Associate Professor and Program Coordinator
The baccalaureate curriculum in sociology seeks to ensure that each student develops a solid foundation in the basic principles, theories and techniques of analysis in sociology. It also encourages students to pursue an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating course credit from closely related subject areas in other programs. Since students majoring in sociology vary in their interests and career goals, the curriculum allows for a great deal of flexibility in developing individual courses of study. Students who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in sociology usually will take more than the minimum number of upper-level courses. The program provides opportunities for involvement in faculty research through its course offerings, which include independent study, internships and honors research.
The Bachelor of Science in Sociology requires a minimum of 120 credits, with at least 30 of those credits in sociology and other approved courses. At least 24 upper-level (300-400) credits are required. SOCY 101 General Sociology, SOCY/POLI 320 Research Methods in the Social Sciences and SOCY 402 Sociological Theory are required core courses in the sociology major.
To fulfill the general education requirements of the College of Humanities and Sciences, students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Sociology should complete STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics. At least 15 credits of the required 24 upper-level credits must be in upper-level sociology courses. The remaining nine required upper-level credits may be chosen from sociology courses or from the following approved list of related courses — six may be taken from ANTH or SOCS courses; three may be taken from any of the remaining subject areas. (This list is revised periodically to reflect changes in course offerings. Check the school Web site for updated versions.)
ANTH 301/BIOL 341 Human Evolution (WI)
ANTH/INTL 305 Comparative Perspectives on Cultures and Societies
ANTH/INTL 415 Economic Anthropology
ANTH/RELS/INTL 425 Religion, Magic and Witchcraft (WI)
CRJS 355 Foundations of Criminal Justice
CRJS/WMNS 382 Women in the Justice System
GEOG/URSP 306 Economic Geography (WI)
GEOG/ANTH 312 History of Human Settlement
GEOG/INTL/URSP 340 World Cities Outside of North America
POLI 303 Public Opinion, Polling and the Media
POLI/AFAM/WMNS 318 Politics of Race, Class and Gender
POLI/INTL 358 Concepts of Comparative Government
POLI/INTL 365 International Political Economy (WI)
PSYC 310 Industrial Psychology
PSYC 321 Social Psychology
PSYC 323 Interpersonal Relations
RELS/INTL 311, 312 Religions of the World
RELS 334 Religion in Contemporary America
SOCS 303 Marriage and Family Relationships
SOCS 340 Human Sexuality
SOCS 389 AIDS: Myths and Realities
URSP 304 Urban Social Systems
URSP/GEOG 306 Economic Geography
URSP 315 The Evolution of American Cities
URSP 316 Urban Life in Modern America
URSP/GEOG/INTL 340 World Cities Outside North America
URSP 350/FRLG 345/INTL 345 Great Cities of the World
Topics courses in sociology, offered as SOCY 391, are an integral part of the program and provide a rare opportunity for the advanced student. Generally these courses are restricted to a small number of students who share specialized interests in a topic that is either too advanced or too limited in its general appeal to justify its inclusion as a standard offering. At least one such seminar is offered each semester and the topics course can be repeated for up to a maximum of 18 credits as long as there is no duplication of the topics.
SOCY 492 Independent Study is designed for juniors and seniors capable of doing independent work on selected topics under the direction of specific faculty. For example, if a course is not regularly offered in a specific area of interest to a particular student, and if there are not enough students in the topics course, the student may, with the permission of the instructor, enroll in independent study.
Students may earn a maximum of 12 credits in SOCY 492, but may not enroll for more than six credits per semester. All students entering these courses must have completed a minimum of 12 credits in sociology and achieved an overall sociology GPA of at least 2.7.
Majors in the sociology program may earn a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in sociology. The Sociology Honors program is available to outstanding senior majors and involves the preparation of a senior thesis during one of the last two semesters of the baccalaureate degree program. In order to participate in the program, students must meet program entrance requirements, identify a project mentor and receive approval for a project proposal. The project may involve any recognized sociological topic, theory or method that promises to enhance the honor student’s disciplinary perspective, skills and creativity. The project may involve an extension of work initiated in a course, an entirely new project or a collaborative project with the faculty mentor. If the project is an extension of the work initiated in a course or developed collaboratively with the mentor, the independent, separate, substantial development of the topic in the thesis should be evident. The thesis should reflect work of high quality for a senior-level course. The Honors Program Committee will award honors following acceptance of the thesis.
Honors eligibility criteria and application procedure
Students majoring in sociology are eligible to participate in the sociology honors program if they have maintained a 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.3 GPA in the major. Candidates should apply to the Sociology Honors Program Committee. Application materials consist of transcripts documenting the required GPAs, a description of the proposed project, which should not exceed three typed pages, and the name of the faculty member who has agreed to act as project mentor. Application must be made and project approval received in the semester preceding the one in which the research project will be conducted. The committee will review the application materials, meet with the candidate to discuss the project proposal and render an admission decision. Once admitted, program participants will enroll in an honors research course. The course may be included in the required hours for the major.
Submit applications to the Virginia Commonwealth University, Sociology Honors Program Committee, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, P.O. Box 842028, Richmond, VA 23284-2028. For further information, contact Dr. John Mahoney, program coordinator, undergraduate sociology program.
Award of honors
The completed senior thesis will be submitted to the Honors Program Committee following its acceptance by the faculty mentor and confirmation that the candidate has maintained the requisite grade-point averages. Upon submission of the thesis, the student will make an oral presentation to the committee summarizing the research procedures and findings. The committee will then evaluate the thesis for the award of honors. For acceptance, the thesis must be evaluated as deserving of a grade of “A” in SOCY 498 Honors Research Course. Acceptance of the thesis will earn an Honors Program Certificate from the program and notation of the student’s standing as an honors graduate on the final grade transcript. Honors students also will receive preferential consideration as applicants to the sociology master’s degree program.