Sociology - Social Services Specialization

The specialization in social services fosters an appreciation of the social sources of personal and social problems and the dynamics associated with policies and programs set up to deal with them. We aim to help students become effective consumers of knowledge created by applying sociological and anthropological perspectives to the study of social services, a focus which provides a theoretical and practical understanding of the realities of work in the social service professions.

Required Courses

The following courses have been designed to provide the student interested in social services with the basic skills, insights and concepts necessary to becoming effective consumers of applied sociological and anthropological knowledge.

Introduction to Sociology (SOC 100) OR Social Problems (SOC 110)

The History of Social Theory (SOC 310) covers the classic sociological theorists (Durkheim, Weber, Marx, Mead) who formulated the theory and methodology that guide the modern study of crime.

Methods of Inquiry (SSC 362) deals with measurement, research design, and data analysis.

Statistics (STA 300) provides training in the analysis of quantitative data.

Distinction: Race, Class, and Gender (ANT 321) explores the implications of the recognition that basic differentiations among groups are culturally and socially constructed.

Senior Seminar (SOC 493)
is a capstone experience that allows students to explore a particular criminology topic in depth. A criminologist teaches the Senior Seminar

Social Services Courses

We recommend that social service students take the following core courses: ANT 320, SOC 360, and SOC 446. Students should also choose two additional 400 level courses. We encourage students to consider taking courses from among the department’s offering in criminology and
anthropology to create a program of study that addresses particular interests.

Social Problems (SOC 300) examines social problems (poverty, power, race, ethnicity, gender, roles, work, health, education), and explores how social institutions can create, perpetuate and solve these problems.

Social Policy (ANT 320)
helps the student understand and evaluate specific social services through examining the general development of social policies in a
cross-cultural and political/economic perspective.

Sociology of Work (SOC 360) explores contemporary sociological theories of work in public, not-for-profit and private organizations with special emphasis on technology and change.

Displaced Peoples (ANT 331) analyzes social, economic, and political issues concerning exiles, migrants, and refugees.

Cultures, Health and Healing (ANT 382) explores cultural variations in health, disease, illness, and health care delivery systems; the relationship between disease and evolution; and alternative approaches to the study of such issues.

Sociology of Health and Illness (SOC 370) applies sociological perspectives to the organization and delivery of medical services in the US, examines the role of power in health practices, the experience of illness and the relationship between theory and practice in the health arena.

Social Gerontology (SOC 381) compares sociological, biological, and psychological analyses of aging and analyzes the problems of older people.

Sociology of Community (SOC 411) explores research on community studies and models of community process that focus on community development, ethnicity, and poverty.

The Individual and Society (SOC 446) presents sociologically oriented social psychological approaches to the relationship of the individual to social structure with special attention to the social construction of interpretations of self, other, and situations and the impact of these interpretations on individual acts.

Social Welfare Policy (SOC 424) investigates the history, concepts, programs, and practices of social welfare policies in the US, emphasizes the theoretical and social basis for the current welfare system and promotes the link between policy analysis and practice.

Research & Practice Options

We recommend that criminology students wishing additional skills and exposure to a criminal justice setting give special consideration to the following options:
Ethnography (ANT 460) presents the essential elements of participation observation and writing in
anthropology, including the opportunity to conduct a field of study in a criminal justice setting.

Practicum in Sociology (SOC 495) integrates academic and practical experience. It involves performing supervised tasks in a criminal justice setting, a weekly meeting with other practicum students, and the execution of an applied research project.


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