Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.
~C. Wright Mills

A group of students holding letters that spell sociology

Sociology is the study of human society and human social interaction. Our department explores a wide range of issues relevant to our lives — social inequality and social justice, crime and deviance, race and gender relations, dating and intimate relationships, and the impact of the internet on society and interpersonal relationships. We emphasize teaching as the top priority of the department, set high standards for student achievement, involve students in research, provide opportunities for student learning outside the classroom (e.g., through engagement in multicultural events and participation in internships) and encourage civic involvement.

The Sociology Program provides a broad liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically about issues present in contemporary society. Students graduating with a BS in Sociology will be prepared for graduate studies or employment in several areas; students with a particular interest in careers or graduate study in Criminology or Law can pursue the Sociology degree with an emphasis in Criminology. An optional internship program provides students with real-world experiences in their area of interest. Students who are not Sociology majors can complete a minor in Sociology and/or Criminology.

The Sociology program at Concord University develops student’s abilities in the following areas. These program learning goals align with university-level goals and are adapted from the American Sociological Association’s Sociological Literacy Framework. These priorities form the foundation for the curriculum in Sociology and Criminology courses.

  • Sociological knowledge, including: sociology as a discipline, how to use a sociological perspective to better understand social issues, sociological theory, research methodologies used in the social sciences, social structure and social institutions, reciprocal relationships between individuals and society, the significance of social and cultural variations, and the basic issues of at least two substantive areas within sociology;
  • Critical thinking skills, including: examining multiple sides of a situation, evidence-based decision-making, move beyond “folk” explanations of social phenomena, effectively use sociological theories and evidence to suggest real-world solutions to social problems;
  • Communication skills, including: respectful interpersonal communication that will not offend individuals from diverse groups, writing about research and current events, discussing potentially controversial topics in writing and in person, and;
  • Personal, civic, cultural, and global competence, including: self-awareness of one’s position within larger groups/societies, causes and consequences of inequality, use sociological knowledge and skills to engage with and change the world around them.

Our primary mission is to prepare students in ways that help them achieve their professional aspirations, whether they include graduate school and/or employment. Meeting the needs of these (potentially heterogeneous) students means careful attention to their academic, as well as personal and professional, circumstances. We have this goal for every student we interact with as instructors and advisors.

Another aim for our students, especially our Sociology majors, is that they are able to use a sociological perspective to better understand their social world, be it in the classroom, workplace, home, or other environment. We work to provide students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help them become educated, agentic, and involved citizens. We want to graduate students who are able to successfully negotiate social structures (such as bureaucracy), communicate in ways that value all people equally, and identify popular misconceptions about social life. We seek to empower students with knowledge, critical thinking, communication skills, and global competence – all of which speak to our primary mission of helping students achieve their goals, but also have the potential to improve our communities.

Another program goal includes contributing to institutional needs, such as offering ‘service’ (or required) courses for other programs, providing an introductory understanding of the discipline for the Social Sciences track of General Studies (aka Undecided students), and teaching courses that help students meet general education requirements.

Measurable learning objectives for the Sociology program were created using information from the Sociological Literacy Framework (a set of student learning outcomes recommended by the American Sociological Association), Concord University goals, and previous program priorities. Current program-level objectives for student learning are listed below; associated program/university goals appear in parentheses after each objective.

Students graduating with a BS in Sociology will be able to:

  1. Describe the sociological imagination and other guiding principles of sociology; explain the history, development, and goals of sociological inquiry; identify central theoretical trends; summarize sociological research methods; and know at least one substantive area within sociology (knowledge)
  2. Apply and analyze sociological theories and evidence to understand social phenomena (critical thinking)
  3. Critically evaluate explanations of human behavior and social phenomena (critical thinking; personal, civic, cultural, and global competence)
  4. Design a research study and evaluate the quality of social scientific methods and data (critical thinking; communication)
  5. Communicate effectively and respectfully in various forms (in writing, orally) including: Illustrate ethical research practices and behavior; engage in responsible citizenship by demonstrating an understanding of contemporary social problems and inequalities; and demonstrate respect for individuals and groups regardless of social identity or stigmatized group affiliation (communication; personal, civic, cultural, and global competence)
  6. Use sociological knowledge to analyze and assess contemporary policy debates and public events (critical thinking; communication; personal, civic, cultural, and global competence)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Each year at Concord University’s Honors Banquet, the Sociology Department presents the Outstanding Sociology Graduate award to a senior sociology major. The recipient is selected by department faculty based on GPA and his or her contribution to the program. Will you be the next to receive this prestigious award?

