Sociology is the study of human behavior within a multitude of contexts, from the family, the community and workplace, to the regional, national, and global arenas.
The major prepares students for professional careers in such areas as criminology, law enforcement, social services, urban planning and development, counseling, race/ethnic relations, human resources, child, marriage, and family relations, community relations, global affairs, and employment in a wide range of government agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations. Sociology also provides an excellent foundation for graduate studies in social work, counseling, public policy, urban development, public health, population studies, global studies and the law. See Mount St. Mary's College Sociology Department Web Page for additional examples of professional options in the field.
The department offers an Associate of Arts Degree in Human Services (see this catalog under Human Services for information on this program), a general program of sociology, and the option of seven specializations within Sociology: Criminology, Global Studies and Human Rights, Medical Sociology, Race/Class/Gender, Communications, Social Services and Family Relations. The Gerontology Major is also affiliated with the department.
Sociology B.A. Degree
Core Courses Required:
Plus seven additional courses in Sociology. A maximum of 12 lower division units in Sociology may be counted toward completion of the major. These units cannot, however, include lower division internship units (SOC 25).
To fulfill a B.A. degree in Sociology, students must complete the Sociology requirements, the General Studies requirements, and the Modern Language requirement for a total of 124 units.
Total units in Sociology: 36
The following specializations within the Sociology major are available, but not required. However, a specialization can enhance preparation for certain career directions, as discussed within each specialization. The courses required within each specialization will count toward the required 36 units for the major in Sociology.
Criminology Specialization Option One
Excellent preparation for careers in law enforcement, probation, crime prevention, forensic research, law studies, rehabilitation, programs for at-risk populations, or advanced studies in sociology and criminology.
Plus select two additional courses from the following:
Global Studies and Human Rights Specialization Option Two
This specialization addresses the fundamental challenges of population growth and migration, cultural diffusion, environmental change, and quality of life of human populations around the world, with a core guiding foundation of human rights advocacy. A range of topics will be explored, including the impact of poverty, child labor, children at war, regional cultural conflict, women's issues, environmental change, economic development, and access to health care, housing, and other basic resources necessary for sustainability or growth. The intersection of religion, politics, economics, and culture will be emphasized.
Plus two additional courses from the following:
Also highly recommended: A semester of study abroad in the junior year. This requires coordination with the Department Chair and the Advisement Office.
Medical Sociology Specialization Option Three
This specialization is recommended for those interested in careers in the human services specifically related to social work and case management in healthcare resources. Possible work settings include hospitals, health management organizations, rehabilitation centers, hospice, and private or government agencies that are involved in the dissemination of health and human services.
Plus select two additional courses from the following:
Race, Class, and Gender Specialization Option Four
This specialization provides a broad and inclusive examination of the complex dynamics, life trajectory implications, and interactional effects that exist at the intersection of race, class, and gender in social life. This is an appropriate specialization for those pursuing careers in such areas as race/ethnic relations, immigration, labor relations, human resources, or public policy. It also provides good preparation for graduate studies in sociology in the areas of race relations, gender studies, and social stratification.
Plus two additional courses from the following:
The Women's Leadership Program is also highly recommended as an addition to one's professional development program. Involvement in it can enhance career potential.
Communications Specialization Option Five
Students are introduced to basic theories and practice of communication through mass media using a range of tools--written, verbal, sociological, and technological. Sociological theory and social science research methods, along with hands-on skills of communication production, are provided in this specialization. Students can obtain internship and career opportunities in the film, television, and broadcasting arenas.
Plus two additional courses from the following:
Highly recommended: A Business minor or major.
Social Services Specialization Option Six
Preparation for careers in social work, non-profit and government social service agencies, providing a foundation of understanding of development over the life course and basic skills necessary for working with people in service settings. Good preparation for advanced study in social work. This specialization cannot be combined with a major in Social Work.
Plus two additional courses from the following:
Family Relations Specialization Option Seven
For students interested in working with couples and families in a variety of clinical settings, this specialization provides basic preparation. It may also provide a foundation for continued studies in the area of marriage and the family at the graduate level. This specialization and social services specialization cannot both be selected. The student must choose one or the other.
Plus two additional courses from the following:
Recommended for graduate school preparation: Math 38, Probability and Statistics.
A minimum of six courses, two of which must include:
Plus four elective courses in sociology.
