Women's College

Program of Study
Course Descriptions

Mischelle L. Van Brakle,  Coordinator of the Minor

The sociology program in the School of Arts and Sciences offers a minor in sociology to Women’s College students. The scientific study of society, sociology examines the interworkings of different social institutions, the order of social interaction in groups, and the politics of social reality. Many sociologists address social problems such as crime, education, poverty, immigration, institutional discrimination and prejudice. . The sociology program provides students with a perspective on the world best described as sociological mindfulness or, put simply, a way to tune in to the social world. It gives students the opportunity to investigate society and better understand their respective roles in it.

Offered as a minor and as a foundationfor the criminology major, the sociology curriculum provides both a micro- and macro- perspective on society. Its courses expose students to peer-reviewed research based on surveys, field work, comparative/historical reviews and experimentation.

A sociology minor is an excellent way to round out the student’s experience at Notre Dame. Sociology courses that satisfy the general education requirement in social science: SOC-101. Sociology courses that fulfill the requirement for cross-cultural studies: CRM-209. Sociology courses that fulfill the requirement for gender: SOC-215.

All courses credited toward the minor must be completed with a C grade or higher.

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Program of Study

The minor in sociology consists of seven courses as indicated below.

Minor in Sociology

Required courses
SOC-101 Introduction to Sociology (3)
SOC-209 Race, Class and Gender (3)
PSY-210 Research Methods I (4)
SOC-350 Social Theory (3)

Two electives chosen from
CRM-101 Introduction to Criminology (3)
SOC-202 Sociology of the Family (3)
SOC-215 Gender Roles or SOC-271 Honors: Sociology of Gender Roles (3)
SOC-220 Self and Society (3)
SOC-222 Social Problems or SOC-371 Honors: Social Problems (3)
SOC-231 Medicine and Society (3)
SOC-250 Sociology of Sport (3)
SOC-315 Sociology of Law (3)
SOC-340 Sociology of Deviance (3)
SOC-360 Sociology of Work (3)
SOC-390 Sociology of Education (3)
PSY-340 Quantitative Methods (4)

One senior experience chosen from
SOC-411 Advanced Topics in Sociology (3)
CRM-461 Criminology Practicum (4)
SOC-463 Sociology Independent Study (3)

Note: Those who wish to major in criminology and minor in sociology must take three elective sociology courses instead of two due to the overlapping requirements of SOC-101, SOC-209, and PSY-210. The electives cannot have a dual purpose of also fulfilling the electives used for the criminology major. A separate Senior Experience course also should be chosen to fulfill the requirement for a minor in sociology. For example, if SOC-411 serves to fulfill the senior elective for the criminology major, it cannot also be used to fulfill the elective for the sociology minor. Please contact the faculty advisor to tailor an appropriate course schedule.

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See psychology and criminology sections for PSY and CRM course descriptions.


SOC-101 Introductory Sociology

Uses the sociological imagination to help explain what sociology is and how it is relevant to everyday life. Examines culture, social structure, socialization, social institutions, social inequality and social change. Topics include gender roles, deviance and social control, class, race and ethnic inequality, family, and work. Serves as a foundation course for students interested in the field of sociology and criminology. Fulfills general education requirement in social science. [3 credits]

SOC-202 Sociology of the Family

Examines the historical development and transformation of the American family. Explores marriage and alternatives to traditional arrangements. Students will analyze issues relating to parenting, divorce, remarriage and grandparenting, paying special attention to class and race, as well as ethnicity, gender differences and sexual orientation. Fulfills general education requirement in social science. Prerequisite: SOC-101 or permission of instructor. [3 credits]

SOC-209 Race, Class and Gender

Explores the intersecting systems of inequality, race, ethnicity, social class and gender. Examines the construction of identity categorizations and links them to our current experiences and conceptions of self. Covers the nature of privilege and its reproduction in social institutions such as the workplace, education, and the criminal justice system. Fulfills general education requirements in social science and cross-cultural studies. Prerequisite: SOC-101 or permission of instructor. [3 credits]

SOC-215 Gender Roles

Addresses the social construction of gender roles. Demonstrates patterns of inequality and power relations through historical and cross-cultural data. Explains concepts such as sexism, gender socialization, and gendered institutions. Examines the consequences of division of labor in marital relations, the family and the workplace. Fulfills general education requirement in social science. Prerequisite: SOC-101 or permission. [3 credits]

SOC-220 Self and Society

Overviews micro-sociology, the study of human interaction. Examines the social construction of language and thought, the self, social order, social institutions, joint action and the politics of reality. Students collect data using journals and examine their daily interactions through the lens of the social construction of reality. Examines patterns of inequality in everyday life using the concept of official reality and the labeling of deviants. Prerequisite: SOC-101. [3 credits]

SOC-222 Social Problems

Examines how social conditions come to be defined as social problems. Surveys the causes of, theoretical explanations for, and possible interventions to resolve social problems. Provides students with opportunities to analyze in-depth such social concerns as substance abuse, family violence, environmental issues, discrimination, crime and terrorism. Fulfills general education requirement in social science. Prerequisite: SOC-101 or permission. [3 credits]

