Bachelor of Arts Degree

Sociology is the scientific and systematic study of human behavior. Sociologists explore the social forces that shape modern society, with an eye toward understanding how these dynamics create social inequalities. Students at SUNY Poly receive a strong foundation in sociological theory and methods and sharpen these skills in areas that interest them, typically concentrating on the crime and justice or social services fields. However, sociological skills are applicable to a wide range of occupations, from medical research to journalism, from administration to marketing. In other words, the sociological perspective can be useful in many settings.

Your education at SUNY Poly takes place on and off campus. The Sociology Program provides students opportunities to work collaboratively with professors on research and writing projects, or to try out career paths through an internship. In these ways, students can engage intellectual ideas in a practical setting and make meaningful connections between classroom learning and the real world that makes them more attractive on the job market. Employers appreciate the practical experience our students can bring to the workplace.

Elective course work is centered around the social services and criminology specializations.  Students may take advantage of internships or practicum opportunities within the program.

Students are typically employed in:

Social/Human Services:

  • chemical dependency
  • disabilities
  • veterans
  • the elderly


  • school counseling
  • tutoring/mentoring programs
  • special needs/disabilities
  • alternative schools

Corrections and criminal justice settings:

  • law enforcement
  • corrections
  • probation
  • homeland security
  • court officers (family and criminal)
  • criminological research

Students may also pursue education in the following areas:

  • Graduate school in Sociology
  • Law school
  • Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master’s in Social Work (MSW)

Will I be Able to Work Closely with Faculty?
Sociology students at SUNY Poly have ample opportunities to gain practical research experience that will be valuable to them on the job market. At times, an entire course will plan and conduct a research project, often in conjunction with local organizations. Students also have opportunities to work with faculty individually under our Independent Study option. Students are encouraged to participate in a research project that will lead to a professional presentation or publication of a paper.

What do Sociology Majors do for Fun?
SUNY Poly has a very active Sociology Club. Students plan and participate in social and community service activities. Club events include midnight bowling, outings with children from the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, Take Back the Night events on campus (including speakers and a rally), fundraising for local charities (including raffles and canned good drives), providing aid to women and children fleeing domestic violence during the holidays, and a Rock the Vote campaign to encourage their fellow students to register for and participate in upcoming elections.

Who is on the Sociology Program’s Advisory Board?
Currently, the sociology program has a community advisory board comprised of members of the social services and criminal justice sector. These members currently include the Chief of Police of the City of Utica, the Oneida County Sheriff, the Oneida County District Attorney, the Oneida County Director of Probation, the Oneida County Commissioner of Social Services, The CEO of Upstate Cerebral Palsy, the Director of the Utica Chapter of the United Way, the Director of Social Sciences Associates, and the Executive Director of the Peacemaker Program.

How Does the Sociology Program Honor Academic Excellence?
The sociology program has a local chapter, Alpha Upsilon of New York, of the national sociology honor society, Alpha Kappa Delta. Each year, students who have achieved a junior standing, who have taken at least four sociology classes at SUNY Poly, who have an overall GPA of 3.3 and a sociology GPA of 3.0 become members after an induction ceremony, luncheon, and honor’s lecture.

Degree Requirements Overview

  1. Students must complete 10 courses in sociology and anthropology–at least seven of which must be completed at SUNY Poly
  2. Students may elect no more than two 300 or 400 level courses in anthropology or criminal justice toward the sociology major, no more than one of which may be at the 400 level
  3. All majors must take SOC 100 or SOC 110
  4. All majors must take one intermediate elective before taking an advanced course
  5. All majors must take three electives at the 100-300 level
  6. All majors must take three courses (12 credits) at the 400-level
  7. Students must receive a grade of “C” or better in all core courses

B.A. in Sociology—124 total credits

Students shall satisfy the requirements listed below.

I. SUNY General Education Requirements (30 credits)

All SUNY students must satisfy the following requirements.

No fewer than 30 credits must be attained from the SUNY approved General Education Course List with the following provisions:

  • Mathematics (STA 100 recommended by program)
  • Basic Communication (ENG 101 or equivalent)

At least five (5) out of the following eight (8) SUNY General Education categories:

  • Natural Science
  • Social Science
  • American History
  • Western Civilization
  • Other World Civilization
  • Humanities
  • The Arts
  • Foreign Language

NOTE: You may take more than one course in a given category to complete this 30 credit hour requirement, but you must also satisfy the appropriate number of categories.

II. Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements (30 credits) 

The New York State Education Department (SED) requires a student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree to attain no fewer than 90 credits of combined SUNY General Education and Liberal Arts/Sciences courses. There may be overlap between courses meeting the SUNY General Education Requirements , Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements, and Sociology Program Core but a student may receive course credits only once even if multiple requirements are satisfied by a single course. The total number of combined credit hours must be no fewer than 90 credits.

SUNY Poly degree requirements: 

  • Natural Sciences: one course which may be a General Education Natural Science course; 
  • Upper-Division Writing Course (COM 306 or COM 308)

Specific requirement for Sociology majors include:

  • STA 100 Statistical Methods (C or better)

III. Sociology Program Requirements 

Core Courses (required of all majors & must earn a grade of “C” or higher)

  • SOC100 Introduction to Sociology or SOC 110 Social Problems
  • Inequality Requirement: SOC 220 Sociology of Gender or SOC 230 Sociology of Racial & Ethnic Relations or SOC 240 Class Inequality: Poverty & Wealth
  • SOC 310 History of Sociological Theory*
  • SOC 332 Methods of Inquiry*
  • SOC 493 Senior Seminar in Sociology*

* Sociology majors must complete 40 credits of 300 or 400 level coursework.

Intermediate Course Electives (must complete at least THREE courses)

  • SOC 210 Sociology of the Family
  • SOC 260 Cults and New Religious Movements
  • SOC 314 Sociology of Deviance
  • SOC 350 Chemical Dependencies and Human Behavior
  • SOC 351 Sociology of Crime
  • SOC 360 Sociology of Work
  • SOC 362 Sociology of Terrorism
  • SOC 381 Social Gerontology

** Students may have no more than 6-8 credit hours of the following:

  • ANT 301 General Anthropology
  • ANT 320 Social Policy
  • ANT 382 Cultures, Health and Healing
  • ANT 460 Ethnography

Advanced Coursework (must complete at least THREE courses)

Social Services

  • SOC 410 Power and Violence in the Family
  • SOC 411 Sociology of Community
  • SOC 424 Social Welfare Policy
  • SOC 446 The Individual and Society


  • SOC 450 Sociology of Corrections
  • SOC 452 White Collar Crime
  • SOC 455 Sociology of Law and the Courts
  • SOC 480 Social Network Analysis

Other Advanced Courses

  • SOC 465 Sociology of Occupations and Professions
  • SOC 466 Worker Social Psychology
  • SOC 490 Selected Topics in Sociology (varies each semester)
  • SOC 491 Independent Study
  • SOC 495 Practicum in Sociology (offers internship opportunity)

IV. Unrestricted Electives (remainder of credits)