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Sociology Program

Bachelor of Arts Degree — Program Overview

Humans can be strange. But why do we behave the way we do? Sociology helps us find the answer, by turning data and numbers into useful information that can be understood, and eventually used to change the world for the better.


Should you major in sociology?

Are you a people watcher, curious by nature? Do you find yourself picking up on trends before anyone else? Do you have a knack for numbers? If so, you might have the makings of a sociology major. You can learn to take those observation skills and apply them toward a career with real impact!

Crunch numbers, with purpose.

At Briar Cliff, we study sociology through the lens of our Franciscan mission. You'll examine data trends in gender, race, crime, income and religion; and use those findings to shed light on issues like poverty, addiction, discrimination and inequality.

Gain hands-on experience.

Boost your résumé and get valuable field experience by working in Briar Cliff’s own Siouxland Research Center, which partners with public, private and non-profit organizations to conduct affordable research. You'll work side-by-side with faculty on projects, with some of the most modern social science research techniques and technology at your fingertips!

Prepare for career success.

Our students have pursued graduate degrees or careers as teachers, lawyers, researchers, counselors, social workers and dozens of other occupations devoted to making a difference.  Depending on your career goals, think about pairing your sociology major with a relevant minor in legal studies, criminal justice or social research; or even pick up a teaching endorsement in social studies

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Core Sociology Program Courses

SOCY 124 - Principles of Sociology

Introduction to the field of sociology and its theories, concepts and research methods. Main topics are culture, the family, socialization, deviance, social stratification, race relations, gender, and economic and political globalization. Read more »

SOCY 228 - Contemporary Global Problems

A survey of the positive and negative outcomes of globalization, including increased economic interdependence, growing inequalities in income and wealth, urbanization and migration patterns, population and health issues, religious and ethnic tolerance, and war. Read more »

SOCY 319 - Social Movements

An exploration of social movements and their importance as a means toward social change, including grassroots resistance, community organizing, political conflicts, and revolutions. Examination of major sociological theories used in the study of social movements. Specific movements to be covered include the women's suffrage movement, the Prohibition era, the Civil Rights era, and the environment movement. Offered even years. Read more »

SOCY 320 - Restorative Justice

Introduction to innovations and alternatives in the traditional criminal justice system with an emphasis on negotiation, mediation, and reparation in dispute resolution; emphasis on non- violence and peacemaking in the Franciscan tradition. Read more »

SOCY 340 - Social Science Research Methods

Principles of problem formulation, design, measurement, sampling, data collection and analysis; ethical considerations for research on human subjects. Students are given the opportunity to design or carry out a research project. Prerequisite: SOCY 124 or instructor's consent Read more »

SOCY 341 - Statistical Analysis

A research methods course involving the collection, manipulation, analysis and reporting of social science data using computer software (SPSS). Students will process original or secondary data and prepare reports for public presentation. Prerequisite: SOCY 340 or instructor's consent. Read more »

SOCY 342 - Advanced Research Methods

Further study of survey designs, qualitative field methods, and types of program and policy evaluation including needs assessment, process and outcome evaluation, social impact analysis and cost-benefit analysis. Prerequisite: SOCY 340 Read more »

SOCY 375 - Independent Sociology Study

Open to majors in sociology; directed research in a selected area with an acceptable written or oral presentation of such research. With departmental approval Read more »

SOCY 376 - Sociology of Law

Study of the origin and types of law, ideas of justice and rights; and theories of punishment; comparision of the U.S. legal system and approach to punishment with that of other nations. Offered even years. Read more »

SOCY 384 - Geographic Information Systems

Introduction to the computer software used to map the geographic distribution of a variety of social and physical variables and social indicators. Read more »

SOCY 439 - Sociological Theory

Seminar exploring ideas of social structure and social processes in the work of major classical and contemporary sociological theorists. Offered odd years. Read more »

SOCY 490 - Social Research Internship

An experiential learning opportunity in which advanced students apply theory and method in a practical research setting. Students may initiate their own research projects, do secondary analysis or participate in funded research projects of the Social Science Research Center at Briar Cliff University. Research topics vary, from analysis of crime statistics, census data, and drug use and abuse information to the evaluation of programs for social agencies and governmental bodies. The internship culminates in a senior research presentation. With departmental approval Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

 For additional requirements and curriculum information, download the latest University academic catalog.