Sociology | New England College
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Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Sociology is perhaps the broadest of the social sciences, and has as its subject matter virtually all facets of human social experience. At New England College, the sociology major focuses on the themes of social change and social justice. It is designed to equip students with a broad knowledge of social issues and with the analytical and practical skills needed to pursue graduate study and careers in fields such as social work, community development, criminal justice, and peace and justice activism. The minors in Sociology and Social Work also offer students excellent preparation for careers in the human services and social
change fields.

The sociology faculty is deeply committed to participatory learning and to student involvement in applied settings. Sociology majors can expect many opportunities to take classes with substantial field/travel components, to engage in community service or action projects, and to pursue internships in a wide range of nonprofit community organizations. Our department sponsors a program in New Orleans, which provides students with a unique and exciting opportunity to live, learn, and serve in that city, from one week to a full semester.

Requirements to Major in Sociology

A. Sociology Core Courses (40 credits)

  • SO 1110 – Introduction to Sociology
  • SO 2040 – U.S. Social Problems
  • SO 3040 – Global Social Problems
  • SO 3520 – Grassroots Democracy
  • SO/PS 4220 – Research Methods
  • SO 4950 – Sociology and Social Justice
  • Plus four electives (16cr); at least two (8cr) at the 3000 level or higher

B. Distribution Courses and Electives

Requirements to Minor in Sociology (20 credits)

  • SO 1110 – Introduction to Sociology
  • SO 2040 – U.S. Social Problems
  • Plus three Sociology electives (12cr); at least one (4cr) at the 3000-level or higher

Requirements to Minor in Social Work (24 credits)

  • SW 1110 – Introduction to Social Work
  • SO 2040 – U.S. Social Problems
  • SW 2110 – Social Work Methods
  • SW 3750 – Non-Profit Organizations
  • SW 4920 – Field Practicum
  • Plus one SW elective (4cr)

Course Descriptions

**All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

SO 1110 Introduction to Sociology

This course introduces students to the dynamic and varied discipline of sociology. It provides an overview of major concepts, perspectives, and methods used in sociological inquiry. Students are encouraged to look at society and its institutions in new ways, and to identify and challenge social injustice.

SO 1130 (CJ 1130) Criminology

This course examines the types, patterns, and extent of crime in U.S. society. We will also study the immense and varied individual and social costs of crime. Finally, the many responses to crime that are found at the local and national levels will be examined. Special attention will be paid to grassroots initiatives intended to create safer communities. Though the focus is on crime in the U.S., some international comparisons will be integrated into the course.

SO 2040 U.S. Social Problems

The U.S. faces many challenging social problems, including crime, violence, unemployment, poverty, greed and discrimination. In this course, we will be studying some of these problems and their root causes and consequences. We will also examine some of the efforts/suggestions to address these problems.

SO 2050 (PS 2050) Social Psychology

An examination of the way the individual’s behavior is affected by the behavior of others. Areas covered include aggression, conformity, attitude formation, methods of persuasion, altruism, group problem-solving and decision-making, environmental effects on behavior, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal attraction and the self.

SO 2410 (CJ 2410) Alternative Dispute Resolution     

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a term used to encompass techniques for resolving conflicts through constructive confrontations, effective persuasion, and consensus building. ADR includes arbitration, mediation, and negotiation, which are alternatives to the legal and judicial processes. The first seven weeks of the course will be focused on learning and understanding the process of successful mentoring and mediating. The second seven weeks consists of individual or team projects.

SO 2550 Sociology Through Film

In this course we will examine important social and human rights issues and controversies as they are expressed in film. Poverty, war, genocide, racism, politics, criminal justice and global slavery will be among the topics explored. Background information on the films and on the issues presented in them will be discussed in class.

SO 2610 (PO 2610) Leadership and Social Change      

The course is based on the belief that leadership skills can be learned and that they are essential for the successful achievement of individual and group goals in settings as diverse as social action projects and corporations. Case studies, role playing, and skills inventories inform our analysis of situations which require particular leadership styles and skills. Topics covered include: leaders and followers, communication, team dynamics, conflict resolution, ethics and morals, power and self-interest, risk-taking, goal setting, competition and cooperation, and leadership as service. Offered every other year.

