Sociology & Criminal Justice Courses

Sociology Courses

SOCI 105 Introduction to Sociology (3 credits) What is sociology? How do sociologists go about their work? Sociology as a distinctive perspective on human behavior. The links between personal experience and wider social forces are explored while covering the main fields of the discipline.

SOCI 111 Controversial Social Issues (3 credits) Sociologists suggest that the origins and causes of social problems lie outside of individuals, even though the effects of such problems influence the behavior of individuals. This course examines a variety of contemporary social problems, such as health and health care, addictions, poverty, unemployment, crime, violence, family issues, racism and ageism. After examining social issues, their causes and consequences, we will discuss possible interventions that could alleviate each problem.

SOCI 115 Introduction to Social Work (3 credits) This course provides an overview of social work profession and introduces students to the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for generalist social work in contemporary society. It introduces the social work ethics, values, and basic practice principles, examines the social work theories and major methods of social work practice, and explore the social work services. Social welfare services, policies, and their historical origins will be presented along with the unique experiences of diverse and at-risk populations affected by various social problems. This course also explores current social issues such as poverty, violence, alcohol and other drug use, mental illness, crime, health care issues and discrimination. To enhance this understanding, this course examines underlying cultural assumptions as well as personal values. Throughout this course, students will examine the roles of social workers in addressing these social problems.

SOCI 130 Women and Religion (3 credits) Religion has an essential effect on the development of any society since it impacts religious norms and models of behavior, establishes priorities and values, influences gender relations, predetermines roles, and influences the establishing certain traditions, laws, and customs. This course focuses on the role of women in five of the world’s major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It examines the traditional theological principles and the practical laws that have directly impacted women and women’s lives within these religious traditions. Specifically, this course will explore how women from different parts of the world have been treated as members of various religious groups, how women have practiced religion, and how their beliefs and life experience have differed from those of men.

SOCI 150 Topics in Sociology (3 credits) Special topics of current interest will be considered in depth, examples include experiences of children, introductions to social psychology.

SOCI 155 Children’s Lives (4 credits) Course analyzes public policy regarding children at local, national, and global levels. It is a goal of this course to raise consciousness about the state of the world’s children and to empower us to work effectively, cooperatively, and justly with one another and with children and organizations in our communities. Topics include structural violence, impact of war on children; intersection of race, class, gender impact on children; social construction of gender; child labor; poverty in the U.S. and Global South; children’s human rights; social justice and public policy. Substantial community-based service learning is required. (EL)

SOCI 211 Sociology of the Family (3 credits)This course explores the social and cultural dynamics of families in industrialized countries. It examines family as an institution with a social and cultural history. The course engages the theoretical and historical definition of family, patterns and shifts in marriage and partner selection trends, and changes in family structures in modern societies. It begins with an exploration of the meaning of the family in sociological, historical, and cultural terms followed by discussion of marriage and partner selection in historical context. The course explores changes in family forms, peoples’ perceptions of marriage and family, people’s intentions to marry, form families and have children. Students will be actively engaged in discussions of changes in family structure, factors that caused or affected these changes, and the processes that resulted in those changes. The course takes an in-depth look at the meaning of marriage and the family in theoretical terms by discussing the question of what makes a family, the values inherent to family life, and the possibilities for redefining the meaning of family. (ILS)

SOCI 225 Human Rights (3 credits) The class is designed to examine human rights theories and practices. Course content will focus on the dramatic post-cold-war transformation of human rights as a focus of social struggle. In addition to studying human rights historically, we will examine the contradictions between contemporary human rights standards the U.S. demands of other countries and evaluate its own practices at home and abroad. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or 155.

