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Welcome to the Department of Sociology at Yeshiva College. The Sociology Department at Yeshiva College offers both a major and a minor in sociology, as well a minor in public health. A sociology degree is excellent preparation for graduate study or a career in law, criminal justice, law enforcement, 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.

"Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing the old. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: street crime and delinquency, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, how families differ and flourish, or problems of peace and war. 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 mission of the Sociology program is to prepare students for employment and/or to pursue advanced studies in various fields ranging from journalism, political analysis, market research, law, medicine, psychology, sociology or social work to just name a few. Students will be prepared for these careers by studying social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociology majors will learn to investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how these structures constrain peoples’ lives in different ways. Our program will teach students to analyze a wide range of social institutions like law, family, medicine, education, mass media and religion. Sociology majors will learn to analyze social institutions by focusing on structures like race, gender and class. Familiarizing students with social theories will help students understand how these structures stratify societies. Despite all this diversity in our field, the discipline of sociology has a powerful coherence that comes from a collective dedication to developing theoretical principles about social life and testing them with empirical evidence. 

Student Learning Goals

  • Analyze social problems by using sociological theories and research. 
  • Understand the complexity of human behavior and social institutions. 
  • Evaluate scientific studies to inform their understanding of social problems. 
  • Analyze diverse societies, social structures and social stratification in the United States and in an international comparative perspective.
  • Evaluate ethical issues that arise when studying human behavior and social institutions. 

For more information about the Sociology Department at Yeshiva College, please contact Dr. Jill Katz at

Program Information

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

SOC 1001: Introduction to Sociology
This course explores the systematic study of the groups and societies in which people live.  Sociology provides a unique way to look at human behavior by examining how social structures and cultures are created and maintained as well as how they affect individual and group behavior.  With a focus on social life in the United States, students will learn what makes societies similar and different; the nature of social bonds; how we experience race, class, and gender; the role of cultural norms and deviance from them; how bureaucracies and other hierarchies function; why pervasive social inequalities persist; and what research methods allow us to study these phenomena. 

SOC 1204 Cultural Anthropology
The study of people in relation to their geographic and socio-cultural environments. Cultural variations and adaptive strategies in a broad range of societies focusing on food- gathering, marriage and the family; kinship terminology; psychology; religion; recreation; and folklore. Emphasis on field research methods.

SOC 1205 Introduction to Anthropology
Introduction to the reconstruction of human evolution through the study of fossils and other evidence; primate behavior and ecology in the field; the comparative study of human cultural and social variation and similarity; archaeology; anthropological linguistics. Insights promote useful social policies.

SOC 1206 Introduction to Archaeology
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.

1211 Archaeology of Israel
Through the lens of archaeology, this course probes the history of the Land of Israel from the earliest farmers to the end of the Roman/Byzantine era.

1212 Archaeology of Israel Fieldwork
Academic and practical experience in the recovery and analysis of the material remains of an ancient culture. Dig and survey the site, wash and read pottery at the base camp, and learn about the archaeology of Israel and archaeological methodology.

SOC 2101 : Education and Society
The goal of this course is to investigate the role of education in our society. We will explore educational systems and consider the following questions: How does your high school determine your retirement? Which is more important: What you learn or where you learn it? Does education work as a motor towards equality in society? Do our schools reward the best students? How do we define “best”? Does the educational system reproduce the class structure of a society or challenge it? We will analyze these questions from an international, comparative perspective and discuss issues including social reproduction, the achievement gap and meritocracy. The role of race, socioeconomic status, gender and upbringing will inform our investigation.

SOC 2103: The Family
An introduction to sociological perspectives on families and US public Policies aimed at families.  Focusing on the contemporary United States, the course includes an overview of family patterns and changes over the past several decades, examining family formation and dissolution, cohabitation, marriage, divorce, remarriage and fertility with attention to variation in families by gender race ethnicity and class.  We will explore how the worlds of work and family intersect and conflict considering both paid and unpaid labor, e.g. housework and childcare.  We will discuss the private family in which we live most of our personal lives as well as the public family in which adults perform tasks that are important to society.  We will examine how society provides for families that cannot provide for themselves and how society regulates family behavior.

SOC 2104: Media & Society
This course explores contemporary issues and perspectives in mass media studies, and aims to foster a critical perspective on mass media in contemporary society.  We will address issues including the pervasiveness of entertainment culture, television and American culture, representations of gender, race and ethnic groups such as Jews in mass media, the cultural and social impact of advertising and marketing, and the future of mass media.

SOC 2105: Religion and Society (formerly “Sociology Of Religion”)
This course is an introduction to the social scientific study of religion, approached from three perspectives: 1) Ideas (how do social scientists think about and measure what religion is and what it does), 2) Institutions (what do religious communities look like and how do they operate) and 3) Identities (what does it mean to individuals to claim a religious identity – or not). We will learn how social scientists ask and answer theoretical and empirical questions about contemporary religious life.  Potential topics include:  religion across the life course; religion and minority status; religion and gender; religious diversity and pluralism in the United States; is religion dying out?; and the question of secularization.

