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Undergraduate Students


The Undergraduate Program in the Department of Sociology is a vibrant and diverse community of 400-500 majors and minors who are passionate about investigating social issues using empirical evidence and acting as agents of social change. We ask societal questions like:

"How does living in a rural community and the available resources affect the health of a population?"

"How do socioeconomic status versus race affect your treatment in the criminal justice system?"

"How do the children of divorced parents perform at four-year colleges?"

Sociologists use research methods to collect and analyze data to better understand social issues.

The department offers a variety of course options, from dynamic larger classes covering a wide exposure to the discipline to interactive smaller classes where students delve deeply into specific topics of interest. Students in our program pursue learning opportunities outside of the classroom, such as volunteer work at community sites (SOC 225 Project Community), faculty and doctoral student research assistance (SOC 394 Sociology Undergraduate Research Opportunity), study abroad, undergraduate speakers series events, and independent research and writing through our Senior Thesis + Honors Program in Sociology.

We invite you to browse through our website and reach out to us at if you have questions about our majors, minors, courses, or department opportunities. Thank you for visiting Sociology at the University of Michigan!

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of people, groups, social causes, and the consequences of human behavior; the discipline seeks to understand and account for the complexities of human interaction and patterns of social life. We focus on relations among organizations, classes, cultures, institutions, and social structures. Sociologists scientifically explore and analyze issues that are vital to our personal lives, our communities, our society, and the world. 

The field utilizes a range of research methods – including quantitative data analysis, survey research, in-depth interviews, ethnography, and historical analysis – which can be applied to areas of social life such as crime and justice, family dynamics, health disparities, gender and sexuality, race and ethnic relations, urban inequality, bioethics, welfare and education reform, as well as global issues of immigration, peace, and war. Because sociology addresses some of the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field with broad implications.

Undergraduate Program Goals

The Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan is one of the premier sociology departments in the country. The undergraduate program and our renowned faculty aim to instruct students on the value of recognizing & understanding social differences and utilizing various methods to think critically & creatively about the world. Department goals for the undergraduate program are:

  1. Develop "societal questions" and answer them in systematic ways using scientific method 
  2. Collect & analyze empirical data; connect findings to theories and broader society
  3. Speak up! Make clear evidence and fact-based arguments in writing and discourse
  4. Offer courses that challenge injustice and explore topics vital to our society
  5. Present experiential learning opportunities such as community engagement, dialog facilitation, and sociological research 

Major and Minor Options to Explore