Sociology 497

SOCY 497: Senior Seminar in Sociology

Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing

Credit Hours: (3)

The Senior Seminar serves as the capstone experience for sociology majors. Students will revisit the basic concepts, theories, and methods of sociology and interconnect them to demonstrate and learn more about the complexity of the discipline.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Topics to be covered:

  • Major theoretical paradigms in sociology and the process of theory building
  • Prominent approaches to sociological research and the links between theory and research
  • Major substantive areas in the discipline (stratification, deviance, institutions, organizations, etc.)
  • Differences between sociological, journalistic, and common-sense approaches to the understanding of social problems and social issues
  • A comparison of the sociological method of inquiry to those in other disciplines
  • The links between sociological issues and students' lives
  • The contribution of sociology to a liberal arts education
  • The value of the sociology major and the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that sociology majors bring to the workplace


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be taught in seminar format. Although one faculty member will be responsible for the coordination of the course, all members of the department will occasionally be asked to contribute their expertise. Although there will be some lectures, most of the course will involve discussion and debate that will emanate from readings. Thus, the students themselves will accept a great deal of responsibility for the conduct of the course.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

1) synthesize the knowledge they have obtained in other sociology courses
2) appreciate fully the value of the discipline of sociology, its relationship to other disciplines, and its contribution to a liberal arts education;
3) understand the basic arguments in the field;
4) prepare a "collective resume" that illustrates what, as sociology majors, they have to offer employers.

In addition, the course will be used as a mechanism to assess the rest of the sociology curriculum.


Assessment Measures

A variety of assessment measures will be utilized. These will include measurement of performance on individual and collaborative class presentations, writing assignments, and participation in class discussions.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

October 2005, Sociology & Anthropology Department Curriculum Committee