Sociology and Criminology courses are divided into three levels, from broad overview (Level 1) to more narrow subject matters (Level 3).
Courses are designed to give students a broad overview of sociology. These courses typically expose the student to many different sociological topics and are taught at the introductory level.
SOC 102: Introductory Professional Development in Sociology (1.5 Cr.)
- This course exposes students to the various careers that people with an undergraduate degree in sociology or criminology may pursue. Topics include professional skill development, introduction to sociological research, and ways to maximize the student’s experience as a sociology major. Graded on an S/U basis. May not be used to fulfill the Social Science component of the General Education requirements.
SOC 110: Introduction to Sociology (3 Cr.)
- The analysis of the major institutions, structures, and processes of American society as well as an introduction to the basic theoretical and methodological approaches of the discipline. Normally offered every semester.
SOC 130: The Criminal Justice System (3 Cr.)
- A survey of the operations, functions, and interactions of the police, the courts, and correction agencies; that is, formal organizations of social control. Field trips and observation of selected agencies may be scheduled. Normally offered every semester.
Courses focus on one broad sociological topic and provide information about fundamental concepts and theoretical approaches used within sociology. No prerequisites.
SOC 210: Contemporary Social Problems (3 Cr.)
- Sociological perspectives are applied to the identification, explanation, and analysis of social problems in American society and in selected world societies. Course content focuses on: 1) examining the major institutions of society — the family, economy, and polity — and how they can perpetuate social problems; and 2) examining inequalities based on class, race, and gender. Specific topics can include poverty, homelessness, racism, sexism, drug abuse, crime, juvenile delinquency, and violence. May be used to fulfill the cultural diversity course component of the general-education requirements. Normally offered during the summer.
SOC 220: The Family (3 Cr.)
- A study of the family as a basic social unit and institution, with emphasis on the various forms and functions of the family. Special consideration is given to modern influences on the interaction and organization of American family life.
SOC 235: Education and Society (3 Cr.)
- This course explores the question of whether schools effectively level the playing field for those most disadvantaged in our society or exacerbate trenchant disparities. The course considers historical perspectives regarding the purpose of education; theoretical approaches to inequality in education; demographic differences in educational outcomes over time; family, peer, school context, and neighborhood effects on education; and the effect of social policies on schools and educational outcomes.
SOC 240: Food Systems (3 Cr.)
- This course uses a sociological lens to trace the history of agricultural transformations in the United
States and abroad, and the political dynamics of where, why, and how we grow, harvest, process, package, distribute, eat, and
dispose of food. Students will consider their own relationships to food and agriculture and evaluate how they can make local
and global food systems more sustainable and just.
SOC 245: Social Psychology (3 Cr.)
- The social-psychological study of the ways society influences the behavior of the individual. Course focuses on the theoretical approaches of symbolic interaction, social exchange, and dramaturgical analysis. Normally offered during the spring semester.
SOC 255: Sociology of Health and Health Care (3 Cr.)
- This course examines the social sources and social distribution of illness in the United States and other countries.Other topics which are examined include aging, mental illness, bioethics, the profession of medicine, and health care institutions. University students work off-site with local residents to examine the effects of aging, stress, and other demographic characteristics on health. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 260: Deviance (3 Cr.)
- An examination of deviant behavior with emphasis upon theories explaining how people become deviants. Surveys the forms of deviance: crime, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual deviation. Field trips may be scheduled. Normally offered during the fall semester.
SOC 270: Juvenile Delinquency (3 Cr.)
- A criminological course that focuses specifically on crime committed by youth, typically early through late adolescence. This course explores the nature and extent of delinquency, theory and research, and societal responses to delinquency. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 275: Inequality in America (3 Cr.)
- This course examines inequality in the U.S. based on the categories of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. It examines how these categories are socially constructed and how social institutions maintain inequalities based on them. The course also considers mechanisms of social change to address inequality in America. May be used to fulfill the Cultural Diversity course component of the General Education Requirements. Normally offered every semester. Formally titled “Systems of Social Stratification.”
SOC 280: Media and Crime (3 Cr.)
- This course examines the complex relationships among media, crime, and the criminal justice system. Special emphasis is placed on television news media and the pervasiveness of crime and criminological theory in Hollywood cinema. Course content includes an evaluation of how the media reports and frames crime, fundamentally influencing public perception. In addition, students will develop a sense of how the media simultaneously acts as a catalyst for, a consequence of, and a solution to the crime problem. Normally offered in the fall of even-numbered years.
SOC 281: Hollywood Goes to High School (3 Cr.)
