Sociology is the scientific study of society—of patterns and processes in human social relations and behavior. The Sociology Department at Colby provides students with conceptual frameworks and analytic skills necessary to understand how social forces affect people’s lives and how people shape and transform society. Courses focused on a wide range of issues and problems help students analyze institutions and organizations, social and cultural change, persisting inequalities, and much more. Opportunities for intensive discussion and closely supervised research foster the development of critical and creative thinking. Sociology students are prepared to participate in the private and public sectors of a diverse democracy and world.
Chair, Associate Professor Christel Kesler
Professor Neil Gross; Associate Professors Christel Kesler and Damon Mayrl; Assistant Professor Annie Hikido; Visiting Assistant Professor Philip Fang
Requirements for the Major in Sociology
The sociology major requires 12 courses, including Sociology 131, 215, 271, one 300-level research methods course*, two semesters of Sociology 345, one elective at the 300 level or higher, and five electives at the 200 level or higher. Students with a double major or minor in another social science department that has a methods requirement focused on causal inference may choose to substitute that course for Sociology 271. Sociology 215 and 271 (or the equivalent) should preferably be completed during the second year. One elective in another social science at the 200 level or above may be substituted for one 200-level Sociology elective. Up to two approved electives, credited at the 200 level, may be taken on an Off-Campus Study program. One elective toward the major may be fulfilled with an independent study for at least three credits or a semester of senior honors thesis work for at least three credits. Note that a student can count a maximum of three courses from outside the Colby Sociology Department toward the major. Formally cross-listed courses do not count toward this maximum.
Requirements for the Minor in Sociology
The Sociology minor requires seven courses, including Sociology 131, 215, 271, one elective at the 300 level or higher, and three electives at the 200 level or higher. Students with a major or minor in another social science department that has a methods requirement focused on causal inference may choose to substitute that course for Sociology 271, if they select a 300-level research methods course* as an elective. One elective in another social science at the 200 level or above may be substituted for one 200-level Sociology elective. One approved elective, credited at the 200 level, may be taken on an Off-Campus Study program. One elective may be fulfilled with an independent study for at least three credits. Note that a student can count a maximum of two courses from outside the Colby Sociology Department toward the minor. Formally cross-listed courses do not count toward this maximum.
Honors in Sociology
The Honors Program in Sociology (Sociology 483, 484) provides a special opportunity for independent sociological research. The final product is expected to be an extensive research paper of exceptional quality. Seniors majoring in Sociology may apply for the honors program by securing a faculty thesis advisor in the department, a secondary faculty reader, and approval of the department as a whole. To apply, a student must have a 3.25 overall grade point average, have a 3.6 grade point average in the major, and have completed Sociology 215, 271, and a 300-level research methods course* before the senior year. Exceptions require approval of the department. Students may apply for the program at the end of the junior year and no later than the second week of the first semester of the senior year. A student should enroll in at least three credits of thesis work each semester of the senior year. Honors thesis work may count toward one of the student’s electives in the major. With permission of the department, a thesis in the area of sociology, completed as part of the Senior Scholars Program, may be substituted for the honors thesis.
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.
Off-Campus Study (OCS)
The department prefers that Sociology students complete Sociology 215 and 271 in the second year, prior to studying off campus. Students may receive credit toward the major for up to two courses taken on an OCS program and credit toward the minor for one course taken on an OCS program. These courses will be credited as 200-level electives. Students are urged to seek advanced approval for a range of courses and to be prepared for possible cancellation of an approved course.
*Approved 300-level research methods courses include Sociology 326 (Historical Sociology), Sociology 367 (The Art and Science of Data Analysis), and Sociology 372 (Qualitative Research Methods).