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The Sociology Department at Carthage strives to foster the development of each student’s sociological imagination. Students learn to thoughtfully analyze the roots of social problems and examine potential remedies. Students are taught to think critically about an individual’s role in society as well as complex social institutions. 

Scroll down to read descriptions of the sociology courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.

  • SOC 1000

    Introduction to Sociology (SOC)

    Explores how social structures and social forces shape beliefs, values, and behavior. Applies theoretical frameworks to historical and contemporary social institutions. The course stresses the impact of social class, race, and gender inequalities.

  • SOC 2010

    Social Problems (SOC)

    Studies the social structural bases of current social problems with a particular focus on the inequities of socioeconomic condition, race, and gender. Students develop transnational comparisons concerning such areas of social life as employment, the workplace, health care, energy use, environmental imbalances, and crime. Analyzes policies designed to remedy specific problems.

  • SOC 2020

    Cultural Anthropology (SOC)

    This course provides an introductory exploration of anthropological approaches to society, culture, language, and history. Students are given the opportunity to consider the intellectual and ethical challenges that confront anthropologists in making sense of human difference, experience, and complexity.

  • SOC 2040

    Sociology of Religion (SOC)

    This course explores sociological perspectives and research on religion. The course is focused on the study of religion as a social institution. The course considers religion and religious movements as forces that may both resist and encourage social change. Beyond institutional dimensions and group dynamics, this course also seeks to broaden student understanding of religion as a basis for personal adjustment in modern societies characterized by diverse meaning systems.

  • SOC 2210

    Family Violence

    This course is an overview of family violence. Particular attention will be given to groups that have been disproportionately affected by family violence, namely women, older adults, and children. Emerging knowledge related to violence in gay and lesbian families, minority families, and special populations will be included.

  • SOC 2270

    Juvenile Delinquency

    Studies causes of unconventional youthful behavior, societal reactions to it, specialized agencies, treatment strategies, policy proposals for prevention of juvenile delinquency, and the juvenile justice system with its competing functions and personnel.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000

  • SOC 2520

    Marriage and the Family

    Traces the development of the modern American family as a social institution. Stresses the values and problems of the modern family in comparative perspective.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000

  • SOC 2530

    Race and Racisms (DIV)

    Examines the sociological, economic, and psychological nature of the relationships between racial and ethnic groups with differential access to political and economic power. Focus is on the United States, with some discussion of racism, cultural discrimination, and sexism in other parts of the world.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000 or CRJ 1000

  • SOC 2770

    Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in a Diverse World (SOC) (DIV)

    This course examines the sociological perspectives of sex, gender, and sexuality, while incorporating interdisciplinary texts when necessary. The course will locate sex, gender, and sexuality within contemporary sociohistorical context; examine practices and relationships of power; and analyze both institutional and interpersonal forms of inequality based on sex, gender, and sexuality.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000 or WMG 1100

  • SOC 3020

    Sociological Research Methods (SOC)

    Studies the sociological methods of research, including their relation to social theory. Examines the main types of research designs, research ethics, the writing of reports, and the evaluation of research information.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000

  • SOC 3025

    Social Problems in the City

    This course presumes social problems in the city as products of oppression, marginalization, and social control. Students will learn how economic forces and social structures such as race, class and government policies influence how cities are socially and spatially organized, and how that has changed over time. Students cover topics like the Great Migration, systemic racism, policing, inequality, poverty, segregation, and joblessness. We will also discuss the interrelations between different social issues and the prospects for social change.
    Prerequisite: CRJ 1000 or instructor permission

  • SOC 3030

    Women of Africa

    The study of the countries in Africa has frequently focused on public events: colonialism, political change, war, government actions, and the formal economy. In recent years, researchers have begun to explore in more depth how women's lives are impacted by these events, and how women in Africa are active participants in the various sectors of their societies.
    This course will look at life in various African countries through the eyes of women and will examine how women of Africa actively engage in and are affected by political, cultural, and economic events both domestically and internationally. Themes will include human rights issues of women, the impact of modernity and tradition on women's lives, images of appropriate female behavior, economic hardship and survival techniques, cultural issues surrounding marriage and motherhood, and women's participation in the public spheres of their countries.