SOCI 230 Sociology of the Environment (3 credits) In this course, we will use a sociological lens to talk about the ways in which the human and environment interact. We will deal with issues of the complex social processes that define, create, and actually harm our natural environment. We will pay attention to social problems, corporate crime, and government negligence that affects the environment, but we will also investigate why we think about the environment as something decidedly distinct from the human being. We will critically self-examine, and come to terms with how we, in our daily lives, serve to reinforce environmental distinctions and differences. We will also examine the steps that are being undertaken by modern social movements, environmental activists, and law enforcement agencies that serve to counteract environmental inequality and potential catastrophe. Through it all, we will maintain a focus on understanding the environment in both a macro- and micro-lens: we are the environment, and the things we do matter (more than we might think they do).

SOCI 240 Women and Social Change (4 credits) This course investigates how societies structure gender and how race, class, and gender intersect. It analyzes gender from interpersonal, interactional, institutional, historical, and cross-cultural points of view. The goal of the course is to formulate a theoretical and practical understanding of gender and gender inequality as it exists today and to develop strategies to create more egalitarian systems. Community organizing/ group work component. Specific topics include: feminist theory, women of color, political struggles, reproductive justice, economic justice, body politics. Substantial community-based work is required Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or 155. (EL)

SOCI 250 Topics in Sociology (3 or 4 credits) See description for SOC 150. Examples of recent 250 topics courses include, social psychology, sociology of the family, gerontology, and Irish culture and society. More than one topic may be taken for credit. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or as specified.

SOCI 251 Race and Ethnicity (3 credits) This course examines racial and ethnic relations in American society. What structural factors allowed for the relative success of some groups while denying the success of others? What roles have racism, prejudice and discrimination played in the American experience? Current issues in U.S. race/ethnic relations also are explored. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or 155.

SOCI 260 Food and Social Justice (4 credits) Course investigates food in ecological, community, ideological, social, economic, philosophical, and political terms. Our attention will focus on the right to food as a human right; global and national control of food production and trade, and emerging alternative food movements including the Fair Trade Movement, Community-Supported Agriculture-Local Foods Movement, Green Belt Movement (Kenya), and Seed Savers-Navdayna (India). Our work takes us into the Oneonta community and across the county to understand local food security issues. Videos and readings are comparative and allow us to travel to India, Kenya, and Chiapas, Mexico. Substantial community-based service learning in local food pantries is required. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or SOCI 155.

SOCI 261 Gerontology (3 credits) This course provides an overview of the social aspects of aging in America and beyond. The students explore how the elderly affect society and how society affects the elderly. The students analyze the impact of an aging population on key social institutions such as the family, religion, the economy, the political system, and the health care industry and examine the interaction of the elderly with society and with these social institutions. This course is designed to understand “ageism”, to view aging as a phase of growth and development, and to raise student’s awareness about the later stages of human life cycle and the needs and challenges facing the current generation of older adults. It explores economic, social, and political perspectives, behavioral, and biological aspects of aging and the ways aging affects areas such as sexuality, family relations, friendship, personality, work, and leisure.

SOCI 305 Counseling Skills  (4 credits) This course facilitates the development of counseling skills and provides foundational education in core helping skills necessary to the preparation of counselors, teachers, and other professionals involved in human service delivery. While the counseling profession operates in a variety of settings, this course focuses on the helping strategies and interventions applicable to different groups and reaching across cultural divides with counseling skills to become optimally effective agents of change through therapeutic relationships. Students will examine basic concepts in counseling, function of the helper, the demands, strains, and barriers of the helping professions and their effects on the helper. Discussions will include the struggles, anxieties, and uncertainties of helpers. Central to this course will be an on-going self-evaluation of the students’ attitudes, values, interpersonal skills, and motives for choosing counseling as a potential profession. The primary purpose of the course, however, is to provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice the basic skills of helping and provide students with an orientation to the field of counseling. Evaluation will be based on evidence of intrapersonal and interpersonal helping skills as demonstrated in role-play and/or written assignments. Didactic material aimed at fostering competency in the area of professional ethics and multicultural sensitivity also will be included.  (ILS)

SOCI 310 Classical Social Theory (3 credits) This course is intended to introduce students to the works of early western social theorists. Classical social theory provides the foundation for current sociological thinking and is fundamental to the understanding of ongoing discussions within the discipline. This course will primarily emphasize the works of the Founding Three: Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. We will also explore other nineteenth and twentieth century theorists including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, W.E.B. DuBois, George Herbert Mead and others, as the semester allows. In tackling the (primarily) 19th and early 20th century writings, we will analyze the theoretical concepts of these sociological thinkers in relation to current social problems and dilemmas. Our ongoing conversation of these various theorists will include continual application of their theories to “real life‟ examples found in our 21st century world. Prerequisite: SOCI 105.

