Graduate Courses

Graduate Course Descriptions


(Unless otherwise noted, all courses are 3 credits.)

Soc 510 Cities and Urban Policies

This course explores the evolution of an urban society and the changing spatial distribution of people and social institutions within the urban setting. Consideration is given to the nature and importance of urbanism as a world phenomenon, the complex structure of the modern metropolis, the interdependence of city and suburb, and the effects of urban life in modern U.S. society.

SOC 514 Applied Quantitative Methods

This course will introduce to the students an overview of (1) different perspectives of social inquiry; (2) commonly utilized quantitative research methods and techniques; and (3) strategies and skills to design, execute, and report empirical social research.

SOC 515 Applied Social Statistics

This course will introduce to the students (1) the basic statistical concepts; (2) skills in questionnaire coding, computer data creation, and data management; (3) commonly utilized methods and computer data analysis techniques; and (4) the interpretation and reporting of output files of computer data analysis in empirical social research.

SOC 517 Applied Qualitative Methods

This course is a survey of qualitative research methods that focuses on how qualitative methodologies can be used by professionals in the workplace. Students will learn how researchers formulate research questions and determine the methodology appropriate to answer them. They will also learn about the ethics involved in conducting research and become certified by IRB at William Paterson University to conduct qualitative research projects they will carry out as part of the requirements of this course.

SOC 518 Sociological Theories

The central theme of this course is to introduce the students to various classical and modern theorists. It concentrates on the relationship of these "classical" theories and empirical works to contemporary efforts and programs of research. Students read original sources by Ibn Khaldun, Comte, Spencer, Sumner, Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Tonnies, Simmel, Pareto, Mead, C.W. Mills, Goffman, Merton, Coser, Dahrendorf, Habermas, and Foucault.

SOC 519 GIS I: Basic Mapping: Applications and Analysis

This course serves as an introduction to the world of maps - how to use, interpret, and analyze maps to obtain information about a wide variety of topics. Discussions include mental maps, aerial photos, computer-assisted cartography, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Laboratory work includes digital map applications and GIS exercises.

SOC 520 GIS II: Principles of Geographic Information Science (GISc)

This course builds on GIS I: Basic Mapping by providing students with practical knowledge of map usage and GIS software. This course covers basic concepts and theories of Geographic Information Science (GISc), as well as provides actual hands-on experience with a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software package for computer mapping and data analysis. Through a series of lectures, GIS laboratory exercises, and the design of a GIS project, students are taught the variety of ways GIS can be used in the natural and social sciences, as well as many other fields. GIS is beneficial to any field using information which is linked to geography, such as environmental management, economic development, real estate, urban planning, public health administration, epidemiology, archaeology, marketing, political science, navigation, and tourism, as well as cartography, demography, climatology, and natural resources.

SOC 521 Contemporary Issues in the Workplace

This course examines the structure and functioning of work in the United States including the separate rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, tensions between management prerogatives and employee protections, the changing composition of the labor force especially workforce diversity, and tensions in human resource policies in both the public and private sectors. Included will be such topics as affirmative action, hiring, retention, and promotion policies, sexual harassment, two income and two career couples, downsizing, and the speed up of work.

SOC 531 Program and Policy Evaluation

The course examines different evaluation techniques and applications widely employed to appraise the effectiveness of social intervention programs. Through the application of research design and methodology, students will be introduced to the benefits of scope assessment, impact analysis, cost-effectiveness, and performance measurements among other evaluation techniques. Students will gain an understanding of the social environment while conducting and executing an evaluation research.

SOC 540 Diversity in America

This course introduces students to basic concepts, perspectives and theories about multiculturalism. Included are the areas of age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Emphasis is placed on the long-term existence of multiculturalism in U.S. society, how the social structure often perpetuates inequalities, and the agendas of various multicultural advocates.

SOC 541 Sociology of Genocide and the Holocaust

This course will approach the events of the Holocaust not by giving answers but by posing questions, the foremost one being: How could such a thing have happened? Through an examination of a variety of sources—sociological, psychological, historical, economic, and political—students will develop their abilities to ask difficult questions and evaluate approaches as we confront a most complex subject. The broader issues of genocide, such as those in Armenia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo, Rwanda and the Congo provide a comparative framework for the examination of the destruction of European Jews.

SOC 542 Sociology of Intercultural Communication

This course explores how differences in cultural and social class backgrounds affect perception and communication through class exercises, discussion, readings, and case studies. Students will learn to enhance their interpersonal skills in interacting with work colleagues and clients/customers/students from diverse backgrounds. They will also gain insights into the complexities and contradictions of nonverbal and verbal communication.

SOC 544 Contemporary Immigration to the United States

This course examines the social and demographic characteristics of the post-1965 immigrants to the United States and various policy issues and social problems affecting these “New Immigrants.” The course reviews basic theories on migration, demographic patterns of contemporary immigration and policy changes. The main emphasis of the course will be various contemporary debates on immigration, including jobs, national security, bilingualism, citizenship and human rights issues. In addition, the course emphasizes global and comparative perspectives, and focuses on understanding U.S. immigration in relation to immigrants’ experiences in other countries.

