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Sociology (B.A.)

Website: School of Social Science and Human Services

Concentrations: Public Sociology and Criminology

About the Major

Sociology is unique among the social sciences because it examines the whole of human societies.  It focuses on institutional and sociocultural changes rather than on simply economic, political, or technical transformations.  For example, sociology provides an understanding of “modernization” and “globalization” by analyzing their impact on culture human subjectivity, power relations, and collective resistance.  Sociology prepares students to scientifically study and personally engage with human groups and communities.  It links individual biographies with public issues.

Recognizing the international character of contemporary life, the Sociology program at Ramapo College emphasizes internships in local New Jersey and New York communities, as well as in study abroad programs.  By engaging in field study internships, sociology majors develop a broad and refined world perspective, and become highly prepared for graduate school and the workforce.

A degree in Sociology provides our graduates with analytical capacities and practical skills for understanding and working with human groups, and for conducting research using a precise and humanistic scientific methodology.  Sociology majors are employed as researchers and human relations personnel in industry and government, human services, and criminal justice.  They fill positions in regional and community planning and environmental protection.   Many of our students enter a range of graduate programs and professions.  Students may also select Sociology as one of the suitable majors for Teacher Education and Social Studies certification.

The Sociology major offers two tracks to Ramapo College students interested in studying questions of human diversity, inequality, and social justice in U.S. as well as international societies:

  • Public Sociology
    The Public Sociology track offers students opportunities to engage public issues like poverty, race relations, popular culture, gender, and globalization in their studies.  This track emphasizes applied research experience which will prove invaluable in the job market and as an excellent preparation for graduate school.
  • Criminology
    The Criminology track offers students interested in law enforcement fields the opportunity to explore issues of class, race, gender, religious difference and Human Rights, both locally and globally.  The Concentration offers a unique perspective with the inclusion of a Human Rights component.  Students will be trained to analyze diverse situations they may face within their future professions in law enforcement.

Students majoring in Sociology are urged to pursue a minor, such as Africana Studies, Anthropology, Gerontology, Latin American Studies, or Women’s Studies.  The Sociology major is offered by the School of Social Science and Human Services and leads to a B.A. degree.

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1: A student majoring in sociology will be able to recognize explicitly the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the discipline of sociology, in addition to intellectual connections between sociology and other fields.

Outcome 1.1: Be able to define the role of theory in sociology

Outcome 1.2: Be able to define and use basic sociological concepts in a breadth of subfields, such as culture, structure, agency, status, role, norm, stratification, social class

Outcome 1.3: Be able to define the relationship of the discipline of sociology to other liberal arts fields

Goal 2: A student majoring in sociology will understand the centrality of race, class, age and gender in society and in sociological analysis.

Outcome 2.1: Be able to explain differences between the natural, economic, and socially constructed concepts of race/ethnicity, class/status, and sex/gender, religion, and age, and give examples of these differences.

Outcome 2.2: Be able to describe the significance of variations/inequalities by race, class, gender, religion, and age.

Outcome 2.3: Be able to appropriately generalize or resist generalizations across groups.

Outcome 2.4: Be able to apply the sociological imagination, or macro analysis, to individual experiences of race, class, gender, religion and age.

Goal 3. A student majoring in sociology will be exposed to multicultural, cross-cultural, and cross-national content relevant to sociology.

Outcome 3.1: Be able to define and provide examples of social plurality in national and international contexts

Outcome 3.2: Be able to explain and provide examples of contemporary processes of globalization, with respect to commercial, cultural, information, and immigration flows.

Outcome 3.3: Be able to conduct empirical research in a cross-cultural context and write a paper discussing this research in a critical analysis of theoretical and applied texts.

Goal 4. A student majoring in sociology will be exposed to classroom and empirical experiences that develop his/her critical thinking skills and prepare him/her for a life of civic engagement.    

