Courses of Study

See course descriptions for this department or program 

Chair, Professor Teresa Arendell
Professors Teresa Arendell, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, and Thomas Morrione; Associate Professor Alec Campbell; Assistant Professor Victoria Mayer; Faculty Fellow Pamela Blake

The sociology curriculum introduces students to the discipline, especially to the interplay of sociological theory and sociological research. Courses foster appreciation of such sociological concerns as social inequality, race and ethnicity, gender, social change, globalization, social control, deviance, conflict, social movements, and the formation of identity, and of various major social institutions, including education, the economy, polity, family, medicine, law, and criminal justice. Social policy issues are a common theme in courses. By conducting research for course projects, students learn that sociology is an empirically based social science; they learn to do sociology as well as to read about how it is done. The major in sociology provides students with critical and humanistic perspectives. For those considering graduate or professional school in social science related areas, the major offers a comprehensive background in theory, research methods, statistics, and various substantive subject areas in the discipline.

Requirements for the Major in Sociology

Sociology 131, 215, 218, 252, 271, 272, 274, 276, and 493. Three additional sociology courses (one course in anthropology at the 200 level or above may be substituted). Sociology 215, 218, 271, and 272 are to be completed before the senior year, typically during the second year.

The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses in sociology. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Study Abroad

Department policy is that students majoring in sociology complete Sociology 215, 218, 271, 271 and two of the remaining required courses (except electives and Sociology 493) prior to study abroad.  Generally, students will receive  credit toward the major for one course per semester, if that course is approved in advance by the department. To be approved, a course must be one that might be (or is) offered in the Colby Sociology Department; that is, no course focusing exclusively on another country or culture or without specified theoretical content will be granted elective credit toward the major. Students majoring in sociology are urged to seek approval for a range of courses, in advance, to be prepared for possible cancellation of an approved course in any non-Colby-sponsored program abroad. Exceptions to the one-semester and core-course credit rules may be granted for students qualified to study abroad in the year-long sociology program at the London School of Economics.

Honors in Sociology

Seniors majoring in sociology may apply for the honors program by securing a faculty sponsor in the Sociology Department, a secondary faculty reader, and approval of the department as a whole. The program involves independent research conducted under the auspices of Sociology 483. To apply, a student must have a 3.25 overall grade point average and a 3.60 grade point average in the major or special permission of the department. Students may apply for the program at the end of the term prior to the semester in which they would begin honors work. A maximum of six credits may be received, none of which may count toward the required elective credits in the major. Enrollment options include spring semester; spring semester and Jan Plan; fall semester; fall semester and Jan Plan; fall, Jan Plan, and spring semesters. The final product will usually consist of a research paper of 50 or more pages of superior quality.

Distinction in the Major
Distinction in the major upon graduation requires a 3.75 grade point average in the major and a 3.5 overall grade point average.

All courses offered by the Sociology Department fulfill the area requirement in social sciences (S); Sociology 271 fulfills a quantitative reasoning requirement (Q). Sociology courses have limited enrollments.