What is Sociology?

According to the American Sociological Association, 

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge.

While humanities and the arts also frequently examine and reflect on the social world, sociology is distinct because it is a social science. It uses theoretical frameworks and scientific methods of research to investigate the social world and test hypotheses with empirical data. Sociological methods include systematic observation, in-depth interviews and ethnography, conversational analysis of both written and visual documents, survey research, and statistical analysis. The results of sociological investigations help the development of new theories and inform social policy, programs, and laws.

Sociology Subfields

The Sociology of Culture
The Sociology of Socialization
Social Psychology
The Sociology of Social Structure
The Sociology of Group Dynamics
The Sociology of Complex Organizations and Bureaucracy
Industrial Sociology
The Sociology of Voluntary Associations
The Sociology of Social Networks
Work and Occupation
Social Stratification    
Racial and Ethnic Relations
The Sociology of Gender
The Sociology of Sexualities
The Sociology of Dating, Courtship, & Love
The Sociology of Marriage & Divorce
The Sociology of the Family
The Sociology of Religion
Political Sociology
Educational Sociology
Economic Sociology (Economy, Work, and Society)
Medical Sociology
The Sociology of Law (Law and Society)
Military Sociology
Social Problems
Sociology of Deviance
Sexual Deviance
Juvenile Delinquency
The Sociology of Corrections
The Sociology of Gambling
The Sociology of Alcohol Abuse
The Sociology of Drug Addiction
Human Ecology
The Sociology of Community
Rural Sociology
Urban Sociology
The Sociology of Migration
The Sociology of Social Indicators
Collective Behavior
Social Movements
Mass Communications
Social Change
Sociology of Development
Global Dynamics (World Systems Theory)
The Sociology of Animals and Society
Critical Perspective/Radical/Marxist Theory
Humanist Sociology
Ethnomethodology and Conversational Analysis
Feminist Theory
Feminist Methodologies and Epistemology
Quality of Life Research
Visual Sociology
Mathematical Sociology
The Sociology of the Body
The Sociology of Disability
The Sociology of Emotions
The Sociology of Femininity
The Sociology of Friendship
The Sociology of Masculinity
The Sociology of Children and Youth
The Sociology of Aging
The Sociology of Death and Dying
The Sociology of Consumer Behavior
The Sociology of Entertainment
The Sociology of Food and Eating
The Sociology of Leisure and Recreation
The Sociology of Sport
The Sociology of Risk
Popular Culture (the Consumption of Culture)
The Sociology of the Production of Culture
The Sociology of Art
The Sociology of Knowledge
The Sociology of Music
The Sociology of Performing Arts
The Sociology of Disasters
The Sociology of Mental Health
The Sociology of Science and Technology
Technology and Environment
Environmental Sociology
The Sociology of Terrorism
The Sociology of Violence
Applied Sociology
Clinical Sociology
Evaluation Research
Sociological Practice
Teaching (and Learning) Sociology
Appalachian Studies
Asian American Studies
Black Studies
Criminal Justice Studies
Gay and Lesbian Studies
Latino Studies
Native American Studies
Women’s Studies


Programs of Study

General Sociology Track
Social Work Concentration
Criminal Justice Concentration
Philosophy/Anthropology Minors

What is Sociology?

Description of the sociology major and list of some of the subfields within the discipline of sociology.

Opportunities for Students

Professional development opportunities for sociology majors

Scholarships & Awards

Student Accomplishments

Alpha Kappa Delta

International Sociology Honor Society



Sociology & Criminal Justice Club

A student organization designed to further the academic and career development of any student.

Internship Program

Contact information for majors interested in internships.

Sociology Links

Links to useful sociology websites