2023-2024 Catalog


Sociology is concerned primarily with the scientific study of social groups and social relations. Sociologists seek to understand how societies, institutions, organizations and other social forces shape and are shaped by individuals. One of the department's primary aims is to provide students with the analytical critical skills needed to understand and evaluate social institutions and social change more effectively.

The sociology faculty complement one another in a way that allows them to offer a varied range of courses. Courses reflect a growing interest and focus in the discipline on disadvantaged groups and classes of people and the ways they interact with social institutions. Occidental's proximity to Los Angeles, one of the most ethnically and economically diverse cities in the world, makes this focus all the more appropriate and provides students with the opportunity to observe many of these social phenomena firsthand.

Sociology majors will receive excellent preparation for graduate and professional study in sociology, law, social work, journalism, public health, business management, teaching, public administration, and other fields that require the ability to think critically, analytically, and ethically about a wide range of social issues in the search for viable solutions. While the department is committed to providing majors with the best possible preparation for careers in sociology and related fields, it is equally committed to providing non-majors with knowledge of social life as well as evaluative and analytical skills from which they will benefit in their chosen field of study and their careers in an increasingly diverse and complex world.