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Undergraduate Catalog 2011



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J. Kevin Eckert


Leslie A. Morgan
Fred L. Pincus
William G. Rothstein
Robert L. Rubinstein
Mary E. Stuart

Associate Professors

Marina Adler
Ilsa L. Lottes
Seth Messinger

Assistant Professors

Bambi L. Chapin
Sarah Chard
Brandy Harris-Wallace
Andrea L. Kalfoglou
Christine A. Mair
Gul Seckin
Zeynep Tufekci

Associate Chair

John G. Schumacher


Nicole M. Cousin-Gossett

Professor Emeritus

Christopher J. Hewitt

Courses in this program are listed under SOCY.

The undergraduate major in sociology provides a well established and widely accepted path to careers and professional education in the human services. It is frequently the major of individuals employed in local, state and federal governments and in non-profit organizations. It typically provides appropriate preparation for many professional programs, including law, public health, health services administration, urban and regional planning, social work, human-services administration, human-resources management, advertising, public administration and public policy. An undergraduate major in sociology is also appropriate preparation for research and policy-oriented graduate programs in sociology, public policy, health services research, criminology, demography and other disciplines that study social behavior.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers undergraduate majors and minors in sociology and cultural anthropology. Information on the sociology major and minor are presented here. For information on the cultural anthropology major and minor, refer to the section Anthropology, Cultural in this catalog. More detailed information on both majors and minors are provided in the Student's Guide to Sociology and the Student's Guide to Anthropology, which are available in the department office, room 252 in the Public Policy Building.

Sociology is the study of social relationships among people and the institutions and organizations they use to organize these relationships. There are many subfields within sociology, including medical sociology, aging, population, religion, gender roles, family, work organizations, occupations, crime and delinquency, urban sociology, political sociology and others described in the course listings below. All majors are required to study sociological methods and statistics using computer software programs and to study sociological theory.

Many sociology majors are transfer students from community colleges and other institutions of higher education. UMBC has articulation agreements with community colleges and public four-year colleges and universities in Maryland that enable students to count most sociology courses taken in those institutions for credit toward the sociology major at UMBC. The department also accepts most sociology courses taken at colleges in other states.

Career and Academic Paths

The undergraduate major is designed to provide a general overview of sociology for students who plan to enter the labor force after graduation and for those planning graduate study. The department has double majors that combine sociology and social work, sociology and anthropology, and sociology and psychology. These programs enable students to complete both majors with fewer credits than are required for each major separately. The minor in sociology is designed for majors in other disciplines who wish to add a study of social behavior to their other major. Students interested in pursuing the Master of Arts in Applied Sociology offered by the department should consider the combined B.A./M.A. program described below.

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Academic Advising

When a student declares a major in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, a copy of the declaration is sent to the department. A staff member then assigns the student a faculty advisor. Students may change advisors if they wish by notifying the department office. The staff will make the necessary changes. Every major should meet with his or her advisor at least once each semester to discuss progress and future plans and to obtain electronic permission to register. Advisors have office hours posted outside their offices or can be contacted by e-mail or by leaving a message in their mailboxes with a telephone number and times for them to return the telephone call. Prior to registration, advising information is posted near the departmental office directing students to sign up with their advisor. Staff usually do not make appointments for faculty members. Majors should plan to meet with their sociology advisor at least once each semester to discuss progress toward the major, future plans and to obtain electronic permission to register. A meeting to discuss registration must be held prior to a student’s assigned registration time in order to avoid delays in being able to register. We encourage students to meet with their advisors any time they have questions or problems or want to discuss major or career plans. When students apply for graduation, their advisor makes the final decision as to whether all requirements for the major or minor have been completed. If the advisor has permitted the student to modify the major in any way, such as by substituting courses or waiving requirements, the student should get a written and signed copy of the agreement. The advisor will be glad to discuss the general university requirements for graduation, but advisors have no authority to modify these requirements in any way. The Registrar’s Office monitors completion of general education and university requirements.

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Sociology Major

Total credits: 32 The major program consists of a total of 32 credits. These include four required core courses (14 credits) and 18 credits of electives (normally six courses). The student must receive a grade of “C” or better in all courses that count toward the major. P/F courses do not count toward the major. At least 16 credits must be earned in courses taken at UMBC. Students are urged to complete all core courses prior to their last semester before graduation.

