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Welcome to the Department of Sociology at Stern College for Women. The Sociology Department offers both a major and a minor in sociology, as well as a correlate minor in public health. A sociology degree is excellent preparation for graduate study or a career in law, criminal justice, social work, research, public administration, business, medicine, counseling, health care management or other service professions.

What Is Sociology? From the American Sociological Association:

"Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge.

"Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field whose potential is increasingly tapped by those who craft policies and create programs. Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance, and how social systems work."

Mission Statement

The Sociology Department at Stern College strives to provide students with rigorous and intellectually grounded understandings of the social and cultural world. At its core, the sociological mission is rooted in social and cultural (including anthropological) theory and the scientific method. Sociology majors and other students taking our courses are given opportunities to develop theoretical and analytical skills to evaluate and conduct social research and analysis. The Department is committed to using these tools to understand and address social problems and inequalities in global, institutional, cultural, and interpersonal social relations. Students are also encouraged to explore their own position in and relationship to society and culture. The Department is dedicated to building sociological knowledge and skills that are applicable to a broad range of settings including the public and private sectors, and especially, in the pursuit of advanced academic and professional degrees. Our hope is that graduates will be well equipped to be engaged citizens in an increasingly knowledge-intensive and diverse world.

Program Student Learning Goals

  1. Majors in sociology will be able to demonstrate conceptual and theoretical skills to sociological/anthropological topics and questions.
  2. Majors in sociology will be able to apply methodological skills to sociological/anthropological topics and questions.
  3. Majors in sociology will be able to critically analyze sociological/anthropological topics and questions.
  4. Majors in sociology will be able to communicate effectively sociological/anthropological topics and questions.

If you have any questions about Sociology at Stern College, please contact Dr. Jill Katz at

Program Information

Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings.

Sociology (SOCI)

Sociology Courses (updated Fall 2023)

1001 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)
The course introduces sociology’s basic concepts, theories, research methods, and subfields, covering such topics as socialization, deviance and crime, family, economic inequality, cul­ture, gender, religion, and social movements. Students will come to understand the many ways in which people’s lives, including their own, are shaped by the social world.

1215 Sociology of Religion (3 credits)
The course introduces students to religion as seen through a sociological lens. Topics to be covered include both theoretical and cultural approaches to studying religion, religion and modernity, and the intersection of religion with individual and group identities.

1316 Environmental Sociology (3 credits)
The course examines relationships and interactions between society and the environment. This includes inquiries into how the natural world and its degradation influence the way societies are organized by studying human communities as part of natural ecosystems.

1730 American Jewish Communities (3 credits)
The course examines the effects Jews have had on American society and vice versa. Mechanisms used by Jews to thwart change or adapt to the host culture are considered as are social and political adaptations within the American landscape and in orientation towards Israel.

1746 Ethnic Groups in the US (3 credits)
The course examines the significance of racial, ethnic and other minority group statuses in society. Topics include patterns of group relations such as assimilation and segregation; social sources of prejudice; and sources and areas of discrimination within education, employment, housing, and the criminal justice system.

1757 Race, Class, and Gender (3 credits)
The course introduces students to the concepts of race, class and gender through a sociological perspective.  Students learn how these separate topics interact every day in our social world.

1831 Self and Society (3 credits)
The course analyzes how identity and the self are created through social, psychological, cultural, and historical processes. These include socialization and the performance of social roles such as child, student, spouse, consumer, worker, and senior citizen. Special emphasis on understanding the ways that gender, race and ethnicity, and class shape emotional life and the creation of a multilayered self.

1934 Sociology of Mass Media (3 credits)
An examination of American films dealing with the Jewish experience provides a most unusual perspective on the Twentieth century American Jew- the way the Jew sees him/herself and how others perceive Jews. Classic films will be used as text for understanding how filmmakers have created and packaged their own unique concept of the American Jew – how this was filtered through their own consciousness and how we read and comprehend the cinematic text. In addition to examining the films, the class will reference historical and cultural studies of American Jewry together with insights into the Jewish film community of Hollywood.

