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What is Sociology?

What difference does it make if we join a gang, have a baby, or go to college? What difference does it make to have money? What do changes in the family mean for future generations? What do social policies, such as AlDS legislation, or social campaigns, such as anti-choice or anti-drug activities, mean to society? How do military and governmental activities or changes in technology affect people’s everyday lives? What is the social significance of cultural diversity, race, social class, and gender? What can we do in our everyday lives to effect positive changes in our families, communities and society?

Sociologists try to answer questions like these in order to understand what society is and how it affects individuals. One of the main insights of sociology is the understanding that groups and group life influence every aspect of our lives. Sociology is the systematic study of human societies, their patterns and arrangements, and their processes of development and change. Our faculty have a strong commitment to critical analyses of social structure and social arrangements, emphasizing analyses of race, class, gender inequality and social change.

The sociology major sharpens students’ sociological imaginations through close study of social structures and processes in which our personal biographies are embedded. As a sociology major, you will have the opportunity to analyze society with an intersectional lens that challenges the status quo.

Department Website

Admission to the Program 

To declare the sociology major, contact one of our advisors to discuss your interests, needs, and program requirements.

The minimum quantitative requirements for admission to the University include:

Freshmen:  19 composite ACT or 890 combined SAT or top 50% class rank.
Transfer:  Cumulative 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) from all colleges and/or universities attended and be in good academic standing.

For general Northeastern admission requirements, the Admissions Office helps new and returning students through the application process. In addition, the Transfer Center assists transfer students and students who are veterans to transition to Northeastern.

Degree Requirements 

Bachelor Degree Requirements

A minimum of 120 semester hours must be earned by every undergraduate student to be eligible to graduate from Northeastern.

Additional Requirements

1.  General Education Program:  All undergraduate students must complete the General Education Program requirements consisting of 39 semester hours in the following distribution areas:
Social/Behaviour Sciences (12 hours)
Natural Sciences (9 hours)
Mathematics (3 hours; grade of "C" or higher at college level)
Humanities (9 hours)
Fine Arts (6 hours)
2.  University Requirements:  English Composition I (grade of "C" or higher) and one Improving Human Relations course (consult the schedule of classes or catalog for listing of courses).
3.  Residency:  The last 30 consecutive credit hours must be taken at Northeastern, unless permission is received from the Office of Enrollment Services.

4.  Upper Division:  Students must complete a minimum of 24 semester hours at the 300 level and 18 semester hours at the 200 or 300 level.
5.  Academic Major and Minor:  Undergradute students must complete a major.  Some majors require a minor or set of cognate courses.  Students must earn a grade of "C" or higher in all courses counted toward the major, the minor, cognate and profressional sequences.  No "P" grades will count toward a major, moinior or approved area of study.  All grade point average requirements must be met for successful completeion of a program of study.
6.  Grade Point Average:  To be eligible to graduate, a student must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA (overall "C" average).  Some academic programs and departments have other specific grade requirements.  Check with your academic advisor.

Requirements are subject to change so please refer to the current Academic Catalog for up-to-date information.


sociology major requirements (39 credits total)

Six Required Core Courses (18 credits)

SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)
SOC 211: Sociological Research Methods (3 credits)
SOC 212: Introduction to Social Statistics (3 credits)
SOC 245: WIP: Social Inequalities (3 credits)
SOC 335: Sociological Theory (3 credits)
SOC 342: Internship in Sociology (3 credits) OR SOC 351: Senior Seminar in Sociology (3 credits)

Seven Electives* of Your Choice (21 credits)

*Electives are not offered every semester. Check the most recent Schedule of Classes for an up-to-date list of courses offered in the Sociology Department.

Transfer Credit toward the Major (18 credits maximum)

The Sociology Department accepts a maximum of 18 transfer credit hours in sociology toward the major, provided the student has earned a grade of “C” or above in those courses.

Sociology Minor Requirements (18 credits total)

Two Required Core Courses (6 credits)

SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology (3 credits)
SOC 230: Sociological Analysis (3 credits)

One Specialized Area Course of Your Choice (3 credits)

SOC 306: American Women: The Changing Image (3 credits)
SOC 314: Urban Sociology (3 credits)
SOC 316: Race and Ethnic Relations (3 credits)

Three Electives* of Your Choice (9 credits)

*Electives are not offered every semester. Check the most recent Schedule of Classes for an up-to-date list of courses offered in the Sociology Department.

Transfer Credit toward the Minor (9 credits maximum)

The Sociology Department accepts a maximum of 9 transfer credit hours in sociology toward the minor, provided the student has earned a grade of “C” or above in those courses.

