Why Study Sociology at New College?

At New College you will find not only what most other sociology programs offer - encouraging students to dig into the world around them, see connections between individual experiences and group structures, question what is taken for granted, and embrace the “sociological imagination”-, but also a diverse body of faculty who are passionate about their field of interest and sharing this knowledge with students. Professor David Brain engages students with the local community through his courses on Urban Sociology. Professor Emily Fairchild opens the opportunity for students to focus their sociological inquiry on gender, culture, and interpersonal relations. Professor Sarah Hernandez brings together scholarship in Social Movements, Alternative Work Organization, and the Sociology of (Economic) Development, embracing as well scholarship in Labor Studies, Latin American Studies and Mexico in particular. Professor Meccasia Zabriskie engages the students’ interests in racial oppression, intersectionality, and culture, as well as the relationship between the arts, sociology, and ethnic and racial identities.

The tutorial system at New College allows our students who have gained the basic sociological training to explore their particular interests in a more focused and individualized manner. Furthermore, our program is pedagogically structured to guide students from their early professional steps through the maturity of a senior thesis. With an awareness of the basic concepts in sociology in the introductory courses, students are ready to acquire knowledge about sociological theory and research methods. The methods course guides the students toward the development of a research proposal that will culminate in individualized field research during their Empirical Independent Study Project. With this experience, students are ready to develop their thesis topic and carry through with their thesis research and writing.  These independent learning activities allow our students to pursue their own interests while developing their professional skills (analytical, critical, and synthesizing skills in thought, writing, and public presentations). Our study of the social world allows for an infinite number of connections to students’ lives outside of the classroom. Students doing various internships are able to make connections to course concepts and reflect on how sociological concepts are visible in the broader community. This is also true of regular courses; we are often able to discuss current events and everyday observations as related to course concepts, making real-life connections a part of the curriculum.

In addition to the high quality and commitment of our professors, the Sociology program benefits from the high quality of our students. Our students are smart, hardworking and tend to be activist-oriented. They are drawn to the discipline from an interest in people and groups and in addressing the inequalities we study. Through their own volition as well as programmatic gatherings and team work required in various courses, Sociology students develop a support system that encourages intellectual engagement in and outside of the classroom, and many times also civic engagement of various kinds (volunteering, attending public events, activist gatherings, and professional meetings).

We Cover a Broad Terrain
The discipline of sociology encompasses a broad terrain of subfields 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.

At New College, courses in sociology draw on a range of theoretical perspectives and research traditions.

Key Themes and Topics Include:
• 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
• Social change and social transformations
• Cultural production and consumption in both popular and elite arts
• The processes of face-to-face social interaction


At New College, 99% of our full-time professors hold the most advanced degree in their fields. All of them serve as advisors and mentors to students.

Office of the Provost
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, Florida  34243

Phone: (941) 487-4200
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