UChicago scholars established the world’s first department of sociology. Today, according to the National Research Council, the department’s graduate program ranks first in the nation. Undergraduates work closely with faculty members investigating a range of topics: sociology of the state, urban policy analysis, theories of crime and social control, and feminist theories of gender, among many others. In their course work and research, students draw on the resources of the University and the city. A course in Urban Culture, for example, asks students to carry out fieldwork in UChicago’s cultural spaces and places.
Introductory course work covers social structure and change; interaction, community, and culture; and sociological and statistical methods. Students then examine topical clusters: macrosociology and intergroup relations; sociology of institutions; urban sociology; comparative, historical, and cultural sociology; microsociology; and theory and methodology. Graduating seniors do an original piece of research of their own design.
The knowledge sociology provides for the understanding of human relations and social organization has made it attractive for students considering careers in such professions as business, education, law, marketing, medicine, journalism, social work, politics, public administration, and urban planning. As a basis for more specialized graduate work, it affords entry to careers in social research in federal, state, and local agencies, as well as into business enterprises, private foundations, and research institutes. Sociology also provides an excellent foundation for students who are planning academic careers in any of the social sciences. The program is designed, therefore, to meet the needs of a very diverse group of students.