sociology students

Planning Your Coursework

While you do not have to declare a major officially until the spring semester of your sophomore year, we encourage you to begin exploring your interests in sociology, social work and anthropology early in your college career to maximize your ability to take advantage of the many opportunities that Westmont provides to enrich your academic studies. Once you have declared, please make an appointment with your advisor to develop a tentative schedule for your remaining semesters. Doing this with your advisor at the earliest possible date, helps ensure that you are able to complete all of your general education and major requirements, possibly participate in an off-campus program, and graduate in four years!

A. Guidelines for Crafting a 4-Year Program:

This advice is intended to serve as a general frame in organizing a program in the Sociology Major. However, you may modify your plans to meet particular goals or to reflect changing interests. We encourage you, then, to keep in continual contact with your advisor about your overall academic program. As you build your 4-year schedule, be sure to complete your general education requirements. Here, as well, your advisor would provide the necessary guidance in putting together an appropriate mix of courses.

The sociology major is composed of three tiers. Tier one is composed of the introductory course or courses. The second tier includes the three upper-divisional core courses of theory and methods that are required of all tracks. Tier three are the upper-divisional courses that fulfill the requirements of your particular track, the senior seminar, and other electives. Ideally, you want to plan an off-campus program during the third tier. It is very important to complete the first two tiers before you begin the last one. With the foundation of the introductory course, theory, and the methods sequence, you are able to derive the most from your third tier courses and to participate more fully in them. Exceptions to this should be made only after consulting with the advisor.

Tier One (First Year)

Introduction to sociology (SOC 001) is a prerequisite for all courses in sociology, and, therefore, should be taken during the first or second semester of the first year. Students interested in the cross-cultural track may find taking both AN 001 and SOC 001 helpful. The remaining courses during the first year should be taken to fulfill the general education requirements in consultation with the academic advisor. We encourage students to participate in and attend departmental events to develop further your interests in the major and to become more acquainted with students and faculty.

Tier Two (Sophomore Year)

Because the two methods courses are offered in a sequence, it is necessary to take the first course in the fall followed by the second in the spring: SOC 106 Qualitative Research Methods (Fall) and SOC 107 Quantitative Research Methods (Spring). You will also take sociological theory (SOC 171) which is offered in the fall semester only. Students in the cross-cultural track take culture theory (AN 145) in lieu of SOC 171. Please note that AN 145 Culture Theory is offered in the spring on an every-other-year basis. At this stage students who would like to add or subtract courses in the major should consult with their academic advisor before doing so. During the sophomore year, students continue to fulfill general education requirements. Once you declare the Sociology major, you may begin accumulating hours towards SOC 192, which is the two units of required extra-curricular integrative activities.

Tier Three (Junior and Senior Years)

Junior Year: Having completed the introductory prerequisites as well as the upper-divisional core requirements (theory and methods courses), you want to select your major track if you have not already done so. Carefully note the requirements for each track as some are prescribed and some are elective. Now is the time to begin completing the remainder of your major requirements. All sociology majors are strongly recommended to participate in an off-campus program. For continuity in major content, we advise students to attend only one program. Fall and spring semester of your junior year or fall of your senior year are good times for an experience. These programs have specific requirements and need to be planned well ahead of time, as you are not guaranteed acceptance to any off-campus offering. Some of the programs are highly competitive.

Senior Year: Your remaining core requirement, SOC 190, is to be completed during the spring semester of your final year. You must register for SOC 192 during one of your last two semesters at Westmont. In addition, you will complete any remaining major requirements or other electives. In addition, we encourage seniors to explore other areas of academic interest, undertake an independent research project, or become involved in a community service project or tutorial.

Required Major Core: 22 units

  • SOC 001 Introduction to Sociology (or AN 001 preferred for the Cross Cultural track). 4 units
  • SOC 171 Sociological Theory or AN 145 Culture Theory as specified by track. 4 units
  • SOC 106 Social Research Methods  4 units
  • SOC 107 Quantitative Research 4 units
  • SOC 195 Senior Seminar. 4 units
  • SOC 192 Extra-Curricular Department Activities. 2 units

Note on SOC 192: Extra-Curricular Department activities- students are required to participate in 26 hours of approved and/or required events over the course of their enrollment at Westmont. Although students may begin acquiring hours as soon as they make a declaration of major, they must have completed all 26 hours by the end of the semester in which they are enrolled for the 2 units during their senior year. Students will be informed of events which will meet this requirement. These events include departmentally sponsored colloquia or worship, departmental-wide field trips, our annual retreat, and other events such as selected Erasmus lectures. Many events such as field trips and the all day, annual student-faculty retreat will accumulate multiple hours.

Descriptions of Major Tracks:

General Sociology Track
Cross-Cultural Studies Track
Human Services Track

B. Fall and Spring Registration: Please make an appointment to see your advisor well before you are scheduled to register. To benefit the most from your time with your advisor:

Come to your appointment with your registration sheet already completed with alternatives in case your first choices are closed. It is not your advisor’s responsibility to build your schedule from scratch.

In addition to your registration form, bring:

a copy of the overall schedule for your time at Westmont that you have developed with your advisor.
a copy of your general education checklist that indicates what courses you have already completed as well as any transfer credits.
a copy of the course schedule for that semester

C. Scheduling Suggestions:

If you plan to attend an off-campus program, make sure that you will be able to complete the major core requirements at Westmont when they are regularly scheduled. SOC 001 is offered every semester; SOC 171 and SOC 106 are offered only in the Fall; SOC 107 is offered only in the Spring; AN 145 is taught every other year. Senior Seminar, SOC 195 is offered only in the Spring. This course should be taken the spring semester of your senior year. If you plan to graduate in December, you must take it the prior spring.

We encourage you not to take more than 2 major courses in a semester unless your general education requirements are completed.

Please complete your application for degree as soon as possible.

If you plan to do SOC 190 (Field Placement), you must contact Dr. Jirek (x6278) before you register for the course. We encourage students on the human services track to complete 8 units of practicum.

D. Departmental Policies

No required core course (SOC 1, SOC 106, SOC 107, SOC 171, SOC 195 or AN 145 or SOC 190) may be taken by tutorial or independent study.

Tutorials are to be used for areas of special study or research and are not to be crafted to substitute for existing courses. No professor is obligated to provide a tutorial.

If you plan to complete major requirements while on an off-campus program, you must obtain departmental approval prior to taking the course(s).

No more than 8 units of credit from an off-campus program may be counted toward your major.