Sociology Catalog

Sociology (BA)


Sociology is the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of small groups to the study of global social change. We hold that social forces external to the individual play an important role in shaping behavior and beliefs. Social forces are the economic and political make-up of society, and cultural influences, such as our beliefs, habits, and values. The sociology major prepares students for a wide variety of careers and graduate fields, including sociology, social work, planning, public administration, education, public health, business, and law.


Students must have a minimum grade of C in all required courses and maintain a 2.0 GPA in their major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in sociology.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per university policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless completing the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.

Minors in Other Disciplines

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. To receive a minor, the student must complete at least 9 credit hours of coursework distinct from their other credentials (i.e., majors, other minors). The complete list of minors is available on the Canisius website and in the catalog and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

In addition to the Sociology minor the department also supports two interdisciplinary minors: Child, Family and Community Studies and Peace and Justice Studies.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

SOC 110Introduction to Sociology3
SOC 111Contemporary Social Problems3
EDU 303Research Methods in the Social Sciences (formerly HSV303)3
Focused Method Option: Choose 13
SOC 375
Ethnography and Culture
MAT 131
Statistics for Social Sciences
SOC 432Theories in Sociology3
Six 3 credit sociology electives18
Total Credits33

Major Electives

A student's electives must be 6 courses from any of the designated major tracks. 

Society and Culture Track
SOC 220Identity and Society3
SOC 234Environment and Society3
SOC 273Social Movements and Social Change3
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
Identity and Diversity Track
SOC 220Identity and Society3
SOC 291Gender and Society3
SOC 341Race and Ethnicity3
SOC 390Life Course and Family3
SOC 340Sociology of the City3
SOC 385International Migration3
PSC 241Human Rights and Globalization3
Crime and Society Track
SOC 220Identity and Society3
SOC 355Deviant Behavior3
CRJ 325Restorative Justice and the Administration of Justice3
CRJ 337Violence and the Family3
CRJ 345Gangs in American Society3
CRJ 354Juvenile Delinquency3
CRJ 455Criminology3
Methods and Application Track
SOC 315Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences3
SOC 324Visual Sociology3
SOC 375Ethnography and Culture (if not chosen as methods option)3
MAT 131Statistics for Social Sciences (if not chosen as methods option)3
SOC 498Internship3
SOC 499Independent Study3
Additional Course Considerations

The department encourages sociology majors to study a foreign language of their choice and to participate in the college study abroad program. Students considering study abroad should consult with their advisor regarding course sequencing.


Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

SOC 110SOC 111
EDU 303SOC elective
SOC elective 
Take one of the following research methods courses:SOC elective
SOC 375
MAT 131
SOC elective 
SOC 432SOC elective
SOC elective 

Learning Goals and Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Sociology majors will demonstrate that they are able to think critically about sociological concepts.

Students will: 
  • Objective A: apply scientific methodology to the study of sociology
  • Objective B: evaluate the quality of quantitative and qualitative research in sociology

Student Learning Goal 2

Sociology majors will demonstrate that they have the knowledge necessary for careers or graduate school.

Students will:
  • Objective A: become familiar with the major concepts, theories, and theorists in sociology.
  • Objective B: apply sociological theories and methods to real world situations.

Student Learning Goal 3

Sociology majors will appreciate the diverse nature of society.

Students will:
  • Objective A: conceptualize of diversity today and in the past.
  • Objective B: recognize of the vastness of human diversity.



SOC 100 The Architecture of Identity Finding Your Purpose in Society 3 Credits

The theme of identity is central to any society and one we consistently consider along the pathways of our individual lives. It is a particular theme for those entering college and looking for a pathway to their future. This interdisciplinary course explores identity, passion, and purpose. Through a research-based approach, students will learn more about themselves and how they can utilize their gifts and talents to make an impact within our global society.

Offered: every fall.

SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology 3 Credits

Topics include theory, methods, culture, socialization, race and ethnicity, groups and organizations, and social inequality; analysis of everyday events, using sociological imagination.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall.

SOC 111 Contemporary Social Problems 3 Credits

Exploration of selected social problems from various sociological points of view, emphasizing some of the sociological concepts and methods employed in analyzing these problems.

Fulfills College Core: Diversity, Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: spring.

SOC 220 Identity and Society 3 Credits

This course will encourage students to engage in critical dialogues about racial, ethnic, class, nation, gender, and sexual identities. The students will examine the ways in which social identities are socially reproduced, transformed and re-interpreted, both historically and contemporarily.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

SOC 234 Environment and Society 3 Credits

Explores connections between environmental issues and their social causes and consequences. Topics of analysis include environmental racism, environmental health, risk and uncertainty, political economy, globalization and sustainability.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: spring.

SOC 273 Social Movements and Social Change 3 Credits

Explores the development of social movements as a force of social change in society. Focus is on theoretical developments in movement theory, as well as explorations of social movements through history.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences), Justice

Offered: spring.

SOC 291 Gender and Society 3 Credits

Exploration of origin of gender roles; socialization into masculine and feminine roles; intersection of gender and social institutions such as family, work and education.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

SOC 300 Special Topics in Sociology 3 Credits

Critical examination of a selected topic in sociology. Subject matter determined by the instructor.

