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The Department of Sociology offers bachelor's degrees in sociology, health and the human sciences, and non-governmental organizations and social change. The Department of Sociology also offers a number of minors and the Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology. Students of sociology examine the patterns of social life, focusing on the relationship of individuals to society and the interaction of culture, economy and politics in shaping social life. The greater Los Angeles area provides a natural laboratory for students to explore such sociological themes as race relations, work and the workplace, immigration, the family in a changing society, population trends, globalization, religion and the criminal justice system. Matching the special strengths of our faculty and cutting edge research in the discipline, USC's sociology program offers students the opportunity to learn about social issues locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as develop empirical research tools to conduct research, and analyze and interpret data in order to create social change. Many of our undergraduate courses include opportunities to engage actively with the community and to pursue multi-faceted independent research projects.
Hazel and Stanley Hall 314
FAX: (213) 740-3535
Chair: Timothy Biblarz, PhD*
University Professor, Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society and Professor of Communication, Sociology, Planning and International Relations: Manuel Castells, PhD (Communications)
Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change and Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity: Manuel Pastor, PhD*
Professors: Lynne Casper, PhD; Nina Eliasoph, PhD; Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, PhD*; Paul Lichterman, PhD; Michael Messner, PhD*; Dowell Myers, PhD (Policy, Planning and Development); Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, PhD; Camille Rich, JD (Law); Avelardo Valdez, PhD (Social Work); John P. Wilson, PhD
Associate Professors: Timothy Biblarz, PhD*; Jennifer Hook, PhD; Elaine Bell Kaplan, PhD; Andrew Lakoff, PhD; Leland Saito, PhD; Jody Agius Vallejo, PhD*
Assistant Professors: Jennifer Ailshire, PhD (Gerontology); Katie Hasson, PhD; Alwyn Lim, PhD; Ann Owens, PhD; Emily Ryo, PhD (Law); Emily Smith-Greenaway, PhD
Professor (Research): Brian Finch, PhD
Associate Professor (Teaching): Karen Sternheimer, PhD
Emeriti Professors: Constance Ahrons, PhD; Vern Bengtson, PhD (Gerontology); Lamar T. Empey, PhD; Malcolm Klein; Jon Miller, PhD*; H. Edward Ransford, PhD; Maurice D. Van Arsdol Jr., PhD
*Recipient of university-wide or college teaching award.
Seniors with 3.5 GPAs in the major and 3.25 overall are encouraged to participate in the sociology honors program consisting of two intensive senior honors seminars (SOCI 494 and SOCI 495 ). Under faculty guidance, honors students design and complete a significant piece of original sociological research.
Juniors and seniors who have made substantial progress toward completion of the program and have achieved a 3.3. GPA in sociology and a 3.0 GPA overall are eligible for the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honors Society.
University Requirements for All Minors
To satisfy the university's minor requirements, students must choose at least four courses (16 units) outside their major department and at least four courses (16 units) of upper-division course work. In addition, at least four courses (16 units) must be dedicated to the minor (not counting for credit toward a major, another minor or USC core requirements).
American Studies and Ethnicity (see American Studies and Ethnicity ).
Law and Society (see Political Science ).
Race, Ethnicity and Politics (see Political Science ).
The Department of Sociology offers programs of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The PhD is directed toward the training of theoretically and methodologically sophisticated sociologists who have an enduring commitment to the practice and teaching of sociology.
Applicants must complete their applications by December 1. Consideration for university fellowships is possible as early as November for students whose applications are complete.
All applicants must have a bachelor's degree, a GPA of at least 3.0, and one or more courses in either undergraduate statistics or college algebra.
Admission to regular graduate status ordinarily requires possession of a bachelor's degree, a GPA of at least 3.0, one or more courses in undergraduate statistics and/or college algebra, and three letters of recommendation. The GRE is also required. International applicants must also submit their score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Approximately 5–8 students enroll each year from the available pool of applicants. Each application receives careful attention and is judged in terms of the full set of criteria.
A limited number of graduate course units taken elsewhere may be considered for transfer into the graduate program. These units are transferred in on a course-by-course basis.
The following materials should be submitted to apply for graduate study:
- an online USC application form (available at usc.edu/admission/graduate) plus a check for the admission fee;
- official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work;
- the official results of the general aptitude scores of the Graduate Record Examinations (verbal, quantitative, and analytical);
- for international students, a TOEFL or IELTS score;
- a completed Sociology Department Graduate Application form (please save and upload);
- one example of written work (normally a paper written for a course) of no more than 20 pages;
- three letters of recommendation from persons who can write about your academic performance and your potential as a social scientist;
- a personal statement describing (1) your present sociological interest, (2) the books, articles or ideas that have had the greatest influence on your interests in sociology, and (3) what you hope to be doing in the field of sociology 10 years after you receive your degree. We welcome you to include other aspects of your experience that you think are important sources of your sociological interests. We stress, though, that an effective personal statement will illustrate your intellectual engagement and your interest in producing high-quality scholarship.
These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and The Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.
All graduate students must be in residence and must take at least eight units of graduate work each semester (except during Advanced and Qualifying Examinations), prior to work on the dissertation.
