Social Deviance

Social Deviance Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology: Social Deviance Concentration Online

About Social Deviance

Develop a sound foundation to prepare for a career or further study.

If your goal is to pursue professional training for a career in helping others, the online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology at California University of Pennsylvania can be your foundation. Our undergraduate degree program in sociology now offers a unique concentration in social deviance, the only concentration in social deviance in the United States.

In sociology, behaviors or actions that violate social norms are called "deviance." This term includes aberrant social behavior, drug and alcohol addiction, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, domestic violence and more.

 As a sociology major, you will develop an in-depth understanding of the societal variables (values, norms, ideologies, sanctions, mores) that exist, influence and change with social, cultural and political influences. A 100% online program, the bachelor's degree in sociology integrates concepts from various academic disciplines to examine and tackle the real-world issues of deviance as it relates to the aberrant, the diverse, the different, and the ever-evolving values and norms of our society and broader culture.

Gain a career advantage with Cal U's 100% online program.

Cal U's online undergraduate degree program in sociology will provide you with a basic interdisciplinary understanding of social deviance as a concept of difference and diversity, within the framework of cross-cultural and societal research. You'll also examine how deviance has been related to important social problems and institutional responses for the goals of treatment, understanding and influence.

Sociology courses are all application-based and will prepare you for a wide range of careers and jobs in such areas as probation and parole; drug, alcohol and addiction treatment; mental health case management; children and youth services; corrections; and victims and veterans services.

Learn about our accelerated bachelor's-to-master's degree program.


Unique concentration:  Cal U offers the only program nationwide that addresses the concept of deviance in relation to society and culture. Our professors conduct research pertaining to real-world social and cultural issues, and serve as professional consultants. Dr. Emily Sweitzer, program chair, is a psychological and socio-cultural consultant to social service agencies and school districts, and an adviser for leading television and film dramas including CSI, The Blacklist, Bones, Zoo, Lucifer and others. Students are drawn from various work and academic communities, including mental health caseworkers, marine officers, active military personnel, administrators with doctoral degrees serving the public school system, and other social service and law enforcement, nursing, and victim services professionals.

Solid foundation: The bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in social deviance has a required internship component, which presents students with opportunities to examine real-world problems. Our students gain internships in such settings as veterans affairs, law enforcement, victim services, children and youth services, juvenile probation, mental health, business and marketing, K-12 schools, eldercare, hospitals, and drug and alcohol facilities. As interns, our students learn the basic aspects of conducting viable workplace, school and eldercare threat assessments. They conduct observations in various venues to analyze vulnerable and protective factors, and learn how to develop remedial alternatives.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
Credit hours for the online bachelor's degree in sociology with a concentration in social deviance, which can be completed within three years.
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Degree Benefits

Students in the sociology program and deviance concentration must complete 120 credit hours, including an internship and/or an applied coursework experience. This field experience ensures that students integrate coursework in sociological theory and methods with the skills and concepts used in an actual work setting. Our core coursework includes a research class where students are able to investigate a topic, social issue and/or social construct of choice, using a variety of research methods (scientific, survey, archival, single case study, ethnographic, qualitative, observational and more).

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Graduate Outcomes

The Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a social deviance concentration prepares students to become effective professionals in diverse and challenging fields, including, mental health services, drug and alcohol services, child and youth services, corrections and/or probation, education, veterans affairs, community reintegration and treatment.  Graduates of this program may find employment as social services caseworkers, probation and/or corrections officers, or professionals who implement and evaluate the effectiveness of various educational, governmental and social services programs.

Sociology (B.A.) Social Deviance Concentration

Professional Opportunities

Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow 22% through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Growth is expected as addiction and mental health counseling services increasingly are covered by insurance policies. Employment of sociologists is projected to grow 15% through 2022.

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Graduate Study

The social deviance concentration also prepares students with interdisciplinary theoretical training and research, and the writing skills required for graduate programs in specialized social sciences such as psychology, counseling, education, social work, geriatrics or law. Our sociology graduates have gone on for advanced study at such institutions as UCLA, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, Carlow University, Ohio State University and Cal U.

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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 serving as community volunteers. Upper-level students are eligible for membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the social science honor society. Because our students conduct various field-based observations and complete internships, both nationally and internationally, they are provided with opportunities for career and professional networking.


B.A., Sociology Courses


Course Credits
Year 1  
Fall Semester 15
SOC 100  Principles of Sociology* 3
SOC 300  Sociology of Deviance  3
SOC 311  Sociology of Crime 3
SOC 410  Social Theory and Society 3
General Education Courses/Electives 3
Winter Semester 9
SOC 380  Society and the Sociopath 3
SOC 405  Resocializing the Deviant and the Marginalized 3
General Education Course/Elective 3
Spring Semester 15
SOC 318  Sociology of Addiction, Excess, and Exploitation 3
SOC 319  Sociology of Technology  3
SOC 395  Sociology of Elite Deviance 3
General Education Courses/Electives 6
Summer Semester 15
SOC 324  Child Abuse and Neglect: A Societal Perspective 3
SOC 400  Structural and Institutional Violence: School, Workplace and Eldercare 3
SOC 415  Social Science Research Methods 3
General Education Courses/Electives 6
Year 2  
Fall Semester 12
General Education Courses/Electives 12
Winter Semester 12
General Education Courses/Electives 12
Spring Semester 15
SOC 410  Social Theory and Society 3
General Education Courses/Electives 12
Summer Semester 15
General Education Courses/Electives 15
Year 3  
Fall Semester 15
SOC 429  Sociology Internship**  3
General Education Courses/Electives 9
Total 120

Note: All sociology classes are offered at least once during each academic rotation.

* SOC 100 can be taken during the fall, spring or summer semester.

** SOC 429 can be taken during the fall, spring or summer semester. Students must have earned at least 90 credits to take this course.


Admission Requirements

Sociology Faculty

Dr. Elizabeth A. Larsen

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Dr. Emily M. Sweitzer
Professor, Director of Liberal Studies / Program Coordinator Social Deviance

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