Students study human society and culture by investigating how individuals and social groups relate to one another. The primary aim of coursework is to provide students with an understanding of social institutions and organizations, social behavior and social structures, cultures, and the theories and methods for studying them. 

Points of Pride

  • The department is affiliated with the Social Research Institute (SRI).
  • Purdue has an active student chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, a sociology/law and society organization.
  • Students interested in legal professions and occupations are encouraged to join the Purdue Pre-Law Club.
  • Sociology students may pursue a service learning course in their third or fourth year or work as an intern in the Lafayette area.
  • Faculty are currently engaged in funded research totaling more than $1 million. 


  • Social services
  • Community work
  • Corrections
  • Business
  • College settings
  • Publishing, journalism, and public relations
  • Government services
  • Teaching
  • Graduate school

Plan of Study

Students must earn a "C-" or better in all major courses. Double majors in Law & Society and Sociology are NOT allowed.

A. The following courses are required (12)

SOC 10000 Introductory Sociology (Individual and Society)
SOC 38200 Introduction to Statistics in Sociology (Statistics)
SOC 38300 Introduction to Research Methods in Sociology
SOC 40200 Sociological Theory

B. Select SEVEN courses from among the following (21)
There MUST be at least ONE (1) course per area; and at least THREE (3) hours MUST be at the 50000-level.

Area 1 - Institutions

SOC 32800 Criminal Justice
SOC 35000 Social Psychology of Marriage
SOC 36700 Religion in America
SOC 36800 Social Significance of Religion
SOC 41900 Sociology of Law
SOC 42000 Sociology of Criminal Law
SOC 42900 Sociology of Protest
SOC 52000 Work in Contemporary America
SOC 53000 Political Sociology
SOC 55300 Sociology of the Family
SOC 55400 Social Psychology of the Family
SOC 56700 Religion in Social Context
SOC 56800 Religion and Society
SOC 57000 Sociology of Education
SOC 57200 Comparative Healthcare Systems
SOC 57400 Social Organization of Healthcare
SOC 57600 Health and Aging in Social Context

Area 2 - Differentiation

SOC 27500 Social Gerontology
SOC 31000 Race and Ethnic Diversity
SOC 33400 Urban Sociology
SOC 33900 Intro to Sociology of Developing Nations
SOC 34100 Culture & Personality
SOC 37400 Medical Sociology
SOC 41100 Social Stratification
SOC 45000 Gender Roles in Modern Society
SOC 51400 Racial & Cultural Minorities
SOC 52500 Social Movements
SOC 52600 Analysis of Complex Organizations
SOC 53100 Community Organization
SOC 53800 Population
SOC 55000 Sex Role Socialization

Area 3 - Problems

SOC 22000 Social Problems
SOC 32400 Criminology
SOC 32600 Social Conflict & Criminal Justice
SOC 32700 Crime, Deviance & Mass Media
SOC 33800 Social Movements
SOC 34000 General Social Psychology
SOC 34200 Sociology of Peace and War
SOC 35200 Drugs, Culture, & Society
SOC 35600 Hate and Violence
SOC 37400 Medical Sociology
SOC 42100 Juvenile Delinquency
SOC 42600 Social Deviance and Control
SOC 42900 Sociology of Protest
SOC 45400 Family Violence
SOC 53300 Environmental Sociology
SOC 57100 Health and Social Behavior
SOC 57300 Human Side of Medicine

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

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