Sociology

Requirements & Courses

  • Sociology and Anthropology investigate basic processes, structures, culture and change in social reality and what it means to be human in that complex reality. This investigation encompasses: (1) method and theory — the logic of inquiry; (2) vocation — the ethically self-conscious examination of actions; and (3) the intended and unintended consequences of social action. While this investigation entails challenge and intellectual risk, it also promotes intellectual and ethical development in the best traditions of liberal education. Alma’s Sociology and Anthropology graduates successfully pursue graduate education in many fields as well as careers in sociology and social work, business and personnel administration, law, ministry, corrections, government, museum curatorship, archaeology, international development and many other areas. It is our hope that one can have a life as well as a living; liberal education can lead to both.

  • Sociology Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits that must include SOA 101, 111, 251, 301 and 302; 16 credits chosen from SOA 141 or 180, 220, 224, 234, 241, 243, 280, 325, 326, 328, 353, 380, 385, 386, 499 or 500 or no more than four credits from the Anthropology sequence SOA 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 311, 312, or 315. No more than four credits of approved SOA 180 may count towards the major.
    2. The Comprehensive Evaluation for the Sociology major is the successful completion of the Major Field Aptitude Test.
  • Sociology Minor Requirements

    Sociology 101, 111 and 251 plus 12 additional credits with the restriction that only four credits beyond SOA 111 of the Anthropology/Archaeology sequence may count.

  • Anthropology Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits which must include SOA 101, 111, 212, 213, 214 and 498. The 12 remaining credits must be chosen from 215, 216, 220, 241, 311, 312 or 315; preapproved SOA 180, 280, 380 topics courses; or up to eight preapproved credits from other disciplines appropriate to the student’s sub-disciplinary interests.
    2. The Comprehensive Evaluation for the majors with an emphasis in Anthropology is the successful completion of SOA 498.
  • Anthropology Minor Requirements

    SOA 111, four credits of SOA 498, at least one of SOA 212, 213, and 214, and additional elective credits from Anthropology/Archaeology courses to total 24 credits. To satisfy the Anthropology elective credit, students may, with permission, take up to four credits of Sociology courses that have not been used to satisfy a Sociology major or minor. With prior SOA permission, students may substitute up to four credits from other departments as elective Anthropology credit.

  • Four credits from SOA, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Social Sciences.

