Sociology Program

Contact Information:

Lori Brown
212 Joyner Hall
Phone: (919) 760-8590
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Department Courses

SOC-230 - Principles of Sociology
An introduction to the concepts, methods and theories employed by sociologists to understand societies, social institutions and the myriad expressions of group life. The course explores the cultural contexts of human behavior to explain individual and group interaction, social mobility and inequality, relations framed by class, gender and race, patterns of socialization, deviance and social change.


SOC-231 - Social Problems
This examination of American Society places an emphasis on the institutional bases of social problems and conflict as well as the policies designed to address these problems. Topics include poverty, racism, environmental threat, crime and violence, and other contemporary challenges. Attention is consistently directed to the influences of these social problems on women's lives as well as the ethical dilemmas and debates surrounding the solutions to these problems.


SOC-242 - Deviance and Society
This course is based on the premise that deviance is a socially constructed phenomenon. This means that the attributes, behaviors and conditions humans label 'deviant' vary over time and place, as do societal reactions to them. Students will be introduced to agents of social control, both formal and informal, as well as the role such control and power differentials plays in defining, labeling, and sanctioning deviant behavior. The material covered in the course examines theories of deviant behavior, how social scientists study deviant behavior, how deviant behavior is socially constructed, how people manage deviant identities, how relationships operate in deviant subcultures and countercultures, and the relationships between deviant subcultures and mainstream culture.


SOC-260 - Cultural Anthropology
Understanding the power of culture in shaping our lives depends on knowing the ways of life displayed all around the world. This course introduces students to the discoveries of anthropologists as they have lived among preliterate and preindustrial people, and as they apply their signature methodologies to culturally distinctive communities in today's world. Comparing how a range of cultures address the challenges of social existence sets the stage for enlightening dialogue.


SOC-299 - Introduction to Research in Sociology
Open to freshmen and sophomores who have an interest in sociology and who would like to work individually with a faculty member on a project involving research from a sociological perspective. The student will formulate and execute a research project at an intermediate level of complexity and present results to an appropriate public audience. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. May be repeated for credit for a maximum of six semester hours. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-332 - Human Sexuality
The research literature on sexual interests, behaviors and relationships is reviewed through study of the changing practices and perceptions of sexuality in America. Topics include the cultural construction of sex, the process of learning to be sexual, sexual deviance, the influence of marriage, and the interplay between sex and power in our society. Recognition of both risks and rewards associated with sexuality provides the context for studying controversial policies in society. Also offered as HED-332.


SOC-335 - Race and Ethnic Relations
Patterns of relationship among racial and ethnic groups in the United States are analyzed. This course explores inequalities of wealth, power, and status along with the persistence of racism, movements to advance civil rights and efforts by groups to maintain social boundaries. Current trends in intergroup relations are discussed to explore how changing demographic racial patterns may affect future definitions of race and ethnicity. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-336 - Criminology
This course explores questions about the criminal law, criminal conduct, the risks of criminal victimization and prevailing crime control policies. Theories developed to explain why individuals offend and why crime rates vary are examined in light of research findings, so that students gain a thorough understanding of crime and its causes. These ideas are applied to conventional street crime as well as to organized crime and elite crime. Prerequsite: at least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-338 - Sociology of Families
This course will provide students with an overview of the family from a sociological perspective. Students in the course will examine transformation of the family across time as well as its position as both a private and public institution. Topics include defining a family, gender and power, courtship and marriage, parenting, divorce and remarriage, work, and family violence. Particular attention is placed on the roles of women in the family and the ways in which families impact the lived experiences of the women in them. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-340 - Sociology of Aging
As the elderly population increases what challenges do these individuals face and what impact will they have on society? Students in this course will examine the physical, psychological and sociological dimensions of the aging process in order to gain insight on these questions. Topics include retirement, poverty and old age, Social Security and Medicare debates, long term care and end of life decisions, and issues related to the growing elderly population in the United States. Prerequisite: at least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-342 - Juvenile Delinquency
This course examines the nature and extent of juvenile delinquency, measurement issues and the various sociological and other relevant social science theories of the causes of this phenomenon. Policy implications of these theories and the current research in the field and historical trends in juvenile delinquency are discussed and evaluations of treatment and prevention programs in the local community as well as the larger society are examined. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-346 - Anthropology of Religion
This course focuses on the ways in which religion and human culture intersect. We will look at such themes as myth, symbol, magic and ritual and see how they contribute to the formation of human societies. Students will engage in a local field research project to learn how anthropologists study religion. Pre-requisite: One 100-level RES, course or by permission of instructor. Also offered as RES-346.


