SOCI111 Introduction to Sociology (3 semester hours)

Introduction to Sociology introduces students to the sociological investigation of human interaction and behavior in society. Students will become familiar with the sociological perspective and develop a ‘sociological imagination’ – the ability to see the general in the particular, the new in the familiar, and to observe the impact social forces have on our lives. The course explores environmental, historical, cultural, and organizational influences on our interpersonal relationships and life-patterns within the context of contemporary society. Students will learn how to use sociological concepts, theory and research to think critically about individuals, groups, institutions, and societies in any given situation.

SOCI212 Social Problems (3 semester hours)

This course examines a diverse sample of social problems facing the United States today and identifies how these problems affect and are affected by our institutions and culture. The sociological perspective and key theories will be used to understand the beginnings of the civil society, how problems develop and are defined, and the role of social change (particularly contemporary technological innovation). Key social problems covered will include social stratification/inequality, crime, drug abuse, prostitution, aging, infectious disease, family violence, health care, racial/ethnic conflict, terrorism, etc. Sociological research on social problems will be explored, and social policies to remedy the negative consequences of these issues on society will be discussed.

SOCI213 Society, Interaction, and the Individual (3 semester hours)

This course surveys sociological theories and research on the relationship between the individual and society. It is a sociological approach to social psychology, emphasizing symbolic interactionism and social constructionism. Students will learn how individuals participate in the construction of society through interaction and the impact of cultures and social structure on our everyday lives including individual behavior in group processes. Core topics covered will include the Social Construction of Reality, Ethnography and other key methods in Symbolic Interactionism; the Self in Context; the Sociology of Emotions; Interaction and inequality.

SOCI214 Stratification and Inequality (3 semester hours)

This course will critically examine the causes, processes and patterns of social inequality in society. Social stratification explores inequality through the lens of social class, gender, race-ethnicity, sexuality, age, and wellness. Students will use sociological theory and applied research to explore the various ways hierarchies are produced and maintained among people within the social structures such as the economy, religion, education, and family in the United States. Students will also consider the impact of globalization on the distribution of power and access to resources in the United States.

SOCI215 Social Deviance (3 semester hours)

This course is a critical examination of the relationship between deviance and social control. It will include how and why certain forms of behavior come to be known as deviant, it will analyze the nature of formal and informal responses to deviance, and explain the interaction of different social control institutions. Special attention will be given to an overview of general theories of deviance, and the particular forms it takes.

SOCI220 American Popular Culture (3 semester hours)

This course is a contemporary study of popular culture in America – its development and characteristics, its role in shaping our individual lives and key social institutions; and its broad effects on our globalizing world. The course is designed around the interdisciplinary nature of cultural studies, and students will learn how to use key concepts and theories to examine popular culture from a number of different fields including Sociology, Anthropology, Communications, History, Cultural Studies, English, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, and American Studies. Students will develop the skills to analyze the reciprocal relationship between culture and key stratification factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, region and sexuality. The course will cover many facets of popular culture from all forms of media, to sports, fashion, and the influence of technology. Students will learn to situate popular culture within its social, historical, political, and economic contexts and their personal lives.

SOCI303 Classical Sociological Theory (3 semester hours)

This course examines the transition from social philosophy to sociology with special emphasis on the European theorists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

SOCI305 Contemporary Sociological Theory (3 semester hours)

This course offers a general survey of recent developments in social theory since the 1960’s. It covers a variety of theories that have been or are influential in the social sciences. Focus will be directed towards both those social theories that have sought to understand modernity as a social epoch and those that claim we have entered a new postmodern era. Differences between European and American approaches will be considered as the substance of the course is developed.

SOCI306 Race and Ethnicity (3 semester hours)

This course is a critical analysis of the structure of racism, stratification, hate violence, youth violence, poverty and human rights, stereotyping and ethnocentrism in the contemporary United States. Students examine the outstanding problems facing society and strategies for change, including an exploration of the ethics of intervention.

SOCI307 Sociology of Aging (3 semester hours)

In this course the social construction of age and aging in the U.S. will be examined. The sociological perspective will be used to explore social problems associated with aging and the elderly, the influence of various social institutions on older adults, and sociological theories and research associated with aging. The course will also examine the impact of government, healthcare, the media, and various social factors such as race and gender on the experiences of older adults.

SOCI311 Political Sociology (3 semester hours)

Political Sociology examines the broad social bases of politics and identifies how politics and actions by government can influence the fate of nations and their citizens. These influences include, but are not limited to, power and authority, economic policy, equality, forms of political rule, access to the political process, and the roles of political parties.

SOCI312 Organizational Sociology (3 semester hours)

This course examines the nature of formal organizations in society. Organizations are a distinct form of modern society and human interaction. They shape us as individuals, and they affect the structure of society. Students will explore key organizational sociological literature and apply it to practical case studies in areas such as fast food, the military, politics, religion, education, and social movements, their structures and outcomes. Key substantive areas of analysis will include organizational processes, such as power, leadership and change, and organizational environments and inter-organizational relationships.

SOCI315 Food and Culture (3 semester hours)

This course is a theoretical and empirical exploration of human food choices from an ecological, political and sociological perspective. Students will examine food taboos and cravings, with their social, ideological and biological sources. The course is designed to discuss the socio-cultural dimensions of food production, preparation and consumption to include dimensions of individual, family, community and societal structures, as well as ideological, religious and cultural identities embodied in gender, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Choices of pets, insects and people as food choices are considered in their socio-cultural contexts. Social issues include the 21st century locavore and organic movements, community food production, malnutrition and hunger.

