Sociology

Sociology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree On Campus

About Sociology

Prepare for exciting career opportunities in the sociology field.

The study of sociology examines human group behavior, interaction and organization. Sociologists observe the activity of social, religious, political and economic groups, organizations and institutions. They examine the effect of social influences, including organizations and institutions, on different individuals and groups. Sociologists also trace the origin and growth of these groups and interactions. For example, they may research the impact of a new law or policy on a specific demographic of people.

You can prepare for these exciting career opportunities with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology at California University of Pennsylvania. As a sociology major, you’ll study the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods when conducting research, and how to use statistical analysis programs during the research process.

Research in sociology may help administrators, educators, lawmakers and social workers solve social problems and formulate public policy. Sociologists may specialize in a wide range of social topics, including education and health; crime and poverty; families and population; and gender, racial and ethnic relations.

Sociologists who specialize in crime may be called criminologists or penologists. These workers apply their sociological knowledge to conduct research, analyze penal systems and populations, and study the causes and effects of crime. Many people with a sociology background become postsecondary teachers and high school teachers. Most others find work in related jobs outside the sociology profession as policy analysts, demographers, survey researchers and statisticians.

Gain a career advantage with Cal U’s undergraduate program.

Cal U students may choose to major only in sociology or may select a second academic discipline to complete a highly marketable dual major that includes sociology and another discipline. The sociology program also offers a popular concentration in social deviance.

Cal U students may also add a 12-credit certificate in violence and incidence collaborative evaluation (VICES) to their degree as a stackable credential for those anticipating a career in education. The African American Studies minor, like the VICES certificate, overlaps significantly with sociology coursework, making it easy to pursue simultaneously with the sociology major.

Students typically complete the sociology major in four years of full-time study; this time can be expanded for students pursuing their bachelor’s degree part-time.

Program Highlights: Sociology

Multidisciplinary focus. Cal U’s innovative program in sociology offers you the advantage of multidisciplinary expertise within a single academic program of study. Faculty expertise ranges from sociology to psychology to conflict resolution. The sociology program emphasizes interdisciplinary partnerships across campus to provide collaboration with faculty in theatre, nursing, communication disorders and social work. Sociology was the first discipline in the College of Liberal Arts to require an internship as mandatory for graduation.

Sound foundation. Cal U sociology students get many opportunities for hands-on experience through internships and field experiences. Students have worked with the Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp., Tripil, Rivertowns, Center in the Woods, Washington Food Bank, and Mon Valley Hospital to plan, implement and report on recommendations to address challenges identified by the organizations based on interviews and participant observation. Students also have collaborated with Studio 224, Cal U’s graphic design club, on a new map of Brownsville. Sociology students collaborated with the community manager of Vulcan Village, with a pre- and post-test of a green energy education program and an evaluation of residents' knowledge of and attitudes toward environmentally friendly usage of water, electricity and natural resources. Sociology students worked with a consulting firm to carry out a route study to improve public transportation in the areas served. The sociology program facilitated a student team research project that examined the University’s Healthy Habits program to determine how to attract more participants. Students also examined the needs and wants of California borough residents related to recreational facilities and opportunities.

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19:1 
Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
120 
Credit hours for the bachelor’s degree in social science, which can be completed in four years.
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Degree Benefits

Cal U students may work with sociology faculty on research, and they do their own research for course assignments and papers. Sociology majors in the Honors College complete a senior thesis at the conclusion of their final year in the program. Cal U sociology students may apply for student research presentation opportunities, such as the annual Strike a Spark conference at Cal U and for the undergraduate student poster competition, or apply for a grant from the undergraduate Guttman Student Research Grant Committee. Students may present their work at the Pennsylvania Sociological Society conference or at the Annual American Sociological Association conference. Cal U’s Sociology Club enables students to work with faculty to schedule guest speakers on career and internship opportunities, volunteer activities with local animal shelters, and attracting experts to speak on social phenomena such as the growth of tattooing.

 
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Graduate Outcomes

Near 100% of Cal U sociology graduates either directly enter the workforce or go on to graduate school in sociology or counselor education. The largest employers of sociologists are: research and development in the social sciences and humanities (31%); educational services; state, local and private (21%); state government (13%); self-employment (11%); and religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations (6%). Here’s a sampling of employers and positions held by Cal U sociology graduates:

  • Allegheny County Adult Probation - Probation officer.
  • Behavioral Dynamics - Behavioral specialist.
  • Bollman Hat Co. - Vice president of sales.
  • Centerville Clinic - Director of behavioral health rehabilitation services.
  • Chicago Title Insurance Company - President/county manager.
  • Citadel Federal Credit Union - Instructor/performance consultant.
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Human resources management trainee.
  • Community Living and Learning - Program specialist.
  • PLS Logistics Services - National accounts sales representative.
  • The Leader’s Edge - Senior consultant.
  • TheFreckledMask.com - Blogger.
  • U.S. Government - Investigator.
  • Verizon Wireless - Customer advocate.
Sociology (B.A.)
Social science degree program students study.

Professional Opportunities

Employment of sociologists is projected to grow 15% through 2022. Sociologists will continue to be needed to apply sociological research to other disciplines. For example, sociologists may collaborate with researchers in other social sciences, such as economists, psychologists and survey researchers, to study how social structures or groups influence policy decisions about health, education, politics, criminal justice, business or economics. Among Cal U sociology graduates, Rebecca Geiger (2013) is a green dot coordinator and program specialist at Eastern Kentucky University; Branden Rupert (2008) is a professional staff nurse at UPMC McKeesport’s new detox/rehab unit; and Nicole Rountree (2011) is a commerce support engineer for SAP Ariba. 

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Graduate Study

Cal U sociology graduates have gone on for advanced study at such institutions as the University of Chicago, University of Maryland, Columbia University and Princeton University. Some sociology graduates choose to remain at California University of Pennsylvania to earn their master’s degree in counselor education, concentrating either in community counseling or school counseling.

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Student Resources

All sociology students are encouraged to join the Sociology Club at Cal U and to participate in its activities such as panel discussions, field trips and volunteering in the community. Upper-level students are eligible for membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society. Because sociology students conduct various field-based observations and complete internships, both nationally and internationally, they are provided with opportunities for career and professional networking. 

Sociology Bachelor's Degree Courses

Courses focus on interdisciplinary study of sociology. Students learn to design research projects, collect data and analyze findings and draw conclusions, and explore other aspects of this vital field.

Example Courses
  • Sociology of Technology
  • Social Inequality
  • Sociology of Sport
  • Sociology of Organizations
  • Social Minorities
  • Urban Sociology
  • Substance Use & Abuse
  • Charismatic Leaders
  • Social Theory & Society
  • Social Research Methods
  • Sociology Internship

 

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Sociology Bachelor's Degree Related Programs

Certificates

 

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B.A. Social Sciences Faculty

Dr. Elizabeth A. Larsen
Associate Professor

larsen@calu.edu

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Dr. Emily M. Sweitzer
Professor

sweitzer@calu.edu

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