Introducing the class of 2014:
The master's program in sociology seeks “to educate engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world.” In the tradition of sociology’s own beginnings as an intellectual response to the drastic social changes wrought by the birth of modern society in general and the Industrial Revolution in particular, the program seeks to enhance students’ knowledge of the social changes attendant upon contemporary processes of globalization. We seek, that is, to educate students in social citizenship, to equip them with the knowledge and skills required for active, informed and useful participation in 21st-century social life, appreciative of the multiple connections of their lives with the lives of others, from their lone activities to their family life, from their consumption patterns to their work habits, from their community involvements to their roles as national and global citizens. Furthermore, given WLU Sociology Department’s own identifying focus upon equity and social justice, the program seeks to develop student expertise in especially the unequal, unjust and harmful consequences of these processes - from the criminal justice system to the healthcare system, from government departments to corporate offices, from educational institutions to places of worship, from non-governmental organizations to institutions of global governance - as they affect whole societies, populations and sectors within such societies, and families and individuals.
Specifically, the program seeks to do the following:
(i) to equip those students intending to do doctoral work with the research skills required in the discipline to study the unequal, unjust and harmful aspects of the multiple connections referred to above; through the vehicles of the major research paper and the course seminars, especially the research and professionalization seminar, students will learn how to conduct original research, to write conference papers and to participate in the wider sociological community;
(ii) to equip those students not intending to do doctoral work with the research skills required to be professional social researchers in private or public enterprise, or as personnel in occupations requiring the ability to carry out research activities; the program will provide students with a recognized certification of research skills valued across all sectors of employment – to wit, self discipline, enhanced analytical cognition, writing ability and the capacity to conduct empirical research independently;
(iii) to equip all students with specialized knowledge of one of the two fields in the program, namely Internationalization, Migration and Human Rights, and Health, Families and Well-being.
Watch our two part video of professors as well as current and former students describing their experiences and various aspects of the program. Professors discuss how their research connects with their teaching and how a concern with social justice affects both. Students discuss their experiences and the social and pedagogic merits of a small program, as well as future employment and educational prospects.