SOC-231 Medicine and Society

Introduces the medical industry as an influential social structure in society. The social construction of sickness is examined as a means of understanding how this powerful industry influences general notions of deviance and social status in America. Explains why and how particular social arrangements affect health disparities and the types and distribution of diseases such as heart disease, substance use disorders and AIDS. Responses from the medical care system such as its choice of methods and construction of public health problems are described and analyzed. Prerequisite: SOC-101. [3 credits]

SOC-250 Sociology of Sport

Examines sport as a social phenomenon. Particular attention is given to comparing and contrasting cultural variances in sport. The course uses sports to study social shifts, the politics of inequality, and power structures across cultures. Topics include community identity as defined by the culture of sport; the construction of morality through sport; politics and sport; the role of gender and sexuality in sport; and the role of sport in economic development. Fulfills general education cross-cultural requirement. Crosslisted with PED-250. Prerequisite: SOC-101. [3 credits]

SOC-271 Honors: Sociology of Gender Roles

An analysis of the social sources and psycho- logical mechanisms that shape gender role differentiation. Special attention will be given to the political, ideological behavior and social construction of gender. Historical and cross-cultural data will be used to demonstrate patterns of inequality. The psychological and social impact of gender inequality will be examined. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. Fulfills general education requirement in both social science and gender studies. [3 credits]

SOC-301 Social Justice

Overviews social injustice in American society and in American social institutions. Addresses issues of prejudice, racism and sexism, as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation, religious preference and disability. Provides students with opportunities to evaluate problem-solving procedures for social service agencies and the community at large. Prerequisite: SOC-101, PSY-210, CRM-101 or SOC-222. [3 credits]

SOC-315 Sociology of Law

Studies criminal law from a sociological perspec-tive with an emphasis on the United States Constitution. Examines the impact of the social usages of law as an instrument of social policy, social control and social regulation. Prepares students to interact professionally with the legal system. Prerequisites: PSY-210, SOC-101 or CRM-101. [3 credits]

SOC-340 Deviance and Social Control

Examines how we come to define attitudes, behavior, and characteristics as "normal" or "deviant" in society. Explores the construction of categories of difference with an eye toward the idea that labeling people or ideas as deviant is often a way to maintain the status quo. Addresses "deviant" behavior as an agent of social change as well as a source of social stability. Applies various sociological paradigms to such topics as social movements, crime and delinquency, and mental illness. Prerequisite: PSY-210, SOC-101 or CRM-101. [3 credits]

SOC-350 Sociological Theory

Provides an overview of the theoretical founda- tions of the discipline. First exposes students to the works of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber-the "fathers" of sociology-and then provides current theoretical considerations. Analyzes various sociological perspectives in explaining social phenomena, such as structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interaction, and feminist sociology. Explores every day applications of sociological paradigms. Prerequisites: SOC-101. [3 credits]

SOC-360 Sociology of Work

Analyzes social relations in the workplace as well as the dynamics of the labor market. Identifies the units of analysis in the study of work and changes to each in U.S. industrial shifts. The demographics of the labor market are analyzed in the context of the Great Migration, the dual labor market, control systems, flexible firms, occupational sex segregation, and globalization. Public policies that influence work relations such as the National Labor Relations Act and the Civil Rights Act are couched in labor market dynamics. Interpersonal dimensions of work are also addressed including the negotiation between family, intergenerational mobility and work and job satisfaction. Prerequisites: SOC-101 and PSY-210. [3 credits]

SOC-371 Honors: Social Problems

Considers how social conditions come to be defined as social problems. Reviews causes and theoretical explanations for their origins and possible interventions to resolve social problems. Topics include substance abuse, family violence, environmental issues, discrimination, crime and terrorism. Prerequisite: Morrissy scholar or permission. [3 credits]

SOC-390 Sociology of Education

Provides an overview of sociological theories and research about education in modern societies. Education is analyzed as a social institution that both challenges and reflects social stratification and institutionalized racism. The course addresses the reciprocal relationship between education and other social institutions such as family and the economy. The course considers education at a variety of levels, from preschool to university and its influence on human capital accumulation. Prerequisites: SOC-101 and PSY-210. [3 credits]

SOC-411 Advanced Topics

Provides a context for understanding the broad focus of the discipline of criminology. As an upper-level course in the criminology major, reviews key sociological and criminological writings from an advanced, informed perspective. The student uses these scholarly resources to develop a paper that synthesizes her particular knowledge of criminological theory, research and applications. Students also develop their abilities to analyze their personal experiences from a sociological perspective and explore options for continued study or employment related to their sociological training. Topics will vary, though recent topics have included: Corporate Crime, Violence Against Women, Social Inequality in the Criminal Justice System, and Policing. Prerequisites: PSY-210, CRM-303 or SOC-350, and junior/senior status. [3 credits]

SOC-463 Independent Research/Independent Study

Provides a student with an opportunity to pursue a scholarly project under the direction of a faculty member. Work may include directed readings, literature review, clinical study, or data collection and analysis. Prerequisites: PSY-210, PSY-340 and acceptance for supervision by a department faculty member. [3 credits]