In addition to a strong liberal arts base of classes, our majors are required to take 39 hours of sociology courses. All of our graduates are required to take Introduction to Sociology (1101), Sociological Theory (3431), Sociological Research Methods (3434), and our senior capstone course Senior Seminar (4630).
For students who want to focus their coursework on social services they are also expected to complete: Introduction to Social Services (2232), Practice Skills (3231), Group Dynamics (5140), Social Welfare Policy & Services (4232), and Sociology of the Family (4138)
I. Mission Statement
The B.S. Sociology program at Georgia Southern University strives to provide students with a thorough and empirically grounded understanding of the social world. Such an approach is founded on a mastery of theory, method, and practice. Sociology majors are given opportunities to develop a sociological imagination as well as the theoretical and analytical skills to evaluate and conduct social research and analysis. Ultimately they will be able to produce original research or apply sociological research to help solve real world problems. Our program is dedicated to empowering students to apply these tools to the social world around them so they can understand and mitigate the social problems and inequalities facing their lives, their local communities, and the global community. The program is dedicated to building sociological knowledge and skills that are applicable to a broad range of settings including the public and private sectors, and advanced academic and professional degrees. Our mission is intertwined with the University’s mission to promote social responsibility and to equip our graduates to be engaged citizens in an increasingly knowledge-intensive and diverse world.
II. Student Learning Outcomes
OBJECTIVE 1: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
Sociology majors will be able to clearly articulate a mastery of the sociological perspective and core concepts (i.e., sociological imagination, social structure, social interaction, and inequality), such that majors will be able to demonstrate correct use of sociological perspectives, concepts and vocabulary. That is, B.S. sociology students will be able to explain sociological terms and apply them from a sociological perspective in their analysis of concrete situations.
This learning outcome fits with our mission statement in that competency in objective 1 will result in the development of a student’s sociological imagination (i.e., the ability for a person to see the relationship between their personal situation and their larger social context). Such a sociological imagination allows a person to see how they are tied into their community and, in turn, should give our students the ability and desire to meet the department and university goals that students be “engaged citizens.”
OBJECTIVE 2: THEORY
Sociology majors will understand the role of theory in sociology, such that a student in theory will be able to:
- A) Define and/or apply theory and describe its role in sociological analysis,
- B) Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations.
These outcomes will require B.S. sociology students to have a comprehension of theory that will guide their analytical projects in the “real world.”
The ability to understand the role of theory is specifically mentioned in our mission statement. A theoretically informed student is one who has learned the various ways of interpreting and analyzing social situations. A grasp of sociological theory gives students the intellectual capacity to critically engage with new developments. Be they in a public or private setting, with theoretical knowledge a student will have be able to see particular instances as manifestations of broader patterns. By understanding specific problems in broad terms, students will be able to utilize (and develop) the “best practices” that can be found within their chosen industry. The intellectual skills that allow a person to compare and contrast theoretical orientations will allow one to understand the logics that support various approaches to problems. By understanding these various logics, one should possess the intellectual dexterity to weigh options, understand the positions of those who espouse different solutions, and communicate one’s determination. In short, knowledge of theory, guides the sociological practice that is mentioned in the mission statement.
OBJECTIVE 3: METHODS
Sociology majors will understand the role of evidence and qualitative and quantitative methods in sociology, such that a student in research methods will be able to:
- A) Identify basic methodological approaches,
- B) Compare and contrast the basic methodological approaches for gathering data,
- C) Critically assess a published research report and explain its strengths and weaknesses
Again, our targets are for B.S. sociology students to develop knowledge of sociological methods for collecting and analyzing data and that they will be able to apply these methods and critically assess the sociological research that they will be drawing upon as they practice sociology beyond the academy.
This third set of outcomes matches our mission statement’s stated goals that students will have knowledge of how to conduct research and engage in sociological practice. Understanding of methodology allows one to utilize social research which will allow a student to be a more competent citizen.