About the Department

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Our Mission Statement

In its mission statement, the Department of Sociology:

"...expects its students to be able to think within a sociological framework and to develop a broader social consciousness through the use of basic theories, concepts, and research skills in the discipline.  The Department also expects our graduates to be able to recognize the subfields that comprise the discipline and to have a basic understanding of the historical roots of the discipline.  The Department's undergraduate curriculum is organized around the interrelated themes of diversity and inequality in societies across time and place.  In emphasizing such themes the department is preparing students for understanding and dealing with the ways in which social diversity and social inequality will influence their own lives as well as the organization and processes of change in the larger society. 

"Within the context of the general liberal arts degree, we expect our students to develop skills for critical thinking, to know techniques for designing and carrying out research, to know how to apply various statistical procedures for analyzing data, to be able to evaluate research and argumentation to assess the validity of knowledge claims, and to enhance their writing and other communications skills."

As such, the faculty in the Department of Sociology at the University of Louisville focus their research and teaching around the theme of diversity and inequality, which is concerned with the significant ways in which people and groups differ from one another, particularly in terms of race and ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, and other salient social characteristics. This is increasingly important as diverse groups endeavor to overcome inequality, and as society and social institutions work to embrace diverse cultures and populations. Thus the department strives to advance understandings of the sociological foundations of inequality as sources of conflict among diverse groups.

The study of diversity and inequality also includes an examination of the important contributions various social groups have made to society, the barriers to their full participation in society, and the efforts they have made to achieve equality. An appreciation of the nature and consequences of diversity and inequality is essential for understanding social forces and social structures, as well as group processes and organizational dynamics and the way these affect individual life chances. By focusing on diversity and inequality, the Department of Sociology helps to advance a deeper, and often a counter-intuitive understanding of inequality - which is essential to the effective formulation and implementation of democratic social policy and is relevant to many careers, including those in research, academia, business, law, social services, medicine, and government.

Our Degree Programs

The Department of Sociology’s focus on diversity and inequality is reflected in the courses that are offered, which are wide-ranging.  At the undergraduate-level, courses include:  aging, criminology, economic life, deviance, death and dying, education, environment, families, gender, global poverty, human sexuality, juvenile delinquency, leisure, race and ethnicity, social problems, social stratification, sport, urban sociology,  and women's health -- to name but a few.  At the graduate-level, courses include a strong emphasis on research methodologies and statistical analyses, and the doctoral program emphasizes continued exploration of methodology and theory, while also advancing understanding of social policy, social stratification, and the fundamental assumptions of sociology.

The University of Louisville offers the following degrees:  bachelor of arts and bachelor of science (including an online bachelor of arts),  master of arts, and doctor of philosophy.  If you have questions about any of these degree programs, contact Dr. Jonetta Weber, Director of Academic Services for Sociology.

Our Instructors

The Department of Sociology has 15 full-time faculty who teach in our undergraduate and graduate programs and work with our graduate students, eleven of whom are graduate teaching assistants/fellows and some of whom teach in the department, as well.  We also have several adjunct faculty, all of whom are either alumni of our graduate programs or have been teaching for the department for many years.

The Department of Sociology is a member of the College of Arts & Sciences
and not affiliated with the Kent School of Social Work.