Western Kentucky University

WKU-O Undergraduate Programs


Sociology is the study of social life including the social causes and consequences of human behavior. It looks at groups, organizations, and societies--how they develop and change and how people interact in them. Since so much that humans do is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob, from crime to religion, from divisions by race, gender, and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, from the sociology of work to the sociology of popular music. Indeed sociology seems to offer something for everyone, and today’s students are increasingly recognizing its career potential.

We offer coursework for those who are pursuing a variety of careers. Our students have practice in many of the skills most desired by today's employers including the ability to communicate effectively and promote teamwork, to frame and solve problems realistically, to plan and evaluate projects and programs, to prepare clear and concise reports and manuals, and to speak effectively in varied group situations.

In this program, you will focus on the systematic study of human social institutions and social relationships. You will study the effect of social forces on people's attitudes and behavior and learn how attitudes and behaviors differ across time and social groups, from small primitive societies to large, complex, modern organizations. This major includes study of topics such as social theory, dynamics of social change, family structures, demography and population studies, and the study of specific social groups, social institutions, and social problems. A minor is required for this degree.

Characteristics associated with success in this major include a desire to learn about people and cultures that are different from yours and an interest in understanding social structures and human behavior. You should:

• be able to communicate well, both verbally and in writing

• be interested in social research

• be able to collect and analyze data

• want to help others

• have a well-developed sense of curiosity

• have good written and oral communication skills

An internship may increase your chances of finding a job in this field. Further training may be required throughout your career. Certification by the Sociological Practice Association (SPA) is necessary for sociologists in some clinical and applied sociology positions, especially at the doctoral level. Candidates usually must have a doctorate or master's degree from an accredited school and one year of experience that demonstrates their competence in clinical sociology.

Work Tasks and Settings

• Study human society and social behavior

• Examine groups that people form, including families, communities, tribes, governments, and religious organizations

• Do surveys and interviews to get data

• Use the information to see how differences in age, gender, and race change the way people are treated and the way they live

• Work for the government, the World Bank, the United Nations, research and consulting firms, schools, corporations, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, or in private practice as counselors or consultants

• Work with surveys, interviews, census data, historical data, clinical records, attitude scales, case histories, and computers

Abilities needed:

• do work on their own

• be curious about people

• ask questions and find out about the things they observe

• write and speak well

• take an interest in people

• organize data

• work carefully and in a logical order

• be objective in gathering information

• relate their findings to other people



    WKU COURSES                                                                KCTCS EQUIVALENT

 SOCL 100 Introduction of Sociology                               

 SOC 101

 SOCL 240 Contemporary Social Problems

 SOC 152

 SOCL 300 Using Statistics in Sociology


 SOCL 302 Strategies of Social Research


 SOCL 304 Sociological Theory: Perspectives on Society


 SOCL 499 Senior Seminar


 15 hours of Sociology electives (must be approved)


* A minor is required for this degree.


Because of transferring credits and WKU-O course offerings, the length of time to finish this program differs for each student. It is important to meet with a WKU-O advisor as soon as possible. Bring an unofficial copy of transcripts from all previously attended colleges and/or universities. It is also important to determine your availability to take courses: part-time, full-time, summer term.

WKU-O Academic Requirements:

  • 120 college-level undergraduate semester hours including the following:

- 44 semester hours of General Education

- 42 semester hours of upper-division credit (300-400 level courses)

- 30 hours must be earned in residence (at WKU), at least 16 of which must be completed after the semester in which the student earned a cumulative total of at least 90 hours.

  • Students must earn a minimum of 54 semester hours with WKU to graduate with honors.
  • Students must apply for graduation upon the completion of 90 semester hours.
  • Students are to meet with an advisor each semester.
 Last Modified 8/6/13