Major in Sociology

What is Sociology?

Classroom at Sewell Social Sciences BuildingSociology is the scientific study of social life. Sociologists study the structure of societies as well as how they change, interact with one another, and impact the individuals within them. Sociologists study a broad array of topics including the family, organizations, inequalities by gender, class, race/ethnicity, and nativity, social, political, and religious movements, crime, health, and natural disasters, among others. They answer their questions using a variety of scientific research methods, including survey research, statistical analysis, ethnography, conversation analysis, and content analysis. The results of sociological investigations help develop new theories and inform social policies and programs.

What Skills do Sociology Majors Develop?

Sociology majors conduct research and analyze data; they practice critical thinking and develop evidence-based arguments; and they gain a global perspective. The sociology curriculum also teaches students interpersonal skills such as:

  • working in small groups
  • communicating skillfully
  • developing and using leadership skills
  • working with people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds

Together, this proves to be valuable preparation for graduate study as well as a broad range of careers in business, education, research, and social services. For more information, see the undergraduate student resource section of the American Sociological Association’s website.

Sociology Major Checklist

Declaring a Sociology Major

If you are a student in the College of Letters and Science (L&S) and wish to declare a major in sociology, it is in your best interest to do so as soon as possible.   If you are not currently in the College of Letters & Science, you will need to be admitted to L&S before you can declare.

  1. If you are in L&S, please come in during drop-in hours for Ellen Jacobson, the undergraduate advisor. If you cannot make these walk-in times, you may email Ellen to make another appointment. Please allow extra time as we will retrieve a current unofficial transcript and your DARS report for you prior to advising. If you cannot make these times, you may email Ellen to make other arrangements. During your meeting you will fill out an actual declaration. The meeting typically takes about 15 minutes.
  2. If you change your plans, contact the undergraduate coordinator, Ted Babcock, and fill out a request to drop the major.

View of East campus from Lake Mendota