Courses

  • SOA
    101
    .
    Principles of Sociology
    4 credits
    Introduction to the discipline and its connections to the liberal arts. It examines “society,” “culture,” and “self” as they interact to form institutions, history and the future. Prerequisite for all other Sociology courses except those in the Anthropology sequence.
  • SOA
    111
    .
    Introduction to Anthropology
    4 credits
    Fee TBA for field trip section
    Introduction to the holistic study of human kind. Development, organization, and functioning of cultures, as well as the relationship between biology and culture. Field trip to The Field Museum (Chicago). Fall Term.
  • SOA
    141
    .
    Social Problems
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examination, evaluation and discussion of contemporary social problems providing theoretical orientations and analytical skills to understand their complexities and ramifications. For example: poverty, health issues, crime and ways of dealing with crime.
  • SOA
    180
    .
    Topics in Sociology
    2-4 credits
    SOA 101
    Investigation of a selected topic. May be taken only once for credit toward the major.
  • SOA
    *
    212
    .
    Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
    4 credits
    SOA 111 recommended
    Study of the development and variety of human cultures, or non-genetic adaptations to natural and social environments. Using a variety of theoretical perspectives, explore a range of contemporary and recent historic cultures to gain an appreciation of diversity of human world views and life ways. Investigate the process and effects of globalization.
  • SOA
    *
    213
    .
    Principles of Archaeology
    4 credits
    SOA 111 recommended
    A basic introduction to the history, theories and methods of anthropological archaeology. Issues of stewardship, accountability, social relevance, communication, preservation, repatriation and real world problem solving are integrated into the nuts and bolts of archaeological research. Opportunities for hands-on, post-excavation archaeological laboratory research.
  • SOA
    *
    214
    .
    Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology
    4 credits
    SOA 111 or BIO 122, or Permission
    Focus on the physical nature of humankind and the relationship between mind-body-culture. Historic and current theoretical and methodological approaches to the investigation of the human body, its functions, and evolution. Methods and techniques used by paleontologists to investigate ancient hominids and their behavior. Examine current issues such as human demography, “race,” forensics, epidemiology, stem cell research, genetics.
  • SOA
    *
    215
    .
    Michigan Archaeological Fieldwork
    4 credits
    Fee TBA
    SOA 111, 115 or 312 recommended
    Survey and excavation of a local archaeological site. Field methods and record-keeping, preservation of finds, laboratory experience, record-keeping, and public education. Includes classroom, field, and laboratory work including a service-learning component.
  • SOA
    *
    216
    .
    Ethnobotany: Plants and People
    4 credits
    SOA 111 recommended
    Ethnobotanical and paleoethnobotanical approach to relationships between plants and human culture. Philosophical, ethical and technological perspectives of traditional and Western attitudes toward human-plant interactions. Issues of land-use rights, biodiversity, global stewardship and intellectual property rights. Combined lecture and seminar format.
  • SOA
    *
    220
    .
    Sociology of Family
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examines how family life is structured by broader social, political and economic changes. Analysis organized historically around clan, lineage, nuclear and post-nuclear family structures. Contemporary family problems also studied. Fall Term.
  • SOA
    *
    221
    .
    Bible and Society
    4 credits
    SOA 101 or Permission
    Explores how the social context (ethnic, economic, class, etc.) of faith communities shapes the study, understanding, and use of scripture in worship and impacts values and daily lives. Emphasis on lectionary readings shared by Protestants and Roman Catholics, and the Hebrew scriptures. (Cross listed with REL 220).
  • SOA
    *
    224
    .
    Women, Work and Calling
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examines the concepts of work, vocation and calling as they apply to the lives of women, from a sociological perspective. Students are encouraged to apply insights from this course to their own vocational journeys.
  • SOA
    *
    234
    .
    Aging and Health Institutions
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examine key concepts, main theories and important substantive issues related to aging and health institutions from a sociological perspective. Among the central issues explored are gender and racial differences in aging, ethnic minorities and institutions connected to aging and public policy.
  • SOA
    *
    241
    .
    Race and Ethnic Relations
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examines racism in American society; dominant-subordinate group relations with particular emphasis on African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and White Ethnics; political, economic, social and cultural consequences.
  • SOA
    *
    243
    .
    Deviance
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examination, evaluation and discussion of major theories and approaches to deviance, forms of deviance, their institutional relationships, implications for individuals and applications of concepts to “real world” events.
  • SOA
    *
    251
    .
    Social Psychology
    4 credits
    SOA 101 and PSY 121
    Consideration of current theory and research on “self,” “cognition,” “perception,” attitudes and attitude formation, heuristics and biases, and intergroup relations as they inform our existence in society.
  • SOA
    *
    301
    .
    Methods of Social Research
    4 credits
    12 credits of SOA or Permission
    Fundamentals of logic and procedures of social research. Emphasis on research design, measurements of attitudes and behavior, techniques of scaling, coding and analysis of data
  • SOA
    *
    302
    .
    Sociological Theory
    4 credits
    12 credits of SOA or Permission
    Examination, discussion and evaluation of major frameworks, concepts and theories developed since mid-19th century. “Social order” serves as a major organizing concept for this exploration and its subsequent implications for application of theory in social policy.
  • SOA
    *
    311
    .
    Topics in Anthropology
    2-4 credits
    SOA 111
    Analysis of selected anthropological problems and/or culture areas, acculturation, applied anthropology and ethnography.
  • SOA
    *
    312
    .
    North American Archaeology
    4 credits
    SOA 111 or 213, or Permission
    Focus on major prehistoric and historic North American cultures as revealed through archaeology and representative archaeological sites. Special emphasis on Michigan and the Midwest. Opportunities for hands-on, post-excavation laboratory research.
  • SOA
    *
    315
    .
    Michigan Archaeological Field Work
    4 credits
    Fee TBA
    SOA 215 or Permission
    Research in peer-reviewed and/or primary sources, application of research to data from local sites resulting in written report, exhibition, or public presentation. Supervision of field crews in Spring Term excavation and survey program. Intended for students with experience in and serious commitment to archaeological research.
  • SOA
    *
    325
    .
    Conflict and Class
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examination of class inequality and its consequences. Topics may include ideology, social movements, and issues in war and peace. Attention is paid to how race and gender issues intersect with class in both national and international settings.
  • SOA
    *
    326
    .
    Complex Organizations
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    In-depth examination of organizational theory with special focus on organizational metaphors and the social construction of structure, behavior and quality.
  • SOA
    *
    328
    .
    Media: Impact and Consequences
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    Examination of media changes (from oral to print to electronic) as they hold consequences for “society,” “culture,” and “self.” These consequences are literally revolutionary at each level of analysis and understanding them can be of great benefit.
  • SOA
    *
    353
    .
    Sociology of Gender
    4 credits
    SOA 101
    How gender practices are socially constructed and enacted. Examine through ethnographic and observation methods how family, religion, race/ethnicity and social class have shaped gender relations. Explore movements to change and resist change in gender arrangements.
  • SOA
    *
    380
    .
    Topics in Sociology
    2-4 credits
    SOA 101 and 4 additional credits in SOA
    Selected topics such as population and ecology, social and cultural change, sociology of education, or alternative life styles. May be taken more than once for credit. Only eight credits count toward the major in Sociology.
  • SOA
    *
    385-*386
    .
    Practicum
    4 credits each
    Permission
    Participation in community institutions, agencies, schools and business with individual faculty supervision. Applications of concepts through experience. About 11-14 hours of field work per week for each four credits. Includes paper or report.
  • SOA
    *
    498
    .
    Research Seminar
    2-4 credits
    Junior or Senior Standing
    Designed as a culminating experience for junior or senior anthropology majors. Emphasizes student synthesis and application of cumulative anthropological knowledge. Students facilitate classes and engage in an original research project culminating in a public presentation of their work.
  • SOA
    *
    499
    .
    Independent Study
    2-4 credits
    Permission
    Supervised reading or project in special area of sociology, general sociology, social psychology or anthropology.
  • SOA
    *
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    4 credits
    Permission
    Designed for senior sociology or anthropology majors with the consent of the Department. Program of empirical or theoretical research. Projects are generally begun during the first term of the senior year.