Kingdom (LA)

A study of ethnic groups in the U.K. (including Indian, black, Cypriot, Irish, and Jewish). The course examines patterns of immigration, integration, and conflict. Comparisons are drawn with minorities in other countries. Prerequisites: One course in SOCI and one liberal arts course in any of the following departments: ANTH, CMST, CSCR, ECON, EDUC, GERO, HIST, PHIL, POLT, PSYC, SOCI, WGST. Offered only through the London Center. (F,S,Y)
Attributes: DV, H, INBG, SS
3 Credits

SOCI 34200 Data Analysis (LA)

Data Analysis introduces students to how sociologists use quantitative and qualitative data to study social phenomena. Quantitative topics include: data management, variable structures, numeric and graphic displays of data, univariate analysis, and bivariate analysis. Qualitative topics include: data management, reading interview transcripts and fieldnotes, positionality; open and focused coding, content analysis data rubrics, analytic memos, applying sociological concepts/theory to analyze qualitative data, and report writing. Prerequisites: SOCI 24200. (S,Y)
Attributes: QL, SS
4 Credits

SOCI 36200 Not For Sale? The Moral Limits of Markets (LA)

This course foregrounds the intersections of markets and moral norms in the context of contemporary capitalism in the United States. Explores how markets mediate ordinary actions in everyday life, from how people feed and dress themselves to where they live and work, and even to how they travel, play, and care for each other. Examines the moral limits of markets by exploring whether there are cultural boundaries beyond which buying and selling become taboo. Prerequisites: Two SOCI courses. (IRR)
Attributes: SS
4 Credits

SOCI 36300 Mass Incarceration in The U.S. (LA)

Examination of the phenomenon of mass incarceration in the United States through a sociological lens, with focus on underlying social, political and economic causes. Explores the prison as a physical site of confinement and punishment, disproportionate impacts of the criminal justice system on low income, African American and Latinx communities, and the enduring consequences of incarceration on individuals, families, and communities, from limited labor market options to felony disenfranchisement. Prerequisites: Two SOCI courses. (Y)
Attributes: SO3, SS
4 Credits

SOCI 40100 Community Organizing (LA)

Designed to teach students about a range of approaches to community organizing. Exposes students to theories of organizing and requires practical fieldwork with a community or campus organization in which classroom instruction, information, and insights are tested and improved. Prerequisites: Three courses in SOCI. (IRR)
Attributes: CNSL, SS
4 Credits

SOCI 40300 Inquiry and Action for Social Change (LA)

Experiential learning opportunity to engage in community-based research to address community needs and issues, such as poverty, hunger, or racism. Working in project-based research teams, students collaborate with representatives of community organizations to design and carry out projects, applying quantitative and qualitative skills as well as theoretical concepts drawn from participatory action research, feminist research, popular education, and reflective inquiry. Skills developed include team building, data analysis, and assessment in the context of cross-cutting concerns of power, inclusion, cross-cultural competency and ethics. Prerequisites: 3 courses in SOCI. (Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 40500 Surveillance and Society (LA)

Examines the complex ways in which surveillance technologies and societies (both past and present) interact to produce security, fear, power, and social control. Applying a variety of theories of surveillance, the course investigates surveillance technologies across multiple spheres, including state-building, the workplace, the domestic sphere, and online. With a particular focus on the impact of surveillance on class, gender, and racial formations, students analyze diverse media, including film, reality TV, and social media, to understand perceptions of safety, danger, and the normalization of surveillance technologies in day-to-day lives. Prerequisites: 3 courses in SOCI. (IRR)
4 Credits

SOCI 40600 Sociology of Money (LA)

Explores how to think sociologically about money, value, and capital by examining the social nature of money, its relationship to power and social order, the source of its value, and how it becomes capital. Topics include the difference between tips, gifts, and bribes, and between allowances and salaries, and the larger question of the seemingly magical power of money, whether viewed as a harbinger of freedom or the root of all evil. Prerequisites: Three courses in SOCI. (IRR)
Attributes: SS
4 Credits

SOCI 40900 Skills for the Helping Professional (NLA)

This course introduces students to theory and practice of psychotherapy and other professional helping relationships. Students learn about counseling, assessment, ethics, and helping skills. This course emphasizes basic and specialized skills necessary to function effectively in a helping relationship. Emphasis is placed upon understanding the nature of the helping process in a practical and applied way. Professional helping is explored in the context of cultural competency and a biopsychosocial viewpoint. Self-exploration and some level of self-disclosure are required inasmuch as effective counseling requires the ability to understand oneself and to articulate personal feelings. Prerequisites: SOCI 21700; PSYC 32100; and PSYC 34100 OR PSYC 34200 (courses may be taken concurrently). (F,S,Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 41000 Feminism, Food, and Health (LA)

