The Department of Sociology at the University of Virginia is committed to a program of research and teaching that is both firmly grounded in the classical tradition of the discipline and addressed to contemporary issues. The Department's intellectual distinction is based on work that is macro-sociological, theoretically driven, and empirically grounded.
To take some representative examples, current research includes studies of the culture of science, organizations, and the city; collective memory, and the collective identities of race, ethnicity, and nation; gender and inequality in global perspective;religion and the family; care and caregivers; class and education; economic and historical sociology.
While theoretically varied, our work is fully empirical and draws on a broad array of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Members of the Department are also committed to the enhancement of interdisciplinary approaches.
What is Sociology
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
Sociological inquiry shows that much of what people do, believe, and become arises from their social relationships and that social life has discernable patterns.
The subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports.
In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for understanding and engaging with the world.
Questions that Sociology Courses Explore
- What are the social conditions that promote democracy instead of authoritarianism?
- How does globalization affect the status of women?
- What kinds of organizational structures lead to unproductive "group think" and what kinds promote creative interaction?
- What is the fate of community and a sense of belonging in an increasingly "on-line" world?
- How effective have social policies been in alleviating poverty? Crime? Racial disparities?
- If questions like these interest you, then Sociology may well be the field for you.
Sociology majors and minors have developed successful careers in an impressively broad range of professional fields, including Medicine and Public Health; Law and Social Policy; Business; Education; Media and the Arts; International Affairs and Development; Public Service, Community Organizing and Advocacy.
For additional information on Career Opportunities, please view the Internship Placement Program at University of Virginia's Career Center here.
Why Students Choose Sociology
Sociology has impacted my understanding of how the world works. It has both simplified and made the world more complex and fascinating, giving me grounding and a sense of relief for explaining why things happen the way they do. Finally a major that has some answers (with analysis and thought)! For those curious about what has led to wealth disparities in cities, what fuels gender inequality, and what purpose religion might serve, sociology is for you. Ultimately this major tackles life's biggest and most interesting questions.
--- Sam, 4th year Biology major/Sociology minor
It is in my Sociology classes here that I have learned the most about the world around me and the roots-the structures-that influence our policies, our behaviors, and our interactions. I know that majoring in Sociology has provided me with a knowledge and understanding of both society at large and my place in society that will carry me far past my undergraduate career.
--- Kaycee, 3rd year, Sociology and Government double-major