SOCI 320 Social Psychology (3 credits) Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads; and social psychology analyzes these connections by studying of everyday thinking, social influences and social relations. Students will explore the various ways people think about, affect, and relate to one another. The course is structured to promote depth of understanding, integration, and creativity. The course will cover topics such as the social self-concept, perceptions, attitudes, influence, conformity, aggression, helping behavior, and interpersonal relationships.  This course has the following two goals: (1) to improve students’ understanding of social psychological explanations for social influence and interaction and (2) to improve students’ understanding of the research methodologies commonly used to understand social influence and interaction. Students will be engaged in the discussion of main questions that social psychologists tackle, social psychological theories, and research (its methods, its findings, and the underlying principles we have learned). The major activities and assignments are purposeful to stimulate students to think about the implications of this research for our everyday lives and for our understanding of various social problems. (ILS)

SOCI 322 Population and Ecology (3 credits) A study of the social, cultural and environmental forces that affect population trends: the size, growth, composition, distribution, fertility, mortality and migration of human populations. Current historical and cross-cultural problems in population, food, health and environment will be explored. In particular the impact of post-colonialism is examined in a cultural context. Prerequisite: SOCI 105.

SOCI 338 Irish Culture and Society (4 credits) This course is a dialectic between modern Irish society and Irish history, each examined from the sociological perspective. Early Irish History – This first part sets the context for the course by looking at how history has uniquely shaped modern Irish society. During this section we will explore Ireland up through and including the reformation and Cromwellian invasion. Sociology in Ireland – Next we introduce the discipline of sociology and start to examine Irish society from a sociological perspective. We will spend a significant amount of time examining the specific development of Irish culture. Modern Irish Society – In order to understand modern Irish society we need to look at social institutions and social indices. Irish Culture – The values and beliefs of the Irish are reflected in their culture. For this section we need to return to some history to examine such issues as the Diaspora, the famine, and the revolutionary movements. Modern Irish society – It is here where we look more closely at the puzzle of Northern Ireland as well as the impact of the so-called Celtic Tiger on the Republic. It is also here where we need to examine the modern dimensions of race, class and gender in Ireland.The Republic of Ireland is a land of many contrasts resulting from both its isolation from the European continent and a millennium of colonial rule. Recently it has gone through hurried social change resulting from rapid economic growth in a phenomenon called the Celtic Tiger and subsequently the world-wide recession. This course will explore Irish cultural and social institutions and how they have been shaped by Ireland’s unique history. Crosslisted with MUSI 330. (EL)

SOCI 340 Socio-Political Movements (3 credits) The course will provide an introduction to theory and research on one form of social movement mobilization: national-level movements organized for political change. Our focus will emphasize how political, organizational, and cultural factors shape social movement emergence and development. We will focus on current activism, including case studies of the American civil rights movement, the student movement of the late 1960s, the feminist movement, the abortion movement (pro-life and pro-choice) gay/lesbian mobilization and the recent emergence of transnational activism. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or SOCI 155.

SOCI 350 Topics in Sociology (3 or 4 credits) For description see SOCI 150. Recent examples include: introduction to counseling skills and domestic violence seminar. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 or other as required.

