Eren Branch, PhD, Interim Chair
Adina Batnitzky, PhD
Michelle Madsen Camacho, PhD
Erik D. Fritsvold, PhD
Judith Liu, PhD
Belinda Lum, PhD
A. Rafik Mohamed, PhD
Lisa Nunn, PhD
Thomas E. Reifer, PhD
John Joe Schlichtman, PhD
The Sociology Major
The degree program in sociology provides students with the analytical tools to help them understand the links between individual experiences and the larger society. In examining social life and social change, the department focuses on questions of power, culture, and inequality in the U.S. and at the global level, combining a comparative-historical perspective with the scientific and humanistic vantage points of the social sciences. All students are exposed to classical and contemporary sociological theories and learn to apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches to sociological research.
The complexity of the field of sociology is reflected in the wide range of courses offered in the department and in the varied interests and backgrounds of the faculty. Students may elect to pursue a generalist approach to the discipline or to specialize in one of the complementary areas of concentration. these concentrations include: community, urbanization, and culture; power and inequality in global perspective; and crime, justice, law and society.
We share in USD’s mission to work towards peace and social justice, with a special emphasis on the Catholic intellectual and social tradition. Strong community service-learning components and field experience placements in community agencies provide an opportunity for students to link abstract sociological concepts to concrete social issues in the search for solutions to pressing societal problems.
Major Requirements (36 units)
Students majoring in sociology must satisfy the core curriculum requirements as set forth in this bulletin and complete all major requirements as presented in the following schedule:
Lower-division Preparation for the Major – nine units
|SOCI 101D||Introduction to Sociology (3)|
|And two of the following three lower-division courses (six units):|
|Contemporary Social Issues: Power and Inequality in Global Perspective (3)
Contemporary Social Issues: Crime, Justice, Law and Society (3)
Contemporary Social Issues: Community, Urbanization, and Culture (3)
|Upper-division – 27 units
Students should plan their upper-division courses in consultation with their major advisor. The courses will include:
|Classical Sociological Theories or
Contemporary Sociological Theories (3)
Quantitative Methods (3) and
Qualitative Methods (3)
18 additional upper-division units, 12 of which must be selected from the courses specifically listed under the student’s declared area concentration.
Students are encouraged to select one of the three area concentrations outlined below and they should include the 200-level course that serves as an introductory pathway to the area concentration they have chosen. (See SOCI 216D, 217D, and 218D.) Students may also choose to have a generalist perspective in sociology rather than an area concentration, in which case they must select two courses from each of the three area concentrations.
At least 18 of the 27 upper-division units must be taken at USD. No more than 6 non-USD units taken abroad will be accepted for credit toward the sociology major.
The Sociology Minor
Minor Requirements (18 units)
Lower-division – six units
SOCI 101D Introduction to Sociology (3)
And at least one course in the Contemporary Social Issues series: SOCI 216D, 217D, or 218D (3)
Upper-division – nine units minimum
Students must have taken SOCI 101D and either SOCI 216D, 217D, or 218D (and have completed 45 undergraduate units) before enrolling in any upper-division sociology course. (Prerequisites may occasionally be waived with consent of the instructor.)
Community, Urbanization, and Culture
With an emphasis on social change and social justice, this concentration examines community structures, processes, and problems, with a focus on urban environments in a globalizing world. Issues of immigration, racial, ethnic, and national diversity, inequality, spatial segregation, community activism and leadership, and schooling and public education are all addressed, along with the impact of popular culture. Students will learn to develop creative strategies to address the issues facing urban centers and communities today as global forces increasingly challenge our traditional notions of city and community. The concentration will be of particular interest to those students considering careers in city planning, human services/relations, or social welfare, as well as those contemplating graduate work or professional training in urban planning, public health, urban sociology, geography, and related fields.
Marriage and the Family
Work and Labor
Sociology of Education
Sport in Social Context
| The Black Atlantic
Culture and the Metropolis
Cities in a Global Context
Community, Consensus, and Commitment
Special Topics (approval of department chair required)
Power and Inequality in Global Perspective
In this globally interconnected age of increasing diversity and widening disparities, power, difference, and inequality are at the heart of sociological inquiry. Focusing on the interweaving of structure and agency in comparative historical and global perspective, power and inequality are analyzed from a variety of theoretical vantage points, including that of historical political economy, with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Topics addressed include the global expansion of European capitalism and worldwide responses to this, as well as democracy, law, citizenship, and the role of organizations and social movements in social change. Transnational corporations and social movements, urbanization, sustainable development, the environment, and issues of war and peace are also addressed, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic social and intellectual tradition. This concentration will be of interest to those students interested in careers in social change, in the labor movement, public policy, human services/resources, or business, as well as for students interested in pursuing graduate work or careers in law, teaching, and related professional fields.
