Biology is not destiny. Who the human person is—what he desires, how he relates to others, and the internal struggles he faces—are not simply determined by his DNA. It is in communities that our personalities are formed, and it is from our communities that we learn what it means to be a human person.

Sociology is the study of those communities and the forces that help shape and guide the human person.

These communities—families, religion, race, and nation—as well as political and economic institutions, often play a determining role in the choices individuals make and the direction a culture takes. Although God has placed certain desires in every human heart, the communities in which people are raised play an important part in how well they recognize the desires given to them by God. Likewise, although the moral law never changes, those same human communities powerfully influence how people perceive and follow the moral law.

Accordingly, understanding communal dynamics is key to understanding the movements of men, nations, and history. Sociology helps explain why individuals and cultures do the things they do, why certain virtues are pursued and others rejected. In other words, it’s what helps us understand why the atrocities of the Nazi regime were once possible and why American Idol is popular today.

As a sociology major at Franciscan University, you will come to understand the nature of human communities and the power they hold over individual men and women. You’ll learn about the internal dynamics of communities ranging from the nuclear family to criminal networks. You’ll also learn how communities can be better structured in order to help individuals pursue the ends for which God has made us.

Importantly, at Franciscan your studies will be shaped by both a liberal arts perspective and a Catholic understanding of the human person, which will help you discover how faith provides a framework for understanding the problems and potential of each community, as well as for devising solutions to the problems individuals and communities face.

Your course work in sociology will require you to complete 24 hours in sociology, 16 hours in social work, 6 hours each in history, psychology, and economics, plus 3 hours in math. Seniors must complete a thesis or a 400-level seminar.

Required courses for all sociology majors include Christianity and Society, Marriage and Family, Sociological Theory, Race and Minority, Juvenile Delinquency, Deviant Behavior, Domestic Violence, and Social Work With the Elderly. You also will be able to choose from a wide variety of electives, including Sociology of Religions, Communes and Covenants, and Philosophy of the Social Sciences.

By the time you complete your studies, you will be able to integrate your knowledge of sociology into your intellectual and spiritual life. You also will have received the undergraduate education you need for eventual administrative positions in social service agencies, businesses, and hospitals, as well as for further studies or careers in criminology, administration of justice, probation work, civil service, and regional and urban planning. Opportunities also exist for positions in child development and care for the aged.

Recent graduates have been employed in job and family services, child services, the mental health field, and criminal justice areas such as juvenile detention and adult probation departments. Others have gone on to study for a master’s degree in sociology or social work, or a PhD.


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