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Sociology

332 Milbank Hall
212-854-3577
212-854-7491 (fax)
sociology.barnard.edu
Department Administrative Assistant: Susan Campbell

Chair: Debra Minkoff (Professor)
Professor: Jonathan Rieder
Associate Professors: Elizabeth Berstein, Guobin Yang
Assistant Professors: Debbie Becher, Elizabeth Bernstein, Christel Kesler, Jennifer Lena (Visiting), Peter Levin (Departmental Representative)
Adjunct Instructor: J.C. Sayler

Mission

Sociology explores the intricacies of social life in all its variety: from the prosaic routines of everyday life to dramatic transformations of state and economy, from the symbolic realm of identity and culture to the structures of class, race and gender that generate inequality. Despite all this diversity, the discipline of sociology has a powerful coherence that comes from a collective dedication to developing theoretical principles about social life and testing them with empirical evidence. This commitment to systematic empirical research represents the strength of the discipline and the chance for a distinctive undergraduate experience for Sociology majors at Barnard.  It exposes them to a range of approaches that include quantitative data collection and analysis, participant observation, intensive interviewing, historical-archival research, and discourse analysis.

All students taking courses in Sociology at Barnard can expect to learn about the relevance of empirical rigor and theoretical analysis for public policy, political and social debate, and civic engagement more broadly defined.

Sociology majors will develop critical analytic and research skills that they can take with them into a wide range of careers, whether they continue on to graduate study in sociology or choose to enter such fields as business, education, law, nonprofit enterprise or public policy.

The Department provides students with expertise in three areas:

(1) a common foundation in the discipline’s core theories and methodologies through the following three required courses:

  • SOCI W1000, The Social World
  • SOCI W3000, Social Theory
  • SOCI W3010, Methods for Social Research

(2) exposure to a range of substantive questions that motivate sociological research through a 3-tiered elective structure:

  • 2000-level courses introduce non-majors and majors to substantive concerns through sociological texts and perspectives;
  • 3000-level courses are normally lecture courses that introduce upper level students (majors and non-majors) to dominant theoretical models and debates in more specialized subfields;
  • 3900-level courses are seminars that provide more intensive engagement with primary research in specialized subfields of the discipline and involve some significant primary or secondary research paper

(3) direct research experience both within the classroom and under faculty supervision in the Senior Thesis Seminar.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a major in sociology will be able to:

  • Discuss the core theories of the discipline and apply them to contemporary issues.
  • Identify the central questions that motivate sociological research in at least one specialized subfield.
  • Describe and evaluate the strengths and limits of social science research.
  • Apply the methods of social science research to a question of substantive or theoretical importance.
  • Design, execute, and present original research projects.

Students who graduate with a minor in sociology will be able to:

  • Discuss the core theories of the discipline and apply them to contemporary issues.
  • Identify the central questions that motivate sociological research in at least one specialized subfield.
  • Describe and evaluate the strengths and limits of social science research.