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Degrees Offered: BA (MA) PhD

Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. It considers how societyinfluences individuals, and how individuals influence society. Sociologists describe and explain the actions of persons, groups, organizations, classes and entire societies. They also design and evaluate social programs and public policy. The study of sociology includes social theory, research methods, social stratification, race relations, social change, criminology, demography, sex roles, religion, social psychology and human ecology.

Sociology majors have the academic background suitable for many types of entry­level positions. Graduates may work in government as researchers or data analysts; in business as managers, writers or editors; in social services as caseworkers, group workers or restitution officers; in public health as interviewers or demographers; in conflict resolution as mediators; or in community relations as neighborhood organizers.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The undergraduate sociology program at CU­ Boulder leads to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. It requires courses in social theory, research methods and statistics plus a variety of elective courses dealing with social structure, human culture, individual interactions and social change. 

The survey methods course emphasizes quantitative social research and teaches sampling, interviewing, measurement, computer methods and statistical analysis. The field methods course emphasizes qualitative social research. It teaches intensive interviewing, participant observation, coding qualitative data and report writing. Undergraduate field research has been done in settings such as jails, hospitals, religious organizations, corporations, unions, safe houses, mediation programs and protest demonstrations.

In addition to formal course work, sociology majors are encouraged to undertake volunteer or paid work relating to career interests. This often involves working with people who have special needs: delinquents, poor people, old people, unemployed workers, abused women, troubled children, etc. The Volunteer Clearing House, an on-campus center that coordinates volunteer activities, is a useful resource for locating such work opportunities. Internships provide another avenue for doing sociologically-relevant work.

Graduate Studies

The graduate program of the Department of Sociology offers solid training in the foundational theories and methods of the discipline and allows students the flexibility to pursue interests in a variety of specialty areas. The department itself is a well respected center for teaching and research, and is known for giving graduate students the ability to work with award­winning faculty members who are regularly recognized for their research, teaching and service. Areas of specialization include: environmental sociology; gender, criminology and deviance; qualitative and interpretive sociology; and  population and health.

Research Opportunities

The International and National Voluntary Service Program (INVST) is a two­-year academic program emphasizing sustainable development, ecological conservation and nonviolent social change. The program combines course work with experiential learning and is affiliated with the Departments of Political Science and Sociology. In addition, students may obtain the Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies, a program within the College of Arts and Sciences.