Elementary Education and Early Childhoold Education Majors

Students majoring in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education who have selected Sociology as a minor must complete a minimum of 9 hours of the minor at the 300-level to meet graduation and certification requirements.

Suggested 4-Year Course Schedule 

Suggested Course Sequence

We encourage students to plan out their course schedule in advance. Whether you seek to graduate within four years or extend your coursework to accommodate your busy work schedule, we will help you establish a plan to fit your needs. Below is an example of a timely course sequence to fulfill the sociology major requirements:

Semester 1: SOC 100 + 1 SOC Elective
Semester 2: SOC 211, SOC 245 + 2 SOC Electives
Semester 3: SOC 212, SOC 335 + 2 SOC Electives
Semester 4: SOC 342 (spring term only) or SOC 351 (fall term only) + 2 SOC Electives



Local opportunities abound for sociology majors in the Chicago area. As one of the greatest social “laboratories” in the world, the City of Chicago and its hundreds of neighborhoods and suburbs are at our majors’ fingertips. In addition, SOC-342: Internship in Sociology supports students in all occupational areas. Some of the internship placements of our majors include, but are not limited to: Advancement Via Individual Determination, Albany Park Community Center, American Diabetes Association, Broadway Youth Center, Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Project, Family Matters, KinderCare Learning, LGBTChange, Locke J. Elementary School, Maryville Academy-Madden Center, NEIU Child Care Center, NEIU Women’s Center, Northside Action for Justice, Polish Museum of America, Resurrection Hospital, Roosevelt High School, Teen Center-The Silo, Thresholds Services-John H. Stroger Hospital, and the Village of Niles and Niles Chamber of Commerce.


At the State level, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) provides opportunities for Illinoisans to attend colleges and universities. For information about scholarship programs compiled by the ISAC, go to More listings of Illinois scholarship opportunities can be found at:


At the national level, opportunities for sociology majors include:


Looking to go beyond local, state, and national opportunities? The Department organizes annual educational trips abroad through the Study Abroad Program.

Research Opportunities

Research is fundamental to learning, knowing, and sharing information. Most of the Sociology Department’s courses require a research paper, which hones students’ skills at effectively gathering, analyzing, and communicating complex information in writing. If you do not have the opportunity to write a research paper in your coursework, then you have been cheated out of one of the most valued and valuable skills in college, workplaces, and beyond.

Another opportunity for conducting research is registering for SOC-341: Independent Study in Sociology. For details about SOC-341, contact the specific faculty member with whom you are interested in doing an independent study.

Finally, Northeastern students are eligible to participate in the annual Student Research and Creative Activities Symposium, held in April every spring term. The Symposium is a great opportunity to prepare a paper abstract and conduct original research, and then present your preliminary research findings to an audience of your peers and faculty across the university community. For more information, visit

Careers & Employment 

Career Opportunities

Because of sociology’s vast disciplinary diversity, career opportunities for sociology majors are available in a variety of industries and fields such as, but not limited to, teaching (at all educational levels), community-organizing, social work, government (at all levels), non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, clinical work, medicine, law, labor unions, and many other areas. Our faculty supports your pursuit of a professional career in sociology, and they can provide you with more information to fit your specific needs.

In addition, each new sociology major is provided with a copy of the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) booklet, “21st Century Careers with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology.” Students can also go to the ASA’s webpage on Career Resources for Undergraduates.

A major in sociology can provide a useful orientation for students who plan to attend graduate school, seek careers in community-based organizations or in such fields as education, criminal justice, urban planning, community organizing, social welfare, or research in government and private organizations. Recent Northeastern graduates with a B.A. in sociology are employed in social services, administration, service, and sales. Our alumni indicate their major in sociology was relevant to, and positively influenced, their careers. Additionally, an overwhelming majority indicate their major significantly enriched their lives apart from their careers.

Program Contact Information 

For more information about the sociology major or minor at Northeastern, please contact Brett Stockdill at or +1/773.442.4772.


Financial Aid

For Financial Aid Information, call +1/773.442.5160 or visit the web at  Clock on Financial Aid & Scholarships. 
Northeastern's Federal School code is 001693.
For Foundation Scholarship information, contact Michelle Morrow at or visit the web at   Go to the Prospective Student tab and click on Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Admissions Counseling

Meet an Admission Counselor in the Admissions Counseling Office.  Prospective students are seen on a walk-in basis.  Admissions Counselors are availble:
Monday thru Thursday
9:00am to 6:30pm
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Admissions office:  +1/773.442.4050
For further information, please call +1/773.442.6111.

Arts and Sciences

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