Department of Sociology
Areas of Specialization
Director of Graduate Studies: Dr. Stephen Demuth
A growing number of administrative, planning, and statistical agencies at all levels of government, public policy research organizations, and private industries are showing an interest in employing persons whose primary training and expertise is in the use and analysis of population statistics. In addition, an increasing number of students have shown an interest in acquiring specialized training in techniques of demographic analysis at an earlier stage in their graduate education than is common in more traditional graduate programs. Designed in response to these trends, the graduate program in applied demography prepares graduates for employment in a variety of service, government, or business settings upon the completion of the master's degree. Applied demography may be selected as the major area concentration by M.A. students only. Students who intend to continue their education through the doctoral degree should also consider the graduate program in demography within the Department of Sociology. This program has different requirements for the master's degree and is generally designed to prepare students for entry into a doctoral level program
Criminology and Deviance
The graduate program in criminology and deviance provides advanced studies in the causes and consequences of crime, delinquency, and deviant behavior, and the societal response to these phenomena. Most graduates of the program pursue professional employment in university-based teaching and research. Some graduates, particularly those with prior training or work experience in criminal justice, seek career advancement in that field at the local, state, and federal levels of government. The program emphasizes both breadth and depth of knowledge about crime, delinquency, deviant behavior, corrections, and law. Productive scholarship is stressed throughout the program and graduate students are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward teaching, research, and publication through direct involvement in the teaching and research activities of the faculty. Criminology and deviance may be selected as the major area of concentration by M.A. students, and as either the major or minor area of study by Ph.D. students.
The objective of the graduate program in demography is to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and/or governmental or community service focusing on demography. The program gives students insights into the complexities of population processes, including fertility, mortality/morbidity, migration, and family formation, and the relationships between such processes and broader social and economic contexts and trends. The Department of Sociology presently offers three degree tracks for students interested in demography: (1) a general master's degree program in sociology with a concentration in demography; (2) a specialized master's degree program in applied demography; and (3) a general Ph.D. program in sociology with a concentration in demography. All graduate students in demography are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward instruction, research, and publication through direct involvement in the activities of the faculty. Demography may be selected as the major area of concentration by M.A. students, and as either the major or minor area of study by Ph.D. students.
The objective of the graduate program in family studies is to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, and/or governmental or community service focusing on families and family relations. The program gives students insights into the complexities of contemporary families, the historical development of family systems, and the social psychological and demographic processes that influence and are influenced by family phenomena. Family studies may be selected as the major area of concentration by M.A. students, and as either the major or minor area of study by Ph.D. students. All graduate students in family studies are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward teaching, research, and publication through direct involvement in the activities of the faculty.
Quantitative research has become the dominant paradigm in the field for the investigation of sociological topics. Those intending to conduct research in the field need to have the statistical/methodological tools at their disposal to accomplish this task. Quantitative methods is offered as a minor area of concentration for Ph.D. students. The minor is designed to give students a solid grounding in the spectrum of statistical techniques that are most frequently used in sociology, including analysis of variance, linear regression, regression with limited dependent variables, structural equation modeling, demographic techniques, and similar topics. In addition to these topics taught within the department, students are encouraged to seek similar coursework outside the department, particularly in the departments of applied statistics and psychology, or in the school of education. Students attaining this minor should be able to be knowledgeable users of basic and advanced statistical techniques in their own research. Moreover, they should have the skills to teach courses in quantitative methods at the undergraduate or beginning graduate level, as well as to serve as statistical resources for faculty and students, at their own institutions.
The graduate program in social psychology focuses on the reciprocal relationship between the individual and society. The objective of the social psychology program is to give interested students a solid background in general social psychology with a special emphasis on the issues and substantive topics associated with the sociological social psychological perspective. Although the program emphasizes that all social psychology students should develop solid theoretical knowledge and research techniques, the guiding principle of the program is flexibility. One of the strengths of social psychology is the scope of topics within its purview, and one of the strengths of the social psychology program is the willingness of faculty to guide students in the selection of coursework which is most compatible with their own interests. Aside from employment in universities or other agencies of higher education, graduates of the social psychology program will have valuable skills related to such diverse areas as public opinion, mass communications, consumer behavior and public health. All graduate students in the social psychology program are encouraged to develop a professional orientation toward research and publication through direct involvement in the activities of the faculty. Social psychology may be selected as the major area of concentration by M.A. students, and as either the major or minor area of study by Ph.D. students.