- This course examines the way in which Hollywood films that focus on high school portray individualism, social class, gender, race, and the roles of students and faculty in urban, suburban, and elite/private high schools. The course critically examines these images as well as the reality of life and academics in U.S. high schools. The course also contrasts images of U.S. high school life with those in films from other countries. Normally offered in the fall of odd-numbered years.
SOC 285: Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Experience (3 Cr.)
- This short-term study abroad course provides a cultural immersion experience in Ireland. Lectures and experiential learning encompass a variety of topics including healthcare in Ireland, Irish history, and conflict resolution with a focus on the “Troubles” of Northern Ireland. Tours of health care related facilities, schools, and universities, as well as relevant historical sites will be included. Travel to Ireland is required. Graded on an S/U basis. May be used to fulfill the Social Science component of the General Education requirements.
SOC 286: Criminal Justice in Norway (3 Cr.)
- This short-term study abroad course provides a cultural immersion experience in Norway. Lectures and experiential learning provide an opportunity to understand criminal justice in Norway, including the construction of laws, policing practices, sentencing, and correctional alternatives. Tours of prisons will be included. Travel to Norway is required. Graded on an S/U basis. May be used to fulfill the Social Science component of the General Education requirements.
SOC 290: Topics in Sociology (3 Cr.)
- A survey course focusing on topics from a sociological perspective generally involving the interplay between social structure(s) and social interaction(s). The exact topic of the course may vary each time this course is offered. Topics may include: criminal investigations, sport and society, cybercommunities, religion and society, high school culture and education, health care, and/or organizational behavior. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
SOC 291: Topics in Criminology (3 Cr.)
- A survey course focused on gaining understanding of topics from a criminological perspective. The exact topics addressed by the course may vary each time this course is offered. Topics may include: criminal investigations, cybercrime, comparative justice systems, interpersonal violence, white collar crime, or other central themes in criminology. May be repeated for credit if topics are different.
Courses are designed to provide depth of experience and understanding in narrow subject areas.
SOC 302: Advanced Professional Development in Sociology (1.5 Cr.)
- This course provides an opportunity to develop and refine professional skills that are relevant to a variety of careers that individuals with an undergraduate degree in sociology or criminology may pursue. Topics include resume preparation, employment interview skills, and graduate and law school application procedures. Graded on an S/U basis. May not be used to fulfill the Social Science component of the General Education requirements.
- Prerequisite: Junior standing and SOC 102.
SOC 310/510: Development of Sociological Theory (3 Cr.)
- Study of the historical development of sociological thought and the contributions of major theorists and their understanding of society.
- Required of all majors and minors.
- Prerequisite: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 110. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 311/511: Criminological Theory (3 Cr.)
- Study of the major sociological theories of crime. Considers how crime is defined and measured, and how society responds to criminal behavior.
- Required of all sociology majors with the concentration in criminology.
- Prerequisite: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 110. Normally offered every spring.
SOC 315/515: Mass Media and Society (3 Cr.)
- This course examines the overall structure and scope of the media as a social institution. Students will explore the social factors (e.g., economics, politics, technology, law, and culture) that shape media messages and the way in which media images and meanings frame social issues and affect public discourse and individual beliefs. Topics include social inequality (based on race, ethnicity, social class, and gender), media representations, social change, and public policy, among others.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110 or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years.
SOC 319/519 Research Methods I: Quantitative Survey Analysis 3 Cr.
- This course will provide students with the skills necessary to collect, understand, compute, analyze, and interpret introductory-level quantitative data. Students will develop and apply increasingly sophisticated quantitative reasoning techniques with an existing dataset using the SPSS statistical package. Students will also create and distribute a survey and analyze the resulting data. This course will enable students to become critical consumers of statistical information presented in other classes, the media, politics, workplaces, and throughout their daily lives.
- Required of all majors. May be used to fulfill the Quantitative Analysis component of the General Education requirements.
- Prerequisites: Math 110 (or placement higher than MATH 110 on the math placement exam) and grade of C- or higher in SOC 110. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 320/520 Research Methods II: Data Analysis 3 Cr.
- An applied introduction to collecting and analyzing primary data. Students will practice data collection and analysis techniques used by social scientists, and specifically sociologists. Students will conduct survey analysis, participant observations, in-depth interviews, and content analysis of existing artifacts, and practice how to document, code, analyze, and present data they collect. Students will also critique examples of sociological research and draft a proposal for the Senior Seminar research project.
- Required of all Sociology majors.
- Prerequisites: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 319. Normally offered every spring.
SOC 325/525: Urban Sociology (3 Cr.)
- An examination of the city as a social system. Emphasis placed upon the historical, demographic, and ecological development of urban areas along with an exploration of major problems confronting American cities. Development of urban lifestyle is also examined. Normally offered in the fall of even numbered years.
