Sociology, Criminology & Human Services Department


Department Overview

The study of sociology as part of a liberal arts education helps students develop a critical understanding of the meaning, process, and structure of human interaction and helps them to better understand the past and present as well as to prepare for life in a world of increasing social complexity and interdependence.

Hartwick sociology graduates leave with a broad range of transferable skills, including critical thinking, logical reasoning, knowledge of society and groups, and understanding human experience and interactions. In order to be better prepared for continuing their education in graduate schools and/or employment, Hartwick sociology students are offered great opportunities to participate in social research and internships. Furthermore, with our social work minor, interested students may consider furthering their education or career in the field of social work.

Additionally, our criminal justice major will enable students to understand the inner workings of the criminal justice system on a practical level, as well as the key theories behind criminality and the way the United States enacts laws and punishments at a scholarly level.

Please note: Hartwick College focuses on offering fall, January, and spring term undergraduate courses in person, however circumstances may require us to offer a small number of courses in this department through distance education. In times of emergency, following regulatory guidelines, all classes may temporarily need to be delivered through distance education, including online. We also offer a slate of courses online in the summer to help our students make progress towards their degrees. With support from an academic advisor, students needing particular courses may have other online options as well. If you have questions about the way courses are delivered in your program, please contact your Department or Program Chair.

Exciting Student Outcomes

Hartwick sociology and criminal justice students complete research and internships and are well-prepared for employment or graduate school.

Student Internships

Chestnut Park and Rehabilitation Nursing Center Oneonta, NY
Jessica Aliotta’17
Kerrie DeLiberis ’17

County Court Attorney Office
Otsego County, NY
Kacy Kyer ’17

Delaware Department of Social Services, Child Protective Services
Oneonta, NY
Alston Moses ’17

Opportunities for Otsego, Violence Intervention Program
Oneonta, NY
Danielle Ricci ’17

Graduate/Professional School Placements

Social Work Masters Program
Binghamton University
Alicia Clapper’16

Masters in Health Care Administration, George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Erika lillo ’16

Master of Social Work Program
SUNY Albany
Melissa Niewender’17

Ready to study sociology, criminal justice or social work?

Review all the requirements.

Our sociology professors use a wide range of challenging teaching and learning methods.


Coursework often entails the use of video production, small group workshops, computer-assisted teaching, field trips, and community-based service-learning opportunities, designed to demonstrate and connect the theory and practice of sociology.

Review the current course offerings.

Special Opportunities

Hartwick’s sociology and criminal justice majors offer students immediate opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom to fieldwork and internships – in the U.S. and internationally. Many courses provide community-based learning opportunities that connect students directly to local, national, and international organizations and allow them to explore and gain experience in contexts they may wish to pursue as careers. Additionally, there is plenty of opportunity to work with criminal justice-oriented non-profits and organizations in the greater Oneonta community. Students also gain personal insight and understanding of their own social and political conscience, giving them the confidence to become truly productive citizens.

More About Special Opportunities

Meet our Faculty

Elena Chernyak

Associate Professor of Sociology and Department Chair

Ryan Ceresola

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Amber M. Kerwin

Professor of Practice in Criminal Justice

Cheryl Johnson

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Michael Branch

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Zachary McKenney

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Still Have Questions?

Contact Dr. Elena Chernyak, Associate Professor & Department Chair