SOCI 370 Health Care Policy (3 credits) Major Health care changes, including governmental and private policies affecting health care delivery are based on health care reform(s). Health care reform has been a global issue over the years. Today, the healthcare industry is an immense part of the United States economy. Overall, health care spending amounts to 7 trillion + annually. Health care regulation and policy is complex, with nearly every health related discipline involved in decision-making and overseen by one regulatory body or another, and sometimes by several. Such regulations are enforced by federal, state, local governments, and even private organizations. Healthcare policy affects not only the cost citizens must pay for care, but also their access to care and the quality of care received, which can influence their overall health. A top concern for policymakers is the rising cost of healthcare, which has placed an increasing strain on the disposable income of consumers as well as on state budgets. Some of the organizations that have influenced healthcare policy include the American Medical Association, and the American Association of Retired Persons as well as large health insurance companies. Unfortunately, some groups may have a conflict of interest, which also raises ethical issues making the development of a policy difficult at best. This course describes the private, governmental, professional and economic contributions to the development and operation of the health care system. Students will explore the development and implementation of health care policy, health care technology, hospitals origin, organization and performance, health care workers, financing health care, role of all government entities, discuss the future of health care, and learn the special problems of high-risk populations and health system responses. And lastly, identify and describe the quality control activities of the current health care system and relate service provider behaviors to legal, ethical, and financial considerations. Prerequisite: SOCI 105.

SOCI 381 Sociology of Health and Medicine (3 credits) The Sociology of health, illness and health care has changed significantly in the past few decades, especially since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Health refers to the extent of a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being. This definition, taken from the World Health Organization’s treatment of health, emphasizes that health is a complex concept that involves not just the soundness of a person’s body but also the state of a person’s mind and the quality of the social environment, in which she or he lives. Life’s demands can be physiological, psychosocial, or environmental and vary across contexts, but in every case, unsatisfactory responses lead to disease. We need to ask: why some people comply with prescribed medical regimes while others do not and how does the health care system care for those based on one’s race, class, gender, and culture? The fact that our social backgrounds affect our health may be difficult for many of us to accept. This course will offer the student a better understanding of why people from certain social backgrounds are more likely than those from others to become sick and how the sociological approach shows how society’s culture shapes its understanding of health and illness and practice of medicine. A society’s culture matters in these various ways, but so does its social structure, in particular its level of economic development and extent of government involvement in health-care delivery. Poor societies have much worse health than richer societies. Richer societies have certain health risks and health problems, such as pollution, that poor societies avoid. The degree of government involvement in health-care delivery is essential. Although we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world with superior advancement in health care delivery, the United States lags behind many Western European nations in several health indicators, in part because the latter nations provide much more national health care than does the United States. Although illness is often a matter of bad luck or bad genes, the society we live in can nonetheless affect our chances of becoming and staying ill. Prerequisite: SOCI 105. 

SOCI 383 Quantitative Analysis (4 credits) This course introduces the central issues and strategies involved in the collection and analysis of quantitative data with an emphasis on survey research, experimental designs, and statistical analysis using SPSS. The course is concerned with demonstrating the logic and meaning of statistical procedures and the conditions under which they are meaningful. This course is the “quantitative” half of the department’s two-term requirement in sociological analysis. Both halves give central importance to identifying and developing meaningful research questions, recognizing crucial theory-method linkages, developing research plans, evaluating the credibility of research findings and presenting the results of one’s research. Prerequisite: SOCI 105. (QFR, EL)

SOCI 385 Qualitative Analysis (4 credits) This course introduces methods used in the collection and analysis of qualitative data including participant observation, field notes, interviews, discourse analysis, media analysis, ethnography, and community-based research. The rationale and theoretical underpinnings of qualitative analysis are examined together with the ethical issues associated with the use of qualitative methodologies. This course is the “qualitative” half of the department’s two-term requirement in methods. Both halves give central importance to identifying and developing meaningful research questions, recognizing crucial theory-method linkages, developing research plans, evaluating the credibility of research findings, presenting the results of one’s research, and ethics. Substantial community-based service learning fieldwork is required. Prerequisite: SOCI 105. (EL)

SOCI 395 Internship (3 credits) See course catalog on internships. Internships in sociology include but are not limited to placements with local community action, social work, criminal justice, law enforcement, human right and youth advocacy programs or organizations. Prerequisite: SOCI 105, 383, or 385. (EL)

