Sociology is one of the most popular majors at Furman. Students are attracted to the department for many reasons, including its excellent faculty, challenging curriculum and emphasis on field experience.
The sociology curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the subject and to involve them in the practice of sociology. For example, students in such courses as social problems or deviance and social control conduct field studies of the homeless, create photographic essays on poverty and simulate analyses of the problems faced by the mentally or physically impaired. The medical sociology class goes into a local hospital and observes the day-to-day operations of the health-care system, in the process examining such topics as doctor-patient relationships, physician socialization, health-care policy, and health disparities based on race and social class.
In addition, students in the media and society class have visited a local television station to study firsthand the production of an evening news program; they also had the opportunity to quiz a panel consisting of concert promoters, a radio program director and a musician about the intricacies of the music business.
The department is located in John E. Johns Hall, a state-of-the-art academic building that houses high-tech classrooms and research facilities.
In the Classroom
The field of sociology combines scientific and humanistic perspectives in the study of such areas as gender, family, race, and class.
All sociology majors at Furman take a minimum of nine courses within the department. The core courses include principles of sociology, methods of social research, analysis of social data, and sociological theory, plus qualitative and quantitative seminars. This year-long research sequence results in a substantial paper and presentation.
Those interested in the sociology major take the core courses and complete their major by selecting from courses ranging from marriage and the family to race and ethnic relations, criminology and delinquency. The department also sponsors a chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international honor society for students who achieve academic excellence in sociology.
The department recommends that its majors strengthen their sociology studies by taking selected courses in computer science, economics, English, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology and religion.