1950 Sociology of Food (3 credits)
The course examines the processes involved in food production, distribution, and consumption. It will use sociological frameworks for understanding how the social structural forces at play are influencing how we eat and how the food industry influences our lives. This course includes discussion related specifically to the food industry in the US, but also covers a variety of global issues.

2101 Education and Society (3 credits)
The course examines the structure and process of education in contemporary society.  The primary focus is on U.S. public education.  Topics include the contribution of sociology to understanding education and teaching; the relationship of education to other institutions such as the family, government, religion, and the economy; the effect of social class on student achievement and teaching; formal and informal positions, roles and processes in schools; and consideration of current issues such as school funding, compensatory and special education programs, and educational reform movements. 

2104 Media and Society (3 credits)
The course focuses on mass media representations of gender, race, class, and politics, as well as the cultural, legal, economic, and institutional factors influencing the production of media texts. Students examine the ways in which media audiences (not just media scholars) make sense of media texts. Types of media to be discussed include advertisements, film, news media, comic books, video games, “reality” television, sitcoms, and social media.

2210 The Family (3 credits)
The course provides a historical and cross-cultural perspective on the nature and foundation of the family and other kinship systems. The focus is on ways in which families and kinship systems shape individuals and affect the structure of society. Both classical and contemporary approaches to these themes are considered.

2301 Criminology (3 credits)
The origin, causes, and history of crime; sociological and social psychological theories dealing with crime prevention; programs for special treatment of crime; and study of institutions and rehabilitation.

2302 Sociology of Deviance (3 credits)
The course introduces students to the general phenomenon of deviance, both criminal and non-criminal. Topics to be covered include; sociological theories, crime, drug and alcohol use, sex work, body modification, mental and physical disorders (as well as ways of being).

2305 Violence, Schools, and Education (3 credits)
Violence in schools is an increasing public concern, as education—a crucial determinant of life chances—may be disrupted by violence. This course addresses causes, manifestations, and consequences of school violence, and assesses efforts to prevent it.

2311 Social Inequality (3 credits)
Inequality is one of the main lines of inquiry in sociology and is an extremely timely topic, given the current political and social climate in the United States. Students will explore the basic features of inequality in the U.S. through classic and contemporary readings on class, race and gender.

2402 Health and Society (3 credits)
The course focuses on the social causes and consequences of health and illness, bringing sociological perspectives, theories, and methods to study health, illness, and medical practice. This course introduces students to medical sociology by exploring three major areas of discussion: 1) the social determinants of health; 2) the social construction of Illness; and 3) the political economy of medicine.

2403 Introduction to Public Health (3 credits)
The course explores how public health touches upon various systems and structures, through psychosocial, sociocultural, epidemiological, and biomedical concepts.  Students will dive into determinants of health, health equity, U.S. and international healthcare systems, policy, public health ethics, history, public health interventions, health promotion & education, and global health.

2405 Health and Social Policy (3 credits)
Why does the United States spend more on health care per person than other developed countries and still have worse health outcomes? This course examines the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to health care delivery and financing, including private, single-payer and universal systems. Students will analyze the impact of these approaches on access, cost, quality, and disparities. They will also examine the historical, economic, social, and political factors that have led the U.S. to adopt its current health system, how care is delivered, analyze its strengths and weaknesses, and examine the different proposals for reforming it.

2406 Social Determinants of Health in Global Context (3 credits)
This summer travel course explores the broad area of study termed the "social determinants of health" placing special emphasis on the exploration of health disparities in Latin America. We will examine the social conditions that relate to the health of populations, paying particular attention to how patterns of health vary by social class, race/ethnicity, and gender.

2407 Epidemiology (3 credits)
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in different human populations and the application of methods to improve disease outcomes. As such, epidemiology is the basic science of public health. The course is designed to introduce students to the background, basic principles, and methods of public health epidemiology. The biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental factors associated with the etiology and distribution of health and disease are analyzed.

