The challenge of sociology is its insight into the complicated connections between individual lives and social institutions. Our goal as a faculty is to give students the analytical tools of sociology that clarify those connections and enable them to become critical, thinking citizens. Sociology's tools include: (1) concepts and theoretical questions that provoke precise thinking about the origins, development, and effects of institutions, (2) experience "in the field" that informs, tests, and critiques the conceptual/theoretical tools; and (3) practical research skills ranging from ethnographic interpretation to proficiency with computers. Sociology at Beloit engages students and faculty together in raising questions, seeking answers, and searching for ways to improve our social and individual lives.
The student who majors in sociology should expect to take four required units: introductory sociology, one methodology course, one theory course, and Social Statistics. In addition, five upper level elective courses are required. These are the minimum requirements; many majors go well beyond the minimum to increase their breadth and depth of sociological knowledge.
Our curriculum is rounded out by a wide variety of "elective" courses, including courses in race and ethnicity, religion, sex and gender, law and family, social class, health and medical care in society, criminal and juvenile justice, and social psychology.
Recognizing students' interest in and concern about getting jobs, even while getting a superior liberal arts and sciences education, we have designed several pre-professional career concentrations for (1) graduate study in sociology; (2) social services and administration; (3) criminal justice; (4) law; (5) management and policy studies; (6) health administration; and (7) public school teaching. These concentrations are not majors in themselves; rather they articulate a set of courses from sociology and other disciplines that provide sociology majors with suggestions toward a solid liberal arts foundation for a professional career. Other pre-professional career concentrations can be worked out in consultation with a faculty advisor.
Sociology majors from Beloit College are prepared intellectually and experientially to enter a variety of careers. Many enter occupations in business, industry, and government directly from college. Others pursue additional graduate education at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels.
We consider experiential education to be a prime laboratory in which the sociology major puts her or his sociological knowledge and skills to work.
Our students have worked as interns with city planning staff, the public defender's office, probation and parole agents, family service agencies, the battered women's shelter, primary and secondary teachers, clergy, and others.
Nearly ever year, one or more of our majors participate in the urban studies program. This program engages students for four months in Chicago, where they live, study, and work under the supervision and guidance of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest urban studies faculty. Our majors are also encouraged to participate in one of a variety of overseas seminars offered by Beloit.