Graduate Course Descriptions

Sociology Graduate Course Descriptions

MA Courses imageThese courses are required by the MA degree:

SOC 604 Proseminar in Sociology-MA (offered each fall)
This course orients students to the graduate program requirements, discusses the expectations for and responsibilities of graduate students, provides information and tools for successful completion of their degree, and encourages professional development, which involves socialization into the department, the field of sociology, and academia at large.  (For more information, contact .)

SOC 609 Statistics I (offered each fall)
This course is an entry-level graduate statistics course aimed at preparing students to understand the basics of statistical analyses. Initially, we will complete an introduction and tutorial to Stata, the statistical analysis software that will be used throughout the semester. Next, we will spend time learning how to prepare, transform and manage your data for statistical analyses. The course content also covers how to properly conduct descriptive statistics and test hypotheses using the appropriate statistical tests, such as chi-square, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and t-tests.

The remainder of the course will be spent on exploring relationships between variables via linear and multiple regression analyses. Though previous experience with Stata is not required, students are expected to have completed an undergraduate-level introductory statistics course. By the end of the semester, students should be able to a) manage and analyze data within Stata, b) conduct and accurately interpret univariate and bivariate statistical analyses, c) conduct and interpret ordinary least squares (OLS) and multiple regression analyses, and d) be able to craft a research question and analyze, interpret and visually present the results.  (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .)

SOC 615 Research Methods (offered each fall)
This course builds upon previous preparation that graduate students have had in undergraduate research methods.  Intended primarily for masters’ students to prepare them for more in-depth coursework, it guides students through the initial processes of conceptualizing and developing empirical quantitative and qualitative studies. We explore best practices in social science research and examine strategies to improve less than stellar approaches to research. Students will read seminal texts, participate in hands-on exercises (both in- and out-of-class), and develop a final project. The purpose of this course is to strengthen students’ conceptual and writing skills, offer students opportunities to practice working with the designs and techniques of a range of methodological approaches, and prepare students for more in-depth exploration of quantitative (e.g., survey) and qualitative methods provided in subsequent graduate-level courses. (For more information, contact .) 

SOC 618 Qualitative Research Methods (offered each spring)
This course is designed to train students in several qualitative research methods, sampling, and data analysis techniques.  Over the course of the semester, students will have an opportunity to pilot a research study from start to finish, present their work to the class, receive feedback from the professor and classmates, and learn through an active process of constructing new knowledge. By the end of the course, students will have engaged in the following: conducted participant observational research or a content analysis, learned to take jottings and turn them into field notes, conducted several in-depth interviews, and learned how to code and analyze your data to identify emergent patterns, concepts, and theoretical ideas.  

Additionally, they will have learned sampling methods and when and why to use these and the various data gathering methods you will learn.  In sum, students will understand the basic data gathering and data analysis techniques of qualitative methods for the development of grounded theory, using a “standpoint” or “emic” perspective; and be capable of designing and carrying out a qualitative study of their own, using these methods as they are scientifically appropriate.   (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .)

SOC 622 Survey Research and Design (offered each spring)
This course will cover comprehensive survey planning, including ethical issues paramount to survey-based research; pros and cons of various modes of administration; instrument design (operationalizing concepts and constructs into measures, question design considerations, response choices, optimizing layout, etc.); pretesting (such as focus groups and cognitive interviews); sampling (including error estimation and power analysis); and administration procedures (e.g., interviewer training, follow-ups, strategies to boost response rates, third party survey platforms/tools).

While students will not have time over the duration of the course to administer a survey (let alone submit and clear an IRB protocol for a research project), they will have gained the skills necessary to design and administer their own survey.  (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact )

SOC 655 Social Problems (offered each spring)
This course is designed to encourage students to apply theories and concepts to understand social problems in a local context. Students will be able to define what constitutes a social problem, demonstrate the ability to connect data on Louisville and the surrounding area to structural explanations for each social problem, and explain how two or more social problems are connected.

During the course, students will engage in in-depth investigations of selected social problems relevant to the Louisville metro area and/or to the Kentucky/Southern Indiana region. For each selected social problem, they will 1) read several articles/book chapters covering theories/concepts that are critical for understanding the social problem; 2) be introduced to qualitative and/or quantitative empirical information describing the social problem; 3) be introduced to local government agencies and non-profit organizations that are attempting to address the social problem, and 4) discuss the differential impacts of the social problem from an intersectionality framework. Each module will be covered over a two-week period, with the first week dedicated to theory/concepts and the second week dedicated to data/solutions. (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .)

Additional Courses
MA students will also take two special topics courses - one on a social institution and one of the following (which will rotate each year):  SOC 675 Social Inequality and Stratification, SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity, and SOC 635 Sociology of Gender.  The cohort entering the MA program in Fall, 2022 will take SOC 630 Sociology of Education and SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity in Fall, 2022.

