Overview

Sociology in its broadest sense is the study of human society and culture. More specifically it is the study of human activity within groups and institutions including families, peer groups and more formal organizations such as schools and work settings within local and global societies. It provides a “sociological perspective” and “social consciousness” that foster and understanding of human interaction beyond ordinary reasoning and assumptions. One of the major sociologists, C. Wright Mills, expressed the essence of the discipline by noting that all individuals need, “a quality of mind that will enable them to understand and make use of information in a manner that will help them better understand themselves and others, and interpret everyday happenings in their world. He termed this quality of mind as the “sociological imagination (C. Wright Mills, 1959, The Sociological Imagination. N.Y. Oxford Press).

Centering on individuals in social interaction, sociologists view human behavior as based in these patterns of social interaction, social roles, and in terms of power, inequality (race, class, gender, and beyond) and the socially-constructed or interpreted ways that groups are so conceived. Therefore, one of the major tenets of sociology is that humans are best understood in the context of their social life, socialization, and social interactions with others.

Driven by sociological theories and methods, some of the main questions that underlie the discipline are:

  1. What is culture?
  2. What holds society together?
  3. How can we understand culture across contexts?
  4. What are the consequences of inequality and social stratification?
  5. How does education impact life chances and life choices?
  6. How are bodies made sense of within the socio-cultural context? and
  7. What factors underlie and contribute to social change?

Sociologists have and continue to formulate hypotheses, theories, and methodologies (qualitative/quantitative/historical comparative) to study to address these questions and to formulate more questions.

According to the American Sociological Association, sociology as a field of study can prepare you for all sorts of careers in many diverse fields.

Course Offerings

Courses currently offered in sociology at Soka University are listed below and detailed in the course catalog. Among the basic courses offered in most undergraduate programs, these courses will equip students with preliminary knowledge and the ability to better understand the function in their local communities and in a rapidly changing global world. Students may choose to pursue graduate and further studies of the discipline. Those opting for immediate employment after completing their liberal arts education might investigate opportunities in human and social services, public relations, community organizing and development, non-profit and family support organizations, research assistantships, law, civil service, and much more!

This course provides a basic introduction to and overview of the field of sociology, including basic concepts, terms, major theories, perspectives, and approaches employed in the discipline. The course examines the major social institutions that are the subject of the field and the sociological approaches employed to understand these institutions and their functions.

This course introduces students to major classical, contemporary, and post-modern sociological theories and theorists. Students obtain both a conceptual foundation and historical perspective of sociological theories. In addition, they become familiar with various themes associated with sociological theories. The application and linkage of theory with contemporary social issues and social science research is also a feature of this course. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or SOC 100.

This course provides students with a comprehensive overview of the state of social movements and social change in 20th century. Students become familiar with the history of the field, recent developments and its current status. Case studies of social movements and social change are analyzed cross-nationally. Students also examine empirical studies and theoretical frameworks associated with social movements and social change. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or SOC 100.

This course introduces students to major social problems in America and other societies. Students learn to apply sociology concepts and theories and to analyze social problems. Emphasis is placed on problem solving, discussion, and debate.

This course provides an overview of schooling, its purpose, and function in historical and contemporary societies. It introduces theoretical and methodological perspectives for understanding the purpose, structure, and function of educational systems in various societies. Students examine, discuss, and debate multiple perspectives regarding the roles, purposes, and outcomes of schooling, and they conduct an in-depth study of a major issue regarding schooling in different societies. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or instructor consent.

This course examines the many facets of inequality and rankings that exist among various groups and organizations in different societies, as well as methods of assessing inequality. Students engage in cross-cultural comparisons to explore global stratification and inequality between countries and produce a project that entails a cross-cultural, comparative analysis. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or SOC 100.

This course examines the many facets of inequality and rankings that exist among various groups and organizations in different societies, as well as methods of assessing inequality. Students engage in cross-cultural comparisons to explore global stratification and inequality between countries and produce a project that entails a cross-cultural, comparative analysis. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or SOC 100.

This course is a historical and cross-cultural examination of women’s issues, sexism, and patriarchy. The approach is multidisciplinary and draws on the humanities, social sciences, life/physical sciences, and other fields of study.

This course introduces students to the traditional and contemporary principles, theories and models, and research on leadership across cultures and sub-cultures within various societies. It examines leadership from an interdisciplinary perspective, thereby drawing upon theories and research in psychology and political science.