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Submitted by sandra.grills2 on Thu, 02/04/2016 - 3:29pm


Sociologists study the ways in which social structures, social processes and cultural products constrain and enable human behaviour. Some sociologists focus on face-to-face interaction in everyday life. They use biographies, narratives and life stories to explore issues of self-identity, trust, risk and embodied aspects of the self. Other sociologists explore the interface between social processes and individual lives by studying the institutionalized aspects of social life. They ask how class, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and geographic region affect individuals' access to scarce resources like wealth, income, power and prestige. They also explore the nature and operation of the social institutions that make up Canada and other societies (e.g., families, economic institutions, educational institutions, political institutions, legal institutions). Still other sociologists demonstrate the need to link global and local levels by studying contemporary world inequalities and their implications for life in high income, middle income and low income societies.

Courses Sociology Offers

Submitted by sandra.grills2 on Thu, 01/21/2016 - 2:41pm

We offer a wide range of courses that cover the diverse approaches and topics that make up the discipline of Sociology. Our faculty members make sociology come alive with strategic illustrations from their own work and from the research of sociologists all over the world. Our research explains social life at every level from face-to-face interactions to global social processes.  We hope to make sociology as intellectually exciting and engaging for students as we find it.  By paying attention to ‘real-world’ applications, we also hope to make it clear that sociology is more than a set of ideas – it is a practice. 

Introductory Courses (200-level)

These 200-level courses are a point of entry into the program.  They use a combination of lectures, tutorials and assignments to get majors and non-majors to think objectively and critically about their lives and their society.  They introduce students to substantive concerns that occupy sociologists at The University of Calgary and in the discipline of sociology generally.  Introduction to Sociology (201) and Canadian Society (205) cover the multicultural nature of Canada by highlighting globalization causes and consequences.  Using historical and cross-cultural examples, these courses introduce students to strategies we use to incorporate interdisciplinary and international components in programs of undergraduate studies.  Tutorials offer students opportunities to engage in small group discussions and collaborative projects that use experiential learning to promote problem solving and effective team participation.

Intermediate Courses (300-level)

Two categories:  core courses and substantive courses.

Core courses cover sociological theories, research methods and data analytic techniques.  With an emphasis on active learning, they form the core of our program, providing students with the basic intellectual tools that allow them to think sociologically and to engage in the practice of sociology.  Because of their pivotal role in our program, we encourage students to take these courses early in their programs. 

Topics in the methods courses explore the research process and the different methods that sociologists use to study diverse aspects of social life.  Particular attention is paid to ethical issues in sociological research, to the problems that sociologists encounter in collecting data, to the strategies they use for deadline with these problems and to the costs of carrying out sociological research.  In the statistical courses, students learn how to select appropriate statistical techniques, and use these techniques and statistical software (SPSS and STATA).  The theories, methods and statistical techniques that make up this ‘tool kit’ provide students with knowledge and skills that allow them to evaluate the assumptions and evidence that are used to support or challenge arguments in sociology and public policy debates.

Theory courses use a combination of original sources and secondary treatments to introduce students to major sociological theorists, their works and the history of ideas.  They also incorporate a concern for ‘theory in use’ – for using theory to make sense of contemporary society.  Core courses in research methods and social statistics also focus on this concern.  The labs in these courses provide students with hands-on experience of the methods and data analytic techniques that sociologists use.

Core courses:  
Sociology 311:  Introductory Social Statistics I 
Sociology 313:  Introductory Social Research Methods 
Sociology 315:  Introductory Social Statistics II 
Sociology 331:  Classical Sociological Theory 
Sociology 333:  Contemporary Sociological Theory

Substantive courses at the 300-level provide broad overviews of the substantive areas that make up sociology.  They cover major concepts, topics, theoretical orientations and research methodologies that are used by sociologists in these areas.  In presenting major research findings our faculty draw on their own research and on findings and insights of key researchers from around the world.  By focusing attention on contemporary social contexts other than Canada, they bring international content into teaching.  These courses make the sociological approach real by exposing students to comparative and historical research, by incorporating insights from other disciplines and by critically evaluating the implications of sociological research for a wide range of problems. 

These courses develop students’ sociological imaginations by showing how thinking sociologically confirms and challenges conventional assumptions about past and contemporary social life.  These course form key components of sociological inquiry and prepare students for more advanced study. 

Substantive courses:

Sociology 303:  Sociology of Gender 
Sociology 307:  Sociology of First Nations in Canada 
Sociology 309:  Alberta Society 
Sociology 321:  Sociology of Health and Illness 
Sociology 325:  Introduction to Deviance and Social Control 
Sociology 327:  Introduction to Criminal Justice 
Sociology 341:  Social Psychology 
Sociology 345:  Mass Communication 
Sociology 353:  Urban Sociology 
Sociology 355:  Population and Society 
Sociology 365:  Social Stratification 
Sociology 371:  Sociology of Families
Sociology 373:  Sociology of Aging
Sociology 375:  Sociology of Ethnicity and Racialization
Sociology 377:  Sociology of Religion
Sociology 393:  Sociology of Work
Sociology 399:  Sociology of Sport

Senior Courses (400-&500-level)

Senior courses ensure that students achieve the depth of knowledge necessary to develop extended competence in sociology.  They provide opportunities to see how practicing sociologists have used the intellectual tools that form the core of sociology in areas of particular interest to students.  Their primary objects is to provide students with opportunities to use these tools in ways that develop their sociological imaginations - This objective reflects our ongoing commitment to research as a cornerstone of undergraduate experience in sociology.  Class size is limited to ensure that students have the kinds of experiences that are necessary to meet this objective: critical reading, intensive writing and extensive interactions with fellow students and faculty.

