Welcome to the Sociology Department at Ithaca College. We’re glad you’re here! We hope that you’ll visit us in the Sociology Suite, 106 Muller Faculty Center, soon.

What is sociology?

What do a family, hospital, college, sports team, and global production chains have in common? Each is an example of a patterned way of organizing relationships between people. Sociology is the scientific study of these patterned relationships. We seek to understand the causes and consequences of these patterns--how they work as well as their influence at the group and individual levels. Sociology is, in short, the science of the forces shaping our social world and ourselves.

In our courses students learn how to draw on empirical data to understand and disentangle the puzzles that make up our complex social world. Students can then apply these intellectual tools to any variety of settings, from managing interpersonal issues in their own lives to contributing solutions to the most pressing problems we face as a society.

This is a sample of the types of questions that frame our courses:

  • Why do some groups of people come to be seen as "deviant," while others "normal"?
  • How are norms around intimacy and sexuality changing?
  • How has the family unit evolved over time, and how does this affect the tensions between people’s job and family responsibilities?
  • What are the consequences of living in one of the most economically unequal society in modern history?
  • How do inequalities shape the way people experience health and illness?
  • How do people decide what should not be for sale?
  • How do racial and gendered forms of inequality work, and how have these changed in recent years?
  • How does social change happen?
  • What is the relationship between gender and the environment?

Our Department

The Sociology Department at Ithaca College is a welcoming, supportive, and vibrant community. Our department is small enough so that students can develop close relationships with faculty and other students, yet large enough to offer courses and expertise drawn from a wide-range of topics and perspectives within the field of Sociology.

We strive to provide students with the space and resources to grow as thinkers and as individuals and take great pride in the work our students do in and outside of the classroom. It is not uncommon to see sociology students being recognized for their activism and awarded for their academic achievements across campus.