This is a current list of courses being offered in the Sociology program, and also listed in the 2014-2016 Wagner College Undergraduate Bulletin. The following list also reflects recent changes in the schedule of course availability.
SO 101 Principles of Sociology.
One Unit. This course is to orient the students to the field of sociology as a scientific discipline. Students will learn the major theories and research methods in sociology and will apply these theories and methods to analyze some of today’s social phenomena, including, social interaction, inequality/social class, deviant behavior and social control, gender/race/ethnicity, marriage/family, social institutions, sexual behavior, population, and globalization.
SO 103 American Society and Its Social Problems (D).
One unit. This course examines the structure and functioning of contemporary American society and specifically emphasizes selected social problems associated with the changing values of the society. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 141 Sociology of Aging.
One unit. This course focuses on the role of the aged in contemporary society. It examines various theories of aging, the social definition and demography of aging, role changes associated with the aging process, cross-cultural variations in the behavior and societal treatment of the aged, and the future of aging as a social movement. Offered spring semester.
SO 201 Courtship and Marriage (I).
One unit. An examination of the forms and functions of courtship and marriage patterns in relationship to individual and social needs. Analysis of sex-related roles and the changing patterns of these roles in marriage and courtship. Offered fall semester.
SO 203 Principles of Social Psychology.
One unit. This course will focus on the individual selves each of us believe we have and how it is we have come to have them. What role has language played in structuring our perceptions of external and internal reality? How have our belief systems shaped our perception? What role does memory have in identity construction? What is sanity? How much do social conventions and social institutions determine our identity? What is the relationship between emotions, society, & identity? What does it mean to live in a ‘postmodern' society where the concept of `objective truth'-and ensuing norms structuring morality-are called into question? Offered spring semester.
SO 207 The Criminal Justice System.
One unit. This course studies the development, structure and practice of our criminal justice system, including criminal law, law enforcement, courts and corrections. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 208 The Social Implications of Genetics.
One unit. This course examines the promises and the dangers of the genetic revolution. The decoding of the Human Genome, the biological modification of human, animal and plant life, and advances in reproductive technology, cloning and stem cell research, have opened up a Pandora's Box. The ethical, legal and social implications (the "ELSI") of what we "can do" with the genomic research and biotechnology and what we "ought to do" need to be addressed. This course examines the profound changes this biomedical revolution may have on family structure, life expectancy, quality of lives, health and medical expectations, the nature of privacy, criminal justice policy, and the way food is grown. Topics addressed include eugenics, genetic discrimination, behavioral genetics, DNA databanks, reproductive technology, cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, and genetic enhancements. Offered spring semester as required.
SO 210 Growing Up Female (D).
One unit. This course explores what it means to grow up female in the United States. We will consider differences and similarities in the experiences of girls across lines of class, race and sexual orientation. We will examine how gender defines girls' experiences and how some girls resist these definitions. Sigmund Freud once called work and love the central arenas of human life. We will examine what it means to grow up and be female in these two areas, together with an examination of the representation of women in the larger culture. We will make use of a variety of texts in exploring cultural notions of female "nature" and so-called women's work, the expectations "experts" have of girls and women, the representation of girls in the mass media, and girls' own stories about their lives, romances and sexuality. Offered as required.
SO 213 Sociology of Gender (D).
One Unit. The primary objective of this course is to develop a critical and sociologically grounded approach to the study of gender. Questions that will be considered in this class include: What is the difference between sex and gender? What does it mean to study gender from a sociological perspective? Are there different ways of understanding this concept? What does “doing gender” mean? What is feminism? How do social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and age affect the meaning of gender and/or being gendered? Have concepts of femininity and masculinity changed over time? How are gender norms and gender ideals communicated through the media, religion, and the state? In addition we will consider the role of individual agency by looking at different social movements (e.g. women’s liberation, gay rights). Offered fall semester.
SO 226 Volunteerism in the United States: An Introduction (D).
One Unit. This course will critically examine the growth and development of the individual, community-based organizations and society through volunteer efforts. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the voluntary sector and on volunteerism in the United States at the local, state and national levels. In addition, attention will be paid to an analysis of the cultural, economic, educational, ethnic, health, political, psychological, social, and spiritual factors in volunteerism. Besides the academic content of this course, students will spend time in a volunteer placement. Offered spring semesters.
SO 233 Research Methods I.
One unit. This course provides an introduction to the logic and skills of scientific research. Topics that will be covered include: the essence of science; scientific theory; explanation and prediction; research design; operationalization; survey; research; random sampling and descriptive statistics. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 234 Research Methods II.
One Unit. This course provides training in basic statistics for social sciences including: level of measurements, descriptive statistics, normal distribution, confidence interval, hypothesis testing, ANOVA, linear association and the use of personal computers for the statistical analysis of real data. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 241 Interviewing and Group Dynamics.
