Sociology at Aquinas College

Sociology Courses

SY101 Introduction to Sociology (3)

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts and general theories of sociological thought and research. Students will be introduced to the major and to careers the sociology major offers. As part of the engaged department initiative and to begin applying sociology concepts and theories to their experiences, students will complete 3 hours of participant observation of a community-based initiative, organization or cultural event outside of the classroom.

SY102 Introduction to Social Work (3)

This course offers a sociological introduction to social work, social welfare, case work, group work, and community organization. The course also examines current efforts and future trends within the realm, discipline, and field of social work. As a part of the engaged department initiative this course will have 30 hours of assignments that get students out of the classroom and meeting social workers and the organizations they work with.

SY103 Cultural Anthropology (3)

This course is a critical analysis of human cultural adaptations in various societies around the world.

SY151/CN151/PG151 statistics for Social Science (3)

Students will study descriptive and inferential statistics and how they are both important in analysis of different types of research involving human participants. Emphasis will be on statistical concepts and how they are applied in the Social Sciences. Using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), a widely-used software in the Social Sciences, students will learn how to select and utilize appropriate statistical tests to analyze datasets. The overall goals are to increase understanding of the importance of statistics in the scientific method, specifically research design and analysis, and to enhance critical thinking skills. The knowledge and skills gained in this course will allow students to advance in higher level courses such as Research Methods and lay a foundation for their own research design, data collection, and data analysis.

SY162 Drugs and Society (3)

This course is a critical analysis of the complex and interconnected ways in which drugs and society influence each other. The course also examines contemporary trends in drug usage, policy, treatment, and enforcement.

SY200/IN200 Special Studies in Sociology (Variable)

This is a special studies course for topics not regularly offered in the curriculum.

SY201/PG201 Social Psychology (3)

This course critically examines the relationship between individuals and their social environment including how individuals are influenced by, yet also shape groups and organizations. Social psychological questions, issues, and social problems are explored with theories from both disciplines - Psychology and Sociology. Prerequisite: SY101 or PG100.

SY202/PG202 Introduction to Research and Design (4) QR

This course is an introduction to the 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 SY/CN/PG 151 or equivalent. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

SY205 Trying Social Work (4)

This course introduces students to the practice and routines of social work. Students will complete at least 60 hours of work in a social work placement in a social-service agency as a part of their coursework outside of regular class time. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement. Prerequisite: SY102.

SY208 Media and Society (3)

This course introduces students to how sociologists study the relationship between media and society. Students will become aware of and use sociological concepts, theories, and research methods to examine how media shapes and structures our self-concepts, identities, cultures, and society.

SY209/CL209 Sustainable Cities and Environmental Justice (3)

In this course, students investigate sustainable cities and environmental justice from the perspectives of social science scholars, focusing on the meaning of the global environmental crisis for particular urban areas. Throughout the course, students will identify, describe, and evaluate multiple theories and findings that attempt to explain and uncover how cities strive to be sustainable but fall far short of the demands for environmental justice. This course will enable students to attribute multiple social science theories and findings accurately, to take a position based on these theories and findings, to raise and answer counterpoints to these theories and findings, to pose solutions to environmental-based urban problems, and to use sustainability and environmental justice as frameworks for problem-solving.

SY210/WS210 Sociology of Marriage and Family (3)

This course introduces fundamental sociological concepts, theoretical approaches, and arguments surrounding the institutions of marriage and family. Students will examine how experiences of marriage and family are affected by social, cultural, and economic structures and explore issues of marriage, intimacy, family, love, partnering, parenting, grandparenting, childrearing practices, violence, and social policy. In this process students will see how individuals’ family lives are shaped by broader social systems in ways that help us better understand our own family experiences.

SY213 Race and Ethnicity (3) GP

This course examines the underlying social and cultural dynamics of selected multicultural groups in the U.S. and around the world, emphasizing intersectionality, dimensions of unequal power, and racism.

SY260 Social Problems (3)

This course introduces students to the social constructivist approach to studying social problems. Students will learn to examine the origins of social problems, the process of claimsmaking that define issues as social problems, and how these processes might affect individuals, groups, and policies. In this process students will understand how social problems are constructed in everyday life, develop skills to critically assess claims about social problems, and use course concepts to analyze the social construction of a variety of contemporary social problems.

