Learning Goals for Students
The undergraduate and graduate programs in sociology are designed to (1) give students a basic knowledge of sociology as a discipline; (2) give students a basic understanding of how society actually works; (3) give students the ability to use sociological imagination and to analyze phenomenon using tools from core sociology courses that they have learned; and (4) equip students with sufficient tools and critical thinking ability to make contributions to our understanding of society. The undergraduate program focuses on (1), (2), and some of (3). The graduate program emphasizes (2), (3) and some of (4).
More specifically, sociology courses at the 1000 to 3000 levels are designed to engage students in small research activities via critical thinking projects and small group activities. These projects have students explore theoretical concepts and methodological processes through observation and interviews.
Sociology courses at the 4000 level are designed to engage students in research activities and writing short research papers (10-15 pages), in addition to critical thinking projects demanded at or below the 3000 level courses.
There are four core courses in the undergraduate program: Introduction to Sociology; Statistics; Theory; and Methods. Undergraduate courses are not arranged sequentially, but upper division courses are built on the sufficient mastery of lower division courses.
The Department of Sociology has the following learning objectives and expected outcomes in major sociology courses.
- The discipline of sociology. The students learn:
- how sociology differs from and is similar to other social sciences;
- how sociology contributes to a social scientific understanding of social reality; and
- to apply the sociological imagination, sociological principles and concepts to one’s life.
- The role of theory. The students learn:
- the role of theory in building sociological knowledge; and
- the historical context of times and cultures in which theories were developed.
- Empirical science. The students learn:
- the principles of scientific methods in sociology;
- the basic methodological approaches in building sociological knowledge;
- to formulate testable hypotheses and gather data with appropriate sampling techniques;
- to design a research in an areas of choice and explain why various decisions were made;
- the ethics in conducting research;
- to use SPSS and other computer software for data analysis with descriptive statistics, tables and graphs;
- to conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses; learn to apply statistical inferences;
- to critically assess a published research report and explain how the study could have been improved;
- to convey research findings in writing; and
- to evaluate media information; become critical consumer of information.
- Learn the relevance of culture, social change, socialization, stratification, social structure, and institutions, and differentiations by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and class.
- Culture and social institution. The students learn:
- conformity to and/or rejection to institutional directives by individuals and groups;
- how social change affects social structures and individuals; and
- how culture and social structure vary across time and place.
- Individuals and society. The students learn:
- how the self develops sociologically.
- how social interactions and the self influence society and social structure; and
- how sociological approaches to analyzing the self differ from psychological, economic, and other approaches.
- Understand the difference between macro and micro levels and the connections between the two levels.
- Research in sociology. The students learn:
- to summarize basic questions and issues in a specialty area, such as deviant behavior, social psychology or social stratification;
- basic theoretical orientation in a specialty area; and
- to become familiar with current research in a specialty area.
- Diversity of American society. The students learn:
- the significance of global variations by race, class, gender, and age; and
- how to appropriately generalize or resist generalizations across groups
- Critical thinking. The students learn:
- underlying assumptions in particular theoretical orientations or arguments;
- how patterns of thought and knowledge are directly influenced by social structures; and
- opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various issues.