Graduate Courses

Sociology Graduate Course Schedules

Course Registration

Course Descriptions

Required Courses

SOC 500, Proseminar
Students entering the UB Sociology PhD program are required to take this couse their first year in the program. The purpose of this seminar is to help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the program and as a professional sociologist. These skills include becoming a good teacher, submitting manuscripts for publication and to conferences, responding to feedback, understanding grants and fellowships, and effectively presenting your research. They also include protecting your mental health, uncovering the hidden curriculum, and navigating resources at UB. Professional socialization is an explicit part of this course. 

SOC 504, Introductory Statistics for Social Science
This course provides an overview of introductory statistical concepts, with a focus on social scientific topics and examples. Concepts covered include descriptive statistics, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, correlation, and bivariate regression analysis. Students will learn how to: (1) hand-calculate the statistics presented in class; (2) use statistical software to compute these statistics; and, (3) interpret and evaluate statistics published in academic articles.

SOC 567, Classical Sociological Theory
This seminar explores the key writings of Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and W.E.B. Du Bois, arguably the major social theorists of the European and American classical tradition, and places them into the broader context of social theory through the work of subsequent adherents.

SOC 568, Contemporary Sociological Theory
This seminar covers major developments in social theory over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including American Pragmatism, German Critical Theory, the Kuhnian revolution, Foucault, Bourdieu, critical race theory, post-positivism, and more.

SOC 606, Social Research Methods
Developing clear, concise, and thorough research designs is one of the most exciting, and challenging, aspects of being a sociologist. In this course, we will survey a number of research methodologies and techniques, paying close attention to their strengths and weaknesses. We will examine issues of design, sampling, and measurement as well as writing and proposal development. Although students may not use every methodological strategy discussed, it is important that graduate training exposes students to the varied ways sociologists research social life. By the end of this course students will have a working familiarity with different types of research designs and perspectives and hands-on experience developing a research proposal.

SOC 607, Multiple Linear Regression
This course provides in-depth discussion of regression analysis. Major topics include the assumptions of the ordinary least squares regression model, dummy variables, polynomial & interaction terms, outlier diagnostics, multicollinearity, specification error, & heteroscedasticity. The emphasis is on practical application and use of regression techniques in social science research.


Advanced Methods & Professionalization Courses

SOC 516, Mixed Methods for Social Science Research
This course introduces students to mixed-methods research and prepares them for selecting and implementing an appropriate mixed-method design in their own research. Throughout the course, we will become familiar with the benefits (and drawbacks) of MMR design when compared with single-method or non-integrated multi-method projects, identify when using MMR design is suitable for a project, and learn the basics designing a MMR project. Students have the option of submitting a research proposal or a research paper that relies on a MMR design. Familiarity with basics of both qualitative and quantitative research is required (SOC 606 or equivalent).

SOC 531, Qualitative Research Methods
This seminar focuses primarily on in-depth interviewing as a sociological method, although we will also explore other qualitative methods such as content analysis and ethnography. Each student will undertake an original research project for which they will pick a field site, conduct interviews, and analyze interview data. Students completing the course will have gained first-hand experience in conducting qualitative research, becoming well-versed in the theories, problems, logistics, ethics, advantages, and disadvantages of qualitative research methods. 

SOC 545, Writing for Publication
This course prepares graduate students to evaluate published works and learn how to publish sociological research. Students learn about the publishing process and receive and respond to critiques of their writing. They gain hands-on experience in editorial roles by providing constructive critiques about other students? writing and evaluating published articles. They also improve their general writing skills via a combination of in- and out-of-class exercises.

SOC 578, Applied Survey Research
This course equips students with survey research skills to address sociological questions. Topics include sampling, questionnaire design, survey implementation, basic analysis of both primary and secondary survey data, strategies for presenting data, and effectively communicating results.