One Unit. This course focuses on the principles of interviewing, the development of basic skills essential in effective interviewing, and group processes. Some areas covered are types of interviews, the interview as interaction, group relations and communication skills, interviewer leadership roles, respondent roles, decision making, and problem-solving skills. Attention will be given to the construction of interview schedules, exercises employing various group roles and interviewing techniques, and the analysis and interpretation of interview data. Offered as required.
SO 257 The Sociology of Television (D).
One Unit. Television is the focus for examining the industrial organization of mass media and the ideological impact of mass culture on perceptions of gender, class, race and ethnicity. Reference is made to other mass media, including newspapers, magazines, books, theatre, motion pictures, radio and computers. Offered as required.
SO 270 Criminal Procedure.
One Unit. Criminal Procedure analyzes the delicate balance between the government's need to enforce the criminal law against the rights of the individual to be left alone. The course consists of a study of the criminal justice process from arrest through sentencing. Emphasis will be placed upon the rights of the accused, rights to counsel, search and seizure, and the privilege against self-incrimination. Offered as required.
SO 276 Employment, Education, Household and Gender.
One Unit. This course examines gender differences in education, employment, demographic behavior, and other household behaviors. Particular attention will be given to how gender discrimination in the labor market relates to changes in education, demographic behavior, and other household behaviors. Major topics that will be covered include gender discrimination and income inequality, education, marriage and the distribution of marital power, the household division of labor, sexual behavior, reproduction, and divorce. Offered as required.
SO 291 Special Topics in Sociology.
One Unit. Discussion and analysis of problems and topics not covered in regular course work. The specific content of the course will remain flexible in response to student and departmental interests. Offered as required.
SO 300 Law and Society.
One Unit. This course explains the American civil law system by examining it within the context of broader social issues in society. While this course does introduce undergraduate students to the basic concepts, processes, and institutions of the American civil law system (such as contracts and torts), its main purpose is to examine critically how law affects society and how society affects law. Sociological theories of the relationship between law and society are discussed, and empirical studies of the relationship between "law on the books" and "the law in action" are examined. Offered as required.
SO 301 Marriage and Family (D).
One Unit. This course explores marriage and the family as emotional, economic, historical and sociocultural institutions. The class gives an in-depth look at some important issues that affect marriages and families today; these issues include politics, culture, gender, sexuality, the economy, racism, social policy, and immigration. This course focuses also on the interactions between marriage, family, and society. In addition, it not only looks at the social influences on marriage and the family, but also how marriage and the family affect the social world. In this course, we will make use of a variety of texts (theoretical, historical, ethnographic) in exploring marriage and the family - with a focus on the U.S. - through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will look at dominant notions of what marriage and families “should” be and social realities of what families actually have been. Attention will be paid to the contradictions between romanticized concepts of marriage and family and our lived experiences of marriage, relationships, and family. In this process we will uncover how wider social forces such as the state, the media, the workforce, race, class, and the gender system, influence our cultural notions about marriage and the family and our lived realities. Offered spring semester.
SO 302 The Urbanized Society.
One Unit. The study of contemporary urban life styles, economy and culture. Ecological, population, and urbanization processes. Urban problems of metropolis and megalopolis. Offered as requested.
SO 303 Race and Ethnic Relations (D).
One Unit. This course examines the relations between various racial, national, cultural, and religious subgroups in present-day society. Special attention is paid to American society with its particular problems of adjustment, assimilation, and conflict. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 305 Criminology.
One Unit. Analysis of social, cultural, and psychological factors involved in delinquency and crime. Description and analysis of criminal subcultures in contemporary society. Modern programs for crime prevention. Offered fall semester.
SO 308 Introduction to Criminal Law.
One Unit. The origins of criminal law are examined in Western society: local, state and federal penal laws; judicial decisions on criminal capacity, criminal capacity, criminal intent and due process. Offered spring semester.
SO 309 Military Law.
One Unit. This course is an introductory look into the complex world of military law. The course builds upon the general concepts of criminal justice to examine the similarities and differences between the civilian and military justice systems, to explain why the military has its own special set of laws, and to trace the evolution of today's substantive and procedural military law. Offered as required.
SO 311 Population.
One Unit. Population theories and politics; A review of data sources as applied to human life cycle, education, socioeconomic and political processes; Population and social change. Offered as required.</i.
SO 315 Social Stratification.
One Unit. This course focuses on the theoretical analysis of the origins and maintenance of social inequality. Topics covered include: measures of income inequality, analysis of current income inequality in the United States; racial and gender discrimination and its effect on education and income; and normative questions on inequality. Offered as required.
SO 325 Industrial Sociology.
One Unit. Historical analysis of human work. Managerial structures, bureaucracy, unionism, mechanization, and automation and their impact on the industrial system and its problems. Offered fall semester.
SO 331 The Ecology of the Urban Community.
One Unit. The course examines the ecological processes involved in city and metropolitan growth and explores concepts and issues related to urban planning and development. Offered as required.
SO 341 Social Services for Older Persons.
