University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Sociology

Undergraduate Degrees

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 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 two central areas of concentration — social inequality, and social change and public policy. Many of our undergraduate courses include opportunities to engage actively with the community and to pursue multi-faceted independent research projects.

Honors Program

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.

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Nine courses (36 units) are required to complete the major.

All sociology majors must complete the four core courses of sociology:

Core courses Units
SOCI 200 Introduction to Sociology 4
SOCI 313 Sociological Research Methods 4
SOCI 314 Analyzing Social Statistics 4
SOCI 370 Sociological Theory 4

Five additional courses are required for the major. These are to be chosen from the elective upper-division sociology courses grouped into two theme areas:

  • Theme Area I: Social Inequality
  • Theme Area II: Social Change and Public Policy

All students are required to take at least one course from each of the two theme areas.

All students must achieve an overall average of C (2.0) or better in the nine courses required for completion of the major.

Theme Areas and Theme Area Specialization

Students who complete four upper-division courses in a single theme area will receive departmental recognition and documentation of their “expertise” in their chosen area of specialization — social inequality, or social change and public policy.

Social Inequality — courses address the character, causes and consequences of social inequality, paying particular attention to immigration, race, ethnicity, gender, sexualities and/or class. These courses include:

Social Inequality courses Units
AMST 357 Latino Social Movements 4
SOCI 305 Sociology of Childhood 4
SOCI 342 Race Relations 4
SOCI 350 Social Exclusion, Social Power, and Deviance 4
SOCI 355 Immigrants in the United States 4
SOCI 356 Mexican Immigrants in Sociological Perspective 4
SOCI 360 Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power 4
SOCI 366 Chicana and Latina Experiences 4
SOCI 375 Asian Americans: Ethnic Identity 4
SOCI 376 Contemporary Issues in Asian American Communities 4
SOCI 430 Work and the Workplace 4
SOCI 432 Racial and Ethnic Relations in a Global Society 4
SOCI 435 Women in Society 4
SOCI 437 Sexuality and Society 4
SOCI 460 Key Issues in Contemporary International Migration 4
SOCI 464 Sociology of Gender and Work 4
SOCI 470 Development and Social Change in the Third World 4
SWMS 385 Men and Masculinity 4

Note: Honors students may substitute SOCI 494 Honors Seminar I for one social inequality course.

Social Change and Public Policy — courses address the character, causes and consequences of social change, paying particular attention to the role of human agency, grassroots organizing and/or political action, as well as the implications for public policy. These courses include:

Social change and public policy courses Units
JS 382 Judaism as an American Religion 4
SOCI 320 Social Psychology 4
SOCI 331 Cities 4
SOCI 335 Society and Population 4
SOCI 340 Organizations: Bureaucracy and Alternatives to Bureaucracy 4
SOCI 351 Public Policy and Juvenile Justice 4
SOCI 353 Public Policy and Criminal Justice 4
SOCI 365 Visual Sociology of the City and Its Residents 4
SOCI 369 The Family in a Changing Society 4
SOCI 385 Population, Society, and Aging 4
SOCI 408 Volunteers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Everyday Politics 4
SOCI 420 Sociology of Violence 4
SOCI 425 Crowds, Publics, and Social Movements 4
SOCI 475 Medical Sociology 4

Note: Honors students may substitute SOCI 495 Honors Seminar II for one social change and public policy course.

Bachelor of Arts in Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change

This interdisciplinary program focuses on the roots of social conflict, on theories and methods for understanding them, and on the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits that address them. To remedy social problems, we need to examine their economic, political and social roots, as well as the varied forms of organizations that aim to fix them. Students will engage in various methods of analysis, from investigations of everyday interactions to explorations of larger economic, political and social structures. In classrooms and internships, students will learn how people in NGOs and nonprofits promote new forms of citizenship and governance, aiming to protect the environment and to lessen the suffering of people around the world.

