Jul 25, 2024  
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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View Programs and Courses 

View Sociology Flowsheets 


Professor Patricia J. Ould, Chairperson

Professors: Arthur C. Gould, Paul A. Green, Yvonne Vissing

Associate Professors: Tiffany G. Chenault, John A. Otieno

Assistant Professor: Pamela Leong

Faculty Emeriti

Professors: Kenneth A. MacIver, Sister Eileen Matthews, Gerdes Fleurant, G. Else Wiersma

Associate Professor: Gerald Tatten

Programs Offered

Bachelor of Arts - Sociology 


Minorities & Ethnic Cultures 
Life Styles 

Bachelor of Science – Sociology


BS with a minor 
Life Course Studies  
Public Sociology/Applied Sociology 
Social Inequality 



Programs in Sociology

Sociology is the discipline at the heart of understanding the human condition. The Sociology Department at Salem State University empowers students with the perspective and insights of sociology, enabling them to understand the dynamics of the social context and its profound effect on institutions, groups, and the individual. The department also provides insight into behavior in the cultural framework and teaches essential methodological skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.

The sociology major provides excellent preparation for graduate school and professional training. It also builds the necessary skills for advanced study or careers in public policy (M.P.P., M.P.A.), law (J.D.), human and organizational relations (M.B.A.), education (M.Ed.), social service (M.S.W.), criminal justice, and a variety of entrepreneurial activities.

Academic Advising

Sociology majors are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their department advisors. A list of names of advisors and advisees is posted in the department office (MH335). Students are encouraged in consultation with their advisors, to be aware of degree requirements as specified on degree tracker, and to declare a minor or select a concentration by the end of their sophomore year (junior transfers by the end of their first semester).

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

This program offers students flexibility in the choice of courses and is particularly appropriate for students who wish to pursue graduate studies. Thirty-six (36) credits are required which consist of twenty-one (21) credits in sociology core courses plus fifteen (15) credits in sociology electives. Beyond the requirement of a foreign language (completion of a college level intermediate year), a minor of fifteen-eighteen (15-18) credits is selected. Among the possibilities for a choice of a minor are African-American Studies, political science, psychology, economics, a foreign language, history, interdisciplinary studies, etc. All minors should be developed in conjunction with advisors and with the permission of the departments involved. This degree program also should be adopted by those students pursuing more than one major. These students are required to complete the thirty-six (36) credits in sociology: twenty-one (21) credits in sociology core courses plus fifteen (15) credits in sociology electives.

Concentrations within the B.A. Degree

Students who are interested in emphasizing a particular course theme within the B.A. degree should be aware of the existence of options that can be developed in consultation with the Department Chairperson. A program of sociology electives can be chosen, forming a coherent sequence of related courses. The two following options are suggestions although students are free to devise their own concentrations, provided the Department Chairperson’s consent is obtained.

I. Minorities & Ethnic Cultures

For the student who wants to gain a deeper understanding of groups that are different from the mainstream of American society, such as society in other parts of the world, or racial, ethnic and other minorities in our own society the following courses might be recommended:

Social Inequality
Hispanic Groups
Cultures of the Frontier
Women, Globalization & Development
African-American studies courses
Peoples of India
Black Family in the U.S.

II. Life Styles

For the student who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of ways men and women choose to live and interact with one another.

Various lifestyles will be considered within the cultural and social context of contemporary society. The following courses may be recommended:

Social Inequality
Social Deviance
Sociology of the American Family
Gender & Society
Sociology of Aging

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

This program is particularly appropriate for students who are considering the job market upon graduation; it combines a solid liberal arts and science curriculum with courses that compliment specific career goals. It also can be appropriate for students intending to further their education with graduate study if they choose the elective courses to support that choice.

Various concentrations are offered - see descriptions on following page. Also, a minor in a related area of study can be approved. Therefore, the Bachelor of Science degree gives students the flexibility to pursue their individual career needs and desires.

Each concentration requires forty-five (45) credits in sociology including core sociology courses plus sociology electives. In addition, courses in related fields that support the chosen concentration are required. The culmination of the program is a senior year internship (an on-the-job placement) that gives students the opportunity to put into practice the skills they have acquired through their course work and to gain valuable work experience. Another option is a directed study that gives students the opportunity to design and carry out their own research project in preparation for a research career or graduate study. Students also will complete a senior capstone course. There is no foreign language requirement.