SOC 340/540: Gender (3 Cr.)
- An introduction to how society defines and structures gender identity and behavior for males and females. The course focuses on the biological and social constructs of gender and how those are interpreted through history, language, sexuality, race, family structure, dating patterns, religion, and work environments.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 275, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years. Sociology and Criminology
SOC 350/550: Police in Society (3 Cr.)
- An examination of the history, structure, and behavior of the police in American society and other selected countries/societies. Students will learn about the history of American policing, police practices, the relationship of the police system to the constitution and local and national society. Overall emphasis is on the description and analysis of the police as part of a culture’s broader system of social control.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of even-numbered years.
SOC 360/560: Penology (3 Cr.)
- A critical social scientific examination of prisons, jails, community corrections, and paroling authorities with emphasis on both historical development and current trends. Field trips may be scheduled.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the fall of even-numbered years.
SOC 370/570: Sociology of Law (3 Cr.)
- The study of the place of law in society, the relationship between law and social change, law and other social institutions.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130, or consent of the instructor. Normally offered in the spring of odd-numbered years.
SOC 380: Inside-Out Prison Exchange: Rethinking Crime, Justice, and Behavior (3 Cr., also offered as PSY 380.)
- (Also offered as PSY 380.) This Inside-Out Prison Exchange course brings together students from Valparaiso University and residents of a local correctional facility to engage in meaningful dialogue about crime, justice, the criminal justice system, imprisonment, and human behavior. It is an opportunity for all participants to gain a deeper understanding of these topics from both theoretical and practical perspectives. “Inside” and “outside” students will work together, share ideas and perceptions, and learn from one another over the course of the semester.
- The course is limited to juniors and seniors, and to Sociology and Psychology majors.
- Inclusion in the course requires completion of an application and interview, and consent of the instructors. Normally offered each spring.
SOC 386: Internship in Sociology/Criminal Justice (3 Cr.)
- Internships are organized to provide students with some measure of “hands on” experience in their field of interest. Students are required to develop a contract with both the agency to which they are assigned and a supervising instructor outlining basic expectations. A minimum of 128 internship hours and a biweekly class are required. Students planning an internship in a spring semester must complete an application for placement with the internship coordinator by October 1. Experience and workload vary with both the field of study and the agency assignment.
- Required of all criminology students, recommended for all others. Graded on an S/U basis.
- Prerequisites: Junior standing, consent of the internship coordinator, and grade of C- or higher in SOC 110 or SOC 130. Normally offered each spring and second summer session.
SOC 390/590: Issues in Sociology (3 Cr.)
- An exploration of some of the issues debated by sociologists today. Issues may include racism, aging in America, class structures in the US, religion and the media, or other current social issues. May be repeated for credit if the issues are different.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130 or consent of the instructor.
SOC 391/591: Issues in Criminology (3 Cr.)
- An exploration of some of the issues debated by criminologists today. Issues may include feminist or Marxist criminology, criminal deviance, victimology, and cross-cultural comparative crime. May be repeated for credit if the issues are different.
- Prerequisite: SOC 110, SOC 130 or consent of the instructor.
SOC 481: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice I (1-3 Cr.)
- Work experience in a cooperating public or private service agency. Written reports required.
- Prerequisites: Junior standing and approval of the chair of the department.
SOC 482: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice II (1-3 Cr.)
- Continuation of SOC 481. Prerequisites: SOC 481 and approval of the chair of the department.
SOC 483: Cooperative Education in Sociology/Criminal Justice III (1-3 Cr.)
- Continuation of SOC 482.
- Prerequisites: SOC 482 and approval of the chair of the department. May be repeated beyond 483 for additional credit.
SOC 486: Internship in Sociology/Criminology II (3 Cr.)
- Continuation of SOC 386 internship or second internship opportunity. Graded on an S/U basis.
- Prerequisite: SOC 386.
SOC 493: Senior Seminar (3 Cr.)
- An integrative reading, discussion, and research course that applies prior sociological knowledge to contemporary concerns and problems.
- Required of all majors.
- Prerequisites: Grade of C- or higher in SOC 320, and either SOC 310 or SOC 311. Normally offered every fall.
SOC 495: Independent Study in Sociology/ Criminology (1-4 Cr.)
- Independent investigation of a specialized topic in sociology. May be taken more than once for credit if the topics are different or if the topics are to be continued.
SOC 497: Honors Work in Sociology (3 Cr.)
- See Honors Work.
SOC 498: Honors Candidacy in Sociology (3 Cr.)
- See Honors Work.