SOC 605, Quantitative Research Design
This course provides students with the skills essential for designing quantitative research studies, including framing questions, constructing variables, analyzing data, and interpreting results. This is a hands-on course; students should have a data set, question, or topic in mind early on in the semester. Successful completion of SOC 504 and SOC 607 is expected; students who have taken only one graduate-level statistics course will need permission of the instructor to enroll.

SOC 608, Advanced Statistical Methods for Social Science
Topics vary according to instructor, but may include analysis of categorical and longitudinal data, issues of causal inference, statistical moderation and mediation, or analysis of complex sample survey data, among others. Students should have successfully completed SOC 504 and SOC 607 or their equivalents, and have permission of the instructor to enroll.

SOC 609, Categorical Data Analysis
This seminar is designed to introduce students to some of the most commonly used models forcategorical and limited dependent variables (e.g. binary, ordinal, nominal, counts, lengths of time), which fail to conform to the assumptions of linear regression. We explore a series of models that are both popular and appropriate for categorical dependent variables: binary logistic regression, multinomial logit models, ordered logit, models for count data, and event-history (or "survival") models. The objective throughout the seminar will be to provide students with an understanding of (a) when particular models are appropriate, (b) the basic logic of various models, (c) how model results are interpreted and evaluated, and (d) how to conduct analyses of categorical and limited data using Stata software. This class emphasizes the logic and application of these models rather than rigorous mathematical treatments of these models or full-term coverage of a particular model. Successful completion of SOC 607 or equivalent is required.

SOC 612, Teaching Sociology
This course is designed to help students create sociology courses that realize the possibilities of teaching. Students will have opportunities to engage critically with pedagogy and course design, and to practice classroom teaching. We will explore various perspectives on developing syllabi, presenting material, creating innovative assignments, grading, and handling classroom obstacles. Discussions will center on a series of contemporary teaching-related issues, including the influence of race, gender, and class in teaching, the politics of the corporate university model, and the future of online teaching. This class will also act as an introduction into the profession and the fundamentals of becoming an instructor.

Elective Courses

SOC 507, Sociology of Families
This course surveys the literature on the sociology of families. Theoretical perspectives are explored via empirical studies of change and variation in families and households. How families are defined, how they change as family members age and in the context of economic and political change, and how families reproduce social inequalities are among the central issues we study in historical and contemporary circumstances. Students will be encouraged to critically evaluate their own assumptions about families in the context of research evidence and theoretical insights.

SOC 509, Society and the Individual
This course offers a broad survey of the various theories and perspectives used in sociological approaches to the field of social psychology. We will study social psychological research on a range of topics, including conformity, obedience, identity, power, status, and interpersonal relationships and interactions.

SOC 510, Victims & Society
This course explores the diverse experiences of victims of crime, with a focus on the myths and realities of criminal victimization. We will explore theories and patterns of victimization, with emphasis on critical approaches, methods of measuring victimization, and barriers for reporting victimization. The experience of victims as they interact with various criminal justice professionals and processes such as police, the courts, and their role in sentencing of offenders central features of this course. We will also explore responses to victims of crime, with particular attention to victim advocacy and victim?s rights legislation, victim advocacy organizations and programs, the professionalization of the discipline of victim services, and current practices in crime victim assistance.

SOC 515, Life Course Sociology
This course introduces the theories and research associated with the life course perspective in sociology. The life course perspective incorporates a life-long examination of human development, in recognition of the developmental processes undergone by individuals throughout their lives, and emphasizes the continuities that exist between early-life circumstances and later-life outcomes. The life course perspective covers a broad range of substantive areas of scholarship in sociology such as medical sociology and sociology of families, as well as offering a platform for interdisciplinary theorizing and research in fields such as gerontology and criminology.

SOC 522, Urban Sociology
​This seminar provides a foundational overview of the subfield of urban sociology, covering classic to current theoretical approaches with an emphasis upon critical urban theory. The aim of the course is to understand how major developments and shifts in theoretical paradigms have shaped the analysis of social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics of urban change. Students are expected to gain in-depth knowledge in theoretical and historical foundations of the sub-field and specific topic areas related to spatial organization of urban communities.

