School of Humanities and Sciences

Department of Sociology

Bachelor of Arts

Judith Barker, Associate Professor and Chair

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 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 over time?

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, computers, and research methods. Students develop their own interests through internships in real-world settings and through close collaboration with faculty in independent study projects.

In addition, the department offers a social work program -- an applied program leading to a minor in social work. Prerequisite courses in the minor include psychology, sociology, economics, and public policy and welfare. Practice-oriented courses, such as SOCI 36100 Social Welfare and Social Work, have a fieldwork component to provide practical experience.

Sociology, B.A.
Sociology Minor
Social Work Minor

Requirements for the Major in Sociology -- B.A.

The requirements for the sociology major are 24 prescribed credits in general and fundamental studies; 18 elective credits; and 78 credits in open electives. Majors must take no fewer than 9 credits at level 2; no fewer than 9 credits at level 3 (excluding SOCI 31100, SOCI 35300, and SOCI 35400); and no fewer than 9 credits at level 4 in sociology. At least 3 credits of level 4 must be a departmental course numbered SOCI 40100 to SOCI 46900 (excluding SOCI 46300); no more than 3 credits may come from coursework related to being a teaching assistant in SOCI 48000, SOCI 48100, or SOCI 48200; and no more than 3 internship credits from SOCI 48900 to SOCI 49900 may be applied toward the level 4 requirement. Courses in core areas of sociological inquiry may be used to fulfill the level-2, -3, and -4 requirements. For graduation, 120 credits are required as follows:

Credits in the major

Required courses

SOCI 10100

Introduction to Sociology


SOCI 31100

Sociological Theory


SOCI 35300

Research Methods I


SOCI 35400

Research Methods II


Core Areas of Sociological Inquiry

A minimum of 3 credits in each the following core areas of sociological inquiry is required for the sociology major.

Social Change

A core question in sociology concerns how societies change and develop over time. Sociologists study social transformations as they affect and are affected by individuals, institutions, and societies. They explore relationships among human agency and social structures, or institutions such as colonialism, capitalism, racism, families, and religions. Key considerations include how change is documented and assessed, as well as how change is mobilized through activism, community organizing, social movements and revolutions, development, and globalization. Courses in this area encourage students to use sociology as a tool for analyzing, envisioning, and engaging in social change. 


The understanding of inequality, its origins, and its effects on life chances is a core consideration in the discipline of sociology. Courses in this area examine the processes by which inequalities are created and maintained, focusing on interpersonal relations, institutionalized practices, and linkages with global economic, political, and cultural relations. They also address issues of privilege and exploitation and how these processes are linked to social class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities, age, abilities, and other socially constructed divisions between people.

Social Institutions and Organizations

Institutions and organizations provide social arrangements that shape the operations of political, economic, health care, and religious systems as well as families and schools. Courses in this area examine issues of power and ideology that affect institutional and organizational practices, including bureaucratic structures, organizational cultures, authority systems, and the reciprocating relationships between individuals, organizations, and their environments. Students also explore the ways in which institutions and organizations help shape, and in turn are shaped by, the lives and decisions of their members.

Individuals, Culture, and Society

Culture provides a framework for creating meaning and influencing action. Sociological analysis of how these meanings are constructed and negotiated leads to interesting observations of how facts are created and the effects that taken-for-granted arrangements have on individual beliefs, collective actions, agency, and communal life. Courses in this area illuminate the cultural texture of social life at both the individual and collective levels. 

Total credits from areas of sociological inquiry


Total, required credits


Sociology electives


Total, credits in the major


Credits outside of major


Total, B.A. in sociology


Requirements for the Minor in Sociology

SOCI 10100

Introduction to Sociology or

SOCI 10200

Contemporary Social Issues


Additional courses* 18
Total, minor in sociology 21

*Additional courses in sociology, including three credits from each of the core areas of sociological inquiry, one level-3 sociology course and one level-4 sociology course numbered SOCI 40100 to SOCI 46900 (excluding SOCI 46300).

Social Work Program

The social work program is an applied program leading to an 18-credit minor in social work. The sequence includes prerequisite courses in psychology, sociology, and economics, as well as more advanced background courses in public policy and the economic aspects of public welfare. The first practice-oriented course is SOCI 36100 Social Welfare and Social Work, which has a fieldwork component. This is followed by SOCI 34600 Methods of Social Work and a 3-credit supervised fieldwork course. Additional electives round out the concentration. The minor provides academic and practical experience as preparation for employment or for graduate studies. Details are available from the coordinator of the social work program.

Requirements for the minor in social work


SOCI 10100

Introduction to Sociology


PSYC 10400

Introduction to Developmental Psychology or

PSYC 20400

Principles of Developmental Psychology


ECON 12200

Principles of Microeconomics (may be taken concurrently with
ECON 26200 Economics of Welfare Policies)



SOCI 30700

Social Policy


ECON 26200

Economics of Welfare Policies


SOCI 36100

Social Welfare and Social Work


SOCI 34600

Methods of Social Work Practice


SOCI 34700

Supervised Fieldwork (taken concurrently with SOCI 34600)


Social work elective


Total, minor in social work


Individualized Study Opportunities

Field research experiences are provided in many departmental courses and can be pursued as independent study or internship projects. 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 lock-up institutions.

Independent study experience is arranged between the professor and student. Some more recent examples of this option include projects on eco-justice in Ithaca, ethnic conflict in the Virgin Islands, community control and development, women and alcohol, economic opportunity centers, intimacy and children, student life, solar-age construction and alternative communities, and organizational analysis of local banks and insurance companies.


Internships are designed to provide students with a supervised and structured experience. Often these can be arranged by students and specific agencies in communities around the country. The sociology department believes that internships provide an opportunity to obtain work experience and to analyze the social and political context of the specific agency. An example is an internship with the Ithaca drug treatment court.