SOC 630 Sociology of Education (offered Fall, 2022)
Education occupies a central role in our society as the site of both social reproduction and social mobility. To understand this, we must consider how America’s goals for mass public education are intricately linked to prevailing political, economic, and social ideologies. We will analyze the processes and structures within the educational system as related to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequality. We will also discuss the ways in which student and family resources,  social backgrounds, and conditions interact with schools and the processes and practices that affect racial/ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students and families, while paying attention to intersectional dimensions of inequality.  (For more information, contact .)

SOC 635 Sociology of Gender (offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2024)
This course examines the ways in which gender structures social life on both the micro level of individual experience and the macro level of social structure.  Students will discuss theoretical perspectives on the development of gender and gender stereotypes and explore scientific research and perspectives on gender differences and similarities.  The course will also examine the structural foundations and theoretical explanations of gender inequality, as well as the intersectionality of gender and other social locations and identities. 

SOC 675 Social Inequality and Stratification (formerly SOC 760, offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2023)
This course examines the sociology of social stratification and inequality in the U.S. Social stratification along class, race, citizenship or legality, and gender lines manifest through inequality within and between social groups in terms of economic, cultural, and social resources, power, and domination. Scholars and policy makers have long been interested in the causes, consequences, and solutions to inequality. Yet, the social complexities that underlie persistent inequality are challenging to understand and address, particularly in the context of economic, political, and social changes. As such, students will tackle several fundamental questions: What are social inequality and stratification? How do they arise? Why do they persist over time? What are their effects on individual life opportunities and chances? How have groups, organizations, and programs organized to ameliorate inequality? Can (and how should) societies work to eliminate social inequalities, and if so, which types?  

SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity (offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2022)
Over a century of sociological work on the question of race has led us to a similar conclusion, that race and ethnicity still play a tremendous role in society. Yet, how does and ethnicity matter in today’s society? How are ideas about difference strengthened or challenged through social experiences, institutions, and ideologies? What are the social, political, and ethical consequences of mis-understanding the continued salience today? This seminar will focus on the role race and ethnicity plays in the production of social ideals, the making of citizens, and our everyday lived experiences.  The course will begin with an examination of race today, through the exchanges of difference and power, and continue toward a deeper sociological appreciation of the contemporary functions through which race and ethnicity continue to be made and remade within society.

 

To access the University's course schedule, visit this site.


PhD Courses imageThese courses are required for the PhD in applied sociology:

SOC 704 Proseminar in Sociology-PhD
This course orients students to the graduate program requirements, discusses the expectations for and responsibilities of graduate students, provides information and tools for successful completion of their degree, and encourages professional development, which involves socialization into the department, the field of sociology, and academia at large.  (NOTE that students who took SOC 604 as an MA student are not required to take SOC 704.  (For more information, contact .)

SOC 710 Statistics II (formerly SOC 610)
Even researchers who never conduct quantitative research need to be literate in these techniques to understand and evaluate others’ work. One goal of this course is for students to develop that quantitative literacy. A second and equally important goal for this course is to use multivariate techniques as a vehicle for helping students make “the empirical turn,” i.e., through this course they will learn to incorporate empirical data analysis into their work – and, in the process, become more familiar with the structure of scientific presentations and the role of data analysis in these presentations. 

This course, then, provides a review of multivariate analytic techniques and a brief introduction to modeling procedures in the social sciences. Students will learn to correctly identify the general class of statistical model appropriate to several types of dependent variables; write STATA syntax to execute ordinary least squares, binary logistic, multinomial logistic, ordered logistic, Poisson, and negative binomial regression models; use the key robustness checks for each type of regression and know what, if anything, can be done to overcome problems uncovered by the robustness checks; and know how to communicate the results of multivariate regression models to a scientific audience both orally and through written work.  (For more information, contact .)

SOC 715 Statistics III (formerly SOC 611)
This course is intended to help students analyze two or more dependent variables simultaneously; however, as a survey course, it cannot treat the universe of all multivariate procedures.  Therefore, topics were selected based on those multivariate techniques which sociology graduate students are most likely to encounter and use and which are more appropriate for larger samples.  Presentation of material will have an applied focus in which students will analyze data with Stata software and present findings in tabular, graphical, and textual formats. As appropriate, students will be required to critique how other researchers have carried out analyses and presented their findings in journal articles. This course will also emphasize the sometimes overlooked art of interpreting statistics, or “telling the story” of the data. 

The course will begin by defining multivariate statistics and assessing the landscape of possible applications. In what should largely constitute a review for you, we summarize multiple regression, significance testing, the logic of bootstrapping, ANOVA/ANCOVA, and data preparation checks to ensure that data/variables are compatible with your planned analyses. The first substantive topic is cluster analysis, which explores how cases may be classified empirically into groups using multiple criteria, and then the course segues into exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, with the latter being especially useful for our in-depth treatment of structural equation modeling (SEM). SEM permits users to estimate statistics for latent variables and perform causal model exploration and testing, and the course will treat path analysis, particularly as a special case of SEM.  (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .)