Senior courses also cultivate students’ sociological imaginations by offering a wide range of opportunities to think sociologically Students will use different theoretical approaches, research methods and data analytic techniques to engage in the practice of sociology.  By transforming the classroom into a student-centered, discussion-oriented andexperiential learning environment, these courses promote co-learning, critical thinking, and effective communication. They also develop team skills and the ability to apply knowledge to new situations that are attractive to potential employers.  We offer four kinds of senior courses:  ‘tools’ courses, substantive courses, capstone courses and co-operative education courses.

 “Tools” courses in sociological theory, research methods and data analytic techniques at the 400-level provide students with opportunities to expand their “tool kits” by learning how these tools are used in cutting-edge research. Experiential Learning is also a feature of these courses with class-based research projects.  Advanced study in sociological theory builds competence in critical and abstract reasoning.  It also prepares student to use theory in empirical studies of contemporary society.  Advanced knowledge and skills in research methods and data analytic techniques also prepare students for independent research projects.  This knowledge base, skills and research they support allow students to follow many of the career paths in sociology set out in “What do sociologists do?”

Tools courses:
Sociology 413:  Qualitative Research Methods 
Sociology 441:  Social Interaction and Group Dynamics 
Sociology 499 Field School/Seminar in Sociology (Calendar Link)

Substantive courses at the senior level cultivate students’ sociological imaginations by examining how different theories, research methods and data analytic techniques have been used to study sociological phenomena. Students become active participants in the debates that structure their areas of interest.  This participation provides a strategic arena for bringing perspectives, methodologies and research findings from other disciplines to bear on sociological questions in ways that promote interdisciplinarity; integrating knowledge into different disciplines.  Seminar presentations and written assignments hone students’ abilities to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Substantive courses:
Sociology 403:  Special Topics in Gender Relations 
Sociology 405:  Special Topics in Canadian Social Structure 
Sociology 407:  Sociology of the Body 
Sociology 409:  Social Determinants of Health 
Sociology 419:  Special Topics in the Sociology of Health and Illness 
Sociology 421:  Special Topics in Deviance and Criminology 
Sociology 423:  The Sociology of Youth Crime 
Sociology 425:  The Sociology of Violence 
Sociology 427:  The Social Organization of Criminal Justice 
Sociology 429:  The Sociology of Law 
Sociology 435:  The Sociology of Knowledge 
Sociology 443:  Special Topics in Social Psychology 
Sociology 445:  Visual Sociology 
Sociology 453:  Special Topics in Urban Sociology 
Sociology 461:  Worker Movements and Labour Unions 
Sociology 467:  Ethnic Relations in Canada 
Sociology 471:  Special Topics in the Sociology of Families 
Sociology 475:  Special Topics in Race and Ethnic Relations 
Sociology 487:  Sociology of Development 
Sociology 493:  Special Topics in the Sociology of Work 
Capstone courses use research as a teaching site.  These courses provide opportunities for students to explore theoretically-informed, socially-relevant questions in real time with real data.  By drawing on skills and knowledge developed in tools courses and substantive courses at all levels, participants in these capstone courses find opportunities via experiential learning to make original contributions to sociology in areas of interest to them.  Capstone courses commonly target students who are headed toward disciplinary graduate programs, post-baccalaureate professional schools or making the transition from university to employment.  

Capstone courses

Sociology 400:  Sociology Honours Thesis and Seminar
Sociology 401:  Special Topics in Sociology
Sociology 501:  Conference Course in Sociology

The Department of Sociology’s annual Honours Summit provides an arena for students to present their work to fellow students and faculty.  Students in capstone courses have also presented their work at local meetings (Graduate Sociology Symposium, The Gender Research Symposium) national meetings (Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association) and international meetings (American Sociological Association).  Their research has also generated refereed articles.

Co-operative Education courses also use research as a teaching site.  These work placements provide students withexperiential learning opportunities.  The BA and BA (Honours) in Sociology Co-operative Education requires, in addition to the academic requirements for the regular degree, three 13-16 week work terms.  The Co-operative Education component of the BA degree takes five years to complete, but it offers unique connections with the work world, and solidifies a useful post-graduate network.   Sociology students have completed work terms with organizations such as the Calgary Drop Centre, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Employment and Immigration.  If you are interested, check out the department’s website for more information, including accounts by students of their co-op experiences.  Be sure to plan ahead because there are special entrance requirements for the Co-op Program and students are required to fit Job-School Bridging courses (or equivalents) into academic programs that meet all requirements for the BA or BA Honours in Sociology.