Professor Kelly A. Dagan
Assistant Professor Jericho McElroy
Assistant Professor Jaclyn Tabor
Assistant Professor David Walter
Instructor Angela Gonzales Balfe

The Department of Sociology, rooted in the liberal arts at Illinois College, is dedicated to developing students’ awareness of the interconnections between individual lives and the larger social context. Through our courses and faculty advising, we ask students to question the taken- for-granted by requiring them to examine the impact of society on individual choices, behaviors, and attitudes, as well as how patterns of individual choices, behaviors, and attitudes create the society in which we live. In addition, we encourage our students to recognize the ways in which their sociological knowledge complements understanding other disciplines in which they are participating.

Students must earn a ‘C-’ or better in each course to be counted towards the major or minor. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a C or better.

Majors & Programs


SO 101: Introduction to Sociology

This course is an introduction to the study of society, including the basic concepts of society, culture and personality, and their relationship to one another. This course is required for majors and minors and is a prerequisite for most 300 level sociology courses.

SO 202: Race and Ethnicity

This course is a study of the social processes that create minorities and govern the interrelations between minority and dominant groups including both ethnic sub-societies and other socially differentiated collectivities that are stereotyped, stigmatized, and subjected to discrimination. A few specific topics will be chosen to focus on such as desegregation, multiethnic immigration, reparations, etc.

SO 206: Social Stratification

This course is focused on the study of the major concepts, theories and findings regarding dimensions of social class in the United States. A major component of this course is service in one of many community organizations and therefore, this is considered a service-learning course.

SO 207: Gender and Sexuality

This course highlights the social construction gender and sexuality and highlights how these concepts are intricately intertwined. This course will examine the history of gender sexuality and theories of gender and sexuality. A variety of topics may be chosen for inclusion by the instructor, such as gender and sexuality in the workplace and sexuality in the military, etc.

SO 210: Social Statistics

This course introduces the student to the basics of social statistics-techniques which sociologists and other social scientists use to summarize numeric data obtained from censuses, surveys, and experiments. The topics include frequency distribution, central tendency, variability, probability theory, and estimation. The student will also learn how to test hypotheses for group differences in means (z test, t test) and for association between two variables (correlation, chi-square test).

SO 218: Social Problems

This course entails a sociological examination and analysis of selected social phenomena that are defined as social problems by a significant number of persons. This course will examine social problems from each of the major sociological paradigms (symbolic interactionist, conflict, and functionalist) to illuminate recurring substantive problems in the areas of economic inequality, social inequality, and the restriction of democracy.

SO 224: Families and Society

This course will introduce you to how sociologists study families, identifying the core concepts, theories, and methods used by scholars as well as exploring the history, present, and future of families in America. We will consider both the “public” and “private” dimensions of families over the course of the semester - families as settings for socially important tasks such as raising children and caring for family members, but also as the place where we experience much of our private lives. The course culminates in a research paper exploring a family-related social problem.

SO 248: Health and Society

How did depression become an “epidemic”? Why do many racial minorities get better healthcare in prison than in their communities? When did doctors become one of the richest professional groups in America? This course introduces students to medical sociology through three lenses. First, we examine the social determinants of health: the ways that race, class, and gender intersect to produce disease and disability for some and wellness for others. Second, we look at the social construction of illness, asking how cultural conceptions can help explain why – for example – people with schizophrenia live better in poor developing countries than in rich, Western ones. Finally, we explore the political economy of medicine: how our health care system does more than just heal, but also serves as a tool for social control and an engine for capitalist accumulation. Although many of our readings will refer to the United States, we will use examples from outside the United States to highlight alternatives to dominant ways of thinking about health, illness, and medicine.

SO 280: Sociology of Sport

This course approaches the understanding of sport by applying sociological theory and concepts.  Specific issues that will be addressed include the history of sport in America, the centrality of sport to American culture, and how sport reflects and affects the structure of social class, gender, sexuality, and race in America.

SO 286: Introduction to Social Science Methods

This course is the first course in a year-long sequence of two courses. If you take this course, it is expected that you will continue with the sequence and take SO 384 in spring semester of the same year. This course provides an introduction to social research from an interdisciplinary perspective and examines a number of research methodologies that include both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Course objectives include gaining an understanding of the value and importance of social research and learning to evaluate key components of research design. During the course of the semester, students initiate and develop a comprehensive research proposal integrating theory, data collection strategies, and ethical considerations.

SO 326: Modern Love

Integrating sociology with other social science perspectives (including history, psychology, and anthropology), this course will explore romantic love, sexuality, and intimate relationships in the modern world. Progressing through the semester, class readings, films, and discussions focus on the various ways that individuals fall in love, come together, settle down, break apart, and find love again. In doing so, we critically interrogate the evolution of dating and marriage in U.S. history and abroad along with their impact on contemporary society. We will also consider contemporary issues that impact our current understandings of romance, dating, and marriage - including cohabitation, online dating, the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the #Metoo movement.

SO 337: Aging and the Life Course

This course makes a critical examination of the facts, fictions, and theoretical frameworks for understanding aging in its multicultural social contexts and considers the implications for people's social and personal lives. We will examine perceptions of older individuals and the process of aging from social constructionist and life course perspectives, exploring our beliefs, values, and cultural traditions regarding aging. We will also look at the various social institutions impacting the lives of older Americans, such as work and the economy, government and politics, the healthcare system, and families. Major components of this class include service hours at a local senior home and the development of a proposal for elder-positive changes in Jacksonville, Illinois.

SO 338: Childhood and Adolescence

This course examines the processes of childhood and adolescence within contemporary U.S. culture. Readings, discussions, and coursework focus on the evolution of childhood and adolescence and how these phases of the life course have been constructed and shaped by human societies, both historically and in the present day. This course involves a critical examination of the impacts of these social constructions to children and adolescents themselves, but also to parents, other family members, and peers, the society as a whole. This course also examines the two-way relationship between specific social institutions, and ways that these institutions both impact and are influenced by children and adolescents at this point in our culture.

SO 341: Criminology

Crime and delinquency as major forms of deviance; scope and distribution of crime and delinquency, and character of offenders; treatment of relevant theory as well as treatment, prevention, and control will be highlighted.

SO 343: Prisons and Institutions of Social Control

This course will familiarize students with the treatment of adult offenders in detention and incarcerations in both short and long-term institutions. This course also emphasizes the analysis of punishment in our criminal justice system, with a focus on why we punish. This is all examined in the context of correctional philosophies, history and development of corrections, including relevant theories, practices, systems analysis, and treatment modalities.

SO 384: Data Collection and Analysis

This course begins with a brief review of the basic assumptions, designs and ethics of quantitative social research. We will make an in-depth examination of both qualitative and approaches to data collection and explore effective ways to analyze data collected from each of these methodological approaches. Students will collect and analyze data from their own original research projects and develop a comprehensive research paper integrating all components of research design. This course serves as the capstone experience in the Sociology Department.

SO 387: Sociological Theory

This course focuses on understanding theories and concepts of sociological theory from Comte to the present. We will investigate the historical context in which Sociology developed, as well as how contemporary theory has built upon classical theory and how they all offer insight into social issues. Students will be asked to not only understand the theories themselves but to engage in critiques of them as well as application of them to real-world issues

SO 461: Independent Study in Sociology

This course provides the opportunity for junior or senior sociology majors to investigate a topic of special interest by means of theory and research. Participation in these hours will result in a grade.

SO 462: Independent Study in Sociology

This course provides the opportunity for junior or senior sociology majors to investigate a topic of special interest by means of theory and research. Participation in these hours will result in a grade.