SOC-360 - Media, Self and Society
What is 'the media' and how can it impact the ways in which we see the world and ourselves in it? This course will examine these questions as we examine the roles that various media forms play in our society, particularly in regards to issues of identity across lines of race, class, gender and sexuality. Students will examine historical and theoretical aspects of the media from both sociological and cultural studies perspectives, the ways in which mainstream and alternative media construct identities, and the impact that these images have on the society in which they circulate. Prerequisite: At least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-374 - Social Research Principles
This course will explore the logic of scientific inquiry. Throughout the course, students will explore the relationship between theory and methodology, the nature of causation, components of research design and a variety of methods for social science research. Guidance in retrieving information, reviewing and evaluating research reports, and constructing a research proposal is provided. Prerequisites: SOC-230, SOC-231, or SOC-260, MAT-175 or PSY-200. Note: this course fulfills the Information Literacy (IL) thread requirements for General Education.


SOC-420 - Gender and Society
What does sex have to do with gender? What does gender have to do with social systems? This course explores these questions by looking at the ways in which sociologists have theorized and written about gender. Students will explore what it means to understand gender as a social and cultural construct as well as the impact that these constructions have on the lived experiences of individuals in society. Additionally the course will examine the complex ways in which gender intersects and interacts with other facets of our social identities including race, class and sexual orientation. Prerequisite: at least 6 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-430 - Population Dynamics
Trace the effects of births, deaths and migration on population size, composition and distribution around the world. Examine the effects of population changes on the environment, the world's resources, and on global security. Socioeconomic, political and religious institutions will be explored and the status of women around the world will be related to demographic change. Demographic trends in the United States are evaluated in the context of global influence. Prerequisite: at least 6 credit hours in SOC or at least 75 total credit hours.


SOC-431 - Social Stratification
Explanations for social inequalities are considered along with current research on class, status, power and social mobility. Both national and international patterns of wealth and poverty are inspected to explain "who gets what and why." Inequalities of households, of population groups and of nations as they participate on the global stage receive specific treatment. Prerequisites: at least 6 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-437 - Corrections
A study of the criminal justice system; police, attorneys, courts, judges, jails, prisons, parole. Attention is given to conflicting punishment philosophies and practices. Studies of inmate society are highlighted in this survey of America's attempts to correct the crime problem. Prerequisite: at least 3 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-489 - Social Theory
From the origins of sociological thinking to the current controversies regarding social action and social structure, explanations developed by sociologists to describe and to demystify society are studied and applied. Ideas advanced by Durkheim, Marx and Weber are followed by extensions and alternatives up to and including the Frankfurt School, Feminism and Post Modernism. Prerequisite: at least 6 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-496 - Applied Research
This capstone course for the Sociology or Criminology major is an opportunity for students to use their sociological imaginations to formulate solutions to the problems that face our world to day. Students in Criminology will complete a placement with a community or government agency in law enforcement or a related field. Students in sociology may complete a placement with a community or government agency or complete a significant research project on a topic approved by the instructor. All students will utilize sociological or criminological theories, literature, methods and data to explore a macro-level social problem related to their field experience or to write a final paper on their research. Findings of this semester long project will be presented to sociology faculty, students, and the broader Meredith Community. Prerequisites: SOC-280, SOC-374, and either MAT-175 or MAT-248 or PSY-200.


SOC-498 - Honors Thesis in Sociology
In conjunction with a sociology faculty mentor, the student will formulate and execute a research project at an advanced level of complexity that will culminate in a paper and presentation. The project must meet Honors Program thesis requirements as well as the expectations of the sociology faculty. A research proposal form completed by the student, faculty mentor, and Honors Program director is required for registration. Open to seniors who are members of the Honors and/or Teaching Fellows Programs. Prerequisites: 3 credit hours in SOC, SOC-374, and either MAT-175 or MAT-248 or PSY-200.


