Department Chair: Michelle C. Johnson

Professors: Deborah A. Abowitz, Linden F. Lewis, Carl Milofsky, Alexander T. Riley

Assistant Professors: Beth M. Duckles, Elizabeth Durden

The department encompasses two disciplines, sociology and anthropology, and offers separate majors in each.

Sociology is the study of human social action. It emphasizes an appreciation of human diversity, social inequality, and the processes that govern groups, organizations, communities, cultures, and nation states. Because these areas of study are integral to a liberal arts education, the department encourages students with diverse majors to take courses at all levels.

Among other things, a major in sociology may assist those interested in graduate work. It also offers a background for careers in law, journalism, government and international affairs, teaching, social work, and public service.

The Sociology Major

The major in sociology requires that students complete eight courses in the department, although students may count one anthropology course towards the major. No more than two 100-level courses may be counted towards the sociology major. Requirements are as follows:

  • Two sociology core courses: SOCI 208 Methods of Social Research or SOCI 209 Analyzing the Social World and either SOCI 211 Classical Sociological Theory, or SOCI 212 Contemporary Sociological Theory. The department strongly recommends that core courses be taken as early as possible in a student's career in the major. Students should take at least one sociology course at the 100 or 200 level before taking SOCI 208 Methods of Social Research. SOCI 208 is not intended for first-year students or first-semester sophomores.
  • Two courses in sociology at the 300 or 400 level, at least one of which is a seminar.
  • Four other courses in sociology, or three courses in sociology and one in anthropology. Courses that are crosslisted as sociology and anthropology courses count as sociology courses and still allow sociology majors to take one course designated solely as an anthropology course. Students may elect to have GEOG 210 The Urban Condition count towards a major in sociology.

The major in sociology provides students with an overview of the discipline and exposure to a variety of specialty areas in the field. The general major is intended for students who wish a broad exposure to social issues and sociological concerns, either as part of their liberal arts education or in preparation for graduate study in the field.

The Culminating Experience (CE) requirement will be provided for general majors in the two courses taken at the 300 or 400 level. Honors theses and supervised independent study readings or research could also meet the CE requirement on determination of the department.

With the exception of Bucknell-sponsored programs like Bucknell en France, Bucknell in Barbados, Bucknell in London, or Bucknell in Northern Ireland, courses taken off campus normally may not substitute for one of the core course requirements or for the 300- or 400-level seminar courses. The department chair may allow an exception if provided with clear information about the character and quality of off-campus courses and if these courses adequately substitute for material that would be taught on campus. No more than two off-campus courses are ordinarily counted toward the major.

The Minor in Sociology

The minor in sociology requires five courses in sociology. Students may count no more than two 100-level courses toward the five courses required. Courses in anthropology may not be counted towards the sociology minor unless courses are listed as satisfying both sociology and anthropology major credit. No more than one off-campus course ordinarily counts toward the minor.


The department strongly encourages qualified majors to consider working for honors in sociology. Such students should consult in their junior year with one or more members of the faculty of the department to begin defining a research topic and writing a proposal. Normally, during the senior year, an honors student will enroll in SOCI 319 and, if agreed to by the academic adviser, a second semester in SOCI 320. The honors proposal is to be approved by the department chairperson and submitted to the Honors Council by mid-October of the senior year. Further information can be obtained from the student's academic adviser, the department chairperson, and from the Honors Council.



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