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Department of Sociology


Robert J. Wuthnow

Departmental Representative

Mitchell Duneier

Director of Graduate Studies

Martin Ruef


Miguel A. Centeno, also Woodrow Wilson School

Paul J. DiMaggio, also Woodrow Wilson School

Mitchell Duneier

Thomas J. Espenshade

Douglas S. Massey, also Woodrow Wilson School

Sara S. McLanahan, also Woodrow Wilson School

Alejandro Portes

Gilbert F. Rozman

Martin Ruef

Kim Lane Scheppele, also Woodrow Wilson School, University Center for Human Values, Sociology

Paul E. Starr, also Woodrow Wilson School

Edward E. Telles

Marta Tienda, also Woodrow Wilson School

Robert J. Wuthnow

Viviana A. Zelizer

Visiting Professor

Charles Camic, Stanley Kelley, Jr., Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching

Lynn Chancer

Associate Professor

Elizabeth M. Armstrong, also Woodrow Wilson School

Scott M. Lynch

Devah Pager

Assistant Professor

Delia S. Baldassarri

Angel L. Harris, also African American Studies

Georges Reniers, also Woodrow Wilson School

Matthew J. Salganik

King-To Yeung

Senior Lecturer

Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Lecturer with Rank of Professor

Paul Willis


Amin Ghaziani

Janet A. Vertesi

Information and Departmental Plan of Study

Sociology at Princeton offers a cutting edge undergraduate concentration for people interested in the social dimensions of politics, economics, history, psychology, and demography. In this sense, the concentration encourages students to engage in cross-disciplinary thinking even as it provides a thorough grounding in a single field. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches to social science can be found among our students and faculty.

Princeton sociology graduates are admitted to the leading medical, law, and business schools, and they take jobs from Wall Street to social activism. Students concentrating in sociology are in increasing demand as corporations and governments want more and more graduates who have the conceptual and/or statistical tools to make sense of the recent explosion of digital data generated by the Web.

Department faculty do research and teaching on important topics of concern in the "real world" from social networks, immigration, and inequality to globalization, politics, and economic sociology.


Students are normally encouraged to complete one or more courses in sociology by the end of the sophomore year.

Program of Study

Students are required to take a minimum of nine courses in sociology, including cognates. Many students take more than the required number. All departmental courses must be taken for a grade and cannot be taken pass/D/fail. SOC 101 is a requirement for the major. In addition, three required courses in research methods and sociological theory (300, 301, and 302) are designed to help students carry out their junior and senior independent work. These courses expose students to the nature of sociological problems and theory, the logic of inquiry, the techniques of empirical investigation, and the elements of statistics. SOC 300 and 301 are usually taken in the fall of the junior year and are offered at that time to facilitate students who wish to study abroad in the spring. SOC 302 is normally offered in the spring and can be taken at any time.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work. Juniors begin their independent work in the fall of their junior year, but the work is due at the end of the spring semester.

The junior paper is written under faculty supervision, with SOC 300 and 301 providing the basic research tools to formulate the project. Junior papers may require original data collection, but usually involve secondary data analysis using historical, ethnographic, or quantitative analysis. In some cases, the junior paper becomes the foundation for the student's senior thesis. All junior papers are graded by a second reader, in addition to the major adviser.

Senior Independent Work. Senior independent work consists of completing a thesis that (a) explores the various theoretical approaches that have been used to explain a particular social phenomenon and (b) examines that phenomenon through secondary analysis of existing data and/or primary analysis of data collected by the student. Students whose thesis topics require advanced quantitative skills may acquire the necessary competence by enrolling in suitable statistics courses. Students who are contemplating collecting their own data may need the prior approval of the University's Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects.

Senior Departmental Examination

Each senior takes an oral examination based on the senior thesis and the broader subfield to which it contributes. A departmental committee conducts this examination in May.

Study Abroad

Sociology welcomes students with international interests who wish to study abroad for one or two semesters. The department makes every effort to accommodate these students by coordinating special arrangements for advising on independent work and by permitting them to take required courses out of sequence, either before or after the period of foreign study. Normally, two courses taken during a semester or a year abroad count as departmentals. Such courses will need preapproval from the departmental representative.

Undergraduate Departmental Committee. At the beginning of every year, an Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee is selected. This committee, consisting of equal numbers of junior and senior majors, advises the department on matters pertaining to curriculum, staffing, and requirements.

Research Facilities. The Social Science Reference Center, the Data and Statistical Services unit, and the Stokes Library provide facilities for study and research in the form of collections of books, journal articles, reports, microfilm, and electronic data. Staff members in these units are available to majors who are completing their independent work, looking for appropriate data sets to analyze, or seeking advice on where to find literature relevant to their research topics.


SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology   Fall SA

Orientation to basic sociological concepts as analytical tools for the study of continuities and change in social and individual behavior. Influence of family, school, and the market. Social construction of the self and selected aspects of the life course including childhood, love, and death. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Duneier, P. Starr

SOC 201 American Society and Politics   Not offered this year SA

An introduction to changing patterns of family structure, community life, economic relations, voluntary associations, moral beliefs and values, social and political movements, and other aspects of civil society and politics in the United States. Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Starr

SOC 202 Introductory Research Methods in African American Studies (see AAS 202)

SOC 203 Introduction to Urban Studies (see URB 201)

SOC 210 Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas (also LAS 210)   Not offered this year SA

By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. The class considers the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Special attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race. Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Fernández-Kelly

SOC 214 Creativity, Innovation, and Society   Not offered this year SA

An exploration of how creative activities are shaped by larger social configurations. The course first decodes the culture of creativity by examining how society thinks about creativity (and its opposite). How do the varying cultural meanings related to creativity reflect social change? Then it examines the social processes and consequences of innovation from a sociological point of view. Under what social conditions does innovation emerge? How do innovations reshape society and culture? Two lectures, one preceptorial. K. Yeung

SOC 221 Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender (also AAS 221/WOM 221)   Not offered this year SA

Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and lifestyles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 222 The Sociology of Crime and Punishment   Spring SA

This course seeks to provide a sociological account of crime and punishment. Why do people commit crime? How should we respond to crime? How has crime policy changed over the past several decades? What are the consequences of recent crime policy? Through classic and contemporary sociological research, policy analysis, and media coverage, the themes of crime and punishment in contemporary society are explored. Two lectures, one preceptorial. L. Chancer

SOC 225 Sex, Sexuality, and Gender (also WOM 225)   Not offered this year SA

This course focuses on the many ways gender differences are created, diminished, and reinforced in society. Students will learn how sexuality and gender categories are socially constructed concepts that vary across the life course (childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and different social settings (media and public discourse, schools, work, family, other countries, the policy arena, and the scientific academy). A variety of theoretical perspectives will be examined including sociobiological, micro- and social-psychological, and social-structural. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 227 Race and Ethnicity   Fall SA

An introduction to the sociological study of race and ethnicity which begins by encouraging students to exercise some critical distance from the core concepts of race and ethnicity. Topics will include comparative racism, immigration, the experiences of the second generation, whiteness, the culture of poverty debate, slums and ghettos, and the debate over the "underclass." Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Fernández-Kelly

SOC 240 Families   Not offered this year SA

Three main questions will be considered: (1) How "natural" is the family institution? (2) How essential is it? and (3) How well is it working in current American society? Comparative perspective on the analysis of childhood and society, marriage and divorce, and main contemporary trends. Proposed alternatives to the family and future developments. Two lectures, one preceptorial. A. Goldani

SOC 241 The Social Basis of Individual Behavior   Not offered this year SA

General overview of social-psychological theoretical formulations and laboratory and nonlaboratory studies about socialization, attitude measurement and change, group dynamics, influence processes, social perception, interpersonal attraction, status effects, race prejudice, deviant behavior, and others. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 245 Social Change: Modernization and Revolution (also LAS 245)   Not offered this year HA

After an introductory review of main theoretical perspectives on social change (Marx, Weber, modernization, and dependency), this course analyzes three historical examples. These include industrialization of Europe, development in the Third World, and the events of 1989 in Europe. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Centeno

SOC 248 Modern Mexican Society (also LAS 248)   Not offered this year SA

An introduction to the social, political, and economic organization of modern Mexico. The course traces the evolution of Mexico's fundamental institutions from their birth after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, through their flowering during the 1950s and 1960s, to changes in the neoliberal era of the 1980s and 1990s. The course ends with a consideration of Mexico's current position as a partner in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Two lectures, one preceptorial. D. Massey

SOC 250 The Western Way of War   Spring HA

A historical and analytical overview of war focusing on the origins and consequences of organized violence, the experience of battle, the creation and behavior of warriors, and the future of such conflicts. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Centeno