Total units for the Minor in Sociology: 18
SOC 5 Sociological Perspectives (3)
An introduction to the scientific study of human social behavior, including the foundational theories and the basic elements of social research. Viewing human life as inherently social, the social and environmental forces which influence and are influenced by personal experience, culture, and social arrangements, are examined. GS-IIIF, VI
SOC 6 The Family, Child, and Community (3)
The study of the family as a primary group and as an institution. Varieties of family patterns, pre-marital and marital behavior, child-parent relationships, and family disorganization and reorganization are considered. GS-IIIF, VI
SOC 7 Introduction to Human Services (3)
An introduction to the broad field of the helping professions in human services agencies. Includes theoretical applications and analysis of the range of issues addressed in these settings for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities such as healthcare access, family trauma, caregiver stress, housing, mental health, intervention and prevention services.
SOC 10 Deviance and Youth (3)
An examination of the combined structural, social and psychological elements which are manifested as deviance or delinquency in the juvenile population. Topics such as youth violence, substance abuse, adolescent sexuality and parenting, gang cultures, and crime will be studied, not only in the context of social conditions, but also within the juvenile justice system and social resource organizations, with a focus on the California Youth Authority system and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
SOC 13 Anatomy for Social Services (3)
An introduction to the structure of the human body. This course provides a basic understanding of the human organism and explores the relationship between psychosocial functioning and biological functioning. It is designed for those preparing for the social services professions, such as social work. Open to Human Services, Sociology, Social Work and Gerontology majors only.
SOC 25 Internship: Human Services (3)
Required for all A.A. Human Services Majors. The internship site to be selected and mutually agreed upon by student and advisor. A minimum of 120 hours of on-site experience must be conducted under the supervision of the internship advisor. This course is not open to those outside the A.A. Human Services Program. Prerequisite: Approval of advisor and sophomore standing.
SOC 30 Human Communication (3)
A study of the wide range of modes and means of human communication as they are expressed at both the micro and macro levels. Students will explore the roles of communication in human interaction, and will practice styles of effective communication, such as public speaking, interviewing, debating, broadcasting, and interpersonal exchange. GS-IB
SOC 49 Multicultural Issues in Healthcare (3)
A survey of ethnic and cultural factors that have an impact the work of healthcare professionals and the experience of patients within the context of healthcare settings. GS-VI
SOC 96 ABC Culture, Race and Communication (1, 1, 1)
Study and interaction focused on culture and intercultural conflicts. Topics introduced include race and racism, stereotyping and prejudice, and understanding privilege. Emphasis on communication skills. Can be repeated for credit.
SOC 102 Sociology of Children (3)
This course studies the intricate and dynamic socialization processes that contribute to the formation of the individual during the formative years of childhood. The social forces examined include the family, peer group, schools, media and such demographic variables as ethnicity, social class, gender, and neighborhood. Childhood as a historical and social construction is also considered, along with a survey of the various theories on childhood socialization.
SOC 103 Introduction to Group Process/Therapy (3)
This course will explore the theories and practices that guide group leaders and group therapy: as an intervention; as a support mechanism; or as a place to develop interpersonal social and interaction skills needed in society. An emphasis on strategies and techniques will allow students to explore group tactics such as grief, anger management, delinquency, and drug abuse as personal, interpersonal and social issues in an experiential mode. Each student will lead or co-lead a practice group in class.
SOC 104 The Family (3)
An exploration of the structure, functions, and challenges of the institution of the family from a cross-cultural perspective. The impact of the forces of social, political, religious and economic change on the structure of the family, and the multiple dynamics of intergenerational relationships will also be analyzed. Fieldwork required. GS-IIIF, VI
SOC 105 Couples (3)
An integrated and ecological approach to the study of intimate relationships. The course focuses on the interaction between the biological, psychological, sociological, and environmental variables that can impact the relationship system. Attachment and communication styles, distance regulation, and the impact of history and culture are addressed.
SOC 106 Introduction to Psychotherapy (3)
An introduction to the practice of psychotherapy for those going into counseling, psychotherapy, therapy or life coaching. The class introduces the field while giving some practical ideas and tools that can also be used by teachers, therapists, youth counselors and church counselors who will work directly with clients. A comparative survey of the principal theories in use today.
