Degrees / Courses

Degrees Courses
Summer Course: Communities and Watersheds


Sociology Major Requirements:
Forty (40) semester hours which include SY101, SY103, SY105,SY/PG202, SY291, SY312, SY375, SY403, plus 15 elective hours of course offerings in Sociology, 18 of which are to be taken at Aquinas College. To be a sociology major, a student must maintain a C or better grade in all major requirements.
Download Major Checklist (pdf)
Sociology Minor Requirements:
Twenty-two (22) semester hours which include SY101, SY/PG202, SY 291, SY 312, SY375, plus 6 elective hours of course offerings in Sociology, 12 of which are to be taken at Aquinas College. A grade of C or better must be maintained in all courses credited toward the minor.


SY101 Introduction to Sociology (3) PS
Emphasis on developing a sociological perspective for examining social situations, social behaviors, and institutions.
SY102 Introduction to Social Work (3)
Historical approach to social welfare, case work, group work, and community organization as related to current efforts and futuristic trends.
SY103 Cultural Anthropology (3) PS

Analysis of human cultural adaptations in various societies around the world.

SY 105 Sociology Preparatory Course (1)
This course is designed to orient the newly-declared sociology major or transfer student to the discipline of sociology and the Aquinas sociology program. It will assist sociology majors to understand the components of the major, the sociological perspective, benefits of experiential learning, planning for a career with a degree in sociology or graduate school, as well as what is expected of student sociology majors at Aquinas College.
SY162 Drugs and Society (3)
Analysis of manner in which drugs and society influence each other; contemporary “drug scene.”
SY200 Special Studies in Sociology (Variable)
Examination of topics not offered in regular curriculum; e.g., sociology of politics, art, knowledge, work, leisure, alcoholism, women, and media. Prerequisite: SY101
SY/PG201 Social Psychology (3)
Examines the relationship between individuals and their social environment including how individuals are influenced by, yet also shape groups and organizations. These questions are addressed with social and psychological theories from both Psychology and Sociology. Prerequisite: SY101 or PG100.
SY/PG202 Introduction to Research and Design (4)
Introduction to research process: scientific method, basic nature of research, analysis of major research designs used in lab, field, and natural environment; how to write a research proposal, conduct an experiment, write a research report; lecture and lab. Prerequisite: PG100 or SY101 and MS151 or equivalent.
SY205 Trying Social Work (4)
Introduction to the practice of Social Work. A semester’s mini-placement in a social-service agency is required. Prerequisite: SY102.
SY/WS207 Arab Women (3) GP
This course explores various Arab communities, both historic and contemporary, to focus on the diverse lives of Arab women: tribal nomadic, small village, immigrant and urban. Through the novel, ethnography, memoir and poetry, the course examines Arab practices and reflects on the dynamics of gender and power in students’ own cultures.
SY210 Sociology of Marriage and the Family (3)
Marriage and family in context of contemporary Western culture; traditional and alternative family relationships; roles; family and new attitudes on sexual behavior.
SY260 Introduction to Social Problems (3) PS
Analysis of contemporary social problems and how they are defined by society.
SY261 Criminology (3)
Analysis of crime with reference to behavior of those who engage in, or become victims of criminal behavior. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY263 Juvenile Delinquency (3)
Study of the development, prevention, control, and treatment of juvenile delinquency. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY264/PH291 Why Punish The Guilty? (3)
Focuses on the following issues: the ethical justification of punishment as viewed from a utilitarian and retributivist perspective; the relationship between moral blame and legal punishment; the insanity defense; the disease model of criminality; capital punishment.
SY275 Sociology of Sport (3)
Analysis of history and contemporary phenomenon of sport from sociological perspective; sport’s relation to the media, education, racism, sexism, character building, and the larger society.
SY285 Sociology of Food (3)
A multi-disciplinary approach to the relationships between food and society. Examining food historically, food production, health food, food distribution, nutrition, sub-cultures, social eating disorders, food and poverty, fast food, and world hunger.
SY291 History of Sociological Thought (3)
From Comte to Foucault: an examination of how theory forms the basis of sociological thought. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY302 Community Sociology
Examination of communities of place and interest through a sociological perspective.
Topics include history of community, theories of community sociology, community power and leadership, rural and urban communities, and factors influencing community growth and decline. Prerequisite: SY101, GY120 or CL100.
