College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Sociology

Why Sociology?

Formal definitions of academic disciplines are frequently dry and uninteresting, but sociology and the study of criminal justice are anything but. In fact, for anyone with a healthy sense of intellectual curiosity, sociology and criminal justice are exciting and fascinating.

Are you interested delving into questions like: What are the causes of crime? What causes people to join cults? What are the reasons for high rates of teenage pregnancy? Why is poverty a continuing problem in our society? How can we better understand the issue of binge drinking on college campuses? Why are there income disparities based on gender and race? Why are some people able to attain social mobility from low income neighborhoods while others cannot? All of these questions and many more are of concern to the sociologist and the criminologist, and the discipline of sociology can provide you with the tools to provide answers.

Our department prides itself on excellent teaching, and on individual faculty members bringing their research interests and expertise into the classroom. Indeed, all of the questions noted above are currently being researched by faculty in the Department of Sociology. We have national experts on teenage pregnancy and binge drinking. We have faculty members doing hands-on research in some of the poorer neighborhoods of our nation’s cities, while others are interviewing former cult members to better understand the attraction of these groups. We are attempting to understand the causes of crime in Philadelphia and elsewhere so that we can help find solutions to the rising tide of violence. We undertake all of these initiatives in an effort to better understand the social world around us and, in the spirit of Jesuit education, to teach students that they can make a difference by being “men and women with and for others.”

The Department of Sociology provides students with opportunities for intellectual growth both inside and outside of the classroom. Our major curriculum is designed to insure that Sociology and Criminal Justice students are prepared to immediately take their place in the world of work and service as soon as they graduate. With experience conducting social research, graduates find wide-ranging opportunities to apply their skills in the world of work. (For additional information on careers, please see asanet.org or criminaljusticeusa.com). In addition, the Sociology Department provides all of its students with several opportunities to engage in “Service Learning” courses that give them direct experience with some of our society’s most serious social problems.

Another valuable component in the Sociology and Criminal Justice program is the opportunity for students to experience internships. We have a wide variety of internship placements including the Office of the District Attorney, as well as others in the fields of probation and parole. These experiences are invaluable in providing students with real world experience in their areas of interest.

Finally, we invite students to join us as research assistants in the Summer Scholars Program as well as in other venues. Our goal is to work with you to help you achieve your goals. Please contact us directly if you have any questions about a major in Sociology or Criminal Justice. We would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.