SOC 107 Anger Management (3)
This course will explore anger in our society, its management, mismanagement and responsive legislation. Anger Management Programs will be examined to learn varieties of and successful strategies and programs for anger reduction in the long-term. Students will develop an understanding of reactions to, and the consequences of repressed anger which may result in illness, child abuse, divorce or employment problems.
SOC 108 Substance Abuse Counseling (3)
This course discusses the nature of the counseling relationship with abusers and the importance of studying theories of counseling that apply to substance abuse. It will provide a basic understanding of the terminology, current approaches, and issues involved in working with abusers as therapists, counselors or law enforcement professionals. The motivation and behavior patterns of the drug/alcohol abuser will be examined in a broad social context.
SOC 109 Forensic Studies: Criminalistics (3)
The examination of theories and techniques associated with the recognition, collection and analysis of physical evidence from the context of a crime scene. The course will enable students to use the physical and social environment to provide information for use by the criminal justice system. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 110 Juvenile Delinquency (3)
An examination of the theories and concepts applied to deviance and social disorganization as it manifests itself among the juvenile population. Topics include contemporary gang culture and other issues of youths at risk Fieldwork required. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 111 Criminology (3)
The scientific application of the theories of crime and deviance, reflecting the structural and environmental influences of contemporary American society. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 112 Medical Sociology (3)
An examination of contemporary social phenomena associated with health and illness and the dissemination of health care, both nationally and internationally. Analysis of regional, national and international data on the health status of a variety of populations will be examined. In addition, the intersection of health, healthcare delivery, demography, economic trends, and the swift pace of changing technology--both medical and non-medical--will be explored. Societal implications for the future will be discussed. Fieldwork required.
SOC 114 Corrections (3)
An exploration of the corrections system in the U.S. from its inception to the present day. Topics include prison and jail cultures, ethical issues related to incarceration, history of incarceration, and the different types of correction modalities to include institutional-based corrections. A study of the responsibilities of correction officers, probation officers, parole officers, and parole agents is included. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 115 Sociology of Violence (3)
This course will explore questions about the origins of violence in human society and the social processes that produce or inhibit violence. A focus will be on the social construction and social definition of violence in contemporary society. Also included is a study of the types of measurements used to report and study violence, including the perspective of victims, offenders, law enforcement agencies and agencies for violence prevention.
SOC 116 Criminal Justice (3)
The scientific study of crime, criminal law, and components of the criminal justice system, including police, courts, and corrections or those agencies whose goal it is to apprehend, convict, punish, or rehabilitate law violators.
SOC 117 Quantitative Research Methods (3)
An introduction to and application of quantitative methods used in social science research. A research project will be undertaken. Current computer applications used in research will be applied. Prerequisite: SOC 5. GS-VIIA
SOC 118 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
An introduction to qualitative methods used in social science research. Ethnographic methods such as observation, case studies, and interviewing techniques will be studied. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 120 Case Management (3)
A study of the methods and practices utilized by health and human services case managers working in a variety of social service resource settings, such as hospitals, daycare centers, senior centers, non-profit outreach programs, and convalescent facilities. Fundamental business, management and social interaction skills will be highlighted. See GER 120.
SOC 121 Human Services Ethics (3)
An examination of the values, strategies, and skills that provide a framework for ethical decisions, ethical behaviors, and an ethical climate in the human services. The NASW Code of Ethics and social justice will provide the context for the professional development of social workers, site managers, and human services leaders.
SOC 124 Sociobiology (3)
The essential inquiry of this course is to explore what dimensions of the human condition are based on our genetic heritage versus our cultural heritage. Are phenomena such as prejudice, competition, aggression, altruism, heroism, and child-parent bonding an outcome of our biology or socialization? A comparative, evolutionary perspective will be applied in order to explore the intersection of culture and biology. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 125 Cultural Anthropology (3)
An examination of the basic social structures of society. A study of the similarities among, and differences between, societies, including a comparison of primitive and modern cultures. GS-VI
SOC 128 Introduction to Social Work (3)
An introduction to the basic theories and practice in the field of social work. Course will emphasize human diversity (including cultural, gender, age, SES, personality, geographic locale, and special populations such as victims of violence and the homeless), problem-solving and intervention modalities that can be used for individuals and families. Interactional processes between client and social worker will also be a major focus, along with assessment, planning, practice actions and evaluation methods.