SOC 277 Technology and Society (see EGR 277)

SOC 300 Claims and Evidence in Sociology   Fall SA

This mandatory course for concentrators is intended to provide the groundwork for understanding sociological arguments, evidence, research, and writing. It provides students with the opportunity to try their hand at interpreting and evaluating arguments in the sociological literature and constructing their own arguments for a sociological study. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute preceptorial. K. Yeung

SOC 301 Sociological Research Methods   Fall QR

An overview of the research process in social science, including techniques of sampling, methods of data collection, principles of measurement, problems of inference and proof, basic methods of data analysis, and ethical considerations. Two lectures, one preceptorial. S. Lynch

SOC 302 Sociological Theory   Spring SA

Systematic survey of the principal concepts underlying all sociological description and explanation-prediction, with special attention to the different ways these concepts are employed in the four currently leading groups of theories, namely, structural functionalism, exchange theory, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Fernández-Kelly

SOC 303 Strategic Asia (also EAS 303)   Spring SA

An analysis of the recent evolution of strategic thinking in Northeast Asia with coverage linked to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. Comparative responses to common challenges: division on the Korean peninsula; the rise of China; the post-Soviet space; competition over new inter-regional ties; and a search for regionalism. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the historical roots of ideas about security, as well as cultural assumptions behind strategic views, social networks and interests, clashing perspectives in political divisions, and evolving international relations. Two lectures, one preceptorial. G. Rozman

SOC 306 East Asian Region   Not offered this year SA

Comparisons center on China and Japan and examine the impact of their Confucian traditions on recent development. Attention focuses on family life, the status of women, the role of the state, types of firms, and attitudes related to achievement. Some coverage of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore and changing regional ties. Two lectures, one preceptorial. G. Rozman

SOC 307 National Identities and Great Powers   Not offered this year SA

Analysis of the components and evolution of national identities, with a focus on the U.S., Russia, China, and Japan. Review of the impact of identities on the principal bilateral relations of our times: causes and consequences of misperceptions, linkages of domestic policies to international relations, treatment of how images of one's own society shape debates on other societies, ideas for bridging gaps between conflicting worldviews. Two lectures, one preceptorial. G. Rozman

SOC 308 Communism and Beyond: China and Russia   Spring SA

A review of the stages of communism, including reform and dismantling. Comparisons of social classes and ethnic groups under the old system and their readiness for recent changes. Treatment of workers, farmers, intellectuals, officials, and new entrepreneurs. Comparative approach to China, Russia, and other countries formed from the Soviet Union. Two lectures, one preceptorial. D. Kaple

SOC 309 Topics in the Sociology of Latin America (also LAS 309)   Not offered this year SA

A study of selected topics of current interest in the sociology of Latin America. The specific subject matter will vary from year to year, reflecting the changing interests of both faculty and students. Two lectures, one preceptorial. A. Portes

SOC 310 Gender and Development in the Americas (also LAS 310/WOM 312)   Fall SA

An examination of gender as an integral component of socioeconomic development in advanced and less-developed countries, with a focus on the United States and selected areas of Latin America. Special attention will be given to processes of industrial restructuring on a global scale that have increased the participation of women in the formal labor force. An understanding of the relationship between gender inequality and social order will be a central object of inquiry. Two lectures, one preceptorial. A. Goldani

SOC 311 Gender, Crime, Media, and Culture (see WOM 311)

SOC 312 Race and Public Policy (see WWS 317)

SOC 313 Media and Public Policy (see WWS 309)

SOC 322 Elites, Leadership, and Society   Not offered this year SA

The social characteristics and mode of access of elite groups in industrial, preindustrial, and postindustrial societies; leadership and social structure; theories of elites as contained in the works of Plato, Mandeville, Marx, Mosca, Pareto, Schumpeter, C. Wright Mills, and others. The basic question: Who gets to the top, how, and why? Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 334 Educating a New Majority (see AAS 334)

SOC 336 The Sociology of Poverty   Not offered this year SA

An examination of the nature and causes of poverty in the United States. Special attention is given to the role of labor markets, family structure, and culture in determining the level and distribution of poverty. Recent anti-poverty policies are analyzed from a historical and comparative perspective. Two lectures, one preceptorial. S. McLanahan

SOC 338 The Sociology of Latinos in the U.S. (also LAS 338)   Not offered this year SA

