Sociology is the systematic study of human groups and human social activity. It explains and ties together the many dimensions of human life, perhaps most significantly the groups that we build, and encompasses many different perspectives of study.
In the sociology major at Luther, students are exposed to the various orientations within the discipline. While sociology is generally considered the scientific study of group behavior, there are many different kinds of groups and many different research approaches. For example, some sociologists use surveys as a means of understanding group behavior while others work with participant observation as a research tool. At Luther there are specialists in each of these approaches.
Some sociologists feel that sociology should be directed toward the discovery of new knowledge. Others feel sociology should be concerned with developing approaches which will lead directly to alleviating social problems. Again, the sociology department reflects both of these points of view.
Luther students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in many professions through the internship programs available. Many of these on-the-job learning experiences take place during January term. The department also provides students with the opportunity to engage in survey research activities either independently or under a department member's supervision. A core group of courses is required for all sociology majors. These required courses include Introduction to Sociology, Behavioral Statistics, and Research Methodology. Sociology students then select five additional courses within the major and two social science courses outside it.
Students contemplating graduate study should participate in research opportunities with faculty members and acquire knowledge in the use of computers. Faculty members are also available to assist students with the selection of specific graduate schools and programs.