SOC 735 Classical Theory (offered every other year fall semester; however, this course will be offered in Spring, 2023 during the 22-23 and then again in Fall, 2024)
This course focuses on some of the classical sociological theories that have provided the framework for sociological work and will examine the perspectives of influential theorists whose ideas have shaped and are still shaping the discipline of sociology.  The course is designed to motivate students to systematically read and comprehend primary texts written by influential social thinkers and explore the social world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the ramifications of these explanations for today’s social world.  Ultimately, students will be expected to identify each theory regarding its concepts, logic, analytical assumptions, and implications and develop a comparative understanding of classical theoretical frameworks.  (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .) 

SOC 738 Contemporary Theory (formerly SOC 628, offered every other fall semester beginning Fall, 2023)
This course is designed to introduce students to key bodies of contemporary sociological theory to provide a foundation upon which they can build their theoretical understandings of the social world.   By the end of the course, students should be able to identify, define, explain, apply and provide original examples of key contemporary sociological concepts and theories, and compare and contrast theories and combine concepts from different theories into a synthetic theoretical framework.  (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .) 

SOC 740 Social Policy (offered every other spring semester beginning Spring, 2023)
This course examines the main areas of social policy from an interdisciplinary perspective with emphasis on a variety of sociological approaches to policy-making and evaluation. In addition to the traditional survey of U.S. health, education, and welfare policy, the course will weave questions of sustainability throughout the course. Over the semester, students will gain a critical understanding of how to study and evaluate social policy, learning how to apply key theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to questions related to social policy, as well as how present their work in a public forum. They will also gain experience in facilitating in-depth critical discussions of difficult social problems and produce a research paper of near publishable quality by the end of the semester. Students taking this course are expected to have a basic understanding of social science research methods and theory and will be encouraged to bring other approaches to the seminar. (For more information or to gain permission to enroll in the course, contact .)

Additional Courses
PhD students will also take three special topics courses - one on a social institution and two of the following (which will rotate each year):  SOC 675 Social Inequality and Stratification, SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity, and SOC 691 Sociology of Gender.  The cohort entering the PhD program in Fall, 2022 will take SOC 630 Sociology of Education and  SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity in Fall, 2022.

SOC 630 Sociology of Education (offered Fall, 2022)
Education occupies a central role in our society as the site of both social reproduction and social mobility. To understand this, we must consider how America’s goals for mass public education are intricately linked to prevailing political, economic, and social ideologies. We will analyze the processes and structures within the educational system as related to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequality. We will also discuss the ways in which student and family resources,  social backgrounds, and conditions interact with schools and the processes and practices that affect racial/ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students and families, while paying attention to intersectional dimensions of inequality.  (For more information, contact .)

SOC 635 Sociology of Gender (offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2024)
This course will explore the theoretical perspectives on the development of gender, discuss gender stereotypes, and examine scientific research and perspectives on gender differences and similarities.  The course will also explore the structural foundations and theoretical explanations of gender inequality; the intersectionality of gender and other social locations and identities, such as race, social class, sexual orientation, and age; and the status of women and men in major social institutions such as education, family, the media, etc.

SOC 675 Social Inequality and Stratification (formerly SOC 760, offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2023)
This course examines the sociology of social stratification and inequality in the U.S. Social stratification along class, race, citizenship or legality, and gender lines manifest through inequality within and between social groups in terms of economic, cultural, and social resources, power, and domination. Scholars and policy makers have long been interested in the causes, consequences, and solutions to inequality. Yet, the social complexities that underlie persistent inequality are challenging to understand and address, particularly in the context of economic, political, and social changes. As such, students will tackle several fundamental questions: What are social inequality and stratification? How do they arise? Why do they persist over time? What are their effects on individual life opportunities and chances? How have groups, organizations, and programs organized to ameliorate inequality? Can (and how should) societies work to eliminate social inequalities, and if so, which types?  

SOC 685 Race and Ethnicity ((offered every third fall semester beginning Fall, 2022)
Over a century of sociological work on the question of race has led us to a similar conclusion, that race and ethnicity still play a tremendous role in society. Yet, how does and ethnicity matter in today’s society? How are ideas about difference strengthened or challenged through social experiences, institutions, and ideologies? What are the social, political, and ethical consequences of mis-understanding the continued salience today? This seminar will focus on the role race and ethnicity plays in the production of social ideals, the making of citizens, and our everyday lived experiences.  The course will begin with an examination of race today, through the exchanges of difference and power, and continue toward a deeper sociological appreciation of the contemporary functions through which race and ethnicity continue to be made and remade within society.

To access the University's course schedule, visit this site.