| U.S. Society
Race and Ethnic Relations
China in the 21st Century
Marriage and the Family
Inequality and Stratification
Gender Through the Prism of Difference
Social Change: Global Perspectives
Work and Labor
The U.S. Mosaic
Aging and Society
The Black Atlantic
Rights, Justice, Law and Inequality
Special Topics (approval of department chair required)
Crime, Justice, Law and Society
This concentration is for students who want to develop theoretical and empirical understandings of crime, the criminal justice system, and law. Through a sociological lens, courses in the concentration focus on the manifestations, causes, and consequences of criminal behavior and the mechanisms of justice, from street-level to white-collar crime. Courses also examine how society shapes our understanding of crime, the way individuals and society respond to crime, and changes in the context of globalization. This concentration will be of particular interest to those students considering careers in law, government, criminal justice, law enforcement, or social service, as well as those contemplating graduate work or professional training in related fields.
Drugs and U.S. Society
Crime as Entertainment
Law and Society
Rights, Justice, Law and Inequality
Special Topics (approval of department chair required)
|POLI 321 or 322D (only one of these two courses may be applied to the major and the course will not apply to any concentration other than crime, justice, law and society)|
Sociology Courses (SOCI)
SOCI 90 Developing Scholarly Undergraduates (1)
Using the “sociological imagination,” this course will help students to: 1) develop strong college performance skills and practices for academic success; 2) develop community involvement in USD and local communities; and 3) develop awareness of university services and programs. This course counts for “work-load credit” only. That is, its units are counted as part of the student’s load during the semester/session in which it is taken, and the grade earned in the course is included in the computation of the student’s grade point average, but it does not satisfy any requirement for the core curriculum or for the major or minor in sociology, and it does not count toward the 124 units required for graduation. Summer semester.
SOCI 101D Introduction to Sociology (3)
This course introduces students to basic concepts of sociology: groups, race and ethnicity, class, gender, nation, citizenship, status, role, society, behavior patterns, and social institutions. The approach is broadly comparative, historical, and global in orientation and focus, with an emphasis on the U.S. Particular attention is paid to issues of power, inequality, war, peace, social change, and social justice. Every semester.
(Note: The following courses, 216D, 217D, 218D, replace the former SOCI 110D. Please see lower-division requirements for the major and minor.)
SOCI 216D Contemporary Social Issues: Power and Inequality in Global Perspective (3)
This course critically examines issues of power, difference and inequality, utilizing comparative, historical, global and other critical perspectives. In an age of widening social polarization, the intersections of power, structure and agency are at the heart of sociological inquiry. Topics covered include stratification, social change, and struggles for peace and justice as they relate to issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship. The course will consider these issues in local, regional and global contexts. This course is open to both majors and non-majors for fulfillment of the core curriculum requirements. For sociology majors, it also serves as an introductory pathway to the power and inequality in global perspective concentration.
SOCI 217D Contemporary Social Issues: Crime, Justice, Law and Society (3)
This introductory-level course critically examines contemporary social issues in Crime, Justice, Law and Society. It will analyze the historic and contemporary responses of the law-enforcement community to various types of criminal and deviant behavior. The actions of formal agents of social control will be investigated both empirically and theoretically. Topics of the course include: theories of punishment, the criminal justice system, and the enduring tensions between social control and individual freedoms. This course is open to both majors and non-majors for fulfillment of the core curriculum requirements. For sociology majors, it also serves as an introductory pathway to the Crime, Justice, Law and Society concentration.
SOCI 218D Contemporary Social Issues: Community, Urbanization, and Culture (3)
This course is an introductory pathway to the Community, Urbanization, and Culture concentration in the Sociology major. It considers the contemporary social issues that every city is facing. It will examine the political, economic, and socio-cultural nuances of major issues such as poverty, development, housing, education, and crime. Students will reflect on the role of community and how it both influences and is influenced by these issues. Finally, they will analyze different policies that have been used to address these issues. This course is open to both majors and non-majors for fulfillment of the core curriculum requirements.
SOCI 294 Special Topics in Contemporary Sociology (lower-division) (3)
An overview and analysis of selected contemporary topics in sociology, with specific content to be determined by particular interest of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content.
