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About Us

Each year more than 3000 students enroll in the more than 60 courses offered by the sociology department at the University of Oregon. Our primary strengths are in gender and sexuality, political and economic sociology, and the sociology of the environment.

Students

The sociology program serves roughly 1,800 students per term and 575 majors each year, graduating an average 220 majors annually since 1993-94.

  • 200-level: Introductory courses; mass classes of generally 300-500 students, with weekly discussion sessions of approximately 25 students.
  • 300-level: Intermediate courses; generally enrolls 50-100 students, include three required core courses and courses that offer windows into sub-disciplinary areas of the field, and most have graduate student assistants.
  • 400-level: Advanced courses; generally enrolls 25-40 students, provides depth and specialization.

Faculty

The faculty also includes specialists in the areas of criminology, demography, education, environment, organizations, race & ethnicity, stratification, and work & occupations.

The sociology faculty is affiliated with a wide variety of other university programs: the Center for the Study of Women and Society, the Center on Diversity and Community, the College of Education, the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Public Policy, Planning and Management, the Ethnic Studies Department, the Program in International Studies, the Oregon Survey Research Laboratory, the Department of Religious Studies, the Russian and Eastern European Studies Center, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

History

The Sociology Department at the UO is the oldest sociology program on the West Coast. For more than two decades sociology was taught in a department containing several other social science disciplines. Indeed, the first sociology class appeared in the 1894-95 university Catalog as a course for students majoring in Economics, History, and Public Law.

In 1919, a separate School of Sociology was created, and in 1930, the present Department of Sociology came into being. Following World War II, the department, along with the university as a whole, expanded rapidly. Before World War II the department had a master’s program from which a handful of students had graduated. Between 1947 and 1970, the department faculty quintupled in number. A Ph.D. program was instituted in 1951, and the first degree was awarded three years later. By 2001 the department had awarded 230 Ph.D. degrees, and that number is now well over 300.

A number of scholarly journals have been edited in the department, including Family Life Coordinator (1955-1967), Pacific Sociological Review (1958-1960, 1962-1972), American Sociological Review (1961-1962), Sociometry (1973-1976), Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1971-1974), Focus on the Family (1969-1974), Critical Sociology (1997-1999), Monthly Review (2000-present), Sociological Perspectives (2011-present), and Socius (2019-present).

Vision Statement

The faculty of the University of Oregon Sociology Department are united in seeking to provide a high quality educational program for our undergraduate and graduate students. We seek to equip students with a sound academic foundation that helps them to question critically, think logically, communicate clearly, act resourcefully, and live ethically. Our graduate program further aims to develop thinkers, leaders, and innovators whose subsequent efforts will benefit the human social world and life on the planet. Our research ranges from broad, global sweeps of social change to micro-level social interaction, using an array of theories and methods. We generate new knowledge through our scholarship. The results of our research help people to understand the evolving social, political, economic, technological, and physical environment, to respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals, to value a diversity of opinions and ideas, and to formulate public policies that reject discrimination, bigotry, and violence.