       Outcome 4.1:  Be able to think critically by…

  • Identifying underlying assumptions in particular theoretical orientations or arguments.
  • Identifying underlying assumptions in particular methodological approaches to research.
  • Showing how patterns of thought and knowledge are directly influenced by political-economic social structures.
  • Presenting opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various issues.
  • Engaging in teamwork where different viewpoints are presented, in the classroom or in an empirical research setting.
  • Experiencing opportunities to work in cooperation in classroom settings with students of varied class and ethnic backgrounds, as a result of sociology faculty’s engagement in recruiting students from underserved populations to the sociology program at Ramapo (e.g., Equal Opportunity Fund, SSS Trio grant).

Outcome 4.2:  Become prepared for a life of civic engagement by…

  • Engaging in teamwork or empirical research outside the classroom where different viewpoints on a social problem are addressed.
  • Assess the political, economic, or cultural causes of the above social problem with bibliographic research.
  • Articulate parameters and causes of the above problem, and propose feasible, researched collective actions or policy orientations to address the problem.

Goal 5.  A student majoring in sociology will be exposed to research experiences that require posing sociological questions, data gathering with quantitative and/or qualitative methods, developing theoretical explanations, and bringing the aforementioned data to bear on them.

Outcome 5.1: Be able to use bibliographies and in-text citations to incorporate high quality sources into a research paper to support an argument, thesis, hypothesis, or research question.

Outcome 5.2: Be able to articulate how theory is used to explain the relationship between concepts.

Outcome 5.3: Be able to demonstrate the ability to correctly describe and/or conduct quantitative/qualitative data collection procedures.

Outcome 5.4: Be able to demonstrate the ability to correctly describe and/or conduct quantitative/qualitative data analysis procedures.

Outcome 5.5: Be able to successfully bring empirical results (either primary or secondary) to bear on a sociological question or hypotheses.

Outcome 5.6: Be able to demonstrate the ability to describe the process of protecting human subjects in empirical research studies.

Goal 6. A student majoring in sociology will be able to articulate sociological theories, data, and perspectives using clear writing in professional academic format.

Outcome 6.1: Be able to write a clearly organized, grammatically correct, research report in professional, journal quality format.

Outcome 6.2: Be able to write a clearly organized, grammatically correct, analysis of published theoretical works and empirical studies.

Outcome 6.3: Be able to demonstrate an understanding and use basic writing structures for successful argumentation:  thesis statement, introduction, conclusion, topic and supporting sentences, transitions.

Outcome 6.4: Be able to use a professional citation format, such as that proposed for sociology by the Chicago Manual of Style.

Goal 7. A student graduating with a degree in sociology from Ramapo College will be well prepared for subsequent education or employment.

Outcome 7.1: Be aware of forms of employment available to holders of Sociology Bachelors’, Masters’, and Doctoral degrees.

Outcome 7.2: Be able to demonstrate an understanding of academic requirements and application procedures for an appropriate graduate or professional school.

Outcome 7.3: Be able to write a graduate or professional school application essay that demonstrates a sociological understanding of future topics of study.

Outcome 7.4: Be able to articulate to potential employers how sociology has prepared student for work responsibilities.

Outcome 7.5: Be able to demonstrate on a resume or curriculum vitae how specific skills attained in the sociology program will make student competitive in job search or graduate/professional school admissions.

Outcome 7.6: Be able to declare specialization in a sub-field of sociological study, such as immigration, urban sociology, quantitative methods, or the sociology of education.

Requirements of the Major and Concentrations
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of classes for semester course offerings.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation.  Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Sociology Minor
  1. The Sociology Minor brings together critical sociological, legal and psychological foundations for examining crime and societal responses to crime.  The cluster of courses in the minor is meant to sharpen the students understanding of how ideological mechanisms and institutions are reproduced in the context of the criminal justice system.
  2. The Sociology Minor consist of 5 courses.
Requirements of the Crime and Justice Studies Minor
  1. The Crime and Justice Studies minor provides students with the knowledge to understand the problem of crime in its broad societal context—social, cultural, political, and economic, both nationally and internationally.  This includes understanding the causes and consequences of crime, criminal justice policy, and the role of law in redressing or reinforcing inequality and social problems with criminogenic ramifications.
  2. The Crime and Justice Studies Minor will consist of 5 courses.
  3. To complete the minor, students would be required to take five courses, three of which would need to be distinct from their major.