SOC 130 Organizational Communication (3)
At the macro and micro level the theories and techniques of interaction which drive professional and person relationships in formal and informal social structures will be studied.
SOC 132 History of Film (3)
The purpose of the course is to examine and critically analyze film's history as a communication medium of culture, social trends, values and sentiments. The organizational, political, economic, and strategic dynamics involved in film as a creative expression; and, the production demands and constraints associated with it are also studied. See FLM 132.
SOC 133 Culture, Music and Broadcasting (3)
A study of the intersection of mass culture, subculture, personal identity, musical expression, production and distribution. Studio processes, technical aspects, the economics and politics of production, icon development, social networking, opportunity structures, and presentation of self are also addressed. See FLM 133
SOC 134 Mediation and Negotiation (3)
The examination and practice of theory and skills required for formal and informal dialogue, understanding, or resolution of differences. Focus will be on student development of mediation and negotiation skills through application of techniques to group, community, and interpersonal issues.
SOC 135 Mass Media (3)
An examination of popular mass media as a reflection, characterization, and interpretation of culture and society. In addition, the use of the mass media in politics, economics, social change, and religion will be explored. A focus on critical analysis of ongoing and emerging trends in television, film and music will be conducted. See FLM 135
SOC 136 Disney, Inc. and Mass Popular Culture (3)
The course analyzes the near-Orwellian influence that mass media can have on society. Utilizing Disney as an example, students will examine the power and influence of media conglomerates and their role in shaping and reinforcing social norms. Special emphasis is placed on examining how Disney movies reflect era-specific ideologies and social trends. See FLM 136.
SOC 138 Non-Profit Management Seminar (3)
This course will introduce managerial theories on leading non-profit organizations. The learning experience includes review of literature, class presentations and active sponsorship of service organizations. A service-learning project integrates theory with practice, requiring team cooperation, planning, and accountability. See GER 138/BUS 138
SOC 142 Women in Film (3)
The role of women in film as creative artists and production executives, with a focus on the first half of the 20th Century, will be explored. The current status of women in film and television will also be examined, including the sociopolitical and economic dynamics in play today that influence their participation. See FLM 142.
SOC 145 Social Psychology (3)
Surveys the pervasive and invisible social forces acting upon individuals. Explores the cultural and familial interaction s facilitating the socialization of people. Provides a critical analysis of the known social influences or hindering individual development. See PSY 145.
SOC 160 Diversity in Society (3)
The study of the complexities and intricacies of what is meant by human diversity in a variety of manifestations. The influence, implications and intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, political affiliation, education, occupation, family heritage, sex orientation, regionalism, and personal identity communities are examined. Discussion of multiple cultural identity, intermarriage and cross-cultural communication is a recurring focus throughout the semester.
SOC 161 Dynamics of Majority-Minority Relations (3)
A study of the history and contemporary interactional dynamics among majority and minority groups within the United States and California. Analysis of the nature and manifestations of culture, adaptive strategies of culturally diverse populations, and the development of programs and practices that honor, motivate, and empower all segments of society will be explored. Examination of personal biases and identification of deficient knowledge in the area of cultural diversity and majority-minority relations is encouraged. GS-VI
SOC 162 Human Rights (3)
The examination of human rights from a contemporary global perspective. A range of topics will be explored, including poverty, nutrition, regional cultural conflict, environmental degradation, access to health care, housing, and other basic resources necessary for human survival. The intersection of religion, politics, economics, and culture will be emphasized.
SOC 163 Women’s and Children’s Human Rights (3)
An exploration of contemporary human rights issues with a focus on women and children, as they are encountered at the local, national, and global level. Topics include women's rights in prison, healthcare access, child labor, children at war, and spousal abuse.
SOC 165 Historical and Contemporary Social Thought (3)
An overview of the historical roots, evolution, and contemporary manifestations of such social thoughts as social justice, individualism, social responsibility, universalism, modernism and post-modernism, rationalization, democratization, tribalism, globalization, and scientific inquiry.
SOC 166 Sociological Theory (3)
A critical evaluation of major contemporary sociological theorists as representative of various schools of sociological inquiry. An analysis of social behavior through the application of sociological theory. Prerequisite: SOC 5.
SOC 167 U.S. Women of Color (3)
An analysis from a social justice perspective, of the historical, economic, legal, political and social implications for life experiences of U. S. women of color. With a focus on Latina, African-American, and Asian-Pacific Island women, the course will explore strategies for adaptation and acculturation, challenges to cultural identity, value systems, and social stratification.