2019: McKenna Entsminger

2017: Marcus Murrell

2015: Nathanael Dean & Josie Lupardus

2013: Laken Pruitt

2011: Steve Redden

2009: Jerry Fowler

2007: Nicholas Dolin

2005: Donna Musick

2003: Scott Inghram

2001: Kevin Hart

2018: Kaitlen Hubbard

2016: Cory Haines

2014: Celia Ann Laverty​

2012: Kristen Mills

2010: Meshell Shaffer

2008: Holly Belcher

2006: Matthew Smith

2004: Ian Lovejoy

2000: Tina Mullins

1999: Rosemary L. Ellis

To swallow and follow, whether old doctrine or new, is a weakness still dominating the human mind.
~Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Imagine having the ability to analyze the impact of mass media on children, identify patterns in the labor market, explore the role of the criminal justice system in the lives of the poor, or study the effects contemporary culture have on interpersonal relationships. Sociologists do all that and more. Sociology is the study of the interactions between groups and institutions, and the study of social life and human behavior. It allows us to better understand the changing world.

Sociology majors at Concord develop both qualitative and quantitative research skills as they learn to identify social trends and analyze statistics. Majors also learn about the diverse cultural and social realities that exist around the world. As they develop the ability to critically analyze social interactions between individuals, groups and societies, students also develop sensitivity and respect for social difference. Sociology students learn to clearly communicate their ideas in writing and public speaking while striving to engage in respectful dialog, essential skills in the work force.

Produced by the American Sociological Association, the PDF booklets below provide practical information about how a sociology degree can be useful, where major’s work, career planning and information about graduate school.

21st Century Careers With an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology (PDF)

What are they Doing with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology? (PDF)

Getting an undergraduate degree in sociology is a great way to get a job after graduation. Businesses, social services and government agencies appreciate the knowledge of social and cultural interactions sociology majors acquire. With a sociology degree, students translate what they learned in the classroom to benefit businesses and organizations in surprising ways.


  • Human Resources
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Public Relations

Sociology majors often make strong public relations and marketing specialists. Sociologists also help businesses improve the culture of the workplace and understand group dynamics in human resources positions.

Graduate School

  • Professor
  • Subject Specialist
  • Researcher

An undergraduate major in sociology provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in fields including law, business, social work, medicine, public health, public administration and, of course, sociology. After graduate school, sociologists may become professors, researchers or highly skilled experts in an area of research.
For those interested in Graduate School, make sure to check out the links below:

Social Services

  • Caseworker
  • Counselor
  • Mental Health

The knowledge and skills gained as a sociology major comes in handy when working as a caseworker or in outreach for children’s services, senior care organizations and mental health agencies. Counseling at social services organizations, hospitals and homeless shelters offer other employment opportunities.


  • Corrections Officer
  • Rehabilitation
  • Law Enforcement

Students in sociology with an interest in criminology often go into careers that focus upon the relationship among crime, the criminal justice system, and society as a whole. A degree in sociology qualifies you to work as police officers, parole officers, security, prisoner rehabilitation specialists and many other positions.

Non-profit Work

  • Advocate
  • Community Relations
  • Volunteer

A degree in sociology is an excellent foundation for work with international or national non-profit organizations. You can find work in a variety of areas or build experience by volunteering with nonprofit groups. Help in a food pantry, teach ESL classes to immigrants, serve as a patient or court advocate are just some of the opportunities.


  • Program Development
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Statistics Researcher

Sociology majors often work for government agencies as a public policy analyst or a researcher tasked with determining the effectiveness of government programs and policies. A sociology degree also prepares students to work for agencies providing services and aid to disadvantaged individuals.


  • Administrator
  • Career Counselor
  • Teacher

Sociology majors find jobs in higher education, working in career offices helping students identify career paths or assisting in the job search. Other options include work in the alumni relations’ office, fundraising and more. Sociology majors also work as educators with outside agencies, presenting special programs or overseeing grant-funded programs in schools.

Many of our majors that go on to graduate school earn Master’s Degrees in Sociology, Psychology or Social Work. Several have completed Law School. We have even had a few students earn a PhD in Sociology! Graduate and Professional schools attended by our former students include:

  • Bowling Green State University
  • George Mason University
  • Marshall University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Ohio University
  • Radford University
  • Virginia Tech
  • West Virginia University

Below is a list of some of the companies, universities and agencies where our graduates are employed.

