The Sociology Department at Grinnell College seeks to develop in students the sociological knowledge and skills that will enable them to think critically and imaginatively about society and social issues. Serving students directly and society indirectly, the Department encourages a commitment to social justice based on an appreciation of social and intellectual diversity and an awareness of social inequality.
What is sociology?
Sociology, the scientific study of human behavior in social groups, seeks to understand how people interact, how they organize themselves in social groups, and how this organization changes. Courses in sociology focus on forms of social organization and social processes, in our own and other cultures, and on the theoretical and methodological approaches sociologists use to understand those forms. Courses contribute to critical, intelligent understanding of how the social world operates--an essential insight for any liberally educated person in a complex and rapidly changing world.
What can you do with a sociology degree?
While some of our sociology majors continue the path of academia to pursue graduate degrees in sociology in top programs, graduate school is not the only option for our majors. Many follow the non-profit and NGO route, while others inspire and implement change through policy level work. Sociological training is useful for any career, since all careers require working with people in groups. The discipline is particularly helpful for careers in law, medicine, urban and social planning, journalism, social work, and governmental service. There are several ways of approaching the sociology major and plans for what to do with it. Take a look at our pages on advising resources, life after Grinnell, and student opportunities for more information.
Is sociology the right fit for you?
If interested in social justice, understanding how and why societies work they way they do, and willing and eager to challenge your existing conceptions of the world today, welcome home. Whether you're interested in changing the world or getting to the roots of why people in groups act as strangely as they do, the field of sociology offers you the flexibility to explore whatever it is about human nature and society that intrigues you. Our faculty and students are eager to help you explore your journey through this discipline.