SOC-151: Contemporary Social Problems

Liberal Arts
Social Sciences
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Contemporary Social Problems
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
Catalog Course Description

Focuses on current social problems and issues facing American society. Students investigate a series of important problems, including poverty, urban decline, family instability, crime and discrimination, by using a sociological perspective. The primary goals of this course are increasing student awareness of the causes of social problems and investigating possible solutions.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Using the sociological imagination to understand social problems (objectives 1,6)
  2. The social construction of social problems (2,6)
  3. The role of power in social problems (3)
  4. Problems of racial inequality (3,6)
  5. Problems of class inequality (3,6)
  6. Problems of gender inequality (3,6)
  7. Theoretical perspectives on social problems (4)
  8. Identification and understanding of specific social problems (5)
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Explain the difference between an individual-based approach to studying social problems and a sociological approach.
Provide examples of how social problems are socially constructed, varying between cultures, across time, and between individuals.
Describe how power (especially as power relates to class, race, and gender) plays a role in the U.S.’s identification of social problems.
Describe how sociological theories examine and explain contemporary social problems.
Identify and explain several contemporary social problems facing U.S. society.
Analyze how an individual’s identification of social problems is linked to their values and to their background (i.e., their class, race, gender, etc.).*

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.


General Education Categories
  • Social Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
MTA Categories
  • Category 4: Social Sciences

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2014
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Fall 2014