Core Requirements:

SOCY 101 Basic Concepts in Sociology [3]

SOCY 300 Methodology of Social Research [4] Prerequisites: SOCY 101 and sophomore standing

SOCY 301 Analysis of Sociological Data [4] Prerequisites: SOCY 300 and passing score on the Sociology Statistics Readiness Test or consent of the instructor.

SOCY 409 Sociological Theory [3] Prerequisites: Nine credits in sociology or anthropology, excluding SOCY 396 and all other P/F courses.

Elective Courses: Eighteen credits of sociology or anthropology courses with a grade of “C” or better, excluding SOCY 396 and any other P/F courses. A maximum of nine credits in anthropology may be counted toward this requirement.

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Double Majors

The sociology department offers three double majors: Sociology/Anthropology Sociology/Psychology Sociology/Social Work Information about the double majors can be obtained at the department office.

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Sociology Minor

The minor in sociology consists of SOCY 101 plus 15 credits in elective courses in sociology or anthropology (a total of 18 credits). At least six credits must be at the 300 level or higher, and at least nine credits must be taken at UMBC. A grade of “C” or better is required in each of these courses and no more than two of them may be in anthropology. P/F courses do not count toward the minor. The minor is also offered at the Shady Grove Center. For Shady Grove students, up to 12 credits of the minor may be completed at Montgomery College, through selection of the UMBC equivalent (UMS articulation agreement) sociology classes. Upper-level classes to fulfill the minor will be taken from among sociology course offerings at the Shady Grove Center.

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Honors Program

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a major with honors in sociology. Information describing the requirements for the major with honors is available in the Student’s Guide available at the department office (252 PUP). Students considering graduate school in sociology are particularly encouraged to pursue this option.

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M.A. and Accelerated B.A./M.A. Programs in Applied Sociology

The M.A. in Applied Sociology and the accelerated B.A./M.A. in Applied Sociology focus on the sociology of health, aging and diversity. The two programs are open to students in all majors and to full-time and part-time students. The M.A. program is 30 credits and can be completed in three semesters plus a summer or winter course by full-time students. The accelerated B.A./M.A. enables UMBC undergraduates to take up to 9 credits of graduate courses that count both for the B.A. and M.A. degrees. This reduces the number of credits that must be taken in graduate school. Students can enter the accelerated program no earlier than their junior year and no later than the semester when they graduate. Students can be admitted to either program in the fall and spring semesters. Admission requirements include a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an undergraduate course in statistics in any department. GRE scores are not required for UMBC undergraduates. The graduate school application fee is waived for UMBC undergraduates who apply for the accelerated program. Some research, teaching and other assistantships are available and provide tuition remission, health insurance and a stipend. For details, contact the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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Evening and Part Time Options

The department offers a variety of advanced courses in the evening every semester but does not offer an evening major. Students who are able to take some courses during the day can complete the degree on a part-time basis.

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Student Organizations

Council of Majors
Membership in the Council of Majors is open to all declared majors. The council meets throughout the academic year.

Alpha Kappa Delta
International Sociology Honor Society: Iota of Maryland
To become a member, an undergraduate student must: be an officially declared sociology major, be a junior (60-89 total credits) or senior (90 or more total credits), have an overall UMBC GPA of 3.3 or better, and have a GPA in all UMBC (and UMCP) sociology courses of 3.0 or better. Further details and applications are available from the department office (252 PUP). The induction ceremony is held in May of each year.

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Special Opportunities

Internships for all students are available through SOCY 396, which is offered in cooperation with The Shriver Center. Students wishing to undertake individual research projects can do so in independent study courses with faculty members of their choice (SOCY 299, 399 or 499). Sociology majors seeking a more substantial research opportunity may complete the honors program. An international field research experience is offered annually. The International Field Research Program helps undergraduate and graduate students prepare for the requirements of a global economy, develop an international perspective on important policy issues and gain experience using social science field research methods. Program participants earn academic credit while developing independent research projects in connection with linked courses in the United States and an international travel experience. Previously, students have attended workshops and conducted exploratory research in Switzerland, Denmark, France and Portugal on issues ranging from disability, rehabilitation and long-term care to economic development and attitudes toward transportation and pollution control. Contact Cathy McDonnell at for more information.

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