Sociology

Curious about how large social groups function? Wonder how your birthplace or ethnic identity or gender contributes to how you experience the world around you? Want to make a positive impact on society one day?

As a Central sociology major, you’ll gain valuable hands-on, career-related experience early on. Real-world activities, such as internships and service-learning opportunities, will serve to enhance your exploration of the social dynamics of family, education, race, ethnicity, gender, global development, popular culture and religion. Your studies will be guided by successfully published professors whose academic pursuits have taken them all over the world.

Along the way, you’ll acquire the critical thinking, writing, data analysis and presentation skills you’ll need to begin building a stellar résumé that leads to a successful career or graduate school program.


65%
of recent sociology graduates completed an internship
50%
of sociology graduates attend graduate or professional school
84%
of department graduates report being highly satisfied with relationships they developed with professors in the department

The Central Difference

Gain Valuable Research Experience

As you investigate current research in a variety of sociological disciplines, you’ll come to learn the skills needed to one day conduct your own meaningful research. Join your fellow sociology students and travel to the Iowa Sociological Association’s annual meeting, where you’ll be encouraged to present your research papers and posters.

In the end, Central sociology graduates have reported that they have been better prepared for graduate school than their peers from other colleges and universities.

Researching Foster Care Challenges

Central gave Hannah Hirl ’19, an aspiring lawyer, a look inside the child welfare system.

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Researching Foster Care Challenges

Work Toward Distinguished Honors

Each year the Gordo F. De Jong Award is presented to a deserving sociology graduate — one day this could be you. This award program also provides funding for Central students to travel to, and present at, sociology conferences.

Immerse Yourself in Other Cultures

As a sociology major, you’ll be encouraged to study abroad and gain personal perspectives on the dynamics of other cultures. While there, you’ll have the opportunity to take sociology electives that will count toward your major and even pursue internship experiences. This is a great way to add depth and value to your résumé. Participate in Central’s Chicago program, the Social Justice Program or the Washington, D.C., program. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.

A Valuable Major

“I genuinely believe that everyone needs sociology. For me, it’s an important tool we all can use in order to make sense of our own experiences, empowering us to make more informed decisions about our futures. I want my sociology students to see that they have a personal stake in internalizing sociology’s lessons, using what they've learned long after their sociology class is over.”

– Jon Witt, Professor of Sociology

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Jesse Beringer ’14, treatment counselor at Tanager Place, Cedar Rapids
  • Madison Drees ’14, physical, occupational and speech therapy program, Bay Path University, Longmeadow, Mass.
  • Jacob Stevenson ’13, youth development, Boys and Girls Club of America, Des Moines
  • Sarah Folkerts ’13, assistant teacher, Kid’s Life Discovery center, Des Moines
  • Laura Bade ’09, assistant director of student involvement, Central College
  • Katie Whipple ’06, program advisor/student support services, Iowa State University, Des Moines

Too Cool for School

At Central, the only reason you’d want to skip a class is … to go to another class.

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Too Cool for School

Organizations

Criminal Justice Club: Students interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice are encouraged to join this student-led organization. The Criminal Justice Club brings in speakers, conducts fund-raisers to assist local organizations and provides career guidance for students interested in law enforcement and related criminal justice careers.

Anthropology Club: Sociology students are welcome to participate in the anthropology club. The sociology and anthropology programs reside in the same department, and students can take elective courses in either program as part of their major. The anthropology club organizes field trips, invites speakers and serves as an academic and career support group for students interested in studying anthropology.

Graduate Placement

  • Loyola University Chicago – sociology
  • DePaul University – women and gender studies
  • Drake University Law School
  • Colorado State University – counseling and career development
  • Penn State University– sociology and demography
  • University of Iowa – social work
  • Iowa State University – sociology
  • University of Northern Iowa – school counseling
  • University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
  • St. Ambrose University – social work
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – social work
  • Kansas State University – school counseling
  • Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology – clinical psychology

Internships

Central College offers a wide variety of internship opportunities to gain practical experience. The sociology department also has established internships where students can learn by observing social work, law enforcement and other professionals in their field. Recent internships sites include:

  • Youth Emergency Services & Shelter
  • Anamosa State Penitentiary
  • Marion County Sherriff’s Office
  • Pella Regional Health Center
  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Crossroads of Pella
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Sociology majors take courses that provide a solid background in the discipline and prepare them for careers and graduate school by focusing on critical thinking, writing, data analysis and presentation skills.

In Principles of Sociology, the foundation course for the sociology major, students explore the sociological imagination, which enables them to better see the degree to which their lives are shaped by the relationships they have with others. The department carries that basic insight throughout all sociology courses, such as Sociology of the Family, Criminology, Sociology of Sport, and Schools and Societies, along with required courses such as Research Methods and Sociological Theory.

Learn more about Sociology in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:

  • Jeremia Njeru, B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology
  • Dawn Reece, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Shawn Wick, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Jonathan Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

Sample Schedule

First Year

  • Principles of Sociology
  • Sociology electives

Sophomore Year

  • 200-level courses such as:
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Criminology
  • Social Problems
  • Social Work

Junior Year

  • Methods of Social Research
  • Statistics
  • Elective courses in areas of interest (courses could include Sociology of Gender; Globalization, Development and Social Change; American Ethnicity; Sociology of Popular Culture and Sociology of Religion)
  • Study abroad

Senior Year

  • Sociological Theory
  • Senior Seminar
  • Internship experience
  • Sociology electives

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Learn More

Want to find out more about Sociology at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.