Life Course Studies Concentration

Students who are interested in working with children, youth, families, or the elderly may find the Life Course Studies concentration to be of particular interest. It offers students in-depth study of the human life course and how sociological concepts such as roles, status, norms, socialization, institutions, power socialization, research methodology, and theoretical analysis apply to the study of children, adults, and old age. Students also will gain an understanding of the current state of organizations, policies, funding, and practices as they apply to children, adults, and the elderly. Students who elect to focus on children and youth may wish to consider earning a Certificate in Child Studies from the College of Continuing and Professional Education (CPE). This concentration may be tailored for careers specializing in gerontology as well as with families. It prepares students for continued study in graduate school and provides them with visible skills for child-centered jobs in the community, and careers as nursing home and hospital administrators, program directors, counselors, etc. Through the choice of electives students can focus on a particular aspect of the life course or generalize in all areas of the life course.

Public Sociology/Applied Sociology Concentration

The Public Sociology/Applied Sociology concentration focuses on the ways in which sociological knowledge and research can be applied in real life situations. Public sociology takes sociological knowledge outside the academy to work with various “publics” to define social issues or social problems and possible ways of responding to them through a dialogue between the public and the sociologist. Applied sociology, which is usually defined as “sociology in the service of a goal defined by a client,” falls within the umbrella of public sociology. Michael Burawoy, former president of the American Sociological Association, writes that “public policy strikes up a dialogic relation between sociologist and public in which the agenda of each is brought to the table, in which each adjusts to the other” (2005:9).

Students in this concentration will learn to apply their sociological knowledge to real-life situations and will have the opportunity to apply their training in research methods and data analysis to assess and find solutions to problems in society. In addition, civic engagement projects, community involvement, and internships will enable students to directly engage with publics while providing opportunities for students to use their sociological knowledge and research skills to help respond to social issues and impact public policy. This concentration prepares students for careers in their areas of interest or for graduate study in public or applied sociology or for a public area of their interest.

Social Inequality Concentration 

The Social Inequality concentration allows students to explore the various bases on inequality in society such as social class, gender, race, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. Students in this concentration will understand the role of stratification in society and its implications. They will be prepared for careers in a variety of settings, including diversity education, social policy implementation, human resources, or any area where knowledge of stratification or social inequality can play a role. Students in this concentration also will be prepared for graduate study in social inequality generally, or in specific areas such as race and ethnicity, social class, gender, age, religion, etc.

The Minor in Sociology

Students also may opt to minor in sociology. The minor in sociology consists of eighteen (18) credits. SOC 201 – Introduction to Sociology is required for the minor. The remaining fifteen (15) credits are chosen by the student, but it is recommended that students choosing to minor in sociology speak with the department chairperson or a faculty member in sociology to make decisions about which courses will best meet their career goals and interests.

Special Programs

Center for Childhood and Youth Studies (CCYS)

The Salem State University Center for Childhood and Youth Studies (CCYS) was created in 1999 as part of the Department of Sociology and is in its second phase of strategic planning as it seeks to establish itself as the premiere academic child studies program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The structure of CCYS will be interdisciplinary and incorporate all of the Colleges and Schools within the University. The Center for Childhood and Youth Studies activities include:

  1. Undergraduate and Continuing Education Instructional Opportunities
  2. A Certificate in Child Studies
  3. Research Activities
  4. Policy and Leadership Initiatives
  5. Community Partnerships, Civic Engagement and Service Learning
  6. A Child and Youth University and Community Consortium
Sociological Society

The Sociological Society at Salem State University is a student-organized body composed of sociology majors and those with a serious interest in sociology. It is designed to provide an informal atmosphere for discussion within the academic as well as social arenas. Guest speakers, career workshops, field trips, and pertinent social issues will be a most important area of interest for the organization.

The Sociological Society is governed and directed by sociology students with election of officers to be held in the spring of each year. A faculty advisor also will be selected at the time by the club membership.

It is hoped that ALL sociology students will take an active role, as the organization’s success and direction depends upon student participation.

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD)

Salem State University’s Sociology Department hosts the Kappa of Massachusetts Chapter of AKD, the international sociology honor society. Alpha Kappa Delta derives its name from the first three letters of the three Greek words that together signify the Society’s goal: To study humankind for the purpose of service. 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. Sociology majors or minors who are juniors, who have completed at least four sociology courses, who have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in Sociology and who have an overall G.P.A. or 3.3 or higher are eligible for induction into AKD. The Sociology Department reviews student records to identify and notify eligible students each year. The department holds the AKD induction ceremony annually at the end of the spring semester. Additional information may be found at: sites.google.com/site/alphakappadeltainternational/.

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