SOCI 311 Popular Culture (3)
An examination of the material and other cultural artifacts of everyday life in our society. Included for analysis are: popular literature, films, television, and other mass media forms; popular icons such as toys and automobiles as reflections of underlying cultural values and beliefs; and the promotion of “the good life” through popular advertising.
SOCI 320 U.S. Society (3)
An introduction to U.S. society within historical and social perspectives. Transitions and transformations in U.S. culture and values are considered in a social context. Topics explored include industrialization, capitalism, social stratification, and the interplay of freedom, democracy, individualism, and volunteerism with the U.S.’s social structure, political institutions, and cultural framework.
SOCI 322 Classical Sociological Theories (3)
Development of sociological theories from Auguste Comte to George Herbert Mead. Fall semester, alternate years. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.
SOCI 323 Contemporary Sociological Theories (3)
Development of sociological theories of contemporary European and U.S. sociologists. Fall semester, alternate years. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.
SOCI 325 Quantitative Methods (3)
This course is required for the Sociology major and provides an introduction to the use of quantitative methods with an emphasis on descriptive statistics. Students learn concepts including sampling methods, components of survey research, measurement and analysis of variables, and standards of ethical practice. Statistical procedures include central tendency and variability measures, the normal curve, probability, correlation, and regression. Students will also develop basic fluency in SPSS, a statistical software package, to analyze empirical data. This course is required for completion of the Sociology Major.
SOCI 326 Qualitative Methods (3)
An introduction to the use of qualitative methods such as ethnographic research, field research, individual and focus group interviewing, historical comparative research, and qualitative survey research. Students learn concepts of research design including conceptualization, operationalization, sampling methods, and data analysis. These tools are integral to the execution of qualitative sociological research. This course is required for completion of the Sociology Major.
SOCI 331D Race and Ethnic Relations (3)
An introduction to theory and research relative to minority group relations in the United States, with particular emphasis upon patterns, problems, and consequences of social interaction and cultural diversity among different racial, national, religious, and socioeconomic groups.
SOCI 347 Criminology (3)
An examination of crime and society, with special emphasis on theories of criminality, types and trends in crime, and current controversies in criminology.
SOCI 348 Juvenile Delinquency (3)
This course provides an empirical description and sociohistorical analysis of the complex social problem of juvenile delinquency. Toward this goal, the course examines the historical circumstances and legal heritage out of which the social construction of juvenile delinquency has emerged. The emphasis of the course is on the process through which juvenile behavior becomes juvenile delinquency and the process through which juveniles become juvenile delinquents. This course also explores theoretical explanations for deviance and law-violating behavior committed by juveniles.
SOCI 349 Social Control (3)
An examination and analysis of the various strategies and techniques utilized to combat deviant and criminal behavior. Attention will be focused on the organization and operation of the U.S. criminal justice system.
SOCI 350 Social Institutions (3)
A comparative analysis of the basic structuring of human societies, utilizing the perspective of social systems theory. Topics for discussion will include such fundamental institutionalized processes as social allocation and social power, as well as the development of total societies from simple to complex forms of organization.
SOCI 351 China in the 21st Century (3)
This course analyzes the historical and social development of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to the present. Topics explored include: the problems of post-revolutionary institutionalization, the role of ideology, the tension between city and countryside, Maoism, major social movements, socialist education, the urban work force, and the status of women.
SOCI 353 Marriage and the Family (3)
Analysis of the family as a social institution and as a social group, with emphasis on the impact of industrialization on traditional family functions, courtship, role expectations, child rearing, and family stability. The course will examine changes in work patterns, marriage, divorce, and cohabitation over time. Race, ethnicity, and gender differences will also be addressed.
SOCI 354 Drugs and U.S. Society (3)
This course provides a sociohistorical analysis of the cultural, economic, and political forces that have driven anti-drug movements throughout U.S. history. Toward this goal, the course examines the historical circumstances and legal heritage that have contributed to the rise and fall of drug panics and the current disease model of addiction. The implications of the medicalization of deviance are explored, as are the influences of past drug policies and the casualties of the current “war on drugs.”
SOCI 355 Corrections (3)
This course is a critical evaluation of America’s historic and contemporary use of the correctional system as the primary response to crime and many social problems. This seminar is more about ideology than structure; of paramount interest are the social, political and economic contexts of prisons and the “tough on crime” movement that have produced the largest prison system in the world.
