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Welcome to Sociology

Program Description

Sociology is the study of society and social life, and as such, looks at a diverse range of topics concerning the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Few disciplines are as broad in scope and relevance as is sociology. Sociologists examine the structure of groups, organizations and societies as a whole, as well as how people act and interact within those social contexts. Sociology is a rapidly evolving and ever expanding discipline that is particularly well suited to addressing issues and problems in a fast-paced and complex contemporary world.

Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the social world that can help students to gain a better understanding of themselves and the society of which they are a part. The field features a range of theoretical approaches that can generate new ideas, stimulate debate and challenge taken-for-granted notions about the nature of social reality and the status quo. The field also offers a range of research methodologies that allow for systematic and scientific investigation of social phenomena, rather than using common sense, propaganda, opinion or other such subjective explanations for human behavior.

Sociological theories and methods can be applied to studying virtually any aspect of social life: culture and technology; crime and deviance; politics and economics; the self and socialization; family and group dynamics; class, race and gender; social movements and social change.

The goal of the Sociology Program at Santa Barbara City College is to prepare students to deal with their own everyday life, as well as to meet the greater challenges of membership in the larger society. Sociology can contribute to the personal development of students, while also encouraging active and informed participation in the social and cultural life of their communities. Students can learn to transcend limited, culturally bound understandings to arrive at deeper insights into themselves and others, and to create positive change in the world in which they live.

Sociology is oriented toward stimulating the curiosity and intellects of those interested in academic fields, as well as toward building the skills and understandings necessary for success in a wide range of professional fields. Students majoring in sociology have established careers in such areas as law and government, urban planning, business administration, social welfare, health and education, counseling and human resources, advertising and marketing, public relations and the media, and the nonprofit sector.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Explain the major theoretical perspectives in sociology and apply them to the analysis of social phenomena

Describe the key concepts associated with one or more substantive areas of the discipline, and apply them to an analysis of social phenomena

Analyze the role of social forces in shaping the individual

Explain how individuals create and sustain society through collective action

Define the role of social institutions in society

Explain how structures and processes of social inequality across such dimensions as class, race and gender influence the life experiences of individuals

Utilize a variety of research methods to collect data and to produce original written work, according to social scientific standards

Discuss the ethical standards that guide research in the social sciences

Division: Social Sciences
Dean: Alice Scharper (A-118, ext. 2354)

Faculty & Offices
Jill Stein, Department Chair (IDC-369, ext. 3051, e-mail:


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