The study of sociology enables students to cultivate a sociological imagination and to examine issues of social inequalities and justice in domestic and/or global contexts. Learning about sociological concepts and theories enables them to analyze social issues and problems and understand them critically.
The courses offered by the Sociology Department at Vassar fall into six thematic “clusters”– Theory, Inequality and Difference, Culture, Social Justice, Policy, and Globalization. These Curricular Clusters are designed to aid advisors and to help students make decisions about classes they may want to take. These six categories can be used in various ways. Students concerned with a diverse selection of courses might want to choose classes that fall into different clusters, whereas students interested in a particular emphasis might take several courses within a single category. Either of these approaches could be useful in preparing sociology majors to write a senior thesis.
Majoring in Sociology
In combination, the courses on sociological theory and research methods are designed to provide majors with basic competence in sociological reasoning, argument, and conducting their own research. The 10 ½ credits for the major include six required courses: Introductory Sociology (SOCI 151), Modern Social Theory (SOCI 247), Research Methods (SOCI 254), two 300-level seminars, and a year-long Senior Thesis Seminar (SOCI 300 and SOCI 301). Students can fulfill the remaining 4.5 credits by taking sociology classes at the 200-level and 300-level, and through sociology field work credit (SOCI 290). A senior thesis is an intellectual exercise to demonstrate competence in sociological reasoning and research by examining a topic of her or his own choice. Throughout the academic year, students are given intellectual and communal support for thesis writing in Senior Thesis Seminar.