College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School Dean

Leona Pallansch, Ph.D.



Department Chair

Janet Armitage, Ph.D.

Sociology at St. Mary’s University is designed to foster the goals of a twenty-first century liberal arts and sciences education. We educate our students to think systematically, intellectually, ethically, and critically about society.  Our goal is to better understand the social lives of individuals, groups, institutions, communities, and societies in all of their complexity and interconnectedness.  The Sociology student develops analytic, research, and communication skills, and learns how to ask and answer social research questions by using data. Our rigorous and academically challenging program builds a course foundation vital to a variety of fields and careers, and students are encouraged to complement their course experiences with professionalizing opportunities outside of the classroom, campus, or country.  Sociology at St. Mary’s University prepares students to contribute to solutions for some of the most complex and challenging social issues we experience in society today.

Majors in Sociology

Minor in Sociology

SC 1311. Introductory Sociology. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to the scope and methods of sociology, emphasizing the concepts of social structure, organization, institution, culture and socialization, and including analyses of primary and secondary groups, sex roles, social control, stratification, minorities, collective behavior, and population dynamics. Prerequisite for all courses in the Criminology and Sociology program.

SC 3300. Special Topics in Sociology. 3 Semester Hours.

Topics will vary from semester to semester. May be retaken for additional credit when a different topic is offered. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311.

SC 3305. Interviewing Techniques. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to in-depth interview techniques and designs in Sociology. This course teaches students how to engage in scientific research using question-based data and conduct their own in-depth interview project based on original interview data. The course is open to majors, and non-majors who might use interview techniques in future academic or professional settings. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311.

SC 3306. Qualitative Research Methods. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to the methods used to conduct qualitative research in natural social settings. An examination of the methods of ethnography, participant observation/non-participant observation, focus group, interview, and use of documentary sources will be included. Students may have the opportunity to engage in hands-on research. Additional topics include data coding, data analysis and research ethics. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311. Junior standing, nine completed hours of sociology courses.

SC 3308. Sociology of Religion. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to basic issues in the sociology of religion, including alternative definitions of religion, the relationship of religion to economic, political and other social institutions, and the influence of religion on personal development, social order, conflict, and change. Religious institutions are viewed in historical and cross-cultural perspective. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3310. Sociology of Sex and Gender. 3 Semester Hours.

An examination of what it means to be male-female and masculine-feminine and the associated inequalities in US societies.Topics include sexual identity, gender stereotypes, cross-cultural differences in gender roles and socialization, and changes in these roles in contemporary society. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3315. Future Societies. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to social forecasting and the sociology of the future. This course explores a range of alternative possibilities for the future of human societies, including both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. Topics include the impact of technology on social relations, the future of major social institutions, and prospects for the solution of global problems. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3320. Social Stratification. 3 Semester Hours.

An analysis of social stratification utilizing social class as the unit of study. The course will focus on the structure of social classes in the U.S. as a major factor influencing individual and group life chances with regards to education, crime, health, and disease, world views and life styles. Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311, Junior standing, nine completed hours of sociology courses.

SC 3321. Social Issues. 3 Semester Hours.

Current discussions of contemporary social problems, including issues related to family and sexuality, health and substance abuse, education, poverty, prejudice and discrimination, population and environment, war and peace. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3342. Social Organizations. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to basic concepts, theories, and topics in organizational sociology. Special emphases will be placed on: the social impacts of organizations; the characteristics of business, government, and not-for-profit organizations; approaches used to study organizations; and empirical analysis of organizational processes. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology- SC 1311.

SC 3343. Sociology of Families. 3 Semester Hours.

This study of families as a constantly-evolving social institution in the United States. Includes an historical and demographic overview of families, definitions of “family” and the social, economic, and political implications of such a definition, and relationships between social inequality in families with a particular focus on gender, race, and class. Topics may include marriage, cohabitation, divorce, dating, work-family balance, parenting, nonmarital sex and childbearing, step family formation, interracial marriage, and same-sex relationships. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology- SC 1311.

SC 3345. Social Work Profession and Practice. 3 Semester Hours.

This course is a general introduction to the social work profession, and to working with diverse populations in social service settings. It explores the basic concepts of the profession, understanding how the theories and techniques are applied in the field. Students investigate a variety of methods for intervention in working with individuals, families and groups; as well as general practice in agencies and community settings. Finally, students explore the breadth of the profession and study a sampling of the populations served by social workers. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3351. Social Psychology. 3 Semester Hours.

