Online BA in Sociology CurriculumOnline BA in Sociology CurriculumOnline BA in Sociology Curriculum

Do you want to have positive impact, advocate for those in need, and enact social change in your community? Take the first step with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. This rewarding field can prepare you to address modern challenges across organizations.

Sociologists have a profound impact on the lives of those they serve. Sociology courses explore historical and contemporary challenges, reflecting on their importance, and examining how they impact societies, institutions, and individual lives. The brave people who pursue this path have the opportunity to understand and shape the forces that influence our world.

Are you ready to get started? Read on to see how an online bachelor’s in sociology can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Maryville University Online BA in Sociology Curriculum

Maryville’s online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology comprises 128 credit hours and includes coursework in general education, your sociology major, and your concentration or general electives. Students may choose from three 15-credit concentrations, including Social Justice, Criminology, or Social Work. Alternatively, you can personalize your experience to fit your interests by choosing any two 100 or 200-level courses and three 300 and 400-level courses. Students also have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by undertaking an optional internship.

Sociology Core

Your sociology major comprises two required courses totaling 6 credit hours: Introduction to Sociology (SOC 101) and Sociological Theory (SOC 401).

  • This course introduces the study of human society, including an examination of group life and customs, social institutions, and ways of thinking and behaving related to group life.

  • This course surveys the foundations of sociological theory and its contributions to social analysis. Consideration is given to the historical social and intellectual contexts of sociological theory development as well as the distinction in macro and micro theorizing.

  • This course examines major social problems, including violence, sexual deviance, poverty, and health care issues.

  • This introduction to social work course focuses on understanding the values and ethical standards of social work practice using the NASW Code of Ethics. Ethical decision making frameworks and critical thinking are emphasized. The historical foundations of social work, the professional mission of social work and the responsibilities of the profession are explored. Emphasis is also placed on navigating personal and professional values and successfully collaborating with related professions.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101 or CRIM-102; Minimum grade C-. Family Violence across the Lifespan explores the etiology, prevalence, treatment, and prevention of family violence. A broad coverage of viewpoints and theories behind family violence are covered. Cross-listed: CRIM-305

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. This course examines classical and contemporary theoretical approaches to understanding crime in society. It surveys the breadth of knowledge accumulated as it pertains to the origins, potential causes, and consequences of crime. Cross-listed: CRIM-322

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. Note: This course surveys the criminal and deviant conduct of youths. Theoretical and treatment patterns are also considered. Cross-listed: CRIM-323

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-202H, PSYC-101, PSYC-202H; Minimum grade C-. This course addresses mental illness and its impact on various institutions of society.The definitions and symptoms of mental illnesses will be presented.The focus will be on how mental illness impacts societal institutions, including criminal justice, occupational, educational, and others.Particular emphasis is placed on problems and limitations in the mental health system and how society is adversely affected by those problems.The course objective is to learn a realistic appraisal of mental illnesses and effective philosophies and methodologies to begin correcting problems related to mental illness in society.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, SOC-202H, PSYC-101, PSYC-101F, or PSYC-202H; Minimum grade C- This course surveys the social, biological, and psychological aspects of human sexual behavior. Scientific research related to sexual anatomy, arousal, gender, and life span sexual behavior will be explored. Topics may also include but are not limited to sexual orientation, cultural variations in attraction and love, and sexual morality. Cross-listed: PSYC-330

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-202H, PSYC-101, PSYC-202H; Minimum grade C-. This course examines the problems and issues relevant to America’s elderly population, focusing on financial concerns, public policy, health and institutionalization. Cross-listed: PSYC-340

  • This course examines the health care system including topics on sick role, epidemiology, mortality and morbidity patterns and public policy.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. This course surveys various social theories that attempt to understand the role and occurrence of social inequality within societies. It also examines the dynamics of social stratification within society. Particular attention is paid to the influence of social class position on human behavior, attitudes, and individual life chances.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. This course is an in-depth survey of the major racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Among groups considered are African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asian- Americans, and European minorities.

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. This course explores variation in offending and victimization across the genders. Specific attention will be paid to theories that attempt to explain why such variation exists and such patterns change over time. Cross-listed: WS-454

  • Prerequisite: SOC-101, SOC-101F, or SOC-202H; Minimum Grade C-. This course examines the interrelationship of race/ethnicity and criminal victimization/offending. In-depth consideration will be given to the issue of hate-crimes, racial profiling, wrongful convictions and disparities in sentencing. Cross-listed: CRIM-485

Social Science Research Sequence

A 18-credit hour Social Science Research Sequence is also required. The sequence comprises coursework in critical thinking, statistics, and research. It culminates in a senior experience in which students design and conduct their own original research project under the guidance of a faculty member.

  • This course explores the importance of scientific critical thinking and ethics as they relate to advancing scientific knowledge, understanding, and application of knowledge in the Social Sciences. Students will develop a firm theoretical and scientific background related to scientific critical thinking and values in the Social Sciences to become critical thinkers within their disciplines.

