What is Sociology?
How do inequalities within society affect the health of individuals? How can social groups use law and the legal system to promote change? What is the role of race in the debate over abortion in the United States? How does recent economic growth in China affect the chances for development in other parts of the world? What role do personal connections and social networks play in producing financial crises? How does social provision affect women’s income, relationships, and identities?
These are examples of the kinds of questions that are addressed in courses in the Department of Sociology at Northwestern University. Unlike economics, which is often centered on the rational individual, Sociology takes as its starting point the social relations that structure individual behavior. Students who major in Sociology at Northwestern focus centrally on social collectivities such as legal and medical organizations, economic classes, families, social movements, and groups defined by racial, ethnic, and gender identities. Sociology majors develop expertise in the ways in which social relations create and maintain inequalities, whether at the level of individuals, groups, or whole societies.
As the broadest of all of the social sciences, the discipline of Sociology provides an exceptionally wide range of practical and marketable skills. Sociology majors receive training in critical analysis, statistical methods, theory, and field research. Majoring in sociology is an excellent pathway to a career in law, medicine and public health, consulting, finance, non-profit and public administration, social network research, culture, and the arts. To learn more about careers in Sociology please visit our careers page.
The Department of Sociology at Northwestern is a top-ranked program with world-class faculty. The undergraduate program features a generous faculty-student ratio and many opportunities for students to get to know their professors beyond the classroom. Sociology is an ideal major for pursuing a senior thesis or other capstone project. The Department is committed to teaching all students to engage more effectively with the world around them.
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Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching provides a variety of programs and workshops for graduate students and faculty interested in developing their teaching practices. In addition, the Searle Center offers a variety of programs for graduate students seeking to develop their skills as Teaching Assistant (TA) and instructor , such as, a yearly conference for new TA's, a teaching certificate program and fellowship opportunities.
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