Jun 16, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sociology, B.A.

Sociology Core Faculty:

Marina Adler, Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Sociology
J. Kevin Eckert, Professor
Brandy Harris-Wallace, Associate Professor and Co-Director, Undergraduate Program in Sociology
Loren Henderson, Assistant Professor
Aubrey L. Jackson, Assistant Professor
Christine A. Mair, Associate Professor and Co-Director, Undergraduate Program in Sociology
John Schumacher,  Associate Professor
Dena Smith, Assistant Professor
Brian Soller, Assistant Professor

Courses in this program are listed under SOCY.

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy offers undergraduate majors in Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy, as well as minors in Sociology and Cultural Anthropolgy. Information on the Sociology major and minor are presented here. For information on the Cultural Anthropology and the Health Administration and Policy majors, refer to the corresponding sections in this catalog. For more detailed information, see the Department’s website. 

Sociology is the study of social relationships among people and the institutions and organizations they use to organize these relationships. There are many subfields within sociology, including medical sociology, aging, population, religion, gender roles, family, work organizations, occupations, crime and delinquency, urban sociology, political sociology and others described in the course listings below. All majors are required to take courses in sociological methods (SOCY 300), statistics using computer software programs (SOCY 301) and sociological theory (SOCY 409).

The undergraduate major in sociology provides a well established and widely accepted path to careers and professional education in the human services. It is frequently the major of individuals employed in local, state and federal governments and in non-profit organizations. It typically provides appropriate preparation for many professional programs, including law, public health, health services administration, urban and regional planning, social work, human-services administration, human resources management, advertising, public administration and public policy. An undergraduate major in sociology is also appropriate preparation for research and policy-oriented graduate programs in sociology, public policy, health services research, criminology, demography and other disciplines that study social behavior.

Many sociology majors are transfer students from community colleges and other institutions of higher education. UMBC has articulation agreements with community colleges and public four-year colleges and universities in Maryland that enable students to count most sociology courses taken in those institutions for credit toward the sociology major at UMBC. The Department also accepts sociology courses taken at the accredited colleges in other states.

Career and Academic Paths

The undergraduate major is designed to provide a general overview of sociology for students who plan to enter the labor force after graduation and for those planning graduate study. The Department has double majors that combine sociology and social work, sociology and anthropology, and sociology and psychology, as well as a combined social work major/sociology minor. These programs enable students to complete both majors with fewer credits than are required for each major separately. The minor in sociology is designed for majors in other disciplines who wish to add a study of social behavior to their other major. Students interested in pursuing the Master of Arts in Applied Sociology offered by the Department should consider the combined B.A./M.A. program described below.

The major program consists of a total of 32 credits. These include four required core courses (14 credits) and 18 credits of electives (normally six courses). The student must receive a grade of “C” or better in all courses that count toward the major. P/F courses do not count toward the major. At least 16 credits must be earned in courses taken at UMBC. Students are urged to complete all core courses prior to their last semester before graduation. SOCY 300  and SOCY 301  should be taken, in sequence, as soon as possible after completing 9 credits of Sociology. They cannot be taken concurrently.

Academic Advising

Students majoring in Sociology must meet with their Sociology advisor each semester during advanced registration to review their progress toward fulfilling major and university requirements but are also encouraged to meet with their advisor at any point during the semester.

Advisors are available to assist students in developing an academic pathway towards graduation, as well as to discuss post graduate education and career options.  A student’s post-baccalaureate plans for either graduate education or immediate employment are important influences on his or her overall academic program and course selections. With these considerations in mind, early and continuous contact should be established with a program advisor.  Sociology majors with another primary major are still strongly encouraged to meet each semester with their Sociology advisor. 

Students can declare a Sociology major by filling out the Declaration of Major Form, located on the Registrar’s website, and returning it to the Registrar’s office.  Once the student has declared a Sociology major, he/she should contact the department to be assigned a faculty advisor and will receive updates regarding the major via email. 

For more information about the program’s advising process or for general questions regarding the Sociology program, please refer to the Department’s website.

Double Majors

The sociology program offers three double majors: Sociology/Anthropology, Sociology/Psychology and Sociology/Social Work. Information about the double majors can be found on the Department’s website.

Honors Program

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a major with honors in sociology. Information describing the requirements for the major with honors is available on the Department’s website. Students considering graduate school in sociology are particularly encouraged to pursue this option.

Graduate Programs in Applied Sociology (Master’s, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, and Bachelor’s/Master’s)

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy offers a Master of Arts in Applied Sociology, an Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector. Our programs offer students training in the practical side of sociology, including the various methodologies and key substantive areas of the field. Our program has core strengths in the sociology of health, illness, and medicine; aging and the life course; diversity, gender, and culture; and applied research methods. Our courses prepare students for careers as research analysts in federal and state agencies, research organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Our program also prepares students for doctoral-level coursework. In order to earn a Master’s in Applied Sociology at UMBC, students complete 30 credits, including a capstone project. The Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program for undergraduate students allows students to take up to 9 graduate credits to apply toward the master’s degree. The 12 credit Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector can be completed as part of the master’s degree, or separately. If you have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and are interested in any of these programs, please contact Dr. Marina Adler (Graduate Program Director) at adler@umbc.edu or Ms. Emily Byrne (Graduate Program Coordinator) at ebyrne@umbc.edu. For admission requirements and deadlines please consult the Department website.

Evening and Part Time Options

The Department offers a variety of advanced courses in the evening every semester but does not offer an evening major. Students who are able to take some courses during the day can complete the degree on a parttime basis.

Student Organizations

Council of Majors

Membership in the Council of Majors is open to all declared majors. The council meets throughout the academic year.

Alpha Kappa Delta

International Sociology Honor Society: Iota of Maryland Chapter (at UMBC)

To become a member, an undergraduate student must: be an officially declared sociology major, be a junior (60-89 total credits) or senior (90 or more total credits), have an overall UMBC GPA of 3.3 or better, and have a GPA in all UMBC (and UMCP) sociology courses of 3.0 or better. For further details consult the Department website. The induction ceremony is held in May of each year.

Special Opportunities

Internships for all students are available through SOCY 396, which is offered in cooperation with The Shriver Center. Students wishing to undertake individual research projects can do so in independent study courses with faculty members of their choice (SOCY 299, SOCY 399 or SOCY 499).

Sociology majors seeking a more substantial research opportunity may complete the honors program. 

The university offers multiple opportunities for study abroad. Students seeking further information should contaact the Study Abroad Office. Students interested in study abroad also should meet with their advisor to discuss their plans and their pathway for trhe completion of the major requirements. 


Total: 32 Credits

Core Requirements: 14 Credits

Elective Courses: 18 credits

Eighteen credits of sociology or anthropology courses with a grade of “C” or better, excluding SOCY 396  and any other P/F courses. A maximum of six (6) credits in Anthropology may count toward a major in Sociology.

The department’s Sociology elective course offerings may include the following courses: