Sociology studies issues like family stability, crime, poverty, racism, and the impact of of social changes over time and across social boundaries.
What is sociology?
Sociology studies these issues by using a “public issues” perspective. This approach focuses on how our social structures and group classifications influence our behavior and our opportunities in life based on our “membership” in various social groups. For example, we know that men make more money than women, that white Americans live longer than black Americans, and that poor people actually pay a greater portion of their income in taxes than wealthy people. Sociological research has clarified these patterns and many others. Sociologists often work with stakeholders to change policies and improve social conditions for groups in our society.
Students have many questions about human behavior. Maybe you are interested in how the lifestyle and opportunities of “Baby Boomers” are different from subsequent generations. How has the recent economic downturn affected these groups differently? Sociological research can help you find the differences between these groups. If you are interested in how groups and social structures influence your behavior and others’, then sociology may be the major for you.
What kinds of career choices may I expect?
The bachelor of arts degree in sociology is a popular major for students pursuing careers in managerial, service, human resources, administrative, business, criminal justice, planning and research positions. Careers in sociology, law, gerontology, criminology, health services and others are also possible with graduate training. Shippensburg’s program places an emphasis on developing writing skills and interpersonal communication skills through classroom assignments, extracurricular experiences and internships. In addition, students develop critical research and analytical skills and insights about various aspects of racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and socio-economic diversity.
The sociology program at Shippensburg consists of a core of required courses and a wide array of elective options. Research skills are developed in computer labs where you will learn how to analyze and interpret data. All students are also encouraged to participate in an internship to complement their academic and career interests.
What courses will I take?
The bachelor of arts degree requires 36 credit hours of sociology courses which includes a core of seven required courses and Five electives. Students must take:
Introduction to Sociology: Society and Diversity
Introduction to Social Research
Data Collection and Analysis
Classical Sociological Theory and
These courses provide the core concepts and skills which are needed in sociology. Students then apply and enhance what they have learned through sociology electives which include courses such as family studies, deviance, criminology, disability studies and health care, and human relations.
Students must also complete 54 credits of general education courses and recommended electives. All students must take 9 credits of a language or show equivalent competence. The remaining 20 credits required for graduation are taken from allied areas and free electives, and many students use these to complete a minor course of study.
All students have a faculty advisor and all scheduling is done on a one-to-one basis. As a result, faculty get to know their advisees. They help students plan an academic program and schedule that fits their needs, and assist students with issues such as internships, graduate school information and career counseling.
Are internship opportunities available?
Yes, internships are highly recommended. The department strongly encourages students to participate and works with them to create internships suited to their needs and interests. Internships are very valuable because they give you the opportunity to combine theoretical knowledge with real-life experiences, and in some cases, they have led to employment with the agency. Illustrations of recent internship placements include:
- Abraxis, a residential treatment facility for adjudicated youths
- Dauphin County Juvenile Probation Office
- Family Support Services for children and adults with mental disabilities
- Franklin County Office of Aging
- State Museum of Pennsylvania Field School in Historical Archaeology
Are there related student organizations?
Students who qualify may join Alpha Kappa Delta, an International Sociology Honor Society that recognizes sociology majors who have excelled academically. Additionally, the department sponsors an active Soc-Anthro Club which offers programs, travels to interesting sites, and provides community outreach opportunities.
Why study sociology at Shippensburg University?
The sociology program at Shippensburg offers you an outstanding faculty who receive excellent evaluations for their teaching, and who are noted for being available to assist students. Further, we offer a high-quality program which facilitates both employment and admission to graduate programs. Recent job placements include Area Office of Aging, Mental Health and Mental Retardation staff, human resources assistant, Project Forward Leap, security police for the United State Supreme Court, and teaching. Students from our program have been accepted and successfully completed advanced degrees at institutions such as the University of Maryland, Florida State University and the University of Virginia.
Where can I get more information about sociology at SHIP?
For specific program information, contact:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Grove Hall 428
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299