One Unit. This course examines the history and trends in service delivery policy for older persons, as well as the service delivery setting, program planning, and evaluation. Special emphasis will be given to income maintenance, employment, health, housing, educational training, and supportive and access services. Offered as required.
SO 343 Sociological Theory.
One Unit. This course surveys sociological theory from Comte, Spencer, and Marx to present explanations. It includes a detailed analysis of contemporary theories and examines the relationship between theory and research/social policy. Also discussed are recent theoretical trends such as feminist, ecological and humanistic approaches. Prerequisite: Sociology 101 or 103. Offered spring semester.
SO 395 Collective Action.
One Unit. Using rational choice theory and game theory, the course explores various issues in collective action. Topics covered include: rationality, free-rider, externality, emergence of norms and social institutions, critical mass, cooperation, social revolution, and social choice. Offered as required.
SO 400 Senior Reflective Tutorial.
One Unit. In this course students simulate professional behavior and develop a sense of professional identity through an 8 hour per week experiential practicum at an off-campus placement. Students conduct a sociological analysis of the goals, organization, processes, and other experiences of their agency through written logs leading to a final paper and through participation in a weekly seminar with their classmates and a professor at the college. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 491 Senior Seminar.
One Unit. In this course students draw on their acquired knowledge of the discipline to develop an independent research project. Specifically, students formulate a sociological research question related to their agency practicum in the Senior Reflective Tutorial, and review current literature on their research question. Then students apply the sociological theories and research methods to develop theoretical arguments and testable hypotheses and to test their hypothesis with empirical data (they may either collect their own data or work with existing data or statistics). Throughout the semester, students meet collectively to present reviews of published literature, make oral progress reports on their research, and peer-edit each other's drafts. The course culminates in a written "conference paper" presented orally at a department "conference". Prerequisites: SO 343 Sociological Theory, SO233 Research Methods I and SO 234 Research Methods II. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SO 493 Undergraduate Research in Sociology.
One Unit. In an effort to give students another perspective on the discipline of sociology, in this course, advanced standing students have the opportunity to do focused research on a topic related to a sociology faculty member's own teaching and scholarship. The student does a minimum of eight hours per week of supervised research on a selected topic. This course is made available by instructor's permission to advanced and high-standing undergraduate students, majoring in sociology, and particularly those planning to go to graduate school in sociology or/and social work. In the course, the upper level student fulfills such duties as helping the faculty member to develop his or her research in a given area and taking part in a particular class taught by the faculty member. The course culminates in a research paper using the format of a sociology journal, and having a minimum of fifteen scholarly references. The student gains advanced research experience and the opportunity to work closely with a Wagner College faculty member. Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Offered as required.
SO 501 Society and the Future: Global Perspectives.
One Unit. The course studies patterns of social and cultural change, resistance to change, and change-producing agencies and processes. Major historical changes of social systems and the theories associated with them will be analyzed from the framework of futurology. Selected global trends and alternative social policies are discussed. Offered spring semester.
SO 593 Independent Study.
One Unit. Supervised independent research projects developed by the student, with faculty advisement. Restricted to advanced sociology majors. ,i>Offered fall and spring semesters.
Courses with a Social Work Emphasis
SW 105 Introduction to Social Welfare Practice.
One Unit. This course provides students with an introduction to the field of social work and to the various methodologies social workers use in their efforts to help their clients negotiate the social welfare system. The complexities of the social welfare system are presented and contemporary issues in welfare structure and service delivery are discussed. Career opportunities in the social welfare field will be considered. Offered fall and spring semesters.
SW 211 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families.
One Unit. The history, theory and techniques of social work practice with individuals and families. Discussion and demonstration of the social casework and problem-solving methods, and the various psychotherapeutic approaches used in current social work practice in a variety of settings; e.g., community mental health, probation, hospitals, nursing homes. Prerequisite: Social Work 105. Offered spring semester.
SW 292 Introduction to Social Policy.
One unit. Examines problems and concepts of the policy process in the U.S., exploring the political, economic, and institutional frameworks which structure public welfare choices. This course covers problem and needs analysis, policy analysis, program development, and program evaluation. Offered spring semester.
SW 295 Social Fieldwork.
One Unit. This course provides an introductory supervised training experience in an off-campus organization or non-profit agency. A sociological and anthropological analysis of the goals, organization and processes of agency environment is emphasized. In placement, students simulate professional behavior and develop a sense of professional identity. Students work as least 13 weeks at their agency, analyze their experience through written assignments, and participate in a weekly seminar at the college. Offered as required.
SW 331 Recreational and Social Group Work.
One Unit. Study of methods in social work emphasizing recreational skills and group dynamics. Discussion and demonstration of group approaches including group education, counseling, and recreational therapy. Offered spring semester of odd-numbered years.
SW 492 Special Studies in Social Welfare.
One Unit. A seminar course, the content of which is determined by the instructor. Special studies in social welfare methods of theory. Offered as required.