SO 2990 Topics in Sociology

An examination of a selected topic in sociology.

SO 3030 New Orleans Culture and Society (taught in New Orleans)

Students will learn about the history of the city, the development of its unique culture, and the way of life of its citizens. We will meet many New Orleanians, hear their stories, and learn from them. We will visit key institutions and organizations, such as universities, museums, historical sites and social service agencies. We will also hear live local music, taste New Orleans food and, in general, take in all of the sights and sounds of America’s most unique and fascinating city. Of course, we will pay particular attention to the damage done by hurricane Katrina and the significant unanswered questions regarding the future of the city, its culture and its people. Community service will be an important part of the experience.

SO 3040 Global Social Problems

This course explores a range of global issues and problems, including poverty and hunger, the HIV/AIDS crisis, global warming and other environmental challenges, and conflict and war. This course also examines the work being done or proposed to tackle these and other pressing global problems.

SO 3060 Social Inequality

The unequal distribution of wealth and power in the U.S. and in the world – its causes and consequences – will be examined in this course. This is essentially a study of political and economic power and powerlessness. Specific topics to be discussed include poverty, hunger, homelessness, welfare, class conflict, racism, and sexism.

SO 3100 Health and Society 

This course examines many important health and illness topics relevant to the people of the United States and the world, such as HIV/AIDS, world hunger, infant mortality, life expectancy, illness prevention, the medical community, inequality and its relationship to health, environmental factors related to health, and more. Very much included in this course will be a look at the U.S. health care system, the recent health care reform debate and an examination of other health care systems in the world.

SO 3110 (CJ/PS 3110) Juvenile Delinquency

This course offers an in-depth analysis of the (anti-) social phenomenon of delinquent youth gangs. We are currently witnessing a rise in the number of gangs, the degree of violence they exhibit, and their impact on American society. This course will combine psychological theory with the delinquents’ own accounts of their gang affiliations and behavior. This is a seminar-type course that requires some research and presentation on topics chosen by the student and in agreement with the instructor.

SO 3210 Children and Youth            

The social conditions of young people in society will be critically examined. Emphasis will be placed on issues pertaining to inequality, poverty and education and their impact on children. The scapegoating of young people (blaming them for many of society’s problems) will also be discussed. Other issues such as abuse, eating disorders, and HIV/AIDS will be examined. The course will conclude with a survey of the social conditions of children worldwide.  

SO 3520 Grassroots Democracy

We will explore the full range of work involved in advocating for change at the grassroots level (letter writing, phone calls, fundraising, base-building, lobbying, picketing, civil disobedience, etc.), the obstacles that we face, the victories—for democracy and social justice—that have been won, the consequences of the defeats we have suffered, and the victories we need in the future. Of course, we hope you, our students, will see not only the importance of such work, but also can envision your OWN place in that work. Fieldtrips to grassroots organizations will be an integral part of this course. In addition, all students will be shadowing a grassroots activist for a day, as well as working for a time in a community-based organization or in a social movement for social change. 

SO 3850 (SW 3850) Social Welfare Policy      

This course will assist students in an understanding of the philosophies, policies and programs, which guide the social welfare system of the United States. Students will be presented with an overview of the history of social welfare, analysis of current social policies and discussion of the roles that social workers play in the development and implementation of social policy.

SO 3910 (PS 3910) Aging and Society

This course examines a broad range of issues related to aging and to the role of elders in our society. Topics covered include: attitudes towards aging, theoretical perspectives on aging, physical and psychological issues of aging, elder services and political and social impacts of aging. Guest speakers, class projects, discussions and lectures are geared toward providing the student with both a theoretical and practical introduction to the field of aging. Prerequisite: PS 2150.

SO 3990 Intermediate Topics in Sociology

The study of a selected topic in sociology at an intermediate level.

SO 4050 (PS 4050) Advanced Social Psychology           

This is a seminar course providing an in-depth study of a selected aspect of social psychology. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. Prerequisites: PS 1110, PS 2050. 

