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Course Descriptions

Department of Sociology

539 Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400766
Charlottesville, VA. 22904-4766
(434) 924-7293

Degree Requirements

Graduate Program Students are expected to complete requirements for the M.A. degree before beginning course work toward the Ph.D. For those entering with advanced graduate standing, the department may require additional course work to make up deficiencies.

Master of Arts Candidates must complete at least 24 credits of graded courses. Prior to the completion the course work, each candidate is required to write a research paper, developed from an already completed seminar paper or another piece of independent research, with the aim of producing a publishable article. By the end of the fourth semester in the master’s program, the thesis, written in the format of a journal article, is submitted to the Thesis Committee for approval. The thesis is presented before the faculty.

Doctor of Philosophy A candidate for the doctorate is expected to complete a minimum of 24 credits of graded course work in this department beyond the master’s level, pass two comprehensive "field exams," and write a dissertation based on independent research.

A more detailed statement of the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. is available from the department office upon request.

Course Descriptions


SOC 503 - (3) (Y)
Classical Sociological Theory
A seminar focusing on the writings of Marx, Weber, Durkheim and other social theorists. Open to students in related disciplines.

SOC 506 - (3) (Y)
Contemporary Sociological Theory
Considers the nature and purpose of sociological theory. Includes a survey of the most important contemporary theories and theorists.

SOC 507 - (3) (IR)
Max Weber: Theoretical Considerations
A critical examination of Weber’s writings and his influence on social science.

SOC 510 - (3) (Y)
Research Design and Methods
Studies the steps necessary to design a research project, including searching the literature, formulating the problem, deriving propositions, operationalizing concepts, constructing explanations, and testing hypotheses.

SOC 511 - (3) (Y)
Survey Research Methods
Prerequisite: SOC 512 or instructor permission.
Studies the theory and practice of survey research. Topics include the survey as a cultural form; sampling theory; the construction, testing, and improvement of survey instruments; interviewer training; the organization of field work; coding and tabulating; and the preparation of survey reports. Students collectively design and carry out one major survey.

SOC 512 - (3) (Y)
Intermediate Statistics
Studies the social science applications of analysis of variance, correlation, and regression; and consideration of causal models.

SOC 514 - (3) (E)
Qualitative Research Methods
Studies the procedures and techniques of documentary analysis, historical sociology, detached and participant observation, sociological experimentation, and action research.

SOC 542 - (3) (Y)
Social Stratification
Prerequisite: SOC 503, SOC 711 or their equivalent, and instructor permission.
Studies the distribution of rewards and punishments and the resulting social inequalities in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Analyzes negative liabilities such as arrest, imprisonment, unemployment, and stigmatization, and positive assets such as education, occupation, income, and honor. Draws on the literature of both stratification and deviance/criminology. Focuses on the distributive aspects of power and the resulting social formations such as classes, and status groups.

SOC 556 - (3) (Y)
Sociology of Culture
Examines the most recent theoretical and methodological developments in the sociology of culture. Examines the influence of structuralism, phenomenology, critical theory, and cultural anthropology on contemporary sociological theory and practice. Considers the ways cultural analysis can be applied to a variety of pressing empirical problems.

SOC 559 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Science
Prerequisite: SOC 512 or instructor permission.
Topics include science as a major institution in modern society; interrelations of science and society; social organization of science; the scientific career (socialization and professionalization); status, roles, and characteristics of science; science policy studies as an emerging discipline; and technological assessment.

SOC 562 - (3) (SI)
Social Demography
International study of population structures, emphasizing comparison of developed and developing societies, and the way in which differing rates of population growth effect the patterns of social and economic change in these societies.

SOC 595, 596 - (3) (Y)
Special Topics in Sociology
Topics are announced and vary each semester.

SOC 738 - (3) (IR)
India and South Asia
Analyzes the key structural features of South Asian societies from a sociological perspective. Focuses on the caste system and its relationship to various religions of South Asia.

SOC 773 - (3) (IR)
Computers and Society
Studies the impact of electronic data processing technologies on social structure and the social constraints on the development and application of these technologies. Reviews how computers are changing–and failing to change–fundamental institutions. Aims to understand computers in the context of societal needs, organizational imperatives, and human values.

