Sociology is the study of associational life. In this sense, sociology is not the study of people; it is the study of relationships among people. Sociologists explore a wide range of human activity: from politics, technologies, and economies, to cities, culture, media, and religion.
As a bridging discipline that seeks the scientific exploration of questions that matter to human communities such as inequality and social injustice, sociology addresses many of the same areas of life as our neighboring social science disciplines. Yet we often approach these areas quite differently. For example, problems of economic and political life are a central concern to sociologists. But rather than explore these as independent or particular features of society, we seek to embed them within the complex whole of the social world.
Students will find sociology to be a broad, demanding department that provides its students with the conceptual and methodological tools to make sense of the opportunities and social problems of the global communities in which we live.
The Major in Sociology – 30-31 points
Required: 3 courses, 10 points:
SOCI W1000 The Social World (3 points);
SOCI W3000 Social Theory (3 points);
SOCI W3010 Methods for Social Research (4 points).
Electives: 6 courses (20-21 points) in the department of sociology, to include at least 3 lecture courses (2000 or 3000 level, 3 points each) and at least 2 seminars (4 points each). The 6th course could be either a lecture course (to a total of 30 points) or a seminar (to a total of 31 points). For students taking the 2-semester Senior Seminar, the sixth course must be a seminar.
Senior Seminar - application required. Download the application here: Senior Seminar Application
Required: 3 courses, 10 points: SOCI W1000 The Social World (3 points); SOCI W3000 Social Theory (3 points); SOCI W3010 Methods for Social Research (4 points).
Electives: 10 points in the Department of Sociology: 3 courses to include 1 seminar.
To qualify for the Senior Seminar and Departmental Honors majors must have a minimum GPA of 3.6 overall and 3.8 in courses in the Department of Sociology. In addition, students must produce an honors-quality thesis in the two-semester Senior Seminar (SOCI W3995-SOCI W3996 ).
In order to register for the Senior Seminar, students must have completed SOCI W3010 Methods for Social Research and have had their research project accepted by the faculty member teaching the Senior Seminar. Submissions of research projects are due by May 1 preceding the seminar. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors in the department receive departmental honors each year.
The Columbia sociology department has a cooperative relationship with Barnard Sociology. Courses taken at Barnard are considered fully equivalent for purposes of the major. So, for instance, W3000 (Theory) and W3010 (Methods) taken at Barnard fulfill Columbia requirements. Similarly, lecture and seminar courses (i.e. BC39##) can fill electives. There is no limit on the number of courses that may be taken at Barnard.
This collaboration between Columbia College, the School of General Studies, and Columbia Business School offers undergraduate students access to the ideas and expertise of the Business School’s world-renowned thought leaders through a series of elective courses. This concentration is intended to serve as a complement to a specialization in sociology or another discipline.