The American sociologist C. Wright Mills described the perspective of sociology as the “sociological imagination.” This point of view enables us to see how individual lives are shaped by larger social forces. Mills argued that we cannot fully understand ourselves without understanding the society in which we live. At Clark, the sociology faculty is committed to developing such an analytic capacity in students.
Through the examination of social processes, such as social stratification, social movements and social change, and through an investigation of diverse social institutions, such as the law, family, medicine and religion, students acquire the conceptual and analytical tools to enhance both their understanding of their own lives and the world in which they live.
One of the questions most frequently asked by students is, “What can I do with a degree in sociology?” Because of the emphasis placed on critical thinking, analytical and communicative skills, and methodological training, students majoring in sociology are well equipped to enter a variety of occupations, as well as professional careers and graduate schools. Sociology majors have gone to law school, medical school, social-work and business school. Others have become marketing analysts, government policy analysts, university administrators and political consultants.
The sociology major consists of 10 courses within the department and a minor, concentration, or a program in the social sciences or closely related field. The 10 departmental courses are to be distributed as follows:
All majors must complete:
- Six additional sociology credits, one of which must be a capstone. At least three of these six courses must be at the 200 level. These credits may be fulfilled through the completion of six regular courses or through a combination of course work, internships (maximum of two credits) or directed research. Of the four required courses for a major, three must be taken on campus. Of the 10 total courses for the major, six must be taken on campus. COPACE courses are not counted for Sociology credit. To receive sociology major credit, students must earn a grade of C– or better.
Department Honors and Awards
In 1983-84, The Sociology Department established the Addams-Mills Award. This award is given annually to honor one or two graduating sociology majors who exemplify the community service ideas of Jane Addams, a founder of community-based social work and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the intellectual tradition of C. Wright Mills, an outspoken sociologist and critic of American power structures. In order to be considered for this award, a student must have ea GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students who wish to apply much submit a one page description of their community service since coming to Clark along with an unofficial copy of their transcript. This award is given at Commencement.
PAST ADDAMS-MILLS AWARD WINNERS
2011: Amy Donin 2008: Erin Burns-Maine
Miranda Muro Sarah Milardo
2010: Lindsey Carpenter 2007: Julianne Siegfriedt
2009: Carolyn Spitz 2006: Timothy Newman
Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society
The Department of Sociology has been accepted as a charter member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society. the purpose of Alpha Kappa Delta is to promote human welfare through the association of a fellowship group interested in developing scientific knowledge that may be applied to the solution of social problems. Student scholarship is recognized by Alpha Kappa Delta in several ways. The Society sponsors student travel to regional meetings, supporting those who want to present their own work and learn from the scholar presentations of others. One of our past graduates received such an award to travel to the American Sociological Society meeting. The Society sponsors annual student paper contests, presenting awards which include monetary prizes, travel support, and scholarships. In addition, by funding research symposia and honoraria for guest speakers, the Society supports chapter activities which further education. Students who are Sociology majors in their junior and senior year with an average GPA of 3.5 and who are in the top 35% of their entire class are eligible for lifetime membership in Alpha Kappa Delta.
Senior Honors Thesis
Selected seniors may wish to complete an honors thesis. This is usually the equivalent of two full courses in sociology. To prepare for the thesis, students will be encouraged to do a directed reading or research in the fall of their senior year. Students who select this option are expected to devote approximately 50 percent of their senior year to major research. Application to the sociology department by those with a 3.2 average in the major must be made by March 1 of the junior year. Only students whose proposal is approved may waive the capstone seminar requirements. Complete guidelines are in the Sociology Student Handbook which is available in the department office or online.