SOC 780 - (3) (IR)
Social Change
Analyzes the social change of entire societies and cultures with a focus on contemporary America. Includes an introduction to the classical theories of Marx and Weber, their relationship to contemporary critiques of the U.S., study of selected social movements, and an analysis of the theoretical roots and practical consequences of recent strategies of change.

SOC 801, 802 - (3) (SI)
Issues in Social Theory

SOC 803 - (3) (S)
Sociological Issues
Studies contemporary issues effecting sociology as a science, as an academic discipline, and as a profession. Frequent guest lecturers.

SOC 811 - (3) (SI)
Advanced Multivariate Analysis-Discrete Outcomes
Prerequisite: SOC 512 or instructor permission.
Studies techniques for cross-classified categorical data in social science. Includes logistic regression, log-linear models, latent class models, and event history analysis. Features discussion of published sociological applications. A major paper involving original research design and/or data analysis is required.

SOC 813 - (3) (SI)
Advanced Multivariate Analysis-Continuous Outcomes
Prerequisite: SOC 512 or instructor permission.
Studies regression-based techniques for continuous variables. Includes matrix algebra, error diagnostics, complex causal models, latent variables (LISREL) models, time-series, and panel-data analysis. Features discussion of published sociological applications. A major paper involving original research design and/or data analysis is required.

SOC 822 - (3) (IR)
Teaching of Sociology

SOC 823 - (3) (IR)
Deviance and Social Control
Examines a variety of deviant behaviors in American society and sociological theories explaining societal reactions and attempts at social control. Focuses on enduring conditions such as drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, emphasizing historical social change as a function of contemporary ideology and larger societal issues.

SOC 831, 832, 841, 842, 862, 872, 881, 882 - (3) (Y)
Selected Topics in Sociology
Advanced graduate seminars. Offerings are given in a semester determined by faculty and student interest.

SOC 847 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Knowledge
Studies the social foundations of knowledge, including formal systems of knowledge to the realities of everyday life. Includes classical and contemporary literature on the subject.

SOC 848 - (3) (IR)
Modern Culture

SOC 851 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Work
Studies the division of labor, occupational classification, labor force trends, career patterns and mobility, occupational cultures and life-styles, and the sociology of the labor market.

SOC 852 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Religious Behavior
Classical and contemporary theories and empirical research are examined to illuminate the changing role of religious belief and religious institutions in the Western World. Emphasizes the methodological problems of studying religion.

SOC 853 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Education
Analyzes education as a social institution and its relationship to other institutions, e.g., the economy, the stratification system, the family. Emphasizes the role of education in the status attainment process.

SOC 854 - (3) (IR)
Political Sociology
Studies the relationships between social structure and political institutions. Discusses competing theories on power structures, political participation, ideology, party affiliation, voting behavior, and social movements in the context of recent research on national and local politics in the United States.

SOC 857 - (3) (IR)
Family Research Seminar
Studies the relationship between family and society as expressed in policy and law. Looks at the effects of formal policy on the structure of, and interactions within, families. Examines changes in the American family system in response to laws, policies, and social issues.

SOC 859 - (3) (IR)
Conflict Management
Examines how people express and handle grievances. Analyzes the social conditions associated with self-help, avoidance, negotiation, mediation, adjudication, and toleration.

SOC 861 - (3) (IR)
Population Analysis
Studies the methods, theories, and principles of demographic analysis, with special applications to problems in the study of U.S. and international fertility, mortality, and migration.

SOC 871 - (3) (IR)
Sociology of Organizations
Examines formal organizations in government, industry, education, health care, religion, the arts, and voluntary associations. Considers such topics as power and authority, communication, "informal" relations, commitment, and alienation.

SOC 897 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
For master’s research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.

SOC 898 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research
For master’s thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.

SOC 901, 902 - (Credit to be arranged) (S)|
Directed Reading

SOC 905, 906 - (Credit to be arranged) (SI)
Research Apprenticeship

SOC 997 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

SOC 999 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

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