Sociology Program Mission | University of Portland

Sociology Program Mission

The Sociology Program serves the academic mission of the University by offering an essential University Core offering, SOC 101-Introduction to Sociology, as well as a strong undergraduate major program in sociology and a specialized track of that major in criminal justice. Consistent with the principles of a Catholic and Holy Cross education, the faculty are committed to the development of students as socially responsible, informed citizens with an awareness of social problems, an appreciation for individuals of diverse backgrounds, the ability to look critically and analytically at social life, and the ability to contribute to positive change in the world.

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge.

Sociology contributes to the Department of Sociology & Social Work. Faculty of the entire department are committed to offering rigorous core and major courses, regularly assessing the quality of our programs, and working to support the education of students across disciplines.

Majors in sociology receive coursework and personalized advising that prepares them for graduate studies, leadership, and service in areas such as criminal justice, law, education, industry, human services, government, journalism, and non-profit organizations. The curriculum imparts to students an understanding of society and culture as it is organized in various social institutions and provides training in the methods and theories of social research. Topics of study include marriage and family, criminology, urban society, gerontology, minority relations, social psychology, gender, social inequality, and the study of culture.