Why Study Sociology at New College?

What kind of society do we live in? What are its distinctive characteristics and problems? Where is it headed? Sociology illuminates the effects of social interactions, structures, institutions and processes on the character and quality of our lives. As part of a liberal arts education at New College, our Sociology AOC offers theories and research relevant to our ability both to make sense of our circumstances as individuals in contemporary society, and to act efficaciously and constructively in shaping the modern world.

Sociology area of concentration

The discipline of sociology encompasses a broad terrain of sub-fields and specialties exploring various aspects of the social world. At the center is an interest in developing a systematic and theoretically informed understanding of the patterns, tendencies, and possibilities that characterize contemporary social life. Although we are often unaware of its influences on us, the social world structures our opportunities, shapes our aspirations, and provides the stage for our actions. As individuals, we are both sustained and constrained by the web of social relations in which our lives are embedded. Even our perceptions are affected by the way we are situated in the social world, and by our participation in the construction of social reality.

We don’t live in “society” in the abstract, of course, but in a particular society with particular characteristics and a specific history. What kind of society do we live in? What are its distinctive characteristics and problems? Where is it headed? Sociological analyses illuminate the effects of social interactions, structures, institutions, and processes on the character and quality of our lives. As part of a liberal arts education, sociology offers theories and research relevant to our ability both to make sense of our circumstances as individuals in contemporary society, and to act efficaciously and constructively in shaping the modern world.

At New College, courses in sociology draw on a range of theoretical perspectives and research traditions. Key themes and topics include: the causes and consequences of particular distributions of power, wealth, and prestige; the significance of class, ethnic, and gender differences in modern societies; social organization at the level of small groups, complex organizations, and whole societies; the sociology of development; social movements and change; the organization of work; cultural production and consumption in both popular and elite arts; the processes of face-to-face social interaction; socialization and social construction; and the social production of the urban environment.

A student majoring in sociology is required to acquire competence in content knowledge, written and oral communication skills and critical thinking skills. These are gained by mastering the fundamental tools of the discipline through five required courses, one empirical ISP, and five elective courses. The required courses include: Introduction to Sociology, Social Theory, Sociological Research Methods, Statistics, and the Senior Thesis Seminar. The five elective courses must include at least one course in each of the three broad subfields: Social Organization/ Institutions, Change, and Persons and Society. The empirical Independent Study Project should be done after completing the methods course.

Independent study projects, group research projects, and off-campus contracts provide important opportunities to gain direct experience of social issues explored in courses and tutorials. Students are encouraged to do field research, particularly in the local community.

Our program builds the skills that the employers today seek: people who have creativity and innovation, multi-cultural and global understandings, critical thinking skills, math and science skills, and excellent written expression. Sociology concentrators have gone into a variety of fields after New College, ranging from PhD programs and subsequent employment in academe (in Sociology and other fields), Law School, International NGOs addressing Human and Refugee Rights, Public Health, Education, Social Work, Public Relations, Media and Communication, among others.

View Sociology Academic Learning Compact

View Sociology courses offered in last 5 years

 

Area of Concentration Requirements

Students majoring in Sociology at New College will acquire competence in content knowledge, written and oral communication skills and critical thinking skills. These competencies are gained by mastering the fundamental tools of the discipline through a set of core courses, one empirical Independent Study Project (ISP) and five elective courses.

In addition to these activities, students are encouraged to engage in internships, group research projects, and off-campus educational activities (e.g. service learning projects, community engagement projects, and volunteering) that provide important opportunities to gain direct experience of social issues explored in courses and tutorials.

The five required courses for Sociology AOC and Joint-Disciplinary with Sociology listed first are:

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Social Theory
  • Sociological Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Sociology Senior Thesis Seminar

In addition, students are required to complete:

  • One empirical ISP (students must complete the Sociological Research Methods course prior to doing this ISP, and must go through the IRB process if working with human subjects)
  • Five (5) Electives (at least one from each analytical area: Social Organizations/Institutions; Change; and Persons and Society).
  • A Senior Project or Thesis, which should make full use of sociological theory, literature, and analysis.
  • Baccalaureate Exam

Analytical Areas

Our elective courses address three broad subfields in sociology:

  1. Social Organizations/Institutions
  2. Social Change, and
  3. Persons and Society

We require you to take at least one course in each of the three. Below are examples of electives regularly offered that fall within each subfield. Some courses fit more than one category.