SOCI 397 Contemporary Theory (3 credits) The task of this course is to critically examine modern social theory and analyze some of the work of contemporary social theorists such as Parsons, Wallerstein, Goffman, Dorothy Smith, Bourdieu, Foucault, Dean, Bauman, Butler and others. The following questions will be addressed: What assumptions does the theorist make about society? What are the practical and political consequences and implications of such views and claims? How do social contexts shape theories? The course focuses on analysis, critique, evaluation, synthesis, and application. Prerequisite: SOCI 105, 310, or permission of instructor.

SOCI 485 Senior Seminar (3 credits) Course utilizes studies of exemplary sociological research and individual research to model the integration of theory and methods. Involves applied research project including ethical issue, literature review, research design and analysis, and written and oral presentation of proposals and/or results. Prerequisites: all required courses of the major.

490 Senior Thesis (3 credits) Students are expected to develop a thesis based on preliminary coursework and demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and method in sociology. Thesis work is supervised by a faculty member. Prerequisites: all required courses of the major. 

Criminal Justice Courses

CRMJ 110 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3 credits) This course is designed to introduce students to the American criminal justice system and the role of the police, the courts, and correctional facilities within that system. It focuses on the history and the primary duties of our justice system in America while briefly introducing conceptions of justice as well as definitions of, measurements of, and causes of crime. Within the detailed discussions of the police, the courts, and corrections, particular attention is paid to current debates within each of these criminal justice agencies.

CRMJ 150 Topics in Criminal Justice (3 credits) Special topics of current interest will be considered in depth.

CRMJ 210 Deviance and Social Control  (3 credits) This course will introduce you to the central sociological concepts of deviance, self-control, power, identity construction, and identity management. We will use the topic of deviance to explore how groups of people have the power to shape the social definitions of other people’s actions and behaviors. We also will examine the consequences, identity formation, and meaning in everyday life for those who are defined as “deviant.” Although the primary theoretical orientation of the class is social constructionist, we will examine the other important theoretical contributions of the broader field to the study and understanding of why people deviate or are identified as deviant. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ110. (ILS)

CRMJ 245 Introduction to the Law (3 credits) The course examines the history and principles of civil and criminal law and will prepare students for further study of the legal system. Students are introduced to judicial decisions, legal analysis and the case method of study. The course will integrate the analysis of case law, statutes and social science empirical research. It includes comprehensive coverage of three areas of law ―1. Substantive law, 2. Constitutional issues evoking tensions between governmental authority and individual liberties, and 3. Constitutional procedure, including the incorporation of Bill of Rights protections to the States and trial by jury. The course explores such topics as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, freedom of expression, rights of intimate association, and equal protection issues. Students will read legal scholars and court researchers including classical and theoretical studies of the court system as well as more applied policy studies which include a focus on the American jury, judges and the courtroom workgroup. The course focuses on the role and purposes of the law, the sources of law, the various types of law, and the state and federal court system structure and operations. The course will also examine the responsibilities of legal system decision-makers, legislators, state representatives, victim advocates, and jurors, and issues like disparity and discrimination in the court system. Issues raised will include the element of wide discretion exercised by decision makers and the issues of race and gender. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ110.

CRMJ 250 Topics in Criminal Justice (3 credits) Special topics of current interest will be considered in depth.

CRMJ 310 Criminology (3 credits) This course examines criminal behavior and the measures intended to control it. Major emphasis is placed upon social factors that contribute to such behavior, and criminal justice system efforts to combat criminal behavior. Attention is also given to current trends in criminal behavior and criminal justice policy, and the evaluation of these from the perspective of different sociological theories. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ110. (ILS)

