B.A. / B.S in Sociology

Sociology at JSU has a long and prosperous history.  The first course in Sociology was taught in the 1930-1931 school year in the "Department of History and Other Social Studies."  The actual Department of Sociology was formed in the 1948-1949 school year.  Four courses were offered at that time.  In 1950, Dr. Theron Montgomery was the first Ph.D. in Sociology hired by the university.  Dr. Montgomery later became Dean, Vice President, and President of the University.  From the early 1950s, interest in Sociology grew with an increased interest in civil rights and political unrest in Alabama and throughout the United States.  The first major was introduced in the 1971-1972 school year.  The department continued to grow, expanding its offerings.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Sociology degree program is to provide quality education, maintain active research agenda and provide service to society, the community, discipline and university.  First and foremost we strive to provide students with a broad based knowledge in sociology that gives them the tools to critically examine how systems impact individuals and individuals in turn create systems, the information to understand how a wide variety of organizations work, how to analyze problems within organizations as well as how to address the problems we find.

The JSU Sociology program faculty is dedicated to giving students the tools to understand, explain and predict the relationship between systems and individuals, hone their critical thinking, written and oral communication skills and build dispositions necessary for ethical, social and intellectual development.  In so doing, we provide students with necessary tools that will enable them to make sense of the changing and conflictual social world we live in.  This allows them to contribute to solutions for the social problems that we face.  The faculty engage in research and service activities that complement the teaching areas.

Sociology Program Goals

The JSU Sociology Program goals are informed by "The Sociology Major in the Changing Landscape of Higher Education" (2017 American Sociological Association Task Force)  

  • Sociology students will understand how social forces affect individuals and how actions of individuals both constitute and are shaped by daily life.
  • Sociology students will be able to describe social structure and how structural forces affect human action and social life at the micro, meso and macro levels of analysis.
  • Students of sociology should be able to explicate the relationship between the self and society, particularly how the self is socially constructed and maintained at multiple lives of society.
  • Sociology students should be able to identify structural patterns of social inequality and their effects on groups and individuals and explain the intersections of race, social class, gender and other social factors at the micro, meso and macro levels of society.
  • Sociology students should be able to identify the social processes underpinning social change and to describe how demographic and other types of social change affect individuals and social structure.
  • Sociology students should be able to apply sociological theories to understand social phenomena.
  • Sociology students should be able to critically evaluate explanations of human behavior and social phenomena.
  • Sociology students should be able to apply scientific principles to understand the social world.
  • Sociology students should be able to evaluate the quality of social scientific methods and data.
  • Sociology students should be able to rigorously analyze social scientific data.
  • Sociology students should be able to use knowledge to inform policy debates and promote public understanding.

Current Trends in the JSU Sociology Program

  • Accessible faculty all with doctoral degrees from a variety of PhD granting institutions across the U.S.
  • Faculty that are experts, nationally recognized in their field, and active in regional and national sociological associations.
  • Current research of faculty includes disasters, domestic violence, gender and work, hate crimes, gender and depression, depression in the nursing home elderly, sexual harassment at the university, collective behavior, war and asylum seekers, and theory construction using micro, meso and macro levels of analysis.
  • Active and progressive Sociology Club, WISE (Women's Issues Support and Empowerment), as well as the Sociology Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Delta
  • Courses relevant to life in the 21st century

Requirements for Major in Sociology: 

MAJOR IN SOCIOLOGY (B.S./B.A.) The requirements for a major in Sociology are a total of 120 semester hours, which includes meeting all University and program general education requirements, including 30 semester hours of sociology course-work and either a second major or minor. Of these 30 hours required for the Sociology degree, 15 hours are dictated by the program while the additional 15 hours are Sociology electives. The five required sociology courses are SY 221 or 222, 301, 427 or 428 and 499 and one course from:  SY324, 360 or 368. The additional 15 hours of sociology electives will be selected from only Sociology courses and must be at 300 level of higher.  Mathematic requirements include one course of MS 108 or higher.  Sociology Majors must earn a minimum of “C” or better in each of the major and minor courses. 

Introduction to Sociology (SY 221) is a prerequisite for all Sociology courses.  SY427, 428, and 499 have additional prerequisites.  Sociological Methods (SY301) should be taken prior to Sociology 300+ electives.  Students are urged to consult with their academic advisor who will be helpful in choosing electives.  The student should balance breadth and depth as best suits his or her own needs and future plans. 

SOCIOLOGY MINOR. The requirements for a minor in Sociology are a minimum of 18 semester hours which must include SY 221 or 222 and 301. The remaining 12 hours are electives which must be chosen from courses in the Sociology listing.

CRIMINOLOGY MINOR.   The requirements for a minor in Criminology are a minimum of 18 hours which must include SY221 or 222.  Students then choose the remaining 15 hours from the following electives:

SY223 Social Problems
SY315 Deviant Behavior
SY322 Juvenile Delinquency
SY324 Stratification
SY365 Drugs and Society
SY368 Theories of Gender
SY360 Race and Ethnic Group Relations