SOC 175 Urban Sociology (3)
An examination of the shift from rural to urban communities, the current conditions of a metropolitan lifestyle and the emergent dynamics of the global community. Applying theoretical approaches toward the understanding and resolution of urban dilemmas surrounding topics such as poverty, housing, multi-ethnic populations, on a community and global level.
SOC 176 Field Work Experience (1-3)
An on-site experiential course designed to advance the understanding of community issues through participation in a civic project, in collaboration with a faculty member and a community organization. Prior consent of advisor required. Prerequisite: SOC 5. May be taken more than one time for one-unit credit. May not repeat for 3-unit credit.
SOC 180 Social Stratification (3)
A study of the class system in the United States. This specifically includes an examination of stratification as it occurs by educational and occupational attainment, prestige, status, income, and power. Variations among these variables as mediated by race, age and gender will be explored.
SOC 184 Diversity and Aging in the Social Environment (3)
This course will provide the foundational knowledge of working with a diverse aging population in the context of their social environment. It will engage the students' sociological imagination through a multisystemic viewpoint and deepen their understanding of the impact of the environment on individuals in the aging stage of their life course. See GER 184
SOC 185 Global Development (3)
A study of the multiple interrelationships between political structure, political movements, socioeconomic development, environment, and global population change. From a global perspective, shifts in population composition, quality of life and resource management and availability, and how these societal conditions are influenced by such forces as political organization, international relations, religion, and environmental conditions, will be explored. Comparisons among these socioeconomic and political dimensions between developing and developed nation-states will be discussed, along with the possible implications of globalization for the United States.
SOC 186 Political Sociology (3)
An overview of major social justice perspectives and theoretical and sociological scholarship on the modern state. Emphasis is placed on understanding contemporary liberal democratic states within industrialized, urbanized, market-integrated, culturally pluralist societies.
SOC 187 Environmental Studies (3)
A survey study of the relationship between the natural environment and human population demographic change, industrial development and urban life. Topics such as ecosystems, biodiversity, pollution, conservation, and natural resource use are examined. Concepts presented will be applied to the Southern California environment.
SOC 189 Gerontology (3)
A cross-cultural exploration of aging as experienced in the United States. Ageism, societal attitudes regarding the elderly, and responses to the aging process, both from the individual and social perspective, are examined. Cultural variation and responses to aging and the social, political, and economic implications of a rapidly expanding aging population in the U.S. and in many regions of the world, will be analyzed. Resource and service availability for the elderly--locally, regionally, and nationally--will also be assessed. Fieldwork required. See GER 189.
SOC 190 Social Change (3)
A study of the sociological theories of change from an historical and contemporary perspective. The influence of forces such as migration, population increase, advances in technology, ecological shifts, social movements, and political revolutions will be examined. Social justice implications of contemporary sociopolitical change will be a focus.
SOC 191 Social Movements (3)
An exploration of social movements as a cause of social change in society. A selection of social movements, both historical and contemporary will be studied, with an emphasis on reform movements and their reciprocal relation with social justice issues such as social class, healthcare, discrimination, political representation, etc.
SOC 192 Thanatology (3)
A multi-disciplinary and comparative examination of the cultural responses which have provided understanding, coping, and meaning for the death and dying process. The course focus will consist of historical and literary themes. See GER 192.
SOC 195 Sociology of Religion (3)
An examination of the universal psychosocial functions of the institution of religion and of the influence religion has played within the other social institutions, such as in the family, government, education, and economics, in the past and present. The contemporary societal challenges in which religion is involved will also be highlighted. GS-IIIF, VA4
SOC 196H Senior Honors Thesis (3)
Open only to students admitted to the Honors Program.
SOC 197AB Internship (6)
The application of the major's program of study through an internship experience. A minimum of 100 hours of on-site experience is required, along with practicum attendance and participation. Development of a professional portfolio is also required. Internship site is to be selected and mutually agreed upon by student and professor. Open to majors only and 197B to be taken in senior year of study. .
SOC 198 Readings in Sociology (1-6)
Intensive and independent study in a field of special interest at the culmination of one's sociological work.
SOC 199 Special Studies (1-6)
A more advanced or specialized treatment in sociology.