The mission of the Sociology Department is to provide our students with the theoretical and substantive knowledge to participate as skilled professionals within the institutions and organizations that shape our region.
The mission of the Sociology Department involves three functions.
- General Education - We offer a series of courses that illustrate to the student how to use the sociological perspective and tools for critical analysis to analyze both specific social issues (crime, race and ethnicity, for example), and general perspectives on society (introductory sociology, social problems). This is a significant function for us - 26 of 46 sections for Fall 1999 have G.E. status.
- Sociology Major - We offer what might be viewed as a traditional major which requires 2 lower division prerequisites, 7 core courses (in methods, social stratification, social psychology and theory), and 5 electives in sociology. The major is designed to illustrate the sociological perspective, to help students develop skills in critical thinking, and to introduce and explain the tools of sociology. These skills will be beneficial for those who may seek jobs in sociology, and also for those who seek employment in human and social service occupations in the Sacramento region.
- Graduate Program - We offer an MA degree in Sociology. Our intent is to introduce and explain higher level skills in theory, research, social psychology, and urban, family, social organization, and social stratification. Advanced research skills and knowledge of the discipline would prepare for a further advanced degree, higher level research positions, or teaching or employment in a variety of educational and human and social service organizations in the Sacramento region or elsewhere.
The sociology curriculum should contribute to the following learning goals for the typical student who receives a baccalaureate degree in sociology at CSUS:
- Help students understand the sources of racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and gender diversity in an increasingly pluralistic California and to appreciate and respect the opportunities and consequences of that diversity. Our students should be able to demonstrate the relevance of race, class, and gender in understanding human groups and human behavior and the influence of these characteristics on the functioning of organizations they work in. They should also, for example, be able to know how to generalize and/or resist generalization across gender, race, and ethnic groups.
- Assist students in developing the knowledge and tools to understand and respond to rapid changes in the social, political, technological, and economic spheres of life. Students should be able to know how factors such as urbanization and population, for example, affect social structures and individuals and how global trends are affecting the local community they live in.
- Promote students' understanding of human interaction, institutions, and trends so that the sociological perspective will help them comprehend and react to the complexities around them. Our students should be able to carry with them the sociological perspective, apply it to the organizations they work in, to their community and neighborhood, and to their role as citizens in a democratic society.
- Guide the development of critical thinking skills and appreciation for the social scientific method as a tool for understanding social problems and providing solutions to those problems. Our students should understand arguments about social problems and solutions to those problems, and the role that scientific research plays in constructing knowledge about these problems. They should be able to identify basic premises in arguments about social concerns and to present alternative and opposing viewpoints and hypothesis on various issues that confront them both in their world of work and in their life as citizens.
- Encourage our students to develop their own interdisciplinary vision for the future of this region by becoming involved as citizens and employees in the quest to address the problems we face in the Sacramento Valley and in Northern California. Sociology is a liberal arts major. It helps prepare our students for a variety of careers, for life-long learning, and for their role as active and involved citizens in their communities.
Sociology courses have been offered from the inception of the University in 1947 within a combined Department of Social Science made up of Sociology, Social Work, and Corrections. In 1963 Sociology split off and became a free-standing Department. Enrollment increased seemingly exponentially during the mid to late 1960s, reaching a peak of 500+ FTES in the early 1970s, but leveling off in the 1980s. Today we have 300 graduate and undergraduate majors and FTES have again exceeded 500.