Master of Arts in Sociology
The department does not admit students whose objective is a master's degree. However, if a student accepted in the program does not have a master's degree, the department strongly recommends completion of the requirements for the MA in the course of work toward the PhD degree.
ProgramsBachelor's DegreeMinorDoctoral Degree
- SOCI 100gm Los Angeles and the American Dream
- SOCI 142gm Diversity and Racial Conflict
- SOCI 150gm Social Problems
- SOCI 155gm Immigrant America
- SOCI 169gm Changing Family Forms
- SOCI 200gm Introduction to Sociology
- SOCI 210g Science, Technology, and Social Conflict
- SOCI 220gm Questions of Intimacy
- SOCI 225gw Sociology of Health and the Body
- SOCI 242g Sociology, Demography, and Health
- SOCI 250gmw Grassroots Participation in Global Perspective
- SOCI 255g Sociology of Globalization
- SOCI 275 Sociology of Everyday Life
- SOCI 305m Sociology of Childhood
- SOCI 313 Sociological Research Methods
- SOCI 314 Analyzing Social Statistics
- SOCI 315 Sociology of Sport
- SOCI 320 Social Psychology
- SOCI 325 Applied Social Research Methods
- SOCI 331 Cities
- SOCI 335 Society and Population
- SOCI 340 Organizations: Bureaucracy and Alternatives to Bureaucracy
- SOCI 342m Race Relations
- SOCI 345 Social Institutions
- SOCI 350 Social Exclusion, Social Power, and Deviance
- SOCI 351 Public Policy and Juvenile Justice
- SOCI 353 Public Policy and Criminal Justice
- SOCI 355m Immigrants in the United States
- SOCI 356m Mexican Immigrants in Sociological Perspective
- SOCI 357 m Latino Politics
- SOCI 360m Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power
- SOCI 362 Global and Transnational Sociology
- SOCI 364 m Racial and Ethnic Women in America
- SOCI 365 Visual Sociology of the City and Its Residents
- SOCI 366m Chicana and Latina Sociology
- SOCI 369 The Family in a Changing Society
- SOCI 370 Sociological Theory
- SOCI 375m Asian Americans: Ethnic Identity
- SOCI 376m Contemporary Issues in Asian American Communities
- SOCI 379 gm Mixing and Matching: Intermarriage in 21st Century
- SOCI 382 Judaism as an American Religion
- SOCI 385 Population, Society, and Aging
- SOCI 386 m Men and Masculinity
- SOCI 390 Special Problems
- SOCI 402 Human Trafficking
- SOCI 408 Volunteers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Everyday Politics
- SOCI 410 The Sociology of Popular Culture
- SOCI 420 Sociology of Violence
- SOCI 425 Crowds, Publics, and Social Movements
- SOCI 429 Immigration, Work and Labor
- SOCI 430 m Work and the Workplace
- SOCI 432m Racial and Ethnic Relations in a Global Society
- SOCI 435m Women in Society
- SOCI 437 Sexuality and Society
- SOCI 445 Political Sociology
- SOCI 450 Non-Governmental Organizations/Non-profits Field Practicum
- SOCI 455 m Gender and Sport
- SOCI 460 Key Issues in Contemporary International Migration
- SOCI 464 Sociology of Gender and Work
- SOCI 468 Sociology of Religion
- SOCI 470 Development and Social Change in the Third World
- SOCI 475 Medical Sociology
- SOCI 480 The Sociology of Risk and Disaster
- SOCI 490x Directed Research
- SOCI 494 Sociology Honors Seminar I
- SOCI 495 Sociology Honors Seminar II
- SOCI 499 Special Topics
- SOCI 510 Sociological Theory I
- SOCI 511 Sociological Theory II
- SOCI 520 Qualitative Research Methods
- SOCI 521 Quantitative Methods and Statistics
- SOCI 525 Sociology Proseminar: Approaches to Sociological Research
- SOCI 554 Women in Global Perspective
- SOCI 560 Feminist Theory
- SOCI 590 Directed Research
- SOCI 593 Practicum in Teaching the Liberal Arts
- SOCI 594a Master's Thesis
- SOCI 594b Master's Thesis
- SOCI 594z Master's Thesis
- SOCI 599 Special Topics
- SOCI 620 Advanced Methods – Qualitative Research
- SOCI 621 Quantitative Methods and Statistics II
- SOCI 622 Advanced Methods – Quantitative Research
- SOCI 625 Demographic Methods
- SOCI 628 Theories of Aging
- SOCI 635 Seminar in Social Structure
- SOCI 640 Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
- SOCI 642 Sex and Gender in Society
- SOCI 643 Sociology of Labor
- SOCI 644 Population Trends: Public and Private Policies
- SOCI 645 Seminar in World Population Problems
- SOCI 647 Political Sociology: Politics, Symbols and Everyday Life
- SOCI 648 Fertility Control Policies
- SOCI 649 Migration Policies
- SOCI 650 Topical Issues in Crime and Delinquency
- SOCI 651 Seminar in Social Stratification
- SOCI 653 Seminar in Science and Technology Studies
- SOCI 655 Seminar in Race Relations
- SOCI 656 Social Demography
- SOCI 657 Sociology of Culture
- SOCI 667 Seminar in Social Deviance