Sociology

Goals for the undergraduate major

1. Develop a Sociological Imagination

The sociological perspective emphasizes the roles of structure, organization, and hierarchy in shaping social action and in identity formation among groups and individuals.  This perspective requires standing apart from, observing, and problematizing practices and structures often taken for granted.  Teaching our students to view the world this way is an important goal of our major.

2. Learn to Work as a Sociologist

Our students learn to understand both their immediate environment and the larger world in terms of a number of interpretative frameworks and to produce and evaluate the data that support or dispute them.  They should gain skills in both theory and methods and be able to apply these in whatever fields they enter after graduation.

3. Become Socially Literate

Critical to both of the above is fostering social literacy—the ability to be critical about both the quantitative and qualitative data describing the social world—and the theoretical frameworks through which we interpret those data.   This is especially important for data that influence social policy.  Social literacy requires the comprehension of both expository prose and numerical representations.  The sociological imagination should enhance our graduates’ lives and increase their agency.

4. Be Able to Communicate a Sociological Perspective

We strive to produce graduates who can communicate clearly and accessibly about human behavior and the social world.  We want them to engage in public sociology by writing and speaking about research, public debate, and daily life.

5. Learn to Understand the Urban Setting

We want students to take advantage of the urban environment in which they are studying.  Our urban setting provides a great laboratory for them—one in which they can study many of the major areas of sociology, including class and inequality, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, urban education, problems of health and disease, and the organization of the city.

6. Become Critical Citizens

While only some of our students will go on to become professional sociologists, most will use their research skills in their work settings.  All of our students should become critical citizens.  We endeavor to give them a heightened ability to understand the world, thereby making them observant, thoughtful, and analytical.  By fostering their appreciation of excellent writing, of a well-fashioned argument, and of the viewpoints of others, we hope to enrich their lives wherever they find themselves in the future.

Temple University’s Graduate Program in Sociology is devoted to the training of research scholars and educators in the discipline.  Students have a variety of career goals, ranging from academic research and teaching to research and administration in private or public agencies.

The Department offers two distinct programs of study in sociology.  The Master’s Program provides students with advanced training in policy‑oriented research skills, with a regional emphasis on the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  It is especially designed for those working in agencies where such skills are used and wish to upgrade their qualifications.  The Doctoral Program concentrates on three main subfields of sociology described below to prepare students for research and teaching in academic settings and for advanced work in applied research settings. The program allows students some flexibility in developing additional specialty areas.

The three main areas of graduate teaching and research are race & ethnicity, gender & sexuality, and urban & globalization.