Courses - Fall 2021

SOC 1101 Introduction to Sociology

This course is a broad introduction to the field of sociology.  Course materials are designed to illustrate the distinctive features of the sociological perspective and to start you thinking sociologically about yourself and the broader social world.  To think sociologically is to recognize that being embedded in the world constrains behavior, and that individuals are both social actors and social products.  To think sociologically is also to recognize that our contemporary world, with its enduring cultural, political, and economic institutions, is as much a social product as we are.  We will begin by covering theoretical and methodological foundations of the sociological perspective.  We will go on to explore the concept of social stratification and will survey primary axes of social difference.  In the second half of the course we will look more closely at how individuals relate to each other, how social inequality is enacted and reinforced in everyday life, and at the way in which the organization of social life shapes individuals and groups, such as through social networks, residential neighborhoods, schooling, families, and on-line communication.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Landon Schnabel (ls964)
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SOC 1110 FWS: Writing Computers and Society
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Sullivan (jfs325)
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SOC 2070 Social Problems in the United States

"Social Problems in the U.S." teaches students how to think like a social scientist when encountering claims about major contemporary issues. Through readings and assignments, students develop an analytical toolkit for evaluating the scope, causes, consequences, and proposed solutions to a wide range of complicated social problems, such as: childhood poverty, racial segregation and discrimination, job insecurity, family instability, discrimination by sexual identity, unequal pay for women's work, gender imbalances in family life, health disparities, food insecurity, drug abuse, and educational inequality. Rather than cover all of these (and other) social problems in depth, the course emphasizes a conceptual framework that can be applied broadly. The semester culminates with a written proposal examining a social problem and developing an approach to address it with public policy.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Rich (pmr86)
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SOC 2090 Networks

This interdisciplinary course examines network structures and how they matter in everyday life. The course examines how each of the computing, economic, sociological and natural worlds are connected and how the structure of these connections affects each of these worlds. Tools of graph theory and game theory are taught and then used to analyze networks. Topics covered include the web, the small world phenomenon, markets, neural networks, contagion, search and the evolution of networks.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Easley (dae3)
Joe Halpern (jyh13)
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SOC 2150 Introduction to Organizations

In modern society, we all spend much of our lives participating in or interacting with organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. The ubiquity and variability of organizations result in a myriad of organizational challenges we regularly face. The goal of this introductory course is to help students gain understandings of the origins, structure, and dynamics of organizations and their relationships to their environment. It is designed to provide an exposure to multiple theories of organizations and within the context of changing technological, social, and political/legal environments and the globalization of the world economy. We will also apply organizational theories to a variety of empirical cases.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Sullivan (jfs325)
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SOC 2202 Population Dynamics

Introduction to population studies. The primary focus is on the relationships between demographic processes (fertility, mortality, and immigration) and social and economic issues. Discussion covers special topics related to population growth and spatial distribution, including marriage and family formation, population aging, changing roles and statuses of women, labor force participation, immigrations, urban growth and urbanization, resource allocation, and the environment.

Distribution: (CA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alaka Basu (ab54)
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SOC 2206 International Development

International development concerns the gains, losses and tensions associated with the process of social change - as it affects human populations, social institutions and the environment. This course considers development as an evolving world project and from the perspective of its social and ecological impact: asking questions about costs and benefits of economic growth, about the global context (geo-political, institutional, production, consumption, and discursive relations), and the sustainability of various models. We relate development trends in the South/Third World with those in the North/First World. We also examine shared, global issues, such as the environment, human rights, security, and their condition in different parts of the world. In examining development historically, we encourage students to situate trends shaping the twenty-first century world, and how they can contribute, as global citizens, to the ongoing debate about how to reformulate development as an inclusive an empowering social process. This course combines lectures with discussion, and uses films and section discussions to promote reflection on diversity of cultures and understandings of human development. It also includes a special component (access by instructor permission), in conjunction with Cornell's Writing in the Majors Program. This is worth an additional credit hour, and is for advanced students. These students will meet additionally in weekly sections with a Writing Instructor from Development Sociology for a special topic focus to enhance understanding of course material as well as writing skills.