This course addresses human behavior and personality development as affected by social group life. Major theories will be compared. The interaction dynamics of such substantive areas as socialization, normative and deviant behavior, learning and achievement, the social construction of the self, and the social identities will be considered. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3352. Group Dynamics. 3 Semester Hours.

An analysis of the structure, functions and processes of small groups from a social-psychological perspective. Practical applications are explored for education, counseling, social work, business, and law. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3353. Public Opinion and Propaganda. 3 Semester Hours.

An examination of the nature, extent, and purposes of propaganda and of other social and psychological influences on public opinion. Topics include techniques of persuasion and the role of mass media and advertising in shaping public attitudes. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311.

SC 3355. Internship in Sociology. 3 Semester Hours.

Experiential education related to the theoretical and research topics studied in sociology. The experience consists of pre-professional work in social agencies, community programs, and other appropriate settings approved by the department. Junior/Senior status and at least 9 hours of upper-division sociology are prerequisites. Involves written sociological analysis. 3 to 6 semester hours of credit, with a maximum of 3 hours per semester. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311.

SC 3361. Urban Sociology. 3 Semester Hours.

An analysis of cities, their historical development and social organization. Topics include urbanization in developed and developing societies, urban stratification and lifestyles, and urban, metropolitan and regional planning. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3362. Population and Society. 3 Semester Hours.

The course takes a global perspective to examine the causes and consequences of population size, composition, distribution, and change; providing an overview of how social factors influence population characteristics and how these characteristics in turn affect society. The course explores many demographic questions, including: Why do some countries have rapid population growth while and others face population decline? Why is there a large variation in birth rates around the world today? Why are some people more likely to die younger than others? Why do some people try hard to migrate while others do not? Topics include demographic measurement, theory and data, fertility, mortality, morbidity, immigration, age and sex composition, and family formation. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3371. Race and Ethnic Relations. 3 Semester Hours.

A study of ethnic and race relations in the United States and other countries. Topics include power relationships, prejudice, discrimination, ethnic stratification, migration, assimilation and pluralism. Considered populations include: African Americans/Blacks; Latinos or Hispanics, such as Mexican-Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Rican; Native Americans; and whites. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 3381. Introductory Statistics. 3 Semester Hours.

This course introduces the social science application to statistical techniques and introduces both descriptive and inferential statistics. It examines statistics as a tool to understanding differences between social groups, to determine if social programs and policies are meeting their objectives, and to explore how and why variables are related to each other. We discuss how to critically assess and interpret the statistical data and conclusions shown in the media, the diverse way social scientists gather, interpret, and evaluate data, and the real-life application of statistical techniques to sociological data and the interpretation of results. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311 and MT 1301 or MT 1302 or MT 1303 or MT 1305 Additional fee associated with this course. See fee schedule for details at

SC 4300. Sociology of Aging. 3 Semester Hours.

This course provides a demographic overview of the social processes of aging in the United States and explores the social and cultural factors influencing the views of aging that are prevalent in our society. We examine how social factors, like gender, race, and social class, shape the experience of aging and create diversity among older adults. The course asks several key questions: How do we define the Sociology of Aging? What are the field’s origins and current areas of focus? What are the physiological and cognitive changes linked with aging, as well as the theories that explain such changes and adaptations to those changes? What is the social context of older adulthood, such as living arrangements, employment, family support, and discrimination; and finally, what are the social policies and social problems affecting older adults in the United States. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 4305. Death and Dying. 3 Semester Hours.

A holistic treatment of the dying person and his/her environment. Topics include cross-cultural differences in grief and mourning behaviors, psychological process of the terminally ill, funeral practices, hospice alternatives, and ethical problems related to the medical extension of life. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311.

SC 4383. Sociological Research. 3 Semester Hours.

An introduction to the history and methods of sociological research. Topics include the logic of scientific research, observation, questionnaires, interviews, content analysis, experiments, descriptive statistics, sampling, computerized data analysis and presentation. Students conduct research project. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology – SC 1311, Junior standing, nine completed hours of sociology courses. (fall only) Additional fee associated with this course. See fee schedule for details at

SC 4384. Sociological Theory. 3 Semester Hours.

An overview of major European and American social theorists and their influence on current sociological research and applications. Prerequisite: Introduction to Sociology –SC1311 (Spring Only).

Armando Abney, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Janet Armitage, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Sue Nash, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor