Sociology Professor Ivan Ermakoff, chalk in hand, standing in front of a blackboard, teaching a graduate course in political sociology.

Sociology involves the development and application of theoretical insights and empirical evidence regarding human behavior as social beings, focusing on how social life works, what causes social change, and why humans behave in the ways they do. The discipline explores social interactions and social processes at the individual, group, state, and global levels. The Department of Sociology trains doctoral students to become outstanding social scientists working in academia, government, the nonprofit sector, and private industry. Students develop a broad understanding of major theories, methodologies, and research findings in the sociological literature. Ph.D. students will advance the contributions of sociological study to society by conducting research that explores complex ideas, analyzes quantitative and qualitative data, and disseminates new knowledge. In so doing, they will contribute to the vast body of scholarship and applied work that leads to the improvement of society.

For more information, contact: Charlotte Frascona, 8127 Social Science Building, 608-262-3805,

An Option A minor in Sociology is composed of 9 credits of graduate-level coursework in either the Department of Sociology or the Department of Community & Environmental Sociology.  The departments do not require students to take specific courses; instead, students are encouraged to meet with the sociology graduate program advisor to discuss their interests and goals and to find out which courses may be useful to them and when they are likely to be offered.  Students may enroll in any graduate-only courses (i.e., those numbered 700–999) with the exception of SOC 700 Introductory Proseminar for Graduate Students and SOC 990 Thesis. They may also enroll in any of the advanced graduate-undergraduate courses (i.e., those numbered 300–699) that are either specifically designed for graduate students or assess graduate students separately from undergrads.  Such courses carry this designation in the Course Guide and Class Search: Graduate 50%: Y.

Faculty: see Sociology