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Juliet Lu (jnl89)
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SOC 2220 Controversies About Inequality

In recent years, poverty and inequality have become increasingly common topics of public debate, as academics, journalists, and politicians attempt to come to terms with growing income inequality, with the increasing visibility of inter-country differences in wealth and income, and with the persistence of racial, ethnic, and gender stratification. This course introduces students to ongoing social scientific debates about the sources and consequences of inequality, as well as the types of public policy that might appropriately be pursued to reduce (or increase) inequality. These topics will be addressed in related units, some of which include guest lectures by faculty from other universities (funded by the Center for the Study of Inequality). Each unit culminates with a highly spirited class discussion and debate.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
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SOC 2810 Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives

This introductory course introduces students to issues and debates related to international migration and will provide an interdisciplinary foundation to understanding the factors that shape migration flows and migrant experiences.  We will start by reviewing theories of the state and historical examples of immigrant racialization and exclusion in the United States and beyond.  We will critically examine the notions of borders, citizenship/non-citizenship, and the creation of diasporas.  Students will also hear a range of perspectives by exposing them to Cornell guest faculty who do research and teach on migration across different disciplines and methodologies and in different world areas. Examples include demographic researchers concerned with immigrant inequality and family formation, geographic perspectives on the changing landscapes of immigrant metropolises, legal scholarship on the rights of immigrant workers, and the study of immigrant culture from a feminist studies lens.  Offered each fall semester.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Shannon Gleeson (smg338)
Full details for SOC 2810 : Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives
SOC 3010 Statistics for Sociological Research

This course will introduce students to the theory and mathematics of statistical analysis. Many decisions made by ourselves and others around us are based on statistics, yet few people have a solid grip on the strengths and limitations of these techniques. This course will provide a firm foundation for statistical reasoning and logical inference using probability. While there is math in this course, it is not a math class per se, as a considerable amount of attention is devoted to interpreting statistics as well as calculating them.

Distribution: (MQR-AS, SDS-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Barum Park (bp522)
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SOC 3130 Sociology of Medicine

This course provides an introduction to the ways in which medical practice, the medical profession, and medical technology are embedded in society and culture. We will ask how medicine is connected to various sociocultural factors such as gender, social class, race, and administrative cultures. We will examine the rise of medical sociology as a discipline, the professionalization of medicine, and processes of medicalization and demedicalization. We will look at alternative medical practices and how they differ from and converge with the dominant medical paradigm. We will focus on the rise of medical technology in clinical practice with a special emphases on reproductive technologies. We will focus on the body as a site for medical knowledge, including the medicalization of sex differences, the effect of culture on nutrition, and eating disorders such as obesity and anorexia nervosa. We will also read various classic and contemporary texts that speak to the illness experience and the culture of surgeons, hospitals, and patients, and we will discuss various case studies in the social construction of physical and mental illness.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
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SOC 3150 Research Design, Practice, and Policy

Examines systematic approaches for addressing questions about poverty, family life, racial inequality, and a range of other issues central to public policy. It emphasizes the logic and methods of social science research, including the measurement of social phenomena, generalizing results to groups of interest, establishing cause and effect, social experiments, survey research, and qualitative methods. It develops skills to critically evaluate the research of others and provides hands-on experience applying research methods to policy-related problems.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Marie Joy Arguillas (mba6)
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SOC 3250 Neighborhoods, Housing, and Urban Policy

This course considers the dynamics of housing markets and neighborhoods in American metropolitan areas and the public policies designed to regulate them.  In the first part of the course, we examine the social and economic forces at work in metropolitan neighborhoods, focusing on trends in spatial inequality, segregation, and neighborhood effects. In the second part of the course, we examine the historical evolution of federal and local policies related to subsidized housing, homeownership, and land regulation and analyze empirical debates surrounding the effectiveness of such policies.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Laura Tach (lmt88)
Full details for SOC 3250 : Neighborhoods, Housing, and Urban Policy
SOC 3360 Evolving Families: Challenges to Public Policy

Examines the social institution of the family, challenges to the institution's well-being and stability, and the role of public policy in these transformations. Topics include family structure and responsibilities; marriage as a traditional building block of the family and challenges to the institution of marriage, including divorce, nonmarital childbearing, cohabitation, and same-sex unions; children, and the impact of family change on their wellbeing, including the effects of child poverty, maternal employment, and paternal involvement. The role of public policy in managing and shaping these developments is discussed.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sharon Sassler (ss589)
Full details for SOC 3360 : Evolving Families: Challenges to Public Policy
SOC 3400 Labor and Migration in Asian America

How do we make sense of the competing and often contradictory narratives about Asian Americans? For example, Asian Americans are cast as the model minority and as perpetual foreigners. If we take a social scientific approach to exploring this question, labor and migration emerge as two key social phenomena that undergird these narratives. A closer examination reveals how they impact almost every aspect of Asian American political and economic life: education, neighborhoods, entrepreneurship, the military, family, citizenship, and community organizing. By synthesizing multi-disciplinary social science research, we will better understand the ways Asian Americans shape and are shaped by racial logics and will locate Asian America within broader discussions around colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and inequality.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Juhwan Seo (js2583)
Full details for SOC 3400 : Labor and Migration in Asian America
SOC 3430 Transformation of Socialist Societies

Three decades from the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have gained broad perspective on the challenges of societal transformations away from socialism.  This course explores the process and social consequences of opening the economies of Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and China to market forces.  We will answer questions about how individuals and social systems respond to the particular challenges of rapid economic and political openings, including growing inequality, demographic challenges, and corruption.  We will compare the Eastern European and Post-Soviet experiences of these issues with the Chinese experience, and highlight the similarities and distinctions between transformations in these societies.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Patricia Young (pty6)
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SOC 3580 Big Data on the Social World

This course showcases frontier research that uses big data and graphical analysis to understand our social world. Topics include inequality and opportunity, success in higher education, the gender wage gap, taxing the rich, Chinese censorship, the spread of false news, online dating, and other issues relevant to contemporary society. Although this is not a statistical methods course, prior training in data science (e.g., CS 1380/ORIE 1380/STSCI 1380) or quantitative methods for the social sciences is highly recommended.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SDS-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
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SOC 3680 Comparative Corruption

Corruption, and the perception of corruption, pervades many aspects of society and has become a source of political protest around the world. This course focuses on the similarities and differences between forms, causes, and effects of corruption in various environments. The course starts with a discussion of the definitions, causes, and effects of corruption across countries, and then turns to particular forms and contexts where corruption is observed: for example, developed and developing countries, conflict-ridden societies, and international investment. We will also discuss some of the potential solutions to corruption and their costs and benefits for political and civil society.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, GLC-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Patricia Young (pty6)
Full details for SOC 3680 : Comparative Corruption
SOC 3750 Classical Sociological Theory

Introduction to the classics in sociology, primarily works by Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Georg Simmel. Students also study the works of Alexis de Tocqueville, Montesquieu, and Joseph Schumpeter. Special emphasis is put on the concepts, ideas, and modes of explanation that characterize the classics. Students also look at these writers' empirical material, and what may be termed the social construction of the classics. Course requirements include active class participation and three tests in class.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mabel Berezin (mmb39)
Full details for SOC 3750 : Classical Sociological Theory
SOC 4010 Diasporic and Indigenous Health

Rates of chronic disease and other health conditions, including mental illness and substance use disorders, have surged over the past three decades, owing largely to structural factors associated with the fragmentation of national healthcare systems, diminished social support networks, and government subsidization of unhealthy foods and hazardous pharmaceuticals. These issues are especially amplified in ethnoracial communities: for example, Blacks and Latinos typically have higher rates of disease in comparison to their non-Black counterparts, even after adjusting for factors such as income and education level. This course investigates the complex political, economic and cultural forces which contribute to health inequities. Students will be exposed to case studies throughout various diasporas—from Harlem to Cape Town—to understand the intricate ways in which race and health interact.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for SOC 4010 : Diasporic and Indigenous Health
SOC 4290 Moving Pictures and a Changing Society

American society has evolved dramatically over the last century while retaining distinctive ideals and social tensions. Rural communities have given way to digital worlds, pork barrel politics to polarization, and fixed conceptions of sexuality to fluid ones. At the same time, the country is marked by a longstanding celebrity culture, frontier mindset, and enduring conflicts around class, race, and gender. The class seeks insight into complex patterns of social change through the lens of film. Each week we watch a movie made in a given historical period, and read from the sociological literature of that period. The course travels about a decade per week, covering films from the Silent Era up to the present, watching films such as Modern Times (1936), Double Indemnity (1944), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The President's Analyst (1967), Taxi Driver(1976), She's Gotta Have It (1986), American Beauty (1999), District 9 (2009), Her (2013).

Distribution: (SBA-AS, HST-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Strang (ds20)
Full details for SOC 4290 : Moving Pictures and a Changing Society
SOC 4330 Seminar in Economy and Society

Economic sociology extends the sociological perspective to the study economic life. The seminar examines the view that social networks, norms, beliefs and rules motivate and enable economic action in market and nonmarket settings. It integrates the study of ideas and theory in economic sociology with a practicum providing training in the craft of research. Designed for advanced undergraduates interesting in research and graduate students who seek training in economic sociology, the seminar offers a year-long workshop environment enabling and guiding independent and collaborative research.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Victor Nee (vgn1)
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SOC 4370 Sociology of Sex and Gender

This course provides an introduction to the theoretical and empirical literature on the sociology of sex and gender. The readings cover theory and methods, feminism, masculinity, intersectionality, international/comparative perspectives, gender roles, and recent sociological research in this area.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Vida Maralani (vm343)
Full details for SOC 4370 : Sociology of Sex and Gender
SOC 4540 Fascism, Nationalism and Populism

This course a offers comparative political sociology of democratic and non-democratic institutions in the United States and beyond. Topics will include nationalism, fascism and populism. My focus will be contemporary politics but we will also look at historical fascism. Students will write seminar papers that are based on class exercises.  It will be a hands-on seminar with multiple course materials—scholarly articles, films, novels, and the occasional guest lecturer.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mabel Berezin (mmb39)
Full details for SOC 4540 : Fascism, Nationalism and Populism
SOC 4910 Independent Study

This is for undergraduates who wish to obtain research experience or to do extensive reading on a special topic.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Mabel Berezin (mmb39)
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SOC 4950 Honors Research

Students choose a sociology faculty member to work with on research to write an honors thesis. Candidates for honors must maintain a cumulative GPA at least an A- in all sociology classes.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
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SOC 4960 Honors Thesis: Senior Year

Continuation of SOC 4950.  Continue to work with honors supervisor and work on and write an honors thesis.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Cristobal Young (cy469)
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SOC 5010 Basic Problems in Sociology I

 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Victor Nee (vgn1)
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SOC 5190 Workshop on Social Inequality

This course provides a forum in which students and others can present, discuss, and receive instant feedback on their inequality-related research. Its primary goals is to help students advance their own research; its secondary goal is to introduce selected debates in the contemporary inequality literature in a more comprehensive fashion that is possible in the introductory graduate-level seminar on inequality.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Vida Maralani (vm343)
Full details for SOC 5190 : Workshop on Social Inequality
SOC 6000 Doing Research With Marginalized Populations

This course covers the basic epistemology for social sciences research, integrating an explicit focus on applied mixed methods approaches (quantitative and qualitative) for conducting original "real world" research on humans. While these cognates will be approached theoretically, the course's concentration will be on the praxis of quantifying and contextualizing the experiences, attitudes, and outcomes of historically marginalized and "hidden" populations, including people who are Black, Latinx and indigenous, LGBTQ+,  and individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder, with an intersectional lens. While not offering an exhaustive review of individual quantitative and qualitative methodologies, students will learn the fundamentals of curating a research framework on marginalized and hidden populations, engaging and recruiting people into their studies, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating research findings.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jerel Ezell (jme246)
Full details for SOC 6000 : Doing Research With Marginalized Populations
SOC 6010 Statistics for Sociological Research

Sociological theory relies on the analysis of data to make claims about how the world works. This course will provide students with a firm understanding of how to analyze data quantitatively to inform theory. Although this is not a mathematics course, students will learn about the concepts and mechanics that underlie statistical procedures and regression models that are prominent in quantitative sociological research. Students will also have a first-hand opportunity to analyze data that speaks to questions that they are interested in.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Barum Park (bp522)
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SOC 6080 Proseminar in Sociology