SOC 550 Age and Aging

This course considers issues of the life course in U.S. society and in a global perspective. We analyze how and why systems of age stratification are created and the extent to which structured inequality is created on the basis of age. Using the life course perspective, aging is viewed as a life-long process shaped by the particular history and culture in which individuals are embedded.

SOC 551 Racial Identity Formation

This course examines racial identity formation in the United States. In doing so, it looks at the social construction of race throughout U.S. history. In particular, it focuses on 1) how racial definitions have changed since the first US Census racial definitions in 1790, 2) the establishment of whiteness as a norm, 3) how race, as a concept, is becoming more problematic as the multiracial population increases, and 4) the politics of racial identity.

SOC 553 Health and Social Justice

This course examines the role of social and economic injustices as root causes of the uneven distribution of disease across population groups according to class, race and gender. Students will be exposed to the research documenting the strong relation between social and economic disparities and health disparities. Students will learn the crucial importance of civic engagement in determining policy directions, and therefore determining the health of the society they inhabit. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with sociological theories of health and illness; sociological theories on class, race, and gender; inequality in health status and health outcomes; current public health issues; the process for influencing policy; and the skills to effectively advocate for health and social justice.

SOC 560 Sociology of Corrections

This course provides a sociological analysis of corrections along a number of dimensions: historical, philosophical, political, ideological, and cross-cultural. Students gain a better understanding of the location of corrections within the criminal justice system and the larger society by analyzing the role that race, gender, class, and age play in the correctional process.

SOC 561 Sociology of Police Work

This course critiques the "myth" of policing as primarily a heroic crime-fighting endeavor, and then examines why such myths are necessary and what function they serve in view of the kind of work police do. Students gain a better understanding of how and why police interact with the public, each other, and the law, by addressing issues of race, gender, and social class.

SOC 562 Sociology of Law

This course examines the role of government in the definition and control of deviant behavior. After establishing the distinctive characteristics of law as a form of social control, it surveys the major kinds of variation found in legal systems and examines how social factors predict and explain this variation, including differences in the day-to-day operation of legal agencies and the outcomes of individual legal cases. The course concludes with a discussion of what law may be like in the future, with special emphasis on changes made possible by advances in legal sociology Throughout, the course draws on information from a wide variety of societies and historical periods although it concentrates on the contemporary American experience.

SOC 563 Juvenile Delinquency

This course is a comprehensive up-to-date coverage of the problems of delinquency. It focuses on the status of adolescents within contemporary society, definitions of delinquency, the extent and nature of delinquency, explanations of why young people become delinquent, their relationships with each other and with adults, and the experiences of juveniles with institutions designed to control and nurture them. The course provides an orientation toward both sociological and criminal justice perspectives on delinquency.

SOC 564 Justice in a Global Context

This course considers issues of law and justice in global perspective. It explores the role of law in maintaining order and managing conflict in a broad range of societies, both historical and contemporary, with an emphasis on how law affects the affairs of ordinary citizens in their everyday lives. It examines cross-cultural variation in legal complaints, police conduct, courts, and sanctions, and seeks to explain similarities and differences across legal systems with the social characteristics of societies and cases. The course concludes with a look at the prospects tor a truly international legal system, and considers what such a system might be like.

SOC 565 Sociology of Deviance

This course is concerned with the circumstances under which people define, commit, and respond to socially unacceptable behavior. It addresses how conduct comes to be considered deviant in the first place, surveys the major varieties of deviance found in the contemporary United States and other societies, reviews the principal theories used to explain why people commit deviance, and examines the techniques of social control.

SOC 566 Conflict and Conflict Management

This course examines conflict between individuals and groups in a wide variety of contexts in the contemporary United States and in other societies. It explores the factors that cause conflict and considers how an understanding of these factors can make it possible to prevent conflict from arising. It serves the various techniques through which people pursue, manage, abandon, and resolve their conflicts, and considers how to predict and explain which of these techniques is used. The course concludes with an examination and assessment of contemporary efforts to foster the peaceful and informal resolution of conflicts through such means as mediation and arbitration programs, neighborhood justice centers, peer intervention programs, the use of ombudsmen, and conflict management training.

SOC 567 Community Supervision of Offenders

A majority of people under correctional supervision are being managed without incarceration. This course examines a wide range of intermediate punishments and supervision alternatives carried out in a community setting. It focuses on an analysis of the theories and practices of parole and probation. It is also concerned with the current trend toward diversion of offenders from the criminal justice system and special community groups.

SOC 568 Drugs and Social Policy

This course uses the topic of drug control policies to examine such sociological themes as race and law in the U.S., marginalization of "the other" in American society, control of disenfranchised populations, the role of accountability in the policy formation process and social construction.