SO 4110 (CJ/PS 4110) Aggression Prevention

Initially we will briefly examine theories which focus on the causes and methods to reduce aggression and violence. We will then discuss recent trends in violence. We will travel to a number of different facilities (which usually include the Youth Development Center in Manchester, NH State Prisons in Goffstown, Concord, and Laconia, and other similar sites). Guest speakers will discuss their own experiences with victimization, and/or with attempts to reduce violence within their agencies.

SO 4220 (PS 4220) Research Methods

This seminar course involves an examination of the various research strategies used by sociologists and other social scientists. The advantages and disadvantages of each methodology are analyzed. Control, experimental and alternative designs, context, and standards for ethical research are discussed. A research project constitutes a major feature of the course. Students generate, conduct, write up, and present an original APA style research study. Prerequisites: PS 1110 or SO 1000 and one PS or SO 3000-level course. Offered every fall.

SO 4410 (PS 4410) Evaluation Research

Evaluation research involves the use of social science research methods to (1) identify and clarify social problems/needs in order to provide organizational guidelines for the design and development of appropriate social programs and public policies, and (2) assess the effectiveness and efficiency (costs vs. benefits) of these programs and policies. In this course students will learn about the basic principles and procedures of evaluation research, largely through the critical analysis of real and hypothetical case studies. In addition, students will be required to carry out a modest research project during the semester. Offered every other year. Prerequisite: PS 1110.

SO 4810 Directed Study in Sociology

Topic to be determined by arrangement with departmental faculty. Contract required. May be repeated for credit. Variable credit (1-4).

SO 4830 Independent Study in Sociology

Topic to be determined by arrangement with departmental faculty. Contract required. May be repeated for credit. Variable credit (1-4).

SO 4910 Internship in Sociology

The internship consists of participation in an ongoing social action, community service, research, or development project in the United States or in a foreign country. Students have the opportunity to apply skills and concepts learned throughout their studies, and experience firsthand some of the issues, challenges, and satisfactions involved in development work. Interns maintain contact with a faculty advisor during the internship, as well as an on-site supervisor knowledgeable in local language and culture. Interns submit a substantial final report at the conclusion of the internship. Students are urged to develop appropriate language and/or research skills in anticipation of the internship. Contract required. Variable credit (1-15).

SO 4950 Sociology and Social Justice

The commitments, theories, and actions of sociologists in the past and present have been an integral part of the global search for a more just social order, including democracy, egalitarianism, and peace. In this capstone seminar, we will examine the most relevant contributions of sociology in the past and the promise it holds for our future. We will specifically discuss the roles each of us can play in the ongoing efforts to build better communities and a better world.  

Social Work Minor 

SW 1110 Introduction to Social Work

This course affords students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the social work profession. The many facets of social work – theory, methods, and fields of practice – will be examined. 

SW 2110 Social Work Methods       

This course is the foundation for the study of the methods employed by social workers to assist individuals, communities, and society at large. Students will learn the values, theoretical perspectives, and skills utilized in the practice of social work on the micro level (individuals, groups, organizations) and macro level (communities and society).

SW 3510 (PS 4320) Fundamentals of Counseling and Therapy

This course involves an in-depth examination of the various approaches to the process of counseling and psychotherapy applied to a variety of life conflicts. Included are the accepted theoretical approaches to counseling and therapy as well as the specific skills of communication, listening and empathy.

SW 3750 Non-Profit Organizations

This course will provide students with a basic knowledge of what it means to work in a non-profit organization. Topics will include program development, issue advocacy, fundraising, grant writing, public relations, teamwork, staff development, program evaluation and inter-agency collaboration vs. competition. Guest speakers, hands on projects and case studies will all contribute to the learning process.

SW 3850 (SO 3850) Social Welfare Policy      

This course will assist students in an understanding of the philosophies, policies and programs, which guide the social welfare system of the United States. Students will be presented with an overview of the history of social welfare, analysis of current social policies and discussion of the roles that social workers play in the development and implementation of social policy.

SW 4920 Field Practicum

This course is an opportunity to receive practical experience in a social work setting. Students will be required to complete 50 hours of fieldwork during the semester, and participate in a weekly seminar.