  • SOC 3035

    Wrongful Convictions

    This course is intended to help students understand relevant research on the causes and effects of wrongful convictions. The course draws upon research across several academic disciplines like sociology, psychological sciences, legal studies, and criminology in order to understand wrongful convictions as social processes that occur at different levels of social reality (i.e. individual to systemic), and severl points within criminal justice systems (from law-making to conviction).
    Prerequisite: CRJ 1000 or instructor permission

  • SOC 3040

    African Transitions

    African countries and peoples have often been examined through the lenses of European and North American cultures. These analyses have sometimes been helpful and other times have resulted in inaccurate portrayals of African life and people. This course uses texts written predominantly by African authors from various parts of the continent to provide African perspectives of transitions that have occurred on the continent. These transitions include the transition from traditional life to colonial rule, the shift to independence, attempts at democratization, adaptations rural Africans make when moving to urban areas, and the clashes between Western and African cultures that continue today. Using themes of governance, community, and reference groups to examine different African cultures, the course incorporates theories and concepts from the disciplines of political science and sociology.

  • SOC 3110


    This course examines deviance as a sociological concept. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of the ways in which deviance has been defined historically, as well as contemporary definitions. Societal reactions, ranging from informal social control to formal control, are also examined.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000 or CRJ 1000

  • SOC 3120

    Crimes of the Powerful

    This course explores the social and institutional contexts of various forms of corporate and governmental deviance and/or crime. A range of cases that constitute elite deviance and/or criminal activity will be examined (e.g., insider trading, political corruption, corporate harm caused to consumers and the environment). Each case will be discussed within its larger political, social, and historical context.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000 or CRJ 1000

  • SOC 3240

    Logic of Sociological Inquiry

    This course provides the sociology major with an intermediate overview of sociological theories and research methods. Students will read original research monographs and journal articles representing both historical and contemporary research and theory within the discipline of sociology. Finally, the history of the discipline in relation to other social and natural sciences will be explored (i.e., how are the ways in which a sociologist understands the world different or similar to those in other disciplines?).
    Prerequisites: SOC 1000 and sophomore or higher standing

  • SOC 3250

    Sociological Inquiry and Practice

    This course is a designed to provide sociology majors and minors with advanced sociology research and analysis skills. Students will read and analyze empirical research articles, original theoretical texts, and examine social issues/problems using a critical sociological lens.
    Prerequisite: SOC 1000 or instructor permission

  • SOC 3450

    Global Poverty

    While the focus of this course will be theoretical, the class will begin by introducing some general background information on global stratification. We will examine the geography of stratification (i.e., which countries are rich, which countries are poor, etc.). The basic demographics of poverty will also be explored. Particular attention will be paid to infant mortality rates, life expectancy rates, health care quality and access, education, the status of women, and the availability of foreign and domestic assistance. Finally, we will analyze various concepts of poverty, measures of poverty, and different kinds of stratification systems.

  • SOC 3900

    Data Analysis

    Quantitative data analysis is an integral part of the work of sociologists. In this course, students will learn how to use SPSS to analyze data from various secondary data sources. Students will learn common statistical analysis used in sociology, data base management, and how to summarize and interpret statistical outcomes.
    Prerequisite: SOC 3020

  • SOC 4010

    Social Theory Seminar (SOC)

    Investigates the development of the sociological understanding of modern societies. Focuses on major classical and contemporary, European and American social theories. Stresses the application of theoretical concepts to contemporary social realities.
    Prerequisites: SOC 1000 and junior standing

  • SOC 4990

    Senior Seminar in Sociology

    The capstone experience for all majors in the department, the primary emphasis of this course will be writing the Senior Thesis. An oral presentation of the thesis is required for this course.
    Prerequisites: Senior standing and SOC 3240, SOC 3020, and SOC 4010

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …