Exploring Sociology at Cornell

Uris Hall in fall

If you think you may be interested in sociology… take a class!

Many students tell us that they didn’t know how much they loved sociology until they took a course. Because of this, we recommend that you take a Sociology course early in your undergraduate career – ideally within your first year at Cornell.

A great place to start is SOC 1101, “Introduction to Sociology.”

Introduction to Sociology is the foundational course for the major and it provides a broad overview of the field. This course will orient you to the sociological perspective, the “big questions” in sociology, and the research methods that we use.

(Note that SOC 1101 is not the same as DSOC 1101, which is offered by the Department of Development Sociology in CALS. Students may not earn credit for both SOC 1101 and DSOC 1101. If you are a student in the College of Arts & Sciences who is interested in majoring in Sociology, you should take SOC 1101 rather than DSOC 1101.)

You could begin with one of our larger, lower-level courses that are focused around sub-areas within sociology.

Rather than providing a broad overview of the whole discipline of sociology, these courses would familiarize you with sociological perspectives and approaches to research within a particular area or topic. For example, you might try:

  • SOC 1104: Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
  • SOC 2190: Introduction to Economic Sociology
  • SOC 2150: Introduction to Organizations
  • SOC 2208: Social Inequality
  • SOC 2220: Controversies about Inequality
  • SOC 2480: Politics and Culture

Or you could try one of our courses that are more narrowly focused around social issues.

A number of our smaller courses delve into particular topics, many of which are related to current social issues and give you the opportunity to develop a sociological research paper. For example, you could start with:

  • SOC 2090: Networks
  • SOC 2250: Schooling and Society
  • SOC 2460: Drugs and Society
  • SOC 2560: Sociology of Law
  • SOC 2810: Migration: Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives
  • SOC 3120: Urban Sociology
  • SOC 3160: Social Context and Health
  • SOC 3580: Big Data on the Social World
  • SOC 3380: Urban Inequality
  • SOC 3650: Sociology of Disasters
  • SOC 4370: Sociology of Sex and Gender

Any of the courses listed above would count toward satisfying the Sociology major – if you decide to pursue it. And, each of these courses count toward the “Social Sciences” (SSC-AS) distributional requirement for the College of Arts & Sciences. Some also count toward the "Social Difference" (SD-AS) or "Statistics and Data Science" (SDS-AS) distributional requirements for the College of Arts & Sciences."

Our course offerings change and new courses are often introduced, so you should consult our current course listings when deciding on your classes.  If you have questions, or if you still aren’t sure where to start, contact Professor Cristobal Young, the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The pages linked at left provide more information about the requirements for the sociology major and admissions procedures.