Sociology Program Learning Goals

Upon graduation, undergraduate majors in Sociology assume a broad diversity of career paths ranging from post-graduate programs in law, management, and counseling to positions in business, government, and non-profit organizations.  The Sociology faculty in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology on the Newark campus of Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey meets these diverse needs by providing undergraduates with an education in the central theories, concepts, methods, and substantive themes that distinguish Sociology as one of the basic disciplines included in curricula of Arts and Sciences at all major universities across the United States. We include five learning objectives with this disciplinary framework in mind.

I. A Firm Grasp of Sociological Theory:  Our courses in Classical and Contemporary Social Theory enable students to master theories and concepts ranging from social structure and social interaction, to race, class, and gender as fundamental mechanisms of social inequality and bureaucracy as the definitive mode of complex organization in the modern world.  Our classes in Classical and Contemporary Social Theory also stress the basic characteristics of modernity as the civilizational epoch in which we all must live today.  In this regard our undergraduates encounter the ongoing tensions between religion and science, the powerful influence of capitalist enterprises and markets as well as the manifold policies and programs pursued by the modern state. Undergraduates who receive this training possess an intellectual toolkit that prepares them not only for the vocational paths they pursue, but also for their own understanding of the life and times which they will encounter as they proceed.

II. An Ability to Rigorously Analyze Social Science Data:  As a matter of practical application, undergraduates derive special benefits from our year-long sequence of courses in sociological research methods and social statistics.  The skills students acquire in these courses enable them to collect quantitative and qualitative data from a multitude of social settings and enable them to analyze these data from a variety of sociological points of view. Sociology majors will be able to implement research skills using a wide range of sources such as research databases, policy reports, and electronic and medial resources. Employers in many different fields of business, government, and non-profit organizations place a high stock in these skills.  Undergraduates who successfully major in Sociology thus come away with distinctive advantages when applying for jobs that require these most valuable sociological proficiencies.

III. An Ability To Appreciate and Apply the Contribution of Sociology in Understanding and Explaining Multiple Social Realities: Undergraduate majors in Sociology take an array of courses in specialized areas ranging from Urban Sociology, Political Sociology, Sociology of Education, Race and Ethnicity, Social Movements, to Marriage and the Family, just to name a few. These courses provide students with the ability to appreciate and apply the contribution of sociology in understanding and explaining multiple social realities. Students majoring in Sociology will possess the ability to describe how sociology is similar to and different from other social sciences through the lenses of these specialized subject areas. In addition, depending upon the particular interests students have in mind, the more specialized courses may be relevant for future careers of many different kinds, e.g. counseling, marketing, law, and administration. 

IV.  Critical Thinking: All of the core disciplines in the Arts and Sciences provide students with skills in critical thought and the mastery of the language in both reading and writing that employers in particular and society in general expect from all who have earned an undergraduate degree.  The faculty in Sociology at Rutgers in Newark provides instruction in critical thought and college level language skills in all of our classes.  As a result of this instruction, Sociology majors are expected to evaluate information from various sources, and then be able to develop coherent arguments and questions as they relate to the work. Sociology courses also encourage cooperative learning, as students will often be required to work in groups to write, synthesize, and produce oral presentations. The ability to effectively communicate through writing and orally are skills that the majority of employers find highly desirable in their workforce. The Sociology faculty at Rutgers-Newark strives to ensure that the intellectual abilities our students acquire in our classes will facilitate their success in future endeavors. 

V. An Understanding Intercultural Relations and Diversity in Human Societies: In addition to being able to define and demonstrate the relevance of the basic sociological concepts such as: culture, social structure, social institution, status and role, socialization, social stratification, and social change, Sociology majors will be able to articulate how society (both domestically and internationally) is critically shaped by dynamics of prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and social inequality. Students will be expected to describe and explain the significance of variations by race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. The expertise of the Sociology faculty is crucial to the development of our students as we specialize in understanding the social, economic, political, and moral importance of reducing the negative effects of social inequalities. Students who can effectively engage in discussions of civic responsibility and continuing ethical dilemmas of social inequality are well-positioned for their future endeavors, whether they are interested in continuing their education in graduate or professional schools, or are interested in employment opportunities in social science-related fields such as law, policy-development, counseling, teaching, consulting, marketing, government, and non-profit work.