2601 Introduction to Anthropology (3 credits)
The course offers a comprehensive approach to the study of cultural diversity through the four main traditional sub-fields of anthropology: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. The course material emphasizes behaviors, similarities and differences in adaptations, and variations in current and past human populations.

2611 Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)
The course provides a survey of current information and debate in cultural anthropology. Students learn about the world’s cultures by looking at ethnographic examples of increasing size and scale, beginning with nomadic bands of hunters and gatherers and ending with the roles of indigenous peoples within a global economy. In between, students examine the transition to social and political complexity with the rise of chiefdoms and ancient states.

2621 Introduction to Archaeology (3 credits)
An introduction to world prehistory, with an emphasis on the rise and fall of social and political complexity. Topics range from cave paintings and early farmers to the first civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and Central and South America.

2625 Archaeology of Israel (3 credits)
Through the lens of archaeology, this course probes the history of the Land of Israel from the time of the Patriarchs to the end of Persian Period. Topics covered include the formation of Israelite identity; the rise of the state and its subsequent division; confronting external empires; the end of the First Temple period; and the clash between returning exiles and the population that remained.

2626 Archaeology Fieldwork (3 credits)
The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to gain academic and practical experience in the recovery and analysis of the material remains of an ancient culture. Students participate in all aspects of the excavation, including digging and surveying at the site, sampling soil, and recording of architecture. They also participate in the various tasks that take place in conjunction with digging, such as the washing and reading of pottery, soil matrix analysis, and faunal and floral identification.

2801 Political Sociology (3 credits)
The course introduces students to the field of political sociology and its central themes: the modern state, power in modern society, and political conflict. Within this framework, students address such topics as the emergence and transformation of states and state institutions, change of political regimes, social revolutions, political violence, and war.

2802 Social Movements (3 credits)
When do groups mobilize to defend or resist power? Collective action aimed at generating or preventing social change has shaped the course of human history, and the analysis of social movements comprises one of the most vibrant areas of sociological research today. In addition to its central place in classical theory, the emergence, dynamics, and outcomes of social movements have come to encompass much of the study of contemporary politics and culture more generally.

3002 Social Theory (3 credits)
The course surveys the major classical and contemporary sociological theoretical traditions, exploring their historical contexts as well as their relevance to current issues in Sociology.
Pre-requisite SOCI 1001

3003 Methods of Social Research (3 credits)
The course covers the procedures and techniques which social scientists use to describe, explain, and predict human behavior. Students develop a critical understanding of research conclusions and basic research skills for conducting rigorous social science research.
Pre-requisite SOCI 1001

3701 Social Psychology (3 credits)
The course examines individuals in social contexts, their social roles, group processes, and intergroup relations. Students employ a scientific understanding of how the presence of other people, interactions with other people, and other situational factors influence human thoughts and behaviors.  
Pre-requisite SOCI 3003

4741 Sociology Internship (1 credit)
A full semester field experience designed to give exceptional students the opportunity to acquire a knowledge of sociology in action.

4930 Topics in Sociology (3 credits)
An in-depth consideration of current topics in sociology not other­wise covered by other course offerings in the department.

Sociology Major

30 credits
SOCI 1001, 3002, 3003, and an additional 21 credits in SOCI courses. STAT 1021 is highly recommended.

Sociology Minor

15 credits
SOCI 1001, either 3002 or 3003, and an additional 9 credits in SOCI courses.

For more details about the Sociology major and minor - see the factsheet at the Academic Advisement webpage.

The following list includes all faculty who teach sociology at either SCW or YC.

  • Haniya Abbasi
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Udeepta Chakravarty
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Shaina Desai
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Nicole Deutsch
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Ignacia Eschelbach
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Eric Goldman
    Adjunct Professor of Sociology
  • Orlee Hauser
    Clinical Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Jill Katz
    Clinical Professor of Archaeology
    Chair, Department of Sociology
  • Sidney Langer
    Adjunct Professor of Sociology
  • Chang Liu
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
  • Dina Shvetsov
    Adjunct Instructor of Sociology
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