SOCI 356 Crime as Entertainment (3)
This course explores the depiction of crime and the criminal justice system in media with a specific but not exclusive emphasis on “old” news and entertainment media (film and television). Particular focus will be placed on the entertainment media’s role in shaping the general public’s ideas of crime and justice. This course also examines the increasingly blurred lines between news and entertainment; the roles film and television play in educating the public about crime and justice; and entertainment media’s role in creating a distorted image of crime and justice. Issues of race, class, and gender will also be explored in the context of entertainment media and crime.
SOCI 357 Inequality and Stratification (3)
An analysis of the structures and dynamics of social inequality, focusing upon competing theoretical explanations and empirical investigations of different arrangements by which wealth, power, and prestige are distributed in human societies.
SOCI 358 Political Sociology (3)
An introduction to the sociological analysis of the theory and practice of power in contemporary societies. Emphasis will be placed upon such topics as the nature of political power, social and cultural foundations of political institutions, sources and patterns of political involvement, and the social consequences of various types of power structures.
SOCI 359D Gender through the Prism of Difference (3)
This course explores how gender organizes our society. It focuses on how specific institutions affect individual agency; for example, how do the media, corporate industries, and professional organizations differently influence the social construction of femininity and masculinity? What processes of social activism and resistance do individuals engage to challenge such pressures? Analyses also focus on how conceptions of biological determinism affect behavior. Finally, the intersections of race, class, and sexual diversity among men and women are investigated as they relate to social phenomena such as production, reproduction, identity, and social change.
SOCI 362 Social Change: Global Perspectives (3)
Using sociological perspectives on the roles of cultural beliefs and social practices in shaping people’s lives, this course offers an overview of the organizing principles of society that resulted in the transition of pre-industrial societies to modern industrial states. The goals of the course are to make students aware of the power that social and cultural structures hold over them, of the fact that different societies will necessarily hold disparate views on how societies should be organized, and of the means to assess social/cultural differences in a non-judgmental way. Topics covered include the technological bases of social organization, sex and gender stratification, demography, nationalism, religion, and civil society.
SOCI 363 Urban Sociology (3)
(Formerly The Modern Urban Community) The goal of this course is to expose students to the array of topics that occupy the attention of contemporary urban scholars: political, economic, and cultural issues related to urban transformation, urban inequalities, urban design, urban consumption, urban sustainability, and urban security. It is strongly recommended that students complete SOCI 218, Community, Urbanization, and Culture, before enrolling in this course.
SOCI 364 Work and Labor (3)
Examination of work, the labor force, and labor markets is integral to sociological theory and research. This course examines how labor and work affect and structure daily life, social structures, and the political economy. In addition, this course examines the relationship between politics and policy and the labor force in the United States.
SOCI 368 Social Deviance (3)
An analysis of conceptions of deviant behavior, the nature and prevalence of such behavior, and the theories developed to explain deviance. Emphasis is upon the relationship of such behavior to social structure and social processes.
SOCI 369D Sexualities (3)
An analysis of the phenomenon of human sexuality from a sociological perspective. An understanding of the diversity of sexuality, development of sex roles, sexual orientation, historical and cross-cultural views of sexuality, and trends in sexual behavior and attitudes. Topics will include such issues as sexual identity, socialization, social change, and social movements.
SOCI 370 Sociology of Education (3)
An introduction to education as a social process and a social institution. Topics include: the social functions of education; the school as a formal organization and social system; social factors affecting the educational process; and an examination of change and innovation in education.
SOCI 375D The U.S. Mosaic (3)
The examination of selected racial/ethnic groups, social classes, sexual orientations, religions, and nationalities from a sociological perspective. This course focuses on understanding diversity and multiculturalism in modern U.S. society. Topics include such issues as identity, political economy, social organization, social change, and social movements.
SOCI 380 Collective Behavior (3)
An examination of the short-lived, and often extraordinary, non-institutionalized behavioral phenomena of crowds, mobs, riots, panics, and crazes that periodically seem to disturb the orderly flow of human societal life. The processes will also be examined by which these “social aberrations” may become institutionalized as social movements or as part of a new and emerging socio-cultural order.
SOCI 385 Aging and Society (3)
A study of the sociological, psychological, and cultural approaches and problems related to the aging process, with an emphasis on what it means to grow old in U.S. society.
SOCI 388 Sport in Social Context (3)
This course examines the role of sport in the U.S. and global societies. Topics include sport and social values, socialization into sport, the political and economic aspects of sport, sport and violence, and sport and education. This course explores the deeper meanings and social significance of sport with particular regard to issues of race, gender, class, history, social mobility, education, and politics.
