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What Is Sociology?

According to the American Sociological Association:

Sociology is:

  • the study of society
  • a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies
  • the study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes
  • the scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives'
  • an overarching unification of all studies of humankind, including history, psychology, and economics

The Department of Sociology at Moravian College offers two curricular tracks—a general sociology track and a “law and society” track. Each of these tracks uses a balance of theoretical frameworks and undergraduate research to explore the ways human behavior reflects the structure and culture of society. Students graduate with a knowledge of normative behavior, social stratification, symbolic interactionism, socialization, and an appreciation for the sociological imagination. They also acquire basic research skills including the ability to generate research hypotheses, construct research instruments, and the ability to manage and analyze data using SPSS. Students following the general track often pursue careers in higher education (graduate school), education, social services/counseling/psychology, management, sales and marketing, research, government and other professional careers.

Learn more:

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Marriage and the Family
  • The Human Services System
  • The Legal System
  • American Constitutional Law
  • Civil Liberties and the U.S. Constitution
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Social Deviance
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Basic Research Methods
  • Social Controversies
  • Structured Inequality
  • Urban Sociology
  • Rural Communities
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Sociology of the Blues
  • Communities and Conflict in India
  • Corrections in America
  • Complex Organizations
  • The Family and the Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Sociological Theory
  • Advanced Social Research
  • Media Technology and Society
  • Sociology of Gender
  • Racial and Ethnic Inequality
  • Counseling in Human Services
  • Seminar
  • Fieldwork in Sociology
  • Special Topics
  • Independent Study
  • Field Study
  • Honors


Field placements, an important option in the program, include work with local magistrates, district attorneys and public defenders, probation and parole officers, social workers, psychologists, and therapeutic recreation specialists. Students can gain experience in state government through the Harrisburg Urban Semester and in the federal government through the Washington semester program. Several students are also enrolled in the semester abroad program, and the department has offered study tours in several countries. The Sociology Club and the Pre-Law Club also sponsor events and trips. A local chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta (international honor society in sociology) is active on campus.


Sociology students use the College’s computing facilities for statistical analysis and word processing. All members of the Moravian College community have access to networked Windows and Macintosh microcomputers in academic computing laboratories in several campus locations. Students with their own computers may connect to the campus network directly from their dormitory rooms. This connection provides 24-hour access to network services, including printing, file servers, electronic mail, and the Internet, plus storage for personal files and access to campus software programs needed for academic pursuits. Wireless networking is also available in several locations.


  • James Hilander
  • Steve Maier
  • Bettie Smolansky