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 PennWest California 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 PennWest California's 100% online program.

PennWest California'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:  PennWest California 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 PennWest California.
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 PennWest California.

PennWest California students socialize between classes.

Student Resources

All sociology students are encouraged to join the Sociology Club at PennWest California 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
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any CDC Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Technological Literacy Course
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • Any Social Science Menu Course
  • Additional General Education Courses (two courses)
Required Major Courses 12
SOC 100  Principles of Sociology 3
SOC 410  Social Theory and Society 3
SOC 415  Social Research Methods 3
SOC 429  Sociology Internship  OR  SOC 379  Special Problems in Sociology  OR  SOC 495  Seminar in Sociology 3
Related Electives 27
SOC 300  Sociology of Deviance 3
SOC 311  Sociology of Crime 3
SOC 318  Sociology of Addiction, Excess and Exploitation 3
SOC 319  Sociology of Technology 3
SOC 324  Child Abuse and Neglect: A Societal Perspective 3
SOC 380  Society and the Sociopath 3
SOC 395  Sociology of Elite Deviance 3
SOC 400  Structural and Institutional Violence 3
SOC 405  Re-socializing the Deviant and the Marginalized 3
Free Electives 40 or 41
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): Any One SOC Special Experience Course
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any Two SOC Approved Writing-Intensive Menu Courses
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Menu Course

Program Notes: 42 credits (or 14 courses) of upper-division (any course numbered 200 or above with at least one pre-requisite course) courses are required.


Admission Requirements