SOC-131: Introduction to Sociology

Liberal Arts
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Introduction to Sociology
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-093 or ENG-094 eligible
Catalog Course Description

Introduces the sociological approach to understanding culture and society. Examines human behavior in a group context, focusing on the prominent influence of culture and social structure on individuals. Connections between individuals and a variety of social institutions, such as the economy, government, and mass media, are examined and compared in U.S. society and on a global scale. Focuses on cultural diversity and social inequalities, such as those related to class, race, ethnicity and gender.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Introduction to the Sociological Perspective/Imagination
    1. Describe what it means to use the sociological perspective.
    2. Describe what it means to say that reality is socially constructed.
    3. Distinguish between different approaches/theories in sociology.
  2. Culture
    1. Illustrate ways that culture influences human behavior.
    2. Describe ethnocentrism.
    3. Discuss and illustrate major cultural components that shape social life contemporary U.S. society (e.g. values, norms, symbols, language) – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Culture.
  3. Social Structure
    1. Define and illustrate statuses and roles.
    2. Describe characteristics of social structure at the micro level, e.g. social groups.
    3. Describe one major social institution (e.g. economy, political system, family, health care system, religion, etc.) and how it shapes social life in contemporary U.S. society. – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Institutions.
  4. Research Methods
    1. Describe the characteristics of participant observation/ethnographic methods.
    2. Describe the characteristics of experimental methods.
    3. Describe the characteristics of survey research methods.
  5. Social Stratification and Social Class Inequality
    1. Describe social stratification.
    2. Identify social classes in the United States.
    3. Distinguish social stratification from social mobility.
  6. Gender Inequality
    1. Distinguish between sex and gender.
    2. Illustrate the process of gender role socialization.
    3. Describe patterns of gender inequality in the United States.
  7. Racial/Ethnic Inequality
    1. Distinguish between race and ethnicity.
    2. Identify historical patterns of racial/ethnic inequality.
    3. Identify and discuss major issues related to racial/ethnic/cultural diversity in the U.S. today. – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Diverse Populations.
  8. Critical Thinking Learning Objective*
    1. Demonstrate the use of a sociological perspective, by explaining and illustrating the application of sociological concepts in the analysis of a reading, video or classroom activity.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement
  • Each instructor will identify and implement appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course.
  • All instructors teaching SOC 131 will include a set of common multiple-choice and one essay question on the final exam.
  • A panel of instructors will assess a sample of the essay questions each year using a common rubric.

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2016
ILT Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date