The major requires nine courses (36 units) chosen from the specific lists of requirements below. As with all interdisciplinary majors, students may double-count no more than three courses from this degree to satisfy any other major.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS units
A. Lower division requirement. Choose one course (4 units) from the following list:
AMST 252gm Black Social Movements in the U.S. 4
COMM 201 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere 4
ECON 238xg Political Economy and Social Issues 4
ENST 150xg Environmental Issues in Society 4
ENST 255 American Environmentalism 4
ENST 270 Introduction to Environmental Law and Politics 4
GEOL 108Lg Crises of a Planet 4
IR 101xg International Relations 4
IR 210 International Relations: Introductory Analysis 4
PHIL 141g The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life 4
POSC 248g International Human Rights 4
POSC 255g Cultures, Civilizations and Ethnicities in World Politics 4
POSC 265g Environmental Challenges 4
SOCI 100gm Los Angeles and the American Dream 4
SOCI 150gm Social Problems 4
SOCI 200m Introduction to Sociology 4
SOCI 225g Sociology of Health and the Body: Social Perspectives 4
SOCI 255g Sociology of Globalization 4
SWMS 210gm Social Issues in Gender 4
SWMS 215g Gender Conflict in Cultural Contexts 4

B. Core methods. Choose one course (4 units) from the following two:
SOCI 313 Sociological Research Methods 4
SOCI 314 Analyzing Social Statistics 4

C. Core theory. Choose one course (4 units) from the following four:
PHIL 337 History of Modern Political Philosophy 4
PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy 4
POSC 380 Political Theories and Social Reform 2-4
SOCI 370 Sociological Theory 4

D. Perspectives on NGOs. Choose one course (4 units) from the following three:
IR 371 Global Civil Society: Non-State Actors in World Politics 4
SOCI 250gm Grassroots Participation in Global Perspective 4
SOCI 408 Volunteers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Everyday Politics 4

E. Analyzing and identifying roots of social conflict. Choose two courses (8 units):
ANTH 355 Urban Anthropology 4
ANTH 316gm North American Indians in American Public Life 4
ANTH 357 Culture of Genocide 4
ANTH 371m Cross-Cultural Research on Urban Gangs 4
ANTH 380 Sex and Gender in Anthropological Perspective 4
BISC 427 The Global Environment 4
ECON 340* Economics of Less Developed Countries 4
ECON 344* Economic Development of Sub-Saharan Africa 4
ECON 350* The World Economy 4
GERO 340 Policy, Values, and Power in an Aging Society 4
GERO 483 Global Health and Aging 4
HIST 323 The Holocaust in 20th Century Europe 4
HIST 372 Modern Latin America 4
IR 308 Globalization: Issues and Controversies 4
IR 315 Ethnicity and Nationalism in World Politics 4
IR 323 Politics of Global Environment 4
IR 324 Multinational Enterprises and World Politics 4
IR 325 Rich and Poor States in the World Political Economy 4
IR 344 Developing Countries in World Politics 4
IR 349 International Law and Politics 4
IR 364 Political Economy of Latin American Development 4
IR 367 Africa in International Affairs 4
PHIL 340 Ethics 4
POSC 320 Urban Politics 4
POSC 321 Urban Political Problems 4
POSC 345 International Law 4
POSC 347 Environmental Law 4
POSC 350 Politics of Latin America 4
POSC 363 Cities and Regions in World Politics 4
POSC 381 Sex, Power, and Politics 4
POSC 436 Environmental Politics 4
SOCI 362 Global and Transnational Sociology 4
SOCI 402 Human Trafficking 4
SOCI 429 Immigration, Work, and Labor 4
SOCI 430m Work and the Workplace 4
SOCI 432m Racial and Ethnic Relations in a Global Society 4
SOCI 460 Key Issues in Contemporary International Migration 4
SOCI 464 Sociology of Gender and Work 4
*Prerequisite: ECON 203 or 205