Investigates how food consumption and health experiences are shaped by multiple and intersecting inequalities, highlighting the potential of a feminist lens to help us to identify root causes and future solutions to major social problems surrounding food and health. Draws upon on intersectional theory, exploring ways in which gendered experiences intersect with other systems of oppression. Prerequisites: 3 courses in Sociology, or one 300-level course with either a WGS or a WGSI attribute. (IRR)
Attributes: SS, WGS, WGSI
4 Credits

SOCI 41200 Seminar: The National Health System (LA)

A study of the history, development, and function of the national health system in the context of the welfare state, education, housing, class structure, income, and politics in Great Britain. Comparison of the American and British health care schemes. Prerequisites: Three courses in Sociology. Offered only through the London Center. (F-S,Y)
Attributes: SS
3 Credits

SOCI 42000 Scholarship of and by Women of Color (LA)

Seminar style class that explores the scholarship of and by women of color, with an emphasis on the concept of "intersectionality" and theories and frameworks introduced by women of color. We discuss questions related to the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, capitalism, and citizenship. SOCI 42000 and CSCR 42000 are cross listed, and students may not earn credit for both. Prerequisites: Any three SOCI or CSCR courses. (F,Y)
4 Credits

SOCI 42400 Global Sociology (LA)

This course focuses on how people shape global change. The course examines social processes such as colonialism, development, and globalization by studying their institutions, manifestations, and the resistances they provoke. Throughout the course we examine the dynamic relationships between structural processes and resistance, agency and human initiatives. Prerequisites: Three courses in SOCI. (IRR)
Attributes: INBG, LAEL, LAGC, SO1, WGS, WGS3, WGSI
4 Credits

SOCI 44500 Tutorial in Sociology (LA)

Intensive study of a specific topic with a small group of students. Prerequisites: Three courses in SOCI. (IRR)
Attributes: SO1, SO2, SO3, SO4, WI
4 Credits

SOCI 47600-47601 Independent Study in Sociology (LA)

An independent study in sociology is arranged individually between student and instructor. Students are expected to do a sophisticated exploration and analysis of an appropriate topic. A proposal for the topic and specific plans must be approved by the dean's office of the School of Humanities and Sciences. May be repeated for up to twelve credits total. Prerequisites: Three courses in social sciences; permission of instructor. (F-S,Y)
Attributes: SS, WI
1-4 Credits

SOCI 48000 Seminar on the Sociology of Pedagogy (LA)

Designed to supplement the practicum on teaching assistance and is required for teaching assistants in sociology courses. It presents the theoretical approach to teaching generally shared by sociology department faculty. A variety of pedagogical theories, including that of Paulo Freire, are examined using an ongoing analysis of the relationship between educational theories and larger social forces and historical conditions. The seminar meets as four half-day workshops during the semester. The seminar is team-taught by the instructors of courses that use teaching assistants. The format includes didactic presentation of theoretical material and discussion, along with focused papers on the reading. The required reading must be completed before the seminar workshop. In the workshop at the end of the semester, the text material is reviewed with analysis of its application in the teaching assistance experience. Prerequisites: One 100-level sociology course; three upper-level sociology courses; permission of instructor. Corequisites: SOCI 48100.1 credit. (F-S,Y)
Attributes: SS, WGS, WGS3
1 Credit

SOCI 48100 Practicum in Teaching Assistance (NLA)

Leadership skills for leading educational discussion groups. Open to students who are acting as teaching assistants in sociology courses. Prerequisites: One 100-level sociology course; three upper-level sociology courses; permission of instructor. Corequisites: SOCI 48000. (F-S,Y)
2 Credits

SOCI 48400 Quantitative Capstone (LA)

A capstone experience in which students define and execute a research project that involves identification or collection and analysis of quantitative data. Students write a full thesis paper. Students also reflect on the relevance of sociology with respect to charting future pathways through their own life course. Satisfies ICC Capstone and Writing Intensive requirements. Prerequisites: SOCI 31100 and SOCI 34200. (Y)
Attributes: CP, WI
4 Credits

SOCI 48500 Qualitative Capstone (LA)

A capstone experience in which students define and execute a research project that involves collection and analysis of qualitative data. Students write a full research paper. Students also reflect on the relevance of sociology with respect to charting future pathways through their own life course. Satisfies ICC Capstone. Prerequisites: SOCI 31100 and SOCI 34200. (Y)
Attributes: CP, WI
4 Credits

SOCI 49800-49801 Internship in Sociology (NLA)

Internships arranged individually at the student's request with an instructor and a sponsoring agency, and with departmental approval. Also offered through the London Center by special permission. Prerequisites: Sociology majors, sociology minors or counseling minors; senior standing; permission of instructor. (F-S)
1-12 Credits