Sociology

Overview

Welcome to the USM Sociology Department website! You can learn a lot about us by exploring the links you'll find throughout the site. We also invite you to stop by the office on the Portland campus at 301 Payson Smith Hall.


What is sociology?

Sociologists study the relationship between individual experience and broader social forces. Sociology will assist you in understanding the role of social structures in the creation - and dismantling - of class, race, sexuality, and gender inequalities.


What skills will I learn? What can I do with a degree in Sociology?

Studying sociology will expand your skills in critical thinking, writing, and analysis through an exploration of social problems and social change. You will learn to analyze social issues and organizations, to design and carry out research, and to write with clarity and economy. In practicing sociology, you will not only learn about the broad issues behind the social problems you see as a volunteer or employee: your sociological training will provide you with the skills to research, report on, and organize solutions to these problems. Thus, you can transform your social awareness into social change. People with undergraduate degrees in sociology work in the justice system as juvenile court workers and correctional counselors, in the community as substance abuse counselors and child development technicians, in the government as affirmative action workers and urban planners, and in many other research and social service positions.

The major also provides an excellent basis for graduate study in sociology, law, public policy, and social work. We offer two accelerated pathways—to the University of Southern Maine’s Master of Social Work degree and to Maine Law. Links to additional information about these pathways is available in the Degrees and Certificates tab.

Sociology also offers internship opportunities and encourages other off-campus learning experiences including community-engaged and service learning, national and international exchanges, and international courses. These kinds of learning provide opportunities to bring together academic work and community involvement and allow students to tailor their course of study to personal and professional interests and/or career goals. For more information on these opportunities, please speak with any of our faculty.


Is there an honor society affiliated with the Sociology Department?
The USM Sociology Department is affiliated with the international sociology honor society, Alpha Kappa Delta. Juniors and seniors who are officially declared majors or minors, or who have demonstrated an interest and involvement in sociology, have accumulated at least a 3.3 overall grade point average, and completed four or more Sociology courses at USM with a Sociology grade point average of at least 3.0 are eligible for nomination to Alpha Kappa Delta.


The Sociology Department is student-focused!
Sociology's faculty are deeply committed to excellent undergraduate teaching. We offer a student-centered environment which emphasizes collaboration between faculty and students to enrich the learning experience.