F. Addressing social conflict and organizing advocacy. Choose two courses (8 units):
AMST 357m Latino Social Movements 4
BAEP 491 Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship 4
BUCO 485 Business Communication Management for Nonprofits 4
COMM 322 Argumentation and Advocacy 4
COMM 366 Designing Media and Communication Projects for Social Change 4
COMM 402 Public Communication Campaigns 4
COMM 412 Communication and Social Movements 4
COMM 413 Propaganda, Ideology and Public Controversy 4
COMM 487 Communication and Global Organizations 4
GERO 350 Administrative Problems in Aging 4
GERO 451 Policy and Program Development in Aging 4
IR 306 International Organizations 4
IR 318 Conflict Resolution and Peace Research 4
IR 337 The Impact of Remittances on Development in Mexico 4
JS 360m Identity, Community, and Service: Jews and Other Americans 4
POSC 323 Applied Politics 4
PPD 318 Financial Accounting in Public and Nonprofit Organizations 4
PPD 353 Introduction to Philanthropy and Grant-writing 4
SOCI 340 Organizations: Bureaucracy and Alternatives to Bureaucracy 4
SOCI 445* Political Sociology 4
SOCI 425 Crowds, Publics, and Social Movements 4
SOWK 350 Adolescent Gang Intervention 4
THTR 488m Theatre in the Community 4
*Prerequisite: SOCI 370

G. Internship experience. One course (4 units) required.
SOCI 450 Non-Governmental Organizations/Non-profits Field Practicum 4

Total course requirements: 9 courses (36 units)

Sociology Minor Requirements

Five courses (20 units) are required to complete the minor in sociology.

All minors are required to take at least two of the core courses in sociology:

Core courses Units
SOCI 200 Introduction to Sociology 4
SOCI 313 Sociological Research Methods 4
SOCI 314 Analyzing Social Statistics 4
SOCI 370 Sociological Theory 4

The remaining three courses may be chosen from among the upper-division courses in the two theme areas — social inequality, and social change and public policy (see sociology theme areas listed above).

Minor in Forensics and Criminality

The interdisciplinary minor in forensics and criminality was designed for students interested in the study of law, deviant behavior or careers in the criminal justice system. In this program, students study psychological and/or ethical issues related to criminal behavior, consider criminality in the context of social class analysis, and learn about the American system of criminal justice. Twenty units are required, 4 at the lower-division and 16 at the upper-division level. Contact Dornsife College Advising for further details.

Students should choose a curriculum for their minor based on their academic interests. Those students interested in white collar crime, for example, might choose POSC 130 Law, Politics, and Public Policy at the lower-division level, REL 375 Conflict and Change and the Ethics of Business, SOCI 350 Social Exclusion, Social Power, and Deviance, PHIL 340 Philosophy of Law and PPD 342 Crime and Public Policy.

Those who are interested in the criminal justice system might choose LAW 200x Law and Society, REL 341 Ethics in a Technological Society, SOCI 351 Public Policy and Juvenile Justice, POSC 340 Constitutional Law and POSC 432 The Politics of Local Criminal Justice.

Those interested in individual and social determinants of deviancy might take PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology, PSYC 360 Abnormal Psychology, or PSYC 463 Criminal Behavior, or PSYC 465 Introduction to Forensic Psychology; SOCI 360 Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power, LAW 402 Psychology and Law and SOCI 353 Public Policy and Criminal Justice.

Lower-division requirement (4 units) units
Choose one course from:
AMST 101 Race and Class in Los Angeles 4
LAW 200x Law and Society 4
PHIL 140 Contemporary Moral and Social Issues 4
POSC 130 Law, Politics and Public Policy 4
PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 165L Drugs, Behavior and Society 4
SOCI 142 Diversity and Racial Conflict 4
SOCI 150 Social Problems 4
SOCI 200 Introduction to Sociology 4

Upper-division requirements (16 units) units
Choose one course from each group below:
The Individual in Society
LAW 404 Law and Psychology: Examining the Criminal Justice Process
LING 412 Linguistic Interpretation of the Law 4
LING 450 New Horizons in Forensic Speaker Identification 4
PSYC 355* Social Psychology, or
SOCI 320 Social Psychology 4
POSC 441 Cultural Diversity and the Law 4
PSYC 360* Abnormal Psychology 4
PSYC 463* Criminal Behavior 4
PSYC 465* Introduction to Forensic Psychology 4
REL 341 Technology, Culture, and Ethics 4
REL 375 Conflict and Change and the Ethics of Business 4