SOCI331 Research Methods for Sociology (3 semester hours)

This course introduces students to the purpose and techniques in social research: problem definition, research design, sampling and data collection methods including observation, interviewing, questionnaire construction and the use of documents and other unobtrusive data sources. The basic goal of all social research is to gather evidence in order to answer questions about the nature of relationships between individuals, groups, institutions, and societies. This course is designed to give the student a broad overview of the logic of social research, of the process of research design, and of the major types of data collection techniques and methods of data analysis.

SOCI332 Statistics for Social Science (3 semester hours)

This course is designed to provide a basic survey of the application, empirical use and interpretation of a variety of statistics methods used in the social sciences. A key objective of the course is the instruction in best statistical practice through the use, exploration and analysis of empirical data. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and interpreting the meaning of statistics. The practical aspects of statistics are emphasized and students are instructed in the use of the standard statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) which is widely used in the social sciences and in the labor force. NOTE: Students must have access to required software: SPSS (Statistics Package for the Social Sciences); see Course Materials for current version requirement. APUS does not supply this software.

SOCI403 Social Change (3 semester hours)

Beginning with industrialization, a structural and cultural approach will be used to study processes of human interaction resulting in social change. The concept of what ‘change’ is and how it happens will be clarified with a focus on the various factors and theories that explain it. Key topics will include industrialization, institutional change, social movements, modernization, world systems, economic development, globalization, and information society.

SOCI404 Gender and Society (3 semester hours)

This course is a critical analysis of the structure of sexism, stratification, poverty and human rights in the contemporary United States. Students examine the outstanding problems facing society and strategies for change, including an exploration of the ethics of intervention. The course is designed to discuss the way culture shapes and defines the positions and roles of both men and women in society. It will cover the historical development of gender roles and stereotypes, how gender roles are socially constructed, and the social conditions which may lead to the broadening or reduction of gender roles and stereotypes.

SOCI420 Sociology of Religion (3 semester hours)

This course will guide students through a critical and sociological exploration of religion. It will provide them with an opportunity to think about religious experience and religious organizations as a part of a larger social order. It will introduce basic concepts in the sociology of religion. This process involves analyzing the interrelationship of culture, society, and religion; religion and social stratification; religious, economic, and political institutions; social change and religion. There will be a general emphasis on American society and institutions, with global and historical contexts integrated throughout the course. The course is designed with a focus on reading, discussion, field observation and critical writing.

SOCI421 Sociology of the Family (3 semester hours)

This course is a sociological analysis of the modern family and marriage, its structures and functions, variant patterns, and the influence of contemporary society on this institution. Course topics include dating, marital roles, divorce, child raising, and alternative lifestyles.

SOCI422 Sociology of the Law (3 semester hours)

This course is a study of law, law-making, law-enforcement, and legal systems in social life. Course content focuses on the American legal system from a sociological perspective--its origins, development, and current format, and examines the sources of the legal tradition, the function of legislation in society, and current trends in the social construction of norms. The course investigates the human need for social order and conflict resolution, and how that takes shape in the social world.

SOCI423 Sociology of Health and Illness (3 semester hours)

This course examines the social contexts of health, illness and organized medical care. It focuses on the theories, research and debates of medical sociology. Topics covered will include the social, environmental and occupational factors in health and illness; the meaning of health and illness from the patient’s perspective; the historical transformation of the health professions and the health work force; the social and cultural factors surrounding the creation and labeling of diseases; disparities in health, access to healthcare, and the quality of healthcare received; organizational and ethical issues in medicine including rising costs and medical technology; and health care reform.

SOCI424 Sociology of Death and Dying (3 semester hours)

This course is an exploration of the social, psychological, cultural, and individual experiences of death, grief, and loss. The study of the structure of the human response to death, dying, and bereavement in a socio-cultural, interpersonal, and personal context will be examined. Topics to be discussed will include development of perceptions of death, bereavement and grief over the life course; functions of the funeral; euthanasia and death-related ethical debates; and, suicide. Current sociological theories and empirical research regarding the study of death and dying will also be introduced and discussed. Attention will be given to appropriate coping strategies for dealing with death and for aiding others in the coping process.

SOCI490 Independent Study: Social Science (3 semester hours)

An opportunity for Social Science students to pursue an independent research project or examine a specific area of Social Science under the mentorship of a single professor. Course is open to upper division students only. Participation is at the discretion of the faculty member. The course will typically involve six or more professor contacts and produce a major research paper (30+ pages); there will be no examination. Students will submit a proposal prior to the start of the project, and a rough draft of the paper at week 10, both of which will count toward the final grade. Participation is at the discretion of the faculty member. To be eligible for an independent study, students must be enrolled in a bachelors degree program, must have completed 24 hours at APUS toward their current degree program, and should have already contacted a professor and gained approval for the independent study topic. Once these conditions are met the student should contact his/her student advisor. Once the course is open the student must complete an official online registration for the course.

SOCI491 Sociology Independent Study (3 semester hours)

An opportunity for Sociology students to pursue an independent research project or examine a specific area of Sociology under the mentorship of a single professor. Course is open to upper division students only. Participation is at the discretion of the faculty member. To be eligible for an independent study, students must be enrolled in a bachelors degree program, must have completed 24 hours at APUS toward their current degree program, and should have already contacted a professor and gained approval for the independent study topic. Once these conditions are met the student should contact his/her academic advisor. Once the course is open the student must complete an official online registration for the course.

SOCI498 Senior Seminar in Sociology (3 semester hours)

The focus of this course is to review the major issues within the field of sociology and their relationship to current events. Theoretical and applied perspectives will be discussed, culminating in the students’ completion of a major sociological research paper/project that synthesizes the body of acquired knowledge.