Deepen your understanding of the social world.
Sociology, simply put, is the study of our world—our social world. Sociologists assume that all interaction (even when we are by ourselves!) is social. Among the many questions that sociologists ask is how any given society constructs its “rules,” how those rules get conveyed to even the youngest members, and how those rules affect different members of a society differently.
As a sociology major at Meredith, you will choose from a variety of courses that address each part of these larger questions. Students are asked to make connections between course concepts and theories and what is going on in our local communities through service learning and other experiential opportunities. For example, students in Race and Ethnic Relations volunteer in struggling local elementary schools, while students in Social Problems work with Interact, a local domestic violence prevention organization, to help promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of sociologists is expected to grow 21 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Sociologists will experience much faster than average job growth because the incorporation of sociology into research in other fields continues to increase.
Sociology is a versatile major that complements other fields of study and is therefore easily combined with other majors or with obtaining teacher licensure. In particular, students may choose to double major in sociology and criminology.
A major in sociology is an excellent springboard for entering the worlds of business, industry and nonprofit organizations. The sociological perspective is crucial for working in today's multinational business environment. With a major in sociology, students acquire career flexibility and prepare for graduate or professional school success. And, Meredith's location in the state capital offers numerous opportunities for networking and excellent placements for field research and internships.
Meredith students may choose to join the Sociology/Criminology Club, which works on various issues related to sociology, criminology and social justice. The club sponsors CSI Week, which features speakers in classes that relate to the criminology major, and sociology week, with various speakers related to the field of sociology. The club is involved in projects such as Books for Barwell (school books for students at an elementary school) and Diva Dash (a fundraiser to support Interact). Qualified students can also join Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Honor Society in sociology.
Sociology students have access to the Dedmon Sociology Student Research Lab. With access to computers and a network printer, this endowed room is a place for students to relax, meet with others, and eat between classes.
All students in the sociology program are required to complete an internship with either a law enforcement agency or a nonprofit or government organization. Students engage in multiple community service experiences, including a senior capstone internship. These are important opportunities for students to gain valuable work skills as well as meet potential future employers.
Additionally,all students are required to take Social Research Principles. This course explores the logic of scientific inquiry from a social science perspective. In a student's senior year, she will complete a major research project that involves an internship or significant involvment in the community combined with research in sociology and/or criminology.
Student research has focused on a variety of topics over the years. Students often present their research from the applied research course at Celebrating Student Achievement Day and at the Southern Sociological Society meeting. Students have worked on topics including food inequality, gender and police work, body image and disability, race and police work, and websites and presentation of self.
Students may also develop and carry out an independent research project of their own design under the supervision of a sociology faculty member. Previous such projects have included content analysis of news coverage of female politicians, exploration of blacks' and whites' perception of the term 'oreo', and media depictions of black women in television advertisements.
Meredith sociology alumnae are employed as . . .
- executives in the non-profit sector
- college professors
- school teachers
- research analysts in public agencies and private enterprises
- probation officers
- police officers
- advocates/organizers for social justice agencies
- counselors and business account managers
Professional positions held or graduate schools attended by recent alumnae include:
- Graduate student in Sociology, UNC-Chapel Hill
- Development Coordinator for IPAS, Chapel Hill
- Operations Manager, Quintiles Transnational
- Dispatcher, Wake County Sheriff's Department
- Account Executive, Wholesale Lending Division, Bank United, FSB
- Elementary Spanish teacher, Johnston County Schools
The Erika Woodleif Social Leadership Award is given annually to a senior majoring in sociology. The student should show enthusiasm for the field of sociology and encourage her fellow sociology students while in the program.
In addition, Meredith offers a range of merit and need-based financial assistance. Last year, Meredith coordinated $42.8 million in financial assistance.
Meredith’s student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and average class size of 17 ensure that students get to know their professors. In turn, our faculty know students by name and, just as important, are familiar with each student’s unique strengths and interests. This allows faculty to identify interesting research and internship opportunities for students, to write meaningful letters of recommendation, and to support students as they conduct in-depth undergraduate research. In fact, students and faculty frequently work together on such projects—more than 140 were conducted by student/faculty teams last year.
Criminology faculty include:
Lori Brown, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Sociology Program, including the criminology major. Her primary interests are in race relations, population studies and criminology. Her past research has been done in the areas of teaching methods, race relations and homeschooling. She teaches Race Relations, Criminology, Corrections, the Color of Crime, Drugs and Society, Population Dynamics and a Principles of Sociology class based on the Harry Potter films.
Amie Hess, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Sociology. Her research focuses on gender, sexuality and social policy. Her dissertation used two years of ethnographic research and in-depth interviews to examine the way that abstinence-only sex education was implemented in local communities throughout New York State. An article based on this research titled, “Hold the Sex, Please: The Discursive Politics Between National and Local Abstinence Education Providers” was published last year in the journal Sex Education. Hess is also interested in youth, technology and the media. She enjoys working with undergraduates in pursuing their own research ideas.
For more detailed information about the sociology, please go to the program website.
For information about other majors at Meredith, return to the Admissions majors page.