Note: Sociology major and minor will be available to existing declared majors and/or minors only.
Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior in groups large and small – be they families, workplaces, neighborhoods or entire societies. As a Lakeland College sociology student, you will become well-versed in social theory as well as how social scientists conduct their research. We provide opportunities to apply what you have learned to a working internship, intensive independent study project, or faculty-led research. By the time you have completed the program, you will know how to communicate and work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds as well as analyze data and communicate your results.
“What we really think the field is about is learning to think theoretically about the world, how the world works … and then being able to have some knowledge of how to go out and research that social world and learn more about it, as well as interpreting other people’s research work,” says Alan Mock, professor of sociology.
While many schools have only one course on theory and one on research methods, Lakeland requires completion of two theory classes – one in classical theory and the other in contemporary theory. “We think that’s very critical,” Mock says.
Apply your expertise
After completing at least your first theory course and training in research methodology, you may apply for the chance to make your knowledge come alive through an internship, an independent study of your design or even by assisting a faculty member with his or her ongoing research. This interactive focus of connecting undergraduate students to hands-on experiences separates Lakeland from so many schools.
“We want people to go out and observe the real world in a work environment and wrestle with theory and concepts,” Mock says. “I think we emphasize that more than most places do.”
Successful internships have taken place at Habitat for Humanity and Safe Harbor (a local domestic violence center), among many other locations. These are also the types of organizations you could work for after earning your sociology degree – places where you can make a positive societal difference.
An undergraduate degree in sociology prepares students for careers in social services, business, human resources management, criminal justice and corrections, applied social research, secondary education, and many others. “We have many students who go into the social service agencies,” says Mock. “They work for agencies that are trying to improve some facet of the world.” Recent sociology alumni have also continued their education in graduate (M.A., M.A.C, Ph.D.) and law schools.
Sociology at Lakeland
At Lakeland, “the sociology program is small enough to genuinely give students individual attention, while at the same time remaining well-equipped to prepare them for graduate school or launching their careers right after they exit the program. We see ourselves as ‘talent scouts’ for the future of sociology and the social and human service agencies in our broader community,” says Moore, associate professor of sociology.
The independent study option is worth three credits, and culminates with a substantial paper following intensive individual reading and research on a social subject.
“The student works with a faculty member, but the student has significant involvement in shaping the topic,” Mock says. “It may be taking a facet of sociology, like stratification, and digging into it. Or maybe the student wants to look into homelessness and learn more about that. Or maybe they want to learn about federal food policies – food stamps or those types of things. Maybe it’s housing or peace issues. Anything they want to get into to.”