Sociology is the study of society and how it is shaped by individual and collective action.

A "sociological imagination" helps us to see the connections between private troubles, experience individually, and public issues, experienced collectively. It also explains how individual attitudes and behaviors are distributed in patterned and predictable ways according to the position of the individual society's institutional structure. These institutions include those of economy, government, family, education, and religion.

Sociologists are cross-disciplinary in their research as well as teaching.  This means that they are active in related programs on campus, such as Criminal Justice StudiesUrban and Regional StudiesWomen's and Gender Studies, American Studies, African and African-American StudiesReligious Studies, and Law and Society.

For more information about a degree in Sociology, contact: Paul Draus, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology.

Degree Requirements

Students can pursue a major or a minor in Sociology. Learn more about requirements.

What can sociology do for you?
Sociology can provide you with a lot of skills as well as resources for you to use in the labor market.
Professor Pam Aronson
  • Students must complete at least 28 hours in sociology courses numbered 300 or above.  Learn more about CASL Degree Requirements.

    All students must take the following courses:

    Prerequisites -- Required courses

    Not counted in the 28 hours required in the major.

    • SOC 200 or 201 

    Cognates -- Required courses

    6 credit hours (300+) from two of the following six disciplines:

    • ANTH, CIS, ECON, HIST, POL, STAT (Internships in these disciplines cannot be used to satisfy the cognate requirement).

    Major -- Required courses

    20 credit hours at 300+ level.

  • Students can choose sociology as a Minor or Area of Focus (BGS or Liberal Studies), which consists of 12 hours of upper-division credit in sociology.

    Sociology students might want to focus their coursework around occupational tracks.  Below are some possible tracks that students should discuss in more depth with their sociology advisor.  The list of courses is in no way complete, merely suggestive.

    • Social Work and Related Human Services (e.g., social workers, counselors, personnel, recreation directors).  Suggested courses include: 201, 350, 445, 446, 447, 461, 465, 477, 478, 482.
    • Managing People and Organizations (e.g., business management, public administration, labor relations).  Suggested courses include: 382, 422, 442, 443, 483.
    • Research (e.g., in marketing or public opinion research).  Suggested courses include: 383, 410, 497.
    • Criminal Justice (e.g., probation officers, youth counselors, paralegals, police officers, lawyers).  Suggested courses include: 447, 453, 461, 465, 468, 469, 470.
    • Graduate School (Ph.D. studies in sociology and other social sciences).  Suggested courses include: 308, 410, 413, 423, 445, 460, 483, 497, 498.
  • The field of sociology has grown in scope and importance as society has grown more complex and pluralistic. The modern individual is involved in a tightly integrated, sometimes conflicting, network of social groups, families, institutions, governmental, economic, educational, and religious bodies, and specialized community organizations. Sociology studies the internal structure by which society is organized, the development and dynamics of the various groupings within it, and the influences of these upon the individual. UM-Dearborn’s undergraduate program in Sociology provides a focus for a general liberal education, preparation for careers in a number of areas, and grounding for advanced study in graduate and professional schools. A degree in Sociology prepares students for employment in jobs requiring interpersonal skills and understanding, data collection and analysis, or specialized knowledge about how particular institutions work. Actual occupational experience in the area of social work can be obtained through an internship.

    • Competence at Sociological Theory
    • Competence at Sociological Methods
    • Awareness of Social Structure
    • Awareness of the Intersection between History and Biography
    • Competence in Critical Thinking

Internship, Co-op, and Research Opportunities

Sociology students are provided with supervised field experience in a variety of occupational agencies focusing on social work and/or criminal justice. Students are placed in sites appropriate to their occupational goals. Students may also pursue cooperative educational opportunities, which provide paid career-related work experiences. Click here for information about CASL Co-ops.

  • The Internship provides supervised field experience in a variety of occupational agencies focusing on criminal justice.  Students are placed in sites appropriate to their occupational goals.  Each intern spends a total of 80 hours on site and attends a weekly seminar.  Students may elect to take this course for 3-6 credits.

    If interested, please complete the application and return to Internship Coordinator Janice Jones.

    Criminal Justice Internship Application  [PDF]

  • This community-based course, taught in a local correctional facility, brings university students and incarcerated students together to study as peers.  Together students explore issues of crime and justice, drawing on one another to create a deeper understanding of how these issues affect out lives as individuals and as a society.  The course creates a dynamic partnership between UMD and a correctional facility to allow students to question approaches to issues of crime and justice in order to build a safer and more just society for all.

    The course encourages outside students (UMD) to contextualize and to think deeply about what they have learned about crime and criminals and to help them pursue the work of creating a restorative criminal justice system; it challenges inside students to place their life experiences into larger social contexts and to rekindle their intellectual self-confidence and interest in further education.

    For more information, visit the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program page.

  • The Sociology faculty encourages students to develop their own research projects in the form of independent studies (SOC 398/498). To find an appropriate faculty member for either one of these courses, students should start by consulting the list of faculty members and their specializations. Often, faculty members are involved in research in which students can take part as data collectors or analysts.

    Sociology students frequently present the results of their research at undergraduate research conferences like Meeting of Minds and the Michigan Undergraduate Research Forum, and even at professional meetings.

  • Undergraduates are doing a variety of research across all four colleges, increasing their confidence in academic pursuits and helping them make an impact in the community. In this article, Undergraduate research advances student goals, university mission, Sociology student Matthew Fleming's research with Prof. Pamela Aronson is featured.

26th annual Meeting of Minds

Sociology students have the opportunity to present their research at the annual Meeting of Minds conference on May 11.

  • Leah OldhamThe Life Narrative of Female Athletes within the University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Omitra Gates: Community Advocacy through Photography: an ethnographic excursion of Detroit