Sociology Department

Dusten Hollist, Chair

"Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since human behavior is shaped by social factors, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture" (American Sociological Association 2002:1). The Sociology faculty at UM bring diverse theoretical perspectives to their courses and use a wide array of methodological strategies in their research and teaching. Their interests range from social issues facing our local community and the Northern Rocky Mountain region, to national and global concerns. Faculty research addresses both theoretical issues, such as the causes of criminal behavior, and practical matters, such as the effectiveness of prison rehabilitation programs or the impact of legislation on family policy and poverty programs.

In addition to a general sociology major, students may choose one of three concentrations for structuring their course work.

  1. The general Sociology major provides a broad foundation in sociological theory and research, together with exposure to a variety of courses in the main substantive areas of the discipline.
  2. Students interested in crime and criminal justice can choose a concentration in Criminology, while students concerned with the causes and consequences of social inequality can select an concentration Inequality and Social Justice.
  3. Students interested in rural and environmental issues can pursue an concentration in Rural and Environmental Change.

These concentrations allow students to focus their studies in a particular area of interest while still acquiring a solid foundation in the discipline of Sociology.