Sociology Program Overview
Sociology is concerned with the study of human social behavior and the influence of society upon this behavior. More specifically, sociologists examine the behavior of individuals as members of social networks and groups such as the family, the work group, organizations, communities, and societies. Sociologists also study the behavior of social groups and organizations as they interact with each other.
The sociology curriculum at Montana State University emphasizes the application of knowledge and skills to national problems and social issues. The content and organization of courses are designed to provide a base of knowledge about human interaction and societies, and to teach particular skills which are useful in interpreting social and cultural events. Thus, the course offerings include subjects such as social problems, sociology of deviance, family and society, criminology, minority groups, social change, and political sociology.
Given the broad range of specialty areas within this field, sociology majors receive an education which prepares them for employment in a wide variety of occupations and also for postgraduate education in sociology, labor relations, public administration, market research, community development, urban and rural planning, and law. Career opportunities for sociology graduates include business and industry, corrections, law enforcement, private and public research, personnel management, human services and many other occupations.
The sociology option is flexible in terms of course requirements. Students are introduced to central concerns of sociology including social dynamics, social inequality and social institutions. Courses are sequenced to ensure that students become progressively more independent, and the curriculum includes at least two opportunities for students to pursue, with the guidance of faculty, their own research questions.
Faculty are actively engaged in research on a variety of contemporary topics including family demography, environmental justice, transnational families, organizational deviance, sibling violence, the interpretation of law by organizations, discourse among right wing social movements, the stigma attached to adoption and the discourse around censorship. The range of research offers junior and senior students an opportunity to work directly with faculty in a variety of special topic areas.