Why Study Sociology?
Sociology at Notre Dame teaches you to use empirical data to ask and answer complex and multi-faceted questions and to write with clarity, depth, and precision. By helping you understand context, studying sociology prepares you for a variety of career paths. Additionally, sociology helps you live our campus commitment to social justice and human rights, helping you to direct your talents, gifts, and energy in practical and meaningful ways to help others.
Our courses focus on a broad range of topics relevant to businesses, nonprofits, and professions, such as:
- marriage and family
- social networks
- gender roles
- interpersonal relationships
- poverty and inequality
- social movements and social change
“Through sociology, I have found the issues about which I am passionate and discovered my place in the world and the changes that I want to help incite. Sociology is a major in which students not only learn, but grow into better people with goals of creating a better world for those who follow.”
Erin Albertini, class of 2020
What do we do?
We ask questions like “How does living in poverty affect your health?”, “How is race related to how you will be treated in the criminal justice system?”, “Does everyone in the US have the same chance of getting a quality education?” “What is the relationship between gender and earnings?” or “How is social media related to the rise of social movements?”.
Just about everyone has opinions on things like crime, gender, race, or poverty, but sociologists go beyond opinion or “common sense” and use empirical evidence to try and make sense of why people do what they do. Sociologists bring a unique perspective to the study of human behavior. We focus on context. We look at individuals not in isolation but as living in complex systems and environments.
"... the first wisdom of sociology is this: things are not what they seem."
Peter L. Berger
Why pair sociology with other disciplines?
Sociology provides students with insights and skills which can be applied to many fields of work or study. Our training in quantitative analysis as well as critical thinking helps our students to make sense of complex problems and to communicate ideas effectively to a wide variety of audiences. Sociology students are encouraged to ask difficult questions and systematically search for answers, making them valuable contributors in whatever field they choose to pursue. The cultural competence you will gain by studying sociology is crucial in fields such as business, medicine, education, data science, law, and many others.
While all sociology majors and minors are encouraged to meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies at least once during the semester, those with sociology as their first major are required to meet with the DUS in order to obtain their registration PIN.
Additionally, all undergraduate majors and minors may meet with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies whenever the need arises.