CRMJ 320 Juvenile Delinquency (3 credits) This course offers an introductory survey of the study of juvenile delinquency and the Juvenile Justice system in the U.S. Crucial to this examination is a framework based upon the understanding of two central issues: the social definition of adolescent years in American society, and how the justice system treats behavior which society views as unacceptable or deviant. To this end, this course focuses on: the social status of juveniles of different status positions and the often conflicting expectations and opportunities for those adolescents in contemporary American society, the operation of the juvenile justice system in the formal and informal decision making and processing of that form of juvenile behavior broadly defined as “delinquency”, current dimensions and trends, differing major theoretical perspectives which have been developed to explain juvenile delinquency, and the range of options society has available to help prevent, treat, and/or punish “delinquent” behavior. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ110. (ILS)

CRMJ 330 Policing in a Democratic Society (3 credits) This course is designed to provide students with an in depth look at policing in America including the origins and history and an examination of policing and the rule of law in a democracy. It also focuses on the role of both research and practice in implementing different models of modern day policing such as Community Policing, Problem Oriented Policing, Broken Windows, Zero Tolerance, Hot Spots, Targeted Interventions, and Compstat. Policing is seen from three perspectives: the police -officer-citizen interaction, the agency-community relationship, and the legal and ethical questions of policing in a democratic society. The course analyzes the current role of police in today’s criminal justice system, and issues regarding police recruitment, diversity, misconduct, stop and frisk, racial profiling and use of force. The course is designed to appeal to anyone who desires a greater understanding of the criminal justice system and the role played by police officers as well as offering guidance to students who wish to pursue careers in law enforcement. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ110.

CRMJ 340 Punishment and Corrections (3 credits) This course is designed to provide students with an in depth look at the current correctional systems in America, the problems faced within these systems, and community alternatives to imprisonment. The course will begin with the utilitarian and retributive theories of why and how we punish: Retribution, Deterrence, Incapacitation and Rehabilitation. It will review the history of prisons. It will focus on America’s populist punitive policies of mass incarceration embodied in the persistent felon three strikes laws and mandatory drug sentences. It will analyze current bipartisan efforts to scale back on policies which have caused the overcrowding of prisons and which disproportionately burden African, Latino and disadvantaged families and communities with disenfranchisement and social disorganization. The course will examine probation, community corrections, parole, reentry, the administration of prisons and jails, prison riots and gangs, diversity of personnel and management, prisoner rights, the “New Jim Crow phenomena,” and the death penalty controversy. The course is designed to appeal to anyone who desires a greater understanding of the criminal justice system, as well as offering guidance to students who wish to pursue careers in corrections. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ 110.

CRMJ 350 Topics in Criminal Justice (3 credits) Special topics of current interest will be considered in depth.

CRMJ 360 White Collar Crime (3 credits) This course explores the history, definitions, categories, and trends of White Collar Crime (WCC) with an emphasis on corporate crime, political corruption, and an examination of how the American culture is uniquely situated to understand WCC in a particular way. The course includes a discussion of the impact of WCC, the nature of white collar and organized criminals, theories of WCC, and WCC sentencing and deterrence, among other topics. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and CRMJ 110. (ILS)

CRMJ 390 Quantitative Analysis in Criminal Justice (4 credits) Similar to SOCI 383 this course is designed to introduce students to the central issues and strategies involved in the collection and analysis of quantitative data but with an emphasis on survey research, experimental designs, and statistical analysis using SPSS as they pertain to the study of criminology and criminal justice. The course is concerned with demonstrating the logic and meaning of statistical procedures and the conditions under which they are meaningful. This course will qualify as the “quantitative” half of the sociology department’s two-term requirement in sociological analysis. Both halves give central importance to identifying and developing meaningful research questions, recognizing crucial theory-method linkages, developing research plans, evaluating the credibility of research findings and presenting the results of one’s research. Prerequisite: SOCI 105 and/or CRMJ110 as well as CRMJ310 or permission of instructor. (QFR, EL)

CRMJ 490 Senior Seminar (3 credits) This course utilizes studies of exemplary criminological research and individual research to model the integration of theory and methods. Involves applied research project including ethical issue, literature review, research design and analysis, and written and oral presentation of proposals and/or results. Prerequisites: All required courses of the major.