SOC-499 - Research in Sociology
In conjunction with a sociology faculty mentor, the student will formulate and execute a research project at an advanced level of complexity that will culminate in a paper and presentation. A research proposal form completed by the student and faculty mentor is required for registration. Open to junior and senior majors and others by permission. May be repeated for credit for a total of six semester hours. Prerequisites: 3 credit from SOC, SOC-374, and either MAT-175 or MAT-248 or PSY-200.


SOC-440-449 - Selected Topics in Sociology
Customized by the professor to reflect specialized areas of knowledge and/or advances in the field, this course introduces students to compelling publications and/or media that will extend their grasp of sociological analysis. Selections spotlight issues associated with active public dialogue with the objective of discovering how sociology speaks to those issues. Course numbers advance as topics shift to favor additional enrollments as desired. Prerequisite: At least 6 credit hours in SOC.


SOC-100 - Principles of Sociology
An introduction to the concepts, methods and theories employed by sociologists to understand societies, social institutions and the myriad expressions of group life. The course explores the cultural contexts of human behavior to explain individual and group interaction, social mobility and inequality, relations framed by class, gender and race, and patterns of socialization, deviance and social change.


SOC-442 - The Color of Crime
This course examines the roles of minorities as offenders, victims, and employees in the criminal justice system. An assessment of statistics, research, and the literature as it relates to minorities and crime will be included. Public perceptions of race and crime and the interactions of police, courts and juries in terms of the race of victims and perpetrators will be examined. Research on racial bias in jury decisions, sentencing, and the death penalty will also be reviewed. Prerequisite: 6 hours in SOC.


SOC-443 - Women and Crime
This course focuses on the experiences of women in the criminal justice system. The study of crime throughout our history has focused overwhelmingly on males and this has often resulted in hiding the experiences of women. We will examine how gender shapes women‘s experiences as victims, as offenders and career professionals in law enforcement. The experiences of women in prison and the effect on their families will be examined. The intersections of race and social class will be examined as well. Prerequisite: 6 hours in SOC.


SOC-444 - Social Interaction
This course introduces the basic sociological concepts underpinning the study of social interaction. This content is grounded in the sociological subfield of social psychology and microsociology. After exploring the foundational questions, concepts and theories of social interaction, students will examine the role that socially constructed identities play in producing social interaction, looking at patterns of interaction through the lenses of gender, race, class, age and sexuality. The course will examine the interplay between various levels of social interaction, particularly between the individual and the institutional settings of social life. Prerequisite: 6 hours in SOC or permission of instructor.


SOC-446 - Drugs and Society
The purpose of this course is to analyze the organization and consumption of drugs in the United States. Both legal and illegal drug use will be examined in terms of consumption and legal issues as well as social effects on individuals, families and communities. The politics and economics of both pharmacological and criminal justice institutions and drugs will be examined. Prerequisite: 3 hours in SOC.


SOC-449 - Sociology of the Border
This course focuses on the border between the US and Mexico, a border that is over 2,000 miles between two countries which are very different. The course will examine the push/pull factors that have led to immigration from Mexico, and some of the changes in that situation in recent years. The role of the border patrol in regulating the border and dealing with crime and the unique culture created along the border with the mix of cultures will be examined. Topics include the drug trade, violence against women, the economic realities of businesses on both sides of the border and finally the current politics of immigration in both the US and Mexico. Prerequisite: 6 hours in SOC or permission of instructor.


SOC-480 - Community Internship
The internship is a learning experience involving work in a community, criminal justice or criminological setting. Interns are expected to gain valuable work experience as well as relevant knowledge which will add to their overall understanding of the field of sociology or criminology. Internship positions must center on learning new material over the course of the semester and interns are expected to participate in ongoing training and development. Students in Criminology of the Double major or Sociology and Criminology must do a placement that connects to the Criminology field. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: At least 6 hours in the sociology field.