*Prerequisite: PSYC 100

Social Class and Criminality
ANTH 371 Cross-Cultural Research on Urban Gangs 4
SOCI 350 Social Exclusion, Social Power, and Deviance 4
SOCI 351 Public Policy and Juvenile Justice 4
SOCI 360 Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power 4
SOWK 350 Adolescent Gang Intervention 4

The System of Criminal Justice
LAW 402 Psychology and Law 4
LAW 403 Mental Health Law 4
PHIL 430 Philosophy of Law 4
PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy 4
POSC 340 Constitutional Law 4
POSC 426 The United States Supreme Court 4
POSC 444 Civil and Political Rights and Liberties 4
PPD 340 The American System of Justice 4

Crime and Punishment
POSC 432 The Politics of Local Criminal Justice 4
PPD 342 Crime and Public Policy 4
SOCI 353 Public Policy and Criminal Justice 4

Total requirements: five courses (20 units)

Minor in Managing Human Relations

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(213) 740-2534

This interdisciplinary minor is intended for students in all schools with an interest in human relations as a subject of study or professional goal. In addition to course work in organizational behavior, social psychology and management, this minor includes attention to questions of ethics and leadership.

As with all minors, students must include at least four upper-division courses and four courses dedicated exclusively to this minor (not used for credit toward a major, another minor or general education requirements). Finally, students must select four courses outside their major department. Students seeking the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology must choose four courses outside of sociology; those seeking the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration must choose four courses outside the USC Marshall School of Business.

Requirements units
Choose one course from the following (4 units):
BUAD 304 Organizational Behavior and Leadership 4
PSYC 355* Social Psychology 4
SOCI 320 Social Psychology 4

Choose one course from the following (4 units):
MOR 431* Interpersonal Competence and Development 4
PSYC 457* Applied Social Psychology 4
SOCI 340 Organizations: Bureaucracy and Alternatives to Bureaucracy 4
SOCI 342 Race Relations 4
SOCI 345 Social Institutions 4

Choose one course from the following list of classes on leadership (4 units):
CLAS 370 Leaders and Communities: Classical Models 4
IR 303 Leadership and Diplomacy 4
MDA 325 Case Studies in Modern Leadership 4
MDA 365 The Art and Adventure of Leadership 4
MOR 470* Global Leadership 4
PHIL 335 Theoretical Models of Leadership 4

Choose one course from the following list of classes on ethics (4 units):
BUCO 425* Public Communication in Ethics and Research 4
MOR 421* Social and Ethical Issues in Business 4
PHIL 340 Ethics 4
REL 341 Technology, Culture, and Ethics 4
REL 375 Conflict and Change and the Ethics of Business 4

Choose one of the following three capstone classes (4 units):
ECON 332* Contracts, Organizations, and Institutions 4
ECON 471* Economics of Labor Markets and Human Capital 4
MOR 471 Managing and Developing People 4
SOCI 340 Work and the Workplace 4

*Course has prerequisite or corequisite

Total requirements: five courses, 20 units

Minor in Photography and Social Change

This minor explores the potential of photography as an instrument of social change that allows individuals to document their circumstances, share their stories and change their lives. Students have the opportunity to examine the impact of images and the power of storytelling both in the classroom and in the field and study the issues raised by this kind of social exploration and commentary.

Students learn techniques of digital photography and theories of culture to help them understand diverse cultural phenomena and navigate their own cultural biases. In the field, students apply these techniques and theories by developing their own body of work. In addition, students can mentor individuals in the community to use photography and digital media to share their personal narratives, thus empowering community members to reflect critically upon their circumstances and to participate in their visual representation.

This interdisciplinary minor brings together students from schools and majors across the USC campus, allowing them to interact with one another and with scholars, artists and professionals associated with key organizations such as the Institute for Photographic Empowerment and Venice Arts.