SY/WS305 Masculinities, Femininities, Sexualities and Society (3)
This course is designed to examine the ways in which gender, as a social construction, influences various aspects of social life. Particular attention will be given to the role of ideology in shaping conceptions of gender, how those conceptions are constructed through socialization practices, and how they are maintained through social institutions.
SY311/WS314 Women, Girls and Leadership (3)
Examination of how the status of women is defined and how social constructions influence various aspects of social life. Utilizes a sociological approach and theories that have contributed to establishing current ideas about women, socialization practices and how they are maintained through social institutions.
SY312 Social Stratification (3)
This course explores the nature of systems of inequality, as they appear in human societies, focusing on the political, economic, and social forces that help produce inequality and social stratification. Various sociological concepts and theories of inequality will be examined to help describe and explain social inequality in the United States and elsewhere, taking into account global dimensions of social stratification. A lab component is also part of this course and through it the student will be exposed to experiential learning that will illustrate various concepts covered in class. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY313 Race and Ethnicity (3) GP
Underlying social and cultural dynamics of selected multicultural groups. Emphasis on the many dimensions of unequal power.
SY/WS 315 Women and Development (3)
Examination of women's involvement in development and social change activities across diverse societies Use of sociology and women's studies theories and analyses to understand development roles played by women in public and private spheres
SY364 Indigenous Peoples of the Great Lakes(3)
A critical introduction and review of the social, political, and cultural aspects of American Indian society in Michigan from the 1920s to the present.
SY/EN367 The Hispanic in the U.S. (3)
This course covers major Hispanic groups, key geographic areas including Southwest and selected urban centers. There is also a discussion of the migrant stream, process of assimilation and acculturation, biculturalism, dynamics of intercultural interaction within Hispanic communities and with mainstream. Prerequisite: EN201 or SY101 and cumulative grade point average of 2.5.
SY/FH/SH370 Service Learning (3)
Courses taught in conjunction with Service Learning trips to Mexico during winter break and the Caribbean in early summer. Students prepare for their experience abroad and analyze the concepts of service and social justice. Classes are interdisciplinary and include art, government, and history, to encourage students to appreciate the lives, values and background of the people they will encounter. Students taking the courses for language credit will do reading and writing in Spanish or French. Prerequisite: Instructor approval
SY375 Complex Organizations (3)
Theory and research on structures and processes of large scale, formal organizations.
Prerequisite: SY101.
SY381 Sociology of Mental Illness (3)
Varieties of mental illness and their correlation with different forms of society. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY395/WS395 Sociology of Women (3)
A critique and review of the social, economic, political, and cultural roles of American women from the 1880s to the present time and beyond. Includes female socialization, women’s movement, feminist theory of sex discrimination in all its forms, and proposes empowerment and change. Prerequisite: SY101.
SY397 Field Experience in Sociology (Variable)
Approved career-related work experience in the field of Sociology, established by contract between Career Development, major advisor and student.
Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson.
SY398 Readings/Research in Sociology (Variable)
Individually negotiated program of readings on selected topic established between instructor and student. Contracts filed with Registrar. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson.
SY399 Independent Research Project (Variable)
Individually negotiated project of defined nature established by contract between instructor and student. Contracts filed with Registrar. Prerequisite: Approval of the chairperson.
SY402/EN402/EN502 Communities and Watersheds

Examination of the interface of communities and watersheds and the associated issues of stewardship and sustainability. Using the Grand River and Grand Rapids as an example of the social significance of waterways in U.S. urban development. Prerequisites: SY101, EN201, EL100 or GY130.

SY403 Capstone Seminar (4)
This capstone course is a detailed exploration of the major theories and theorists, concepts, and topics of the discipline. The course will culminate in the formulation of a research proposal. Prerequisites: Senior status and 21 credit hours of sociology.