Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Sociology (SOC)

SOC 001 (GS) Introductory Sociology (3) The nature and characteristics of human societies and social life.

SOC 001 Introductory Sociology (3)
(GS)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Introductory Sociology provides perspectives and information useful in understanding all societies. The major theories (functionalism, conflict, and symbolic interactionism) and concepts provide the foundation upon which the remaining material rests. Learning how sociologists do research provides the tools for understanding the production of knowledge and for evaluating the validity of sociological assertions. Familiarity with systematic theorizing and conceptual development, along with some comprehension of the nature of the scientific method as it is applied in sociology, enhances critical reasoning. To promote a more complete understanding of human social life, both in its inherent constraints and in the opportunities it provides; the nature and reality of culture and social structure are explored. The study of socialization provides perspectives on how one becomes a member of society. Exploring social interaction adds insight into the formation of the social self and the salience of group identities and norms. Ending this first section with a discussion of social control highlights the forces of stability and change in society.

The course then progresses to considerations of social stratification and inequality. The nature of privilege and oppression are discussed and considered in the specific contexts of race, ethnicity, gender, and age. The focus then shifts to social institutions. The essential work of society is accomplished via its major institutions: family, education, health care, economy and work, religion, and politics. Applying theoretical perspectives to the form and function of these institutions enhances an understanding of how different social structures provide varying constraints and opportunities to their inhabitants. Finally, considering large-scale forces for change provides a platform to comprehend where human societies have been, are now, and might be headed.

Throughout the course, the lectures as well as the textbook draw amply on cross-cultural and cross-national material. In addition, the course emphasizes the complexity of human social life and describes the many variables (social structural, cultural, interpersonal, and psychological) that influence behavior. A special component of the course deals with topics pertinent to the social behavior and norms of students of the ages typically taking this course. Depending on the faculty member, these topics could include sexual behavior, alcohol use, and problems in interpersonal relationships.

Discussion and questions are encouraged in all sections. Sections of this course may include group research projects, debates, and library or internet-based research. Along with personal contact, students have the opportunity to communicate with teaching assistants and faculty members via e-mail. Writing assignments, along with in-class examinations, are required in all sections.

This course meets a general education requirement in the social and behavioral sciences.


General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2003

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

Search
CourseInfo

Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.



Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking