Sociology (B.A.)

Sociology is a social science discipline that enables us to understand how society is organized, how society is ever changing, and how groups experience the social world. It is a discipline that can also let us start to understand group attitudes and behaviors as well as individual lives. It examines the ways in which social categories (such as class, race, sex, age, nationality, or sexuality), and various social institutions (such as kinship, economic, political, or religious) affect human attitudes, actions, and opportunities. It also lets us begin to understand more broadly how our society is organized. One of the most important things that sociology does is to link individuals' private troubles to large public societal problems; this is called the "sociological imagination." For instance, if person in Detroit is laid off from his or her job, what are the larger societal trends that might be the reason for that layoff? Or, think about all of the people without health insurance around you – what are the real reasons for this lack of insurance and how can we understand this disparity?

In the Department of Sociology at Wayne State, we specialize in the study of health and illness, race and gender inequality, labor studies, and urban studies. Faculty members study a variety of things themselves, for instance, gender and race inequalities in paid work, policy changes in workplaces, fetal alcohol syndrome, elder abuse, menopause and midlife, religion and racial politics in Detroit, the Detroit gardening movement, motherhood, why different racial groups stay in Detroit, public health, and race disparities in education. We also have faculty studying paid work patterns, work-family policy, social movements, and the effects of natural disasters in countries such as Mexico, China, Germany and Japan. A good background in Sociology can be a valuable component of preparation for a variety of careers, professions, and occupations.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.


Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the Departmental major requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees. It is expected that Group Requirements will be fulfilled during the freshman and sophomore years. Language Group Requirements should normally be fulfilled before election of the major.

Major Requirements

Effective September 1, 2010, students majoring in sociology are required to elect a minimum of thirty-four credits in the field of sociology, including six required courses:

SOC 2000Understanding Human Society3
SOC 3300Social Inequality4
SOC 4050Basic Sociological Theory4
SOC 4200Methods of Social Research4
SOC 4220Introduction to Social Statistics4
SOC 4996Sociology: Capstone Course4
Total Credits23

For SOC 4996, students are required to complete the first five required sociology courses (SOC 2000, SOC 3300, SOC 4050, SOC 4200, and SOC 4220) with a grade of C or better prior to enrollment. SOC 4996 also must also be completed with a grade of C or better. In addition to required courses, all sociology majors are required to take at least eleven credits in sociology elective courses. All elective credits in sociology must be completed with a C-Minus grade or better. Students may not elect more than forty-five credits in course work within the Department.

Model Plan for Majors

Freshman Year
Understanding Human Society
Sophomore Year
Social Inequality
Elective courses
Junior Year 1
Basic Sociological Theory
Methods of Social Research
Introduction to Social Statistics
Elective courses
Senior Year
Sociology: Capstone Course
Elective courses and remaining requirements not taken in junior year

Students are urged to take SOC 4050, 4200, and 4220 in particular, in the junior year. It is recommended that students take SOC 4050, 4200, and 4220 in separate semesters since all three of these required courses are quite demanding.

Sociology Honors Program

The honors designation is available to sociology students who fulfill all requirements for the major and who maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3 and at least 3.3 in sociology courses. Honors students must demonstrate the ability to do original work by writing an Honors Thesis during their senior year. The Sociology Honors Program is at least fourteen credits and leads to a degree designation 'With Honors in Sociology.'

Requirements for the Honors Degree are:

  1. satisfaction of all requirements for a major in sociology;
  2. completion of Honors section of SOC 4220 with grade of C or better;
  3. completion of Honors Section SOC 4996 with a grade of C or better;
  4. At least one additional sociology course with the Honors designation (3 credits min.)
  5. an approved Honors Thesis; and
  6. at least one 4200-level seminar (HON 4200-HON 4280) offered through the Honors Program of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

‘AGRADE’ Program (Accelerated Graduate Enrollment)

The Department of Sociology permits academically superior majors to petition for admission into the College’s ‘AGRADE’ Program. ‘AGRADE’ procedures enable qualified seniors in the Department to enroll simultaneously in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the College and apply a maximum of fifteen credits towards both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in the major field. Students who have a 3.6 GPA and who have completed 90 credits of their Bachelors degree can apply for AGRADE.

For more details about the 'AGRADE' Program, contact the Undergraduate advisor in Sociology (313-577-2930), or the Graduate Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (313-577-2690).