Lower-division Requirement units
Select one course, based on prior preparation (4 units):
AHIS 255 Culture Wars: Art and Social Conflict in the USA, 1900–Present 4
ANTH 240 Collective Identity and Political Violence: Representing 9/11 4
FAIN 210 Introduction to Digital Photography 4
SOCI 250 Grassroots Participation in Global Perspective 4

Upper-Division Requirements units
Select two courses in each category below, from different departments (16 units):

Understanding Culture and Change
(8 units, in 2 courses — each from a different department)
AMST 348 Race and Environmentalism 4
AMST 357 Latino Social Movements 4
COLT 303 Globalization: Culture, Change, Resistance 4
IR 371 Global Civil Society: Non-State Actors in World Politics 4
JS 330 Jewish Power, Powerlessness, and Politics in the Modern Era 4
POSC 323 Applied Politics 4
POSC 441 Cultural Diversity and the Law 4
REL 336 Re-viewing Religion in Asian America 4
REL 366 Religion and Social Change 4
SOCI 360 Social Inequality: Class, Status, and Power 4
SOCI 470 Development and Social Change in the Third World 4

Media and Message
(8 units, in 2 courses — each from a different department)
AHIS 373 History of Photography 4
AHIS 469 Critical Approaches to Photography 4
ANTH 472 Visual Techniques in Anthropology: Stills 4
COLT 487 Critical Image 4
COMM 366 Designing Media and Communication Projects for Social Change 4
COMM 451 Visual Communication and Social Change 4
JOUR 422 Visual Journalism 4

Students in this program will also have opportunities for special access to USC Annenberg’s Public Diplomacy classes.

Total requirements: 20 units

Minor in Science, Technology, and Society

The beginning of the 21st century has witnessed a number of public controversies at the intersection of science, technology and society. Such discussions are characterized by divergent views on the role of science and technology in contemporary life. Over the next decades many of the most crucial challenges we face will require the integration of societal values with scientific and technological developments — whether in managing end-of-life care, preserving the environment, or continuing to nurture scientific innovation. This minor introduces students to a number of approaches to these questions, taking advantage of the diverse offerings in this area at USC.

Lower-division Requirement (4 units)

SOCI 210 Science, Technology and Social Conflict (4)

Upper-division Requirement (minimum 16 units)

Four or five* classes, selected from at least two of the three categories:

Science as a Social Institution Units
AHIS 429 Studies in Art, Science and Technology 4
ANTH 373 Magic, Witchcraft, and Healing 4
CLAS 339 Ancient Science 4
HIST 329 Madness and Society in the Modern Age 4
HIST 330 Drugs, Disease and Medicine in History 4
PHIL 385 Science and Rationality 4
PHIL 486 Methodologies of the Sciences 4
REL 442 Religion and Science 4
SOCI 475 Medical Sociology 4

Technology and Modern Life units
COLT 474 Desire, Literature, Technology 4
COMM 306 Innovation, Entertainment, and the Arts 4
COMM 340 The Cultures of New Media 4
COMM 345 Social and Economic Implications of Communication Technologies 4
CTCS 478 Culture, Technology and Communications 4
ENGL 375 Science Fiction 4
REL 319 Religious and Ethical Issues in Death and Dying 4
REL 341 Technology, Culture, and Ethics 4
REL 360 Ethical Issues in the New Medical Revolution 4

Health, Environment and Science Policy units
CE 469* Sustainable Design and Construction 3
CE 473* Engineering Law, Finance and Ethics 3
HP 412 Health Promotion and Prevention Policy 4
LAW 403 Mental Health Law 4
POSC 436 Environmental Politics 4
PPD 330 Introduction to Health Care Systems 4
PPD 360 Urban Transportation Planning and Policy 4
PPD 413 Administration of Health Care Organizations 4
REL 460 Senior Seminar: Medical Ethics 4

*CE 469 and CE 473 are 3-unit courses; choosing one of these courses requires students to take six total courses for the minor.

Total requirements: five or six courses (minimum 20 units)

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).

Interdisciplinary Minors

American Studies and Ethnicity (see American Studies and Ethnicity).

Law and Society (see Political Science).

Race, Ethnicity and Politics (see Political Science).