SOC 315 Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the Social Sciences 3 Credits

This course will introduce students to basic mapmaking skills using the program ArcGIS, and the ways that those skills can be applied to the study of human society, relationships, and environments. By the end of this course, students will know how to find or create geographic data, build a spatial data base, and analyze that data to answer specific research or predictive questions. Students will also consider the principles of cartography, design, and storytelling which contribute to an effective map, and will produce a map project by the end of the course.

Prerequisites: none.

Offered: every spring.

SOC 324 Visual Sociology 3 Credits

Emphasizes a visual approach to analyzing social concepts. Analysis of visual media forms to explore core ideas in sociology such as gender, race, environment, social class, family and global diversity.

Offered: spring.

SOC 340 Sociology of the City 3 Credits

Exploration of how people experience and understand city life, how cities grow and develop, and various issues affecting cities today such as suburbanization and urban sprawl.

SOC 341 Race and Ethnicity 3 Credits

Focus is on issues surrounding race and ethnicity in the United States, including the social construction of race and ethnicity, prejudice and discrimination, unequal opportunity structures, and the racial/ethnic makeup of the U.S. and global population.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall of even-numbered years.

SOC 355 Deviant Behavior 3 Credits

Students will explore how societies define some behaviors and characteristics as deviant as well as explanations of social deviance, how societies and groups respond to social deviance. Alternative social science theories about such behavior are compared and contrasted. Research methodologies and findings in recent social-science literature are examined and interpreted.

SOC 375 Ethnography and Culture 3 Credits

Research designs from a qualitative perspective, including field research, participant observation, content analysis, ethnography, and focus groups. Analysis and reporting of qualitative data.

Offered: every fall.

SOC 385 International Migration 3 Credits

This course is an examination of the issues arising from the movement of peoples across national boundaries, including labor migration, illegal migration, forced migration, and trafficking.

Prerequisite: SOC 110. Restrictions: Junior or Senior standing.

Offered: every other fall.

SOC 390 Life Course and Family 3 Credits

Covers family development from relationship formation through the life course which may include marriage, divorce and remarriage. Includes sexuality, sexual orientation, cohabitation, parenting and the intersection between the family and major social institutions.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

SOC 432 Theories in Sociology 3 Credits

Course emphasizes theory development as a tool to understand society. Focuses on major social theorists and their contributions as well as classical and modern theoretical schools in sociology.

Restriction: must be a sociology major or minor with junior or senior standing.

Offered: every fall.

SOC 498 Internship 2-4 Credits

Opportunity for students to participate in the daily work of an agency or organization. Internships require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: minimum GPA of 2.75, signature of instructor, and approval by both the chair & associate dean.

Offered: fall & spring.

SOC 499 Independent Study 1-3 Credits

Independent studies allow in-depth study of a specific topic and are most often reserved for seniors who cannot otherwise fulfill a graduation requirement. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.

Offered: fall & spring.

3+3 Accelerated BA/BS-JD Program  

The 3+3 Accelerated BA/BS-JD program through the University at Buffalo School of Law is open to a variety of majors. By participating, you can:

  • Complete your undergraduate education and law degree in less time (and for less cost) than the 7 years typically required
  • Become fully eligible for scholarships and grants offered to qualified incoming students at the University at Buffalo School of Law
  • Upon successful completion of the first-year curriculum at UB Law School, a student's credits for the year will be transferred to Canisius to complete his or her bachelor's degree which will then be conferred by Canisius.


This unique program is open to pre-law students who:

*The LSAT score must be at or above the median LSAT score for the UB School of Law’s previous year’s enrolled class or the GRE score must be at or above the 70th percentile for Verbal Reasoning and the 40th percentile for Quantitative Reasoning.

For more information, contact the Raichle Center director.

3+3 Sociology BA/JD Roadmap 

ENG 111ENG 112
RST 101PHI 101
Attribute: Global AwarenessField 7: Mathematical Sciences
SOC 110SOC 111
Field 1: Religious Studies and TheologyField 2: Philosophy
Attribute: JusticeAttribute: Ethics*
Skills: Advanced Writing-IntensiveAttribute: Diversity
EDU 303SOC Elective
SOC ElectiveSOC Elective
SOC 375 or MAT 131Filed 4: History
Field 3: Literature and Arts Field 6: Natural Sciences
Field 5: Social Sciences SOC Elective
Skills: Oral Communication SOC Elective
SOC ElectiveCapstone
1st year JD courses taken at UB1st year JD courses taken at UB
LAW 509: TortsLAW 507: Property
LAW 501: Civil ProcedureLAW 505: Criminal Law
LAW 503: Contracts LAW 511: Constitutional Law
LAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research ILAW 515: Legal Analysis, Writing and Research II
ATTRIBUTES - Can be fulfilled using a variety of courses including Field of Knowledge courses and electives with attribute designation
Global Awareness
Advanced Writing Intensive - Must be at the 200-level or above
Oral Communication Skills

Ethics is required of all students

Note: All students must complete a total of 60 hours of Arts and Science courses. We strongly recommend that all students run a Griff Audit to check for this and any other additional requirements.