If you want to change the world, you need to know how the world works. 

Sociologists study the causes and consequences of social inequality as well as the social aspects of the environment, technology, politics, health, globalization, social movements, social justice, markets, mass media/popular culture, and more.

As a sociology major, you can apply the skills you learn to real-world needs in volunteer projects or internship experiences that will enhance your resumé. Through course work and projects, you can gain hands-on experience doing sociology, which might include: immersion in the daily life of groups, interview methodology, examining recorded interaction, interpreting historical documents, analyzing large national surveys, and producing sophisticated social critique.

Why are these skills important? By examining how our everyday actions are connected to larger social, economic, and political affairs, you can address social possibilities and problems that are important to non-profit organizations, government agencies, and a range of other settings such as management, health care, and marketing. You can be the change!


The sociology program encourages majors to select electives that create a coherent program of study suited to their special needs and interests. Such a focus would involve four or more courses from the following concentration groupings:

  • Communities, Inequalities and Public Policy
  • Environments, Technologies and Innovation
  • Health, Medicine and Society
  • Markets and Cultures
  • Political and Global Analysis
Goals and Objectives

To fulfill its mission, the sociology program cultivates the sociological imagination, providing students the following sets of skills and experience. Upon completion of the B.A. or B.S. degree in sociology, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and understand the social dimension of the human experience and the diverse social arrangements and practices found within and across societies and cultures.
  • Recognize how developing a sociological lens is a practical skill for living a productive and meaningful life.
  • Identify and understand sociology’s major theories, schools of thoughts and analytical paradigms.
  • Identify and understand sociology’s origin, development and practice within its social and historical contexts.
  • Demonstrate the use of skills in investigating the social world utilizing methodological components such as concept formation, measurement strategies, data analysis, summary and presentation of findings.
  • Demonstrate the use of the scholarly tools needed to practice sociology, including rigor, perceptiveness, creativity, logical consistency, tenacity and discipline.
  • Recognize the norms of the scholarly community and of a participatory society, including collegiality, openness to public scrutiny, testing reinterpretation and refutation.

Independent Study:
We encourage our majors to conduct independent research projects (SOCI 490) with one of our faculty. Contact a sociology professor with who you might want to work. Contact the program to discuss past independent research projects conducted by JMU sociology majors.

Internships and Assistantships:
The Sociology Program encourages majors to consider participating in internships to further explore fields of interest, while also gaining valuable work experience (SOCI 492). Speak with your adviser for more details.


Student guidelines for senior honors project can be found here.


Back to Top