Using detailed studies of four major centers (San Antonio, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York), this course will analyze the historical and contemporary experience of several Spanish-speaking populations. Discussion will focus on two questions: (a) Are there common experiences or characteristics that justify the categorization of these varied groups under a single ethnicity? and (b) What racial, class, and gender divisions exist within these groups? Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Tienda

SOC 341 Latinos in American Life and Culture (see LAO 200)

SOC 342 Organizations: Management, Bureaucracy, and Work   Spring SA

Classical and contemporary theories of organizations as collective tools, as cultural systems, and as actors in changing environments. Research on problems of innovation and survival, authority, and control in business firms, public bureaucracies, and voluntary associations. Special emphasis on the historical development of managerial ideologies in the U.S. Two lectures, one preceptorial. M. Ruef

SOC 344 Communications, Culture, and Society   Not offered this year SA

An introduction to the study of communications media. Topics include: growth and impact of literacy, printing, telecommunications, and broadcasting; communications and the modern state (for example, secrecy, surveillance, intelligence); organization, control, and effects of the media; cross-national differences in communications policy and institutions; impact of computers and electronic communication. Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Starr

SOC 345 Money, Work, and Social Life   Not offered this year SA

The course offers a sociological account of production, consumption, distribution, and transfer of assets. Examining different sectors of the economy from corporations and finance to households, immigrants, welfare, and illegal markets, we explore how in all areas of economic life people are creating, maintaining, symbolizing, and transforming meaningful social relations. Economic life, from this perspective, is as social as religion, family, or education. Two lectures, one preceptorial. V. Zelizer

SOC 351 Introduction to Population Problems (see ECO 339)

SOC 360 Education and Society   Not offered this year SA

Education as an agent of cultural transmission and innovation, stability and change. Influences governing the discovery, recruitment, training, and reward of talent. The school and classroom as social systems. Issues of educational policy in social perspective. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 361 Culture, Power, and Inequality   Spring SA

An introduction to theories of symbolism, ideology, and belief. Approaches to the analysis and comparison of cultural patterns. Emphasis on the social sources of new idea systems, the role of ideology in social movements, and the social effects of cultural change. Comparisons of competing idea systems in contemporary culture. Two lectures, one preceptorial. A. Ghaziani

SOC 362 Sociology of Religion   Spring SA

Classical and contemporary theories of the relations between religion and society, with emphasis on the dynamics of religious traditions in modern societies: secularization, religion and political legitimation, sources of individual meaning and transcendence, rituals and moral obligations, religious movements, and contemporary trends in American religion. Two lectures, one preceptorial. R. Massengill

SOC 363 Religion in the United States   Not offered this year SA

Sociological investigations of religion in the United States since 1950. Patterns and variations in religious organization and expression. Social scientific methods of conducting research on religion, including surveys, interviews, and participant observation. Topics include demographics of religious involvement, trends, individual religious orientations, ethnicity and religion, and religious diversity. Two lectures, one preceptorial. R. Wuthnow

SOC 364 Sociology of Medicine (also CHV 364)   Spring SA

This course uses "the sociological imagination" to explore the role and meaning of medicine in modern U.S. society. Topics include sociocultural definitions of health and illness, the sick role, the doctor-patient relationship, the social determinants of health, the role of medicine in keeping society healthy, the education and socialization of health care professionals, and the social control function of medicine. Consideration of current bioethical dilemmas from a sociological perspective. Two lectures, one preceptorial. E. Armstrong

SOC 365 Health, Society, and Politics   Not offered this year SA

Introduction to the sociology, history, and politics of health care. Topics include the social response to disease (including epidemics); the development and organization of the medical profession, hospitals, public health, and health insurance; and the contemporary politics of health policy in comparative perspective. Two lectures, one preceptorial. P. Starr

SOC 368 Special Topics in Sociology   Not offered this year SA

The subject matter of this course varies from year to year. Typical topics are sociology of the environment and sociology of law. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

SOC 391 Race, Class, and Intelligence in America (see AAS 391)

SOC 404 Social Statistics   Not offered this year QR

An introduction to quantitative methods used in sociology, beginning with the two basic objectives of statistical methods--data reduction and statistical inference. The course considers these objectives in studying relationships among variables culminating with an analysis of the linear model. Course material is explored through the analysis of real sociological data sets using the statistical package, STATA. One two-hour class, one laboratory. A. Harris

SOC 420 Born in the U.S.A.: Culture and Reproduction in Modern America (see WOM 420)