  • Social Organization/Institutions
    • Contemporary Gender Seminar
    • Globalization, Social Justice, Human Rights
    • Intersectionality
    • Latin American Social Theory
    • Practicum in Community Building
    • Queer Studies
    • Social Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Power
    • Sociology of Development
    • Space, Place & Community
    • The Sociology of the Arts and Performance
    • Work Organization and Its Alternatives
  • Social Change
    • Globalization, Social Justice, Human Rights
    • Intersectionality
    • Latin American Social Theory
    • Social Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Power
    • Social Movements
    • Sociology of Development
    • Sociology of Sustainable Communities
    • Work Organization and Its Alternatives
  • Persons and Society
    • Contemporary Gender Seminar
    • Intersectionality
    • Introduction to Sociology through Social Psychology
    • Qualitative Methods for Studying Culture
    • Queer Studies
    • Social Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Power
    • Sociology of Gender and the Body
    • The Sociology of the Arts and Performance

Declaring a Sociology Area of Concentration
In order to declare a Sociology AOC, students are required to submit a portfolio for review. Prior to submitting a portfolio students must have satisfactorily completed four sociology courses. The portfolio must include a “Sociology Portfolio Review Worksheet,” 2-3 papers written for sociology courses, a copy of the students narrative evaluation for the Introduction to Statistics course, a printout of the unofficial transcript (available through the Student Evaluation System), the signed “Provisional Area of Concentration” form and a plan for completing the remaining sociology requirements. Students will generally submit a portfolio for review in their fifth contract.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

The Joint-Disciplinary (Slash) AOC with Sociology listed second has a slightly reduced set of requirements:

  • Social Theory
  • Sociological Research Methods
  • Statistics
  • Senior Thesis Seminar
  • Empirical ISP is encouraged but not required.
  • Three (3) Electives (one from each analytical area: Social Organizations/Institutions; Change; and Persons and Society)

Note: In accordance with regulations in the Faculty Handbook, students with a joint -disciplinary AOC where Sociology is listed second must have one faculty member from the sociology discipline in their thesis committee. Furthermore, the thesis should make substantive use of sociological theory, literature, and analysis.

Double AOC
Students must complete the same requirements as the Disciplinary AOC. In accordance with regulations in the Faculty Handbook, students completing a double AOC with Sociology must have two faculty members from the sociology discipline on their thesis committee. Ideally, one of the sociology faculty members would serve as co-sponsor with a faculty member from the other discipline or be consistently consulted with by the student to ascertain progress in the thesis qualifies for a Sociology AOC. The thesis should make substantive use of sociological theory, literature, and analysis.

Faculty

Recent Theses

  • A Critical Ethnography of Difference, Boundaries of Belonging and Race in New Orleans Second Line Parades
  • All the News That’s Fit to Print?: A Comparison of News Narratives of the 2009 Honduran Coup
  • Blurred Lines: Sexual Consent in Popular Music Lyrics
  • City, Sweet City: A Study of the Implementation of New Urbanism and the Public Process
  • Coloring the Page: Examinations of Racialized Femininity and Embodied Power within Women’s Magazines
  • Find It, Fix It? An Analysis of Public Engagement Through Government Social Media
  • Food, Family, and the Factors Influencing the Frequencies and Characteristics of Family Dinners
  • Marketing Masculinity: A Content Analysis of Gender Role Presentations in Super Bowl Commercials at the Turn of the 21st Century
  • Politics of the Experiment: An Exploration of Anarchist Political Enactment Through the Study of Infoshops
  • Shared Spaces: Residence Hall Architecture and Sense of Community
  • The Intersection of Collective Memory and Place in a Clandestine Detainment Center in Buenos Aires
  • Two Jails in One: Impediments to Professionalism for Modern Jail Corrections Officers
  • What I Call Myself: Exploring Ethnic Identities And Selections Of Ethnic Labels For Hispanic/Latino

Careers of Sociology Graduates

Researcher
Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence

 

SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.