SOC 570 Gender in a Globalizing Society

This course explores issues of gender and gender inequality in the contexts of globalization and global economy. It ex amines the ways in which systems of social stratification are gendered as power, prestige, and property are unequally distributed on the basis of sex. Students explore ways in which people become gendered, live in gendered worlds, and do gendered work, and how boundaries are redefined and renegotiated. Students also learn about the social construction of sex and gender from cross-cultural perspectives. In addition, the course explores the impact of global economy on gender relations and women’s work.

SOC 599 Selected Topics

Topics not covered by an existing course are offered as recommended by the Department and approved by the Dean.
Prerequisite: Permission of the graduate director 3-6 credits

SOC 604 Social Problems

This course provides an overview of contemporary U.S. social problems from a sociological perspective. In doing so, it utilizes Functionalist, Conflict and Interactionist sociological theories. Students will use these three main sociological approaches to comprehend and analyze social problems in American society from the individual to the structural level. The class functions as a seminar. Students make at least two presentations, analyzing selected social problems from the theoretical perspective of their choice.

SOC 612 Urban Ecology

Discuss extensively the development of urban society from village and city to modern metropolis, and the changing spatial distribution of people and institutions within the urban setting. Consideration, with an emphasis on the effects of urban life in American society, is given to the nature and importance of urbanism as a world phenomenon, the unprece-dented growth of urbanism during the past 100 years, and the complex structure of the modern metropolis.

SOC 613 Population Studies

This course provides students with an understanding of how rates of births, deaths, and migration interrelate with institutions in society, such as the family and the economy. In doing so, it examines the causes and consequences of population change and how social scientists can use census data and other social indicators to forecast population trends and their possible repercussions.

SOC 614 Modern Industrial Societies

Analyzes the impact of industrialization and urbanization on the contemporary world, and the elements of social relations that combine experience in human relations, including forms, organizations, personality types, political pressures, cultural values, and specific problems such as fatigue, automation, monotony, worker alienation, and use of leisure time. These elements comprise a three-part organization: the human factor, the limits of the human factor, and the impact of urban systems with society

SOC 621 Social Theory: Education

The course examines social theory as it applies to education. Sociological concepts including, stratification, race, class, status, roles, and socialization are analyzed from a variety of perspectives. The role of economics, politics, law, and religion in the development of educational policy and practice, are also explored. The raising of academic standards, teacher competence, home schooling, charter schools and other alternatives are topics of contemporary issues that would change to reflect changing educational reform movements.

SOC 630 Ethnic and Racial Experiences

This course explores the experiences of all racial and ethnic groups, from colonial beginnings to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on the recurring patterns in dominant-minority relations, differential power, and ethnic/racial diversity in U.S. society. The relationship of intercultural relations in U.S. schools is also discussed.

SOC 631 Diversity in American Family Patterns

This course examines the increasingly diverse patterns of family life in the United States. Both continuity and change of family forms are studied, with special focus on how social class, race, ethnicity, and definitions of gender shape family experiences and how cultural values, the economy, the political system, education, belief systems, and the level of industrialization shape family structures and functions and how families, in turn, influence social structures. The major forms of contemporary families such as cohabitation, marriage, separation, divorce, and remarriage will be explored, as will single parent families, two-income and two-career families, and single person households.

SOC 661 Organizations and Social Action

This course is a survey of organization theory, focusing on the variety of tools with which sociologists and others have approached the difficult task of characterizing and understanding large, complex organizations. It considers different theoretical perspectives, ranging from images of organizations as decision-making systems, to organizations as arenas for conflict over power and status, to organizations as elements in broader social and cultural milieus. This course focuses upon organizations as complex systems embedded within larger social and institutional environments, as well as organizations' abilities to promote and constrain social action.

SOC 691 Professional Internship I

Students will carry out a service learning placement in an agency/organization relevant to their area of study. Under the supervision of a faculty mentor and the on-site supervisor, students will engage in applying conceptual training to a practical problem while volunteering in the field. They will be required to submit a proposal for an applied project/deliverable while completing at least 128 contact hours at the placement. Students will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

SOC 692 Professional Internship II

Students will complete the applied project/deliverable for which they developed a proposal in Professional Internship I while carrying out at least 128 contact hours at their placement. They will be supervised by a professional within said agency and will submit the applied project/deliverable to the professional supervisor at the site and to the professor coordinating the internship program. both the faculty member supervising the internship program and a second reader will evaluate the project/deliverable and determine a grade for it.

SOC 698 Research Thesis

With the advice and supervision of a graduate faculty member, students are expected to conduct an in-depth analysis of a researchable sociological topic. Students will base their work on the proposal they developed in SOC 691.

SOC 700 Independent Study in Sociology

With the advice and supervision of a graduate faculty member, students can either pursue an area of sociological interest not covered in one of the courses or pursue in greater depth an area initially covered in another sociology course.