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What is Sociology?

Sociology is a branch of social sciences that uses systematic methods and critical analysis to develop and refine a body of knowledge about human social structure and activity, sometimes with the goal of applying such knowledge to the pursuit of social welfare. Its subject matter ranges from the micro level of face-to-face interaction to the macro level of societies at large.


What can I do with a Sociology Degree?

A Bachelor of Arts in sociology is excellent preparation for future graduate work in sociology in order to become a professor, researcher, or applied sociologist. The undergraduate degree provides a strong liberal arts preparation for entry level positions throughout the business, social service, and government worlds. Employers look for people with the skills that an undergraduate education in sociology provides. Since its subject matter is intrinsically fascinating, sociology offers valuable preparation for careers in journalism, politics, public relations, business, or public administration--fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups.  Many students choose sociology because they see it as a broad liberal arts base for professions such as law, education, medicine, social work, and counseling. Sociology provides a rich fund of knowledge that directly pertains to each of these fields. 

 Program Mission Statement

The Sociology major at Pitt-Johnstown emphasizes the value of the sociological perspective or sociological imagination in a curriculum designed to present sociology as both a scientific discipline and an important philosophical perspective relevant to the contemporary issues and their meaning at the systemic level and at the level of everyday life.


What kinds of courses will I take?

The courses listed below are only a small glimpse into the Sociology courses available on our campus. To view the full list of Sociology course descriptions, click here. 



This course introduces the student to the discipline of sociology, its development, theories, major findings, and to the sociological interpretation of modern society. Emphasis will be given to the importance of careful empirical investigation for the understanding of recent social and cultural changes. Students should be prepared to encounter basic issues in sociological method and in theory; an inclination toward systematic and abstract reasoning will help.



This course examines complex organizations of all types (industrial, commercial, governmental, religious, educational, social welfare, etc.) giving special attention to issues of power and authority. People make decisions according to bureaucratic rules, in problem-solving groups, and in interest groups that seek to win advantages for themselves and their members. Decisions and other organizational acts will be studied sociologically.



This course raises questions about what is deviant and how certain actions and beliefs come to be considered deviant. It also raises questions concerning the social, structural, and cultural determinants of the decision to view something as deviant and in need of “control.” The course explores changes in the definition of behavior that lead the same behaviors to be considered “sins,” “crimes,” “illnesses,” and “alternative lifestyles.”



Criminology refers to the scientific study of crime, its causes, and social responses to it. This course provides a broad overview of the study of crime. It examines the legal definitions and elements of crime; surveys the major categories of crime, i.e., predatory and nonpredatory acts; reviews the major measures of crime; identifies the major correlates of crime; reviews and assesses the major theories of crime; differentiates types of offenders and explores various dimensions of their offending; and examines and evaluates the working of the criminal justice system.


Sociology Links

These links have been provided for those who want more information on both the Pitt-Johnstown Sociology Program, and the world of Sociology as a whole.

Pitt-Johnstown Sociology Department Homepage

Degree Requirements (.pdf)

American Sociological Association

Sociology On-Line Site

World Wide Virtual Sociology Library

The Socio-Web

Contact Our Sociology Faculty

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Last Reviewed: January 10, 2012