  • Children’s Health Improvement Partnership, Radford, VA
  • Pressley Ridge, Tazewell, VA
  • Kanawha County school system
  • Virginia Department of Corrections
  • Mount Olive Correctional Complex
  • McDowell County Office of Probation & Parole
  • West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, Charleston, WV
  • Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Office of International Research, Education, and Development
  • Virginia Tech Student Support Services
  • Concord University, Office of Resident Life
  • Concord University, Admissions Office
  • West Virginia State University
  • Lane College, Jackson, TN
  • Casto & Harris Election Supply, Spencer WV
  • The Hershey Company, Hershey PA
  • Honeywell IT Services

Please note that some of these jobs require graduate or professional degrees.

Q: When can I register for classes?

  • A: Registration dates are available each semester on the Concord Academic Planning Calendar. Generally seniors register first and freshman last, and specific dates will be available by the middle of the semester.

Q: If I want to register online, where do I get my PIN?

  • A: Your advisor has your PIN.

Q: If I major in Sociology do I need to have a minor?

  • A: Not necessarily. If you take ONLY the classes required for General Studies and the Sociology major, you will still need 20-30 credit hours to meet the required 120 hour minimum needed to graduate. We recommend you use those elective hours to complete a minor. This could be one of the minors listed in the catalog or it could be a set of classes that you and your advisor select. If you are a double-major, you do not need a minor.

Q: What math classes do I need?

  • A: You need two math classes for General Studies. Sociology requires you to have MATH 105. MATH 103 is a prerequisite for MATH 105. If you take these two math classes you will fulfill the requirements for both General Studies and Sociology.

Q: Can I substitute Behavioral Statistics for MATH 105?

  • A: Yes, we will accept Behavioral Statistics for the Sociology major, but it does not fulfill the General Studies math requirement. You still need two math classes for General Studies.

Q: What is the D/F Forgiveness Rule?

  • A: If you earn a D or F in any course taken before you earn 60 hours, you can repeat the course. The grade you earn when you repeat the class will be used to determine your GPA. In other words, the original D or F will no longer be calculated into your GPA. However, the original grade will not be deleted from your transcript.

Q: How does the Foreign language substitution rule work?

  • A: Six hours of the same foreign language can be substituted for up to two General studies courses. Foreign language courses can only be substituted for ONE General Studies course per Academic Division.
    • If you did NOT take a foreign language in high school, you can substitute the 101-102 courses
    • If you took one year of foreign language in high-school, you must take 102 and a higher level course
    • If you took two or more years of foreign language in high school, you must take 201 and a higher level course

The CU Sociology Club is dedicated to enhancing intellectual and community involvement within the discipline. The Soc Club provides the opportunity to get to know other students, faculty and interested community members outside of the classroom.

Soc Club welcomes all students, majors, minors and even just fans of sociology to join. Members engage in community service, support campus events, organize charitable fundraising and attend academic conferences. Sociology club is a great way to learn more about sociology and about fellow students at Concord University.

For more information, visit the CU Sociology Club Facebook page.

Dr. Tracy Luff

Each semester our majors meet with a faculty advisor to assess their progress and make a plan for the upcoming semester. Below are several important PDF documents that students need to have before coming to their advising appointment. The Advising Packet PDF walks you through the process of preparing a schedule and keeping track of your progress to graduation.

It can seem daunting for student’s embarking on their first research project in college so it is important to not forget the basics. Concord University’s J. Frank Marsh Library provides students with access to important academic databases and archives, allowing student researchers to be confident in their sources. Sociology students often find EBSCO and JSTOR particularly helpful. (Log on to MyConcordU and find the databases under the library tab.) If you need help with your writing, remember Concord’s Tutoring Services is there to help.

Citation Help

From journal articles to online research, it is very important that material is cited correctly. Plagiarism, even if unintentional, is taken very seriously at Concord. In sociology ASA is the preferred citation format. For examples of how to cite different sources in ASA, download the Quick Tips for ASA Style. Always check with your teacher to verify the citation format that they want you to use. Visit Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab and EasyBib to learn how to cite work in MLA, APA, Chicago and other citation formats.

Human Subjects Research Board

For students who which to research human subjects outside of the classroom, Concord University’s HSRB will help identify any ethical or safety concerns and in conversation with a faculty advisor, assist students in developing projects that meet the highest safety and ethical standards of social researchers. The following PDF forms must be completed before students begin any human subject research project.