Jack Harris with students


The Sociology curriculum provides majors with a foundation in social theory and methods, while at the same time offering courses that extend beyond the standard range of study in the field.

By studying core humanist concerns such as the environment, urban life, education, religion, families, gender, race and the distribution of power and rewards, the sociology program maintains an ethical dimension. Students are taught to understand the social world in order to criticize it and work to change it.


Anthropology and Sociology are closely related social science disciplines that study the ways in which people live and interact together under various social and cultural conditions. By understanding the multifaceted dimensions of human socieities, the disciplines seek to understand human behavior, social interactions and institutional structures in all their diversity.

Students may choose to major in Anthropology, Sociology, or the combination of both (Anthro/Soc). The department offers three disciplinary majors, all B.A., and two disciplinary minors.

Course List

If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in Sociology or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Sociology Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 11 courses

SOC 100; SOC 211; SOC 212; SOC 300; SOC 464 or SOC 465; and six additional sociology courses, at least one of which must be at the 300 level. One 200-level or higher anthropology course can substitute for a 200-level sociology elective course.

Requirements for the Sociology Minor

disciplinary, 6 courses

SOC 100; either SOC 211, SOC 212 or 300; and four additional sociology courses.

Requirements for the Combined Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 11 courses

ANTH 110; SOC 100; any four of the five courses from department core offerings (ANTH 273, ANTH 306, SOC 211, SOC 212, SOC 300); a 400-level seminar in either anthropology or sociology; two electives in anthropology and two electives in sociology that together form a cluster, to be chosen in consultation with the adviser.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which people live and interact together under various social and cultural conditions.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Sociology a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

SOC 242 The Sociology of Business and Management


This course applies a sociological analysis to the major trends shaping business in the United States and worldwide by focusing on issues of demographic effects, ethical concerns, technology, government, and producers and consumers. Next, enroll in ECON 221, Population and Society, where you will study population within concepts of mortality, family demography and the environment.

SOC 225 Working Families


Learn how to analyze the family as a social institution that is embedded in particular historical contexts, which reflects broad economic change, cultural shifts and political movements. Then, assess how our society cares for those who cannot care for themselves; such as children, the elderly and the sick in ECON 122, The Economics of Caring.

SOC 357 Race and Education


Take an in-depth look at the ways in which education in the United States both challenges and reproduces racial hierarchy. Explore the socialization, organization, and assessment practices of schooling in the United States with a lens toward racial inequality, and how education, despite this idealized view, has reproduced, and in some cases, exacerbated existing social inequalities.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.