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    Grinnell College
  Dec 18, 2017
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sociology, B.A.

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   Member of the Division of Social Studies


Kesho Scott


Davíd Cook-Martín
Audrey Devine-Eller
Karla A. Erickson
Susan Ferguson
Geoff Harkness
Christopher Hunter
Patrick Inglis
Kent McClelland
Kimberly McKee

Sociology, the scientific study of human behavior in social groups, seeks to understand how people interact, how they organize themselves in social groups, and how this organization changes. Courses in sociology focus on the basic forms of social organization and social processes in worldwide cultures and on the theoretical approaches sociologists use to understand those basic forms. These courses contribute to critical understanding of how the social world operates—an essential understanding for any liberally educated person in a complex and rapidly changing world. Students of sociology will find that related work in psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and history enhances their sociological insights. Majors are required to study statistics and are encouraged to participate in interdisciplinary courses, internships, and off-campus programs. The study of foreign languages is highly recommended.

Sociological training is useful for any career, since all careers require working with people in groups or organizations. The discipline is particularly helpful for careers in law, urban and social planning, medicine, social work, and governmental service.

Major Requirements: A minimum of 32 credits

Core Requirements: 12 credits

300-level courses: 8 credits

  • Eight credits are to be taken at the 300 level or above.

Sociology Electives: 12 credits

  • 12 elective credits to be taken in Sociology.
  • With permission, up to eight of the minimum 32 credits may be taken in related studies outside the department.

Additional Mathematics Requirements: 4 credits


To be considered for honors in sociology, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must demonstrate, by departmental consensus, excellent performance in classes, especially seminars, and an underlying commitment to the discipline as evidenced by strong interest above and beyond completion of the major.

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