SOC 2108: Social Change
This course maps patterns of social change bound up with the rise of modern capitalism and democracy.  In this way, contemporary changes in American society are shown to be recent phases in a long process triggered by the internal social in European societies that began over two centuries ago, as well as by European colonization of the non-European world.

SOC 2110: Sociology of Food
Examination of the reciprocal relationship between food and society, culture, geography as well as history; exploration of body image, eating disorders, cannibalism, food taboos, technologies to store and transport edibles, culinary and gastronomic rituals, and genetically engineered food, among other issues. Study of the role food plays in physical and mental health, how environmental traumas such as famine and drought impact on survival, and in which ways recipes are adapted when they migrate to other countries.

SOC 2111: Families in Poverty
This course focuses on poverty among U.S. families and the problems poor families confront as they move through the life course.  We will examine trends in poverty in the U.S. including those associated with female-headed families, family size, multigenerational families and cohabitation. Considered: How poverty is measured, defined and explained before moving on to the consequences of poverty on children and adults, labor market issues such as unemployment, minimum wage, employer-sponsored benefits, and programs in the U.S designed to eliminate or reduce poverty.

SOC 2115: Contemporary Israeli Society
Examination of diverse cultural and religious sub-populations, governmental structures, political cultures, the relationship between religion and state, and the kibbutz experiment.  Issues are considered in the context of Israel as a Jewish democratic state and in the light of growing American cultural influence.

SOC 2116: Sociology of Culture
Examines differing approaches to culture beginning with an overview of basic concepts of culture, knowledge and identity.  From here, we analyze connections and tensions between literature, art, and science in the modern world, as well as explore distinctions between high and popular culture.  We will pay particular attention to the rise of mass media and the formation of youth subcultures and styles around trends in popular music and visual media like television and film.  The course links these various topics together in a concluding section on shifting notions of culture in the period of the information revolution, the internet and globalization.

SOC 2301: Criminology
The study of criminal behavior -- of how, where, when, and why people break laws or rules -- has been a central concern of sociology since the discipline's founding. The definition of crime is contingent upon the contours of formal laws, which are shaped by social norms and which vary across space, time, and culture. We will apply a sociological perspective to problems of crime and delinquency, examining the meanings of these constructs for law and society. This course will address three key questions: (1) What are the causes of crime, and how can we reduce its occurrence? (2) How does our understanding of crime shape our responses to criminals and to criminal behaviors? (3) To what extent does the way we treat crime intersect with other key social variables such as race, ethnicity, gender, and social class?  In the service of these aims we will investigate a number of important criminological theories, and critically read ethnographies and case studies which focus on various aspects of criminality.

SOC 2302: Sociology of Deviance
This course deals with behaviors, individuals, and groups commonly defined as "social problems." This is a very broad category, and one which is highly relative to time and cultural context. The main goals of this course will be to teach students to think sociologically about deviance by asking questions like: How is deviance defined across different social settings? When and how do the definitions of delinquency change? What are some sources or causes of deviance? Is deviance dysfunctional or functional for society at large? What are some different means of social control that are applied in attempts to curb deviance, and how effective are they? Students will examine several specific types of deviance in past and contemporary societies, and gain a working knowledge of various theories, methodological approaches, and levels of analysis for the sociological study of deviance.

SOC 2304: Law and Society (formerly “Criminal Justice”)
This course will explore sociological understandings of law. It explores how social change affects law and legal institutions, how legal change affects society, and the roles and institutions of the formal legal system in the United States. This will not be a class in law or legal history, and it will not teach you how to be a lawyer; it will focus on the social, political, cultural, and historical contexts of law in practice rather than legal doctrines, statutes, or decisions. We will address questions such as: What is the purpose of law? What is the relationship between law and social norms? Why do people obey the law, and why and how do we punish lawbreakers? Does the practice of law forbear or reinforce social inequality? The goal will be to understand the manner in which sociologists study law as an institution and as a profession, as well as to explain some patterns and dynamics of law in various social settings.

SOC 2305 Social Inequality
The gap between rich and poor is wider in the US than in any other modern western country and it is widening.  This course will examine the nature, extent, and consequences of economic inequality in America.  The course examines different "life chances" available to different members of society in an effort to understand the question of Who gets what and why?" Students will be exposed to social theories as tools for understanding and explaining social inequalities.

SOC 2306: Sociology of Race & Racism
Consequences of ascribed status. Ethnocentrism; hosts, immigrants, and settlement; assimilation patterns; ethnic and racial myths; contributions to society by minorities; responses to subordination practices; consequences of prejudice and discrimination; attitude formation and change; multiculturalism; political correctness: sensitivity and oversensitivity.

SOC 2309: Sociology of Death & Dying
Current knowledge on a wide variety of death-related topics: attitudes toward death, medical care systems, grief, living wills, ethical wills, medical ethics, definitions of death, social psychology of aging, death in popular culture, and how life and death affect all sociocultural processes, values, and events.