SY261 Criminology (3)

This course offers a critical analysis of crime with reference to behavior of those who engage in, or become victims of criminal behavior. Prerequisite: SY101.

SY263 Juvenile Delinquency (3)

This course introduces students to the study of the development, prevention, control, and treatment of juvenile delinquency. Prerequisite: SY101.

SY275 Sociology of Sport (3)

This course, using sociological concepts, theories, and research, examines the relationships between sports, culture, and society. Critical questions are raised around the complex intersections between sport(s) and gender, race/ethnicity, social class, age, ability, etc. The course provides a historical and contemporary account of both popular/mainstream and controversial issues within the institution of sport. While the course focuses on the contemporary phenomenon of sport within an American context, it also considers/contrasts/compares sport from other perspectives and cultures.

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, subcultures, social eating disorders, food and poverty, fast food, and world hunger.

SY291 History of Sociological Thought (3)

A critical survey of social theorists who shaped early sociology and remain relevant today. Also covers theorists who extended and challenged the sociological perspective, with attention given to critical race, queer and feminist theories that are fundamental to contemporary sociological thought. Emphasizes the development and application of theory in relationship to contemporary issues. As a part of the engaged department initiative, students will complete 10 hours of participant observation in a community-based initiative, organization, or cultural event outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SY101.

SY302 Community Sociology (3)

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.

SY305/WS305 Masculinities, Femininities, Sexualities and Society (3)

This course examines the sociology of gender. As a social construction, gender 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, how they are maintained through social institutions, and how gender shapes experiences. This course uses a critical, intersectional approach to understand gender more holistically.

SY311/WS314 Women, Girls and Leadership (3)

In this course students examine how the status of the 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 and girls, leadership, socialization practices and how they are maintained through social institutions.

SY312 Social Stratification (4)

This course explores systems of inequality focusing on the political, economic, and social forces that shape 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. As a part of the engaged department initiative, students will complete 40 hours of participant observation and field research in community-based initiatives, organizations, or cultural events outside of the classroom pertaining to social stratification. Prerequisite: SY202 and 291.This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

SY315/WS315 Women and Development (3)

A sociological 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.

SY350 Health, Illness, & Society (3)

The sociology of health and illness also known as medical sociology is a broad field examining the social production of health, wellness, illness and mortality. Students will examine how the topics of health and illness include a variety of social, political, economic, and cultural forces as well as biological phenomena and medical knowledge. The “Medical Mile” development in Grand Rapids offers students a community site in which to begin exploring these ideas. 

SY364 Indigenous Peoples of the Great Lakes (3)

This course offers a critical introduction and review of the social, political, and cultural aspects of the Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes from the 1920s to the present.

SY366 Immigration and Diaspora (3)

This course will investigate the causes, consequences, and outcomes of human movement across the world from a sociological perspective. Topics will include why people migrate, factors leading to anti-immigrant sentiment, the scope of immigration control policies, and experiences of immigrant inclusion and exclusion.

SY375 Complex Organizations (3)

Students will be introduced to the theory and research on structures and processes of large scale, formal organizations. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement. Prerequisite: SY101.

SY396/CL396 Sociological Practicum in Community Leadership (4)

In this field placement course, students spend at least 150 hours, or 10-15 hours per week, in service-work/learning-work situations relevant to careers in public, social service, or non-profit organizations, in addition to regular meetings with the instructor. This practicum provides the practical experience for deepening community engagement and raising important questions about society and social justice. Prerequisites: CL100 or SY101. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

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 department chairperson. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

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 department chairperson. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

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 department chairperson. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.

SY400 Advanced Sociological Methods (3)

Students will explore qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to study their communities and society. Students will experiment with these sociological methods by proposing research projects, which they will complete in SY 403. Should be taken the fall of senior year.

SY403 Capstone Seminar (4) SC

Students will reflect on the meaning and application of the sociological imagination, through active reading and discussion. Students will produce a milestone statement and portfolio of academic achievement in the major. This portfolio will include the production of a final research or community based project, presented at a local or regional professional association, which will satisfy the final stage of the engaged department initiative. Accompanying these tasks will be professional development training, and guidance on employment and continued education options for graduating seniors. Prerequisites: SY 202, SY 291, senior status and twenty (20) semester hours of sociology courses. This course is not accepted for the Social Science General Education requirement.