Discussion of the current state of sociology and of the research interests of members of the graduate field; taught by all members of the field.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Erin York Cornwell (eyc46)
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SOC 6150 Qualitative, Survey, and Mixed Method Approaches to Policy Research

Introduces students to theories and methods of data collection techniques such as in-depth interviews, ethnography, focus groups, and surveys as well as mixed-method approaches used in policy and evaluation research. Addresses the strengths and weaknesses of various methods and the design of qualitative and mixed-method studies. Covers epistemology, ethics, induction and deduction, measurement, validity, and triangulation. Also discusses more concrete issues such as gaining access to a field site, developing a qualitative interview guide and survey questionnaire, conducting a qualitative interview, managing data, and assessing data quality.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Maureen Waller (mrw37)
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SOC 6320 Inside Technology

Rather than analyze the social impact of technology upon society, this course investigates how society gets inside technology. In other words, is it possible that the very design of technologies embody assumptions about the nature of society? And, if so, are alternative technologies, which embody different assumptions about society, possible? Do engineers have implicit theories about society? Is technology gendered? How can we understand the interaction of society and technology? Throughout the course the arguments are illustrated by detailed examinations of particular technologies, such as the ballistic missile, the bicycle, the electric car, and the refrigerator.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
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SOC 6420 Sociology of Diffusion

Diffusion - the spread of social practices - is of central interest for the way it combines attention to social structure and social change. The course reviews theory and method in both classic and contemporary diffusion studies. Theoretical perspectives include choice-theoretic ideas about the gains to mimicry under uncertainty, network analysis of the relational structures that facilitate diffusion, and institutional accounts of the way actors interpret and normalize social practices. Methodological approaches include analysis of the distribution of adoption times, event history models of individual adoption, spatial correlation, simulation, and process tracing. Discussion of statistical methods is introduced with a focus on concepts, and is designed to be accessible to doctoral students regardless of prior coursework in multivariate data analysis.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Strang (ds20)
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SOC 6520 Culture Wars in the Age of Tribal Politics

Political and cultural polarization have steadily increased in the three decades since Patrick Buchanan declared a "cultural war for the soul of America." Concerns include echo chambers, filter bubbles, and increasingly vitriolic discourse, with the cumulative potential to erode democratic institutions. The first half of the semester explores the definition, types, measures, dynamics, and consequences of partisan cultural alignment. The second half addresses the causes, diffusion, and consequences of polarization. Readings will include theoretical models and empirical studies of opinion cascades, identity politics, motivated reasoning, network homophily, echo chambers, filter bubbles, social contagion, conformity, and cultural cognition. Weekly discussions will grapple with a range of questions, including: What is polarization? Is it the tendency for opinions to be extreme, with the disappearance of a consensual middle ground, or is it the tendency for substantively unrelated opinions to become correlated? Did polarization emerge from the top down, beginning with political and cultural elites, or from the bottom up, through the self-reinforcing dynamics of network homophily and peer influence? Do social media and cable news contribute to polarization or merely reflect it? Can polarization be reversed, and if not, what are the implications for democratic institutions?

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Michael Macy (mwm14)
Full details for SOC 6520 : Culture Wars in the Age of Tribal Politics
SOC 6610 Text and Networks in Social Science Research

This is a course on networks and text in quantitative social science. The course will cover published research using text and social network data, focusing on health, politics, and everyday life, and it will introduce methods and approaches for incorporating high-dimensional data into familiar research designs. Students will evaluate past studies and propose original research.

Distribution: (SBA-HE)
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Will Hobbs (wrh75)
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SOC 6910 Independent Study

For graduates who wish to obtain research experience or to do extensive reading on a special topic. Permission to enroll for independent study is granted only to students who present an acceptable prospectus and secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as supervisor for the project throughout the semester.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Erin York Cornwell (eyc46)
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SOC 8910 Graduate Research

Work with a faculty member on a project that is related to your dissertation work.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Erin York Cornwell (eyc46)
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SOC 8950 Thesis Research

Work with chair of your committee on your dissertation work.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Michael Macy (mwm14)
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