Sociologists examine subjects encompassing a vast array of human behavior: crime and punishment, the formation and dissolution of families, bureaucracy in organizations, conflicts between classes, and global inequalities. Sociology focuses on the way individuals’ lives are embedded within multiple social contexts that facilitate and constrain the range of possible actions. These contexts include generation, occupation, gender, religion, sexual orientation, family, health, nation, race, and ethnicity among many others. Students study and examine these phenomena with a variety of scientific tools, including collecting and analyzing statistical data and conducting surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
As a Sociology major at Western, students learn how humans behave and interact in groups — whether small groups like families or large groups like religious organizations, and how one’s position in the larger society shapes life chances and experiences. Sociology students develop an aptitude for critical thinking, improve their writing ability, and gain competence with statistical computing that will enhance their future career options. The department is dedicated to providing quality instruction in several specialized areas of study in Sociology. The four major specializations in our department include Family and the Life Course, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Population Studies, and Social Organization/Social Inequality.
Completion of the BA Sociology/Social Studies major leads to an endorsement in social studies. To receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification for secondary education, students must complete the “teacher certification” program. See Secondary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.