SOCI 400 Introduction to Urban Planning (3)
This course introduces students to the theories and practices of urban planning. It approaches planning as a technical profession, a visionary field, and a political and governmental function.
SOCI 420D Black Eyes on America (3)
In this course students read works of black fiction to critically examine U.S. society from the late slavery period to the present. The objectives of this course are: for students to gain a more comprehensive understanding of U.S. society; for students to consider the different histories that have been lived in the U.S. based on racial identity; and for students to appreciate the centrality of race and class in the development of American social, political, cultural, and economic institutions.
SOCI 425 The Black Atlantic (3)
With particular emphasis on Jamaica, this course provides an overview of Caribbean society and culture from the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the present. Specific attention will be given to themes of colonization, slavery, culture, and resistance. Students are asked to consider the role European colonization played in shaping Caribbean societies and culture for the bad and the good, and the role of the world’s most powerful nations in detracting from the self-determination and global competency of less-developed former colonies. This course seeks to engender cultural competence so that students can use Caribbean cultures as a lens through which to evaluate their own racial, ethnic, gendered, national, and socio-economic identities.
SOCI 450 Culture and the Metropolis (3)
This course explores the relationship between culture and the city. It examines the ways in which factors such as migration, development, and politics influence urban culture and, alternatively, how a distinctly urban culture influences life in the city.
SOCI 455 Cities in a Global Context (3)
In this course, we will develop an understanding of cities as critical nodes within a world that is growing ever more socially, politically, and economically connected. We will investigate the causes and effects of this interconnectedness as well as the methods utilized to measure it. We will explore how the global context shapes urban issues, examining the urban networks across which capital, labor, and ideas flow.
SOCI 460 Immigrant America (3)
This course provides an overview of sociological research in the field of international migration and focuses on topics including: migration flows into gateway cities such as San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami; transnationalism; immigration law and policy; immigrant families; activism, citizenship, and work.
SOCI 464 Community, Consensus, and Commitment (3)
This interdisciplinary course will be useful for students who seek to understand contemporary social issues in a purposeful and strategic manner. The course utilizes theory and practice in order for students to learn the various dimensions of what constitutes community, and how to apply the tools of community organizing, consensus-building, and sustaining commitment in addressing social issues.
SOCI 472D Law and Society (3)
This course examines the relationship between formal law and other social institutions. It begins with an examination of legal theory and theories of law creation. It then explores the role of law in both fostering and remedying social inequality, law as a vehicle for social change, and the many other roles of law in modern U.S. society. The underlying premise is simple: law is a social construct. No matter how it is defined, law is not an objective system of do’s and don’ts; rather, it is something that is shaped by history, social conditions, and particular groups in society.
SOCI 473 Rights, Justice, Law and Inequality (3)
The study of rights, justice, and law as social institutions. After being introduced to the sociolegal foundations of U.S. society and the scope of contemporary law, students will be expected to closely and critically examine the role law plays in the establishment and taking away of individual rights and liberties. Students will also be expected to develop an understanding of justice, of how the meaning of justice has changed over the course of U.S. history, and of the social forces that have played a role in molding new interpretations of justice. This course places special emphasis on the law’s role in both producing and remedying social inequality. Particular attention is given to the subjects of race, gender, class, civil rights, and privacy rights.
SOCI 493 Field Experience in Sociology (1-3)
Practical experience in a field setting under professional and faculty supervision. Each student will complete 40 hours of training and service in an assigned field setting. Students may be required to attend an orientation program prior to their placement. Regularly scheduled meetings with the faculty supervisor and a learning journal of experiences are required from each student. May be taken for one to three units per semester. Field experience courses may not be applied toward fulfillment of requirements for the sociology major. Consent of faculty supervisor is required prior to registration. Pass/fail option only.
SOCI 494 Special Topics in Contemporary Sociology (3)
An in-depth analysis of selected contemporary topics in sociology, with specific content to be determined by particular interest of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content.
SOCI 498 Internship in Sociology (3)
A practicum course involving a minimum of 120 hours per semester with various community, social service, and criminal justice agencies throughout San Diego County. Students may be required to attend an orientation program prior to their placement. Fieldwork is under the supervision of agency personnel and the faculty supervisor. Regularly scheduled meetings with the faculty supervisor, a learning journal of experiences, and a research paper are required from each student. A maximum of 6 units of credit from internship courses may be applied toward fulfillment of requirements for the sociology major. Junior or senior standing and consent of the faculty supervisor are required prior to registration.
SOCI 499 Independent Study (1-3)
Individual study and written research working in close collaboration with a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: consent of instructor and of the department chair.