SOC 2310: Urban Sociology
What is it about cities that fascinates and repulses tourists and politicians, attracts migrants, and enthralls scholars? This course will explore the rise and transformation of metropolitan life from a sociological perspective.  Topics include classical and contemporary theories of urbanism, the history of cities, suburbanization, and related policies, urban poverty, race relations and segregation, employment, and inequality.

SOC 2401: Medical Sociology
The medical profession is highly prominent and renowned in the modern world. Doctors are extensively trained, well respected, and usually amply compensated in almost every country and culture in the world. Yet neither the role of the doctor nor the position of the professional medical establishment can be taken for granted. These social facts are very much contingent, subject to change over time and across social locations. This course introduces sociological perspectives on the medical profession in society. We will address questions such as: how do people become doctors, and how do they manage this professional identity in practice? How do doctors deal with the implicit uncertainty of applying scientific knowledge to individual cases? How do doctors interact with patients – and what factors define these two roles? How is “illness” defined, and what conditions lead to changes in its definition? More generally, what exactly do doctors do: what is their professional jurisdiction, and how is this changing over time?

SOC 2402: Sociology of Health
Distribution of disease among and within populations is a crucial subject in today's society.  Explores trends in medical practice; politicization of health care; contemporary social and ethical issues in health care: genetic engineering, right to die, living wills, and consumer movements in health care.

SOC 2403: Intro to Public Health
This course provides an introduction to fundamental concepts in public health including epidemiology, psychological and sociocultural contexts of health, health promotion and health disparities, the U.S. healthcare system, public health interventions, and ethical issues in public health research and practice.

SOC 2407: Epidemiology
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

SOC 2501: Gender & Society
Exploration of the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality and society are explored.  How sex and gender shape the way individuals experience the world and how these identities are shaped by social structures and processes. Topics include: sexual inequality, gender and work, gender and the state and masculinity.

SOC 2701: Social Psychology
Dynamic study of social behavior; social learning, interpersonal attraction, aggression, attitudes, conformity, and social influence processes.

SOC 2801: Political Sociology
This course explores both classic debates and contemporary issues in the field of political sociology.  It covers sociological approaches of pluralists class based analysts, and elite theorists to U.S democracy.  It also examines political life in historical and comparative perspective, as well as the two distinct views of globalization.  Changes in U.S. political life since 2000 are considered.

SOC 2802: Social Movements
This course focuses on the link between social movements and political change in the modern world.  Since the French revolution, such movements have played decisive roles both in extending democratic rights and overturning entrenched elites in recent history, as well as in some cases driving more authoritarian outcomes.  Social movements arise outside official channels and against established political orders. 

SOC 3002: Social Theory
This course maps major lines of development in twentieth-century social theory, focusing on how various theorists—from Talcott Parsons to Pierre Bourdieu and many others— have grappled with the basic issues that have dominated twentieth-century social thought. Particular attention will be given to distinctions between institutions and agency, on the one hand, and identity and culture, on the other.

SOC 3003: Methods of Social Research
Course is designed as an introduction to the adventures of Social Research Methods.  You will obtain a general overview of the ways social scientists collect information about society, explore how social scientists examine and analyze social data, and also gain insights into how social research is a part of our everyday lives.  Throughout this course we will develop a critical eye to the structure of social science research; identifying the object of inquiry; analyzing how variables are operationalized; and evaluating the quality of professional research.

SOC 4925; 4926 Topics in Sociology
Varies by semester.

Sociology Major: 30 credits

Required courses are SOC 1001 (Introduction to Sociology); SOC 3002 (Social Theory); SOC 3003 (Social Research Methods); an additional 21 credits of SOC electives.

Sociology Minor: 15 credits

Required courses are SOC 1001 (Introduction to Sociology); SOC 3002 (Social Theory) OR SOC 3003 (Social Research Methods); and an additional 9 credits of SOC electives.  

Public Health Minor: 14 credits

Required Courses (5 Credits):

  • SOC 2403: Intro to Public Health 
  • BIO 4810/EQXM 1007/SOC 2407: Epidemiology 

Electives (9 Credits) 

See Public Health Minor Requirements Sheet for choice of electives or consult with the public health minor advisor.

For questions about the Sociology major or minor, or Public Health Minor, please contact Dr. Jill Katz at

The following list includes faculty who teach at the Beren (B) and/or Wilf (W) campus.

Ignacia Castellón 
Adjunct Instructor in Sociology (B/W)

Nicole Deutsch
Adjunct Instructor in Sociology (B)

Orlee Hauser
Clinical Associate Professor of Sociology (B)

Jill Katz
Clinical Associate Professor of Archaeology (B/W)
Chair, Department of Sociology

Sidney Langer
Adjunct Professor of Sociology (B)

Dina Shvetsov
Adjunct Instructor in Sociology (B)


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