  • This course examines the process of scientific research in the social and behavioral sciences and the fundamental role research methodology plays in our understanding of human behavior and social affairs. Students explore the principles, ethics, and methods of social science research (correlational research, observational and survey methods, experimental and quasi-experimental design, variable control, secondary data analysis, and interpretation of results). Students formulate an original research question, develop hypotheses related to that question, and create a proper and detailed methodological strategy for investigation. Students learn how to synthesize existing research literature into a research proposal and develop an understanding of the formal writing processes used by social science researchers.

  • This course introduces students to both descriptive and inferential statistics. The following concepts and techniques are included: measures of central tendency and variability; sampling distributions; interval estimation; hypothesis testing (t-test, ANOVA); correlation and regression; chi square tests. Statistical software projects are required. Prerequisite: MATH 102 or 115 or higher

  • This course is the culminating, capstone experience in the social science curriculum. Students will review and discuss their course of study and its application beyond graduation. Students will work with a social science faculty member conducting and completing a research project exploring an area of interest in the student’s field of study. This will include data collection, analysis, a written paper adhering to APA standards, and a presentation. Note: A passing grade cannot be achieved without completion of the research project. Note: This course replaces SOSC-481 and SOSC-482 (no longer offered)

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends. Undergraduate programs and certificates are designed to be taken at a part-time pace. Please speak to your advisor for more details.

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What are some common skills and competencies taught through bachelor’s courses in sociology?

Through a variety of sociology courses, you can focus on the subjects you’re most passionate about and learn important skills that equip you to have a positive influence on the people and communities with which they work. These skills include:

  • An understanding of current social issues. From women’s studies to social work and healthcare, a range of courses in bachelor’s programs allow you to cultivate a deep understanding of our world. Explore current social issues, their historical context, and potential outcomes. Then, consider how you can advocate for change and help those who are most in need.
  • Research and presentation. We live in a changing and complex society. The realities of the field of sociology mean it’s necessary to participate in relevant hands-on research in preparation for a rewarding career. An effective curriculum will comprise sociology courses that provide opportunities for you to learn how to collect and analyze empirical data, and prepare and present research. These key real-world applications of sociology concepts equip you with the skills necessary to pursue the rich career possibilities the degree provides.
  • Analytical skills. As a sociology student, you have the opportunity to apply a variety of theoretical perspectives and scientific methods to concentrations such as social justice, criminology, and social work. By critically examining the dynamics that define these industries, you can learn to identify trends and discover how history, public policy, and cultural norms shape human social behavior.
  • Build a foundation for continued education. The flexibility of a sociology degree, when coupled with your commitment to rigorous, evidence-based research and analysis, means your sociology degree can act as a foundation for continued education in business, law, medicine, and many other fields. Sociologists often continue their study and bring their skills to governmental institutions, nonprofits, and schools.
  • Critical thinking and communication. Through your coursework, you can draw conclusions around the political, economic, and cultural topics that shape communities and impact worldviews. You can also learn how to share your findings in meaningful ways that encourage discussion and promote change.

What sociology courses can I expect in a bachelor’s-level curriculum?

Sociologists bring passion, drive, and courage to their work. Because the field of sociology impacts every facet of our lives, there’s a large degree of flexibility in sociology courses.

As a sociology major, you have the opportunity to focus on the topics that interest you, as these are often the areas where you can have the greatest impact. In addition to coursework in a particular concentration, there are a selection of foundational courses that provide a basis for success in the field. These courses often include:

  • Introduction to Sociology. This course lays the foundation for all future work, immersing you in basic sociological principles and the study of human society. Explore different customs, institutions, and behaviors, so you can gain a rich understanding of contemporary society.
  • Sociological Theory. Drawing on a range of contemporary and classical works of theory, this class raises vital questions about philosophy, modes of research, and their relationship to empirical study. Through readings and discussions, you can gain an understanding of modern theories and how they impact research and study.
  • Social Science Research and Senior Seminar. Methodologies, research, and theory come together as students step into the role of a social scientist. Here, you can conduct your own original research through this project-based senior seminar. Develop a mode of working, applying a multitude of strategies, theories, inference, and interpretation to your study. Then, synthesize your work into research papers and projects, and share your results with others.
  • Additional sociology courses within one of the three optional concentrations: general, social work, social justice, or criminology. Within each of these tracks, you have the opportunity to choose courses relevant to your interests, then examine historical and contemporary patterns in the U.S. and around the world. Examine the construction of institutions and cultural norms around your chosen topics through introductory coursework and advanced practicum. These concentrations can help prepare you for a range of potential careers in each of these fields.

Learn more about an online bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Your online degree in sociology is the first step toward making a profound difference in the world. With a sociology degree in hand, you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in a number of industries. From criminology to social justice work, sociologists are valued changemakers who advocate for those in need.

At Maryville University, our online sociology program is designed to prepare you for a career in a range of fields. We provide a smooth point of entry into this vital field, and to understanding the complexities of social life.

Begin your journey by learning how our online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology can help you achieve your goals.

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