SOC 525, Race & Ethnicity
This seminar will familiarize students with the classical and major contemporary works on racial inequality in America. We will examine historical, social, demographic, political and cultural factors that explain different experiences and rates of progress of American race and ethnic groups. Particular attention will be given to the changing patterns of race/ethnic relations in the contemporary United States.

SOC 526, Race, Crime, & Punishment
This seminar traces the connections between race, crime, and punishment in the United States, seeking to understand how constructions of race and ethnicity have informed both our past and our current approaches to punishment. Historical and contemporary topics will be examined, including post-slavery institutions of social control, Jim Crow justice, the death penalty, racial profiling, mass incarceration, and cumulative disadvantage.

SOC 528, Neighborhoods and Health
Just as conditions within our homes have important implications for our health, conditions in the neighborhoods surrounding our homes also can have major health effects. Social, economic, and environmental features of neighborhoods have been linked with mortality, general health status, disability, birth outcomes, chronic conditions, obesity, depression, injuries, violence, health behaviors and more. In this seminar, we consider whether and how the characteristics of neighborhoods shape the physical and mental health of individuals, and how neighborhoods contribute to persistent health disparities. Special attention will be devoted to conceptual and methodological challenges to detecting the prevalence and magnitude of 'neighborhood effects' on health.

SOC 529, Sociology of Punishment
This graduate seminar provides a foundation of theory and new empirical research in the sociology of punishment. Students will critically analyze punishment as a social institution, highlighting the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States, patterns of punishment in different social contexts, how punishment is gendered and racialized, its broader social effects, and alternatives to imprisonment.

SOC 530, Crime and Public Policy
This course addresses crime and criminal justice policy, with an emphasis on the political forces that shape criminal justice responses and policy initiatives. Students will also examine the ideals and objectives of law enforcement, exploring sociological issues of race, class, gender, and power, in order to develop more effective strategies in the planning and development of crime policy.

SOC 535, Immigration and Crime
This seminar explores the impact of immigration, whether legal or undocumented, on US crime rates. A central focus will be the ways in which the US criminal justice system interfaces with and impacts immigrants and immigrant communities. The course analyzes the scholarly treatment of immigrants in crime theory and crime policy from the early 1900s to the present.

SOC 536, Families & Crime
This seminar explores the theoretical and empirical links between families and crime. Of central interest is how families are implicated in etiological theories of crime, the family as a context for crime, and the role of family in promoting desistance from crime. In addition, we will explore how institutional responses to crime impact the formation, stability, and well-being of families.

SOC 539, Sociology of Juvenile Justice
This course is designed to be an introduction to the sociology of juvenile justice. It is organized around several themes: how delinquency is defined and measured; the sociological factors that put a child at risk for becoming a part of the juvenile justice system; the roles of gender, race, and class, as well as culture, families, schools, and communities, in predicting delinquency; responses to juvenile delinquency via public policy, the juvenile court process, youth corrections in the community, and out of home juvenile placements; and the role of juvenile justice contact in other life course domains and periods. Within these themes, the course emphasizes the understanding of historical and contemporary debates and the state of empirical evidence. Although sociological perspectives are emphasized, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach that includes psychology, human development, political science, and legal scholarship.

SOC 541, Sociology of Health & Illness
Health and illness affects every person, every day, in obvious and subtle ways. Studying medical sociology provides an opportunity to gain critical perspectives on this massive social undertaking, learning about theory and research related to the experience of health and illness, the practice of medicine, the complexities of health care, relationships among patients/their families and health professionals, and how these are shaped by both individual characteristics and the social, economic, cultural and political contexts of health and medicine.

SOC 542, The Social Organization of Health Care
This course uses sociological perspectives to analyze the roles played by a range of health care actors (such as hospitals, physicians and medical paraprofessionals, the pharmaceutical industry and health insurers) within the institutional systems they encounter. Topics covered include cost, quality, and access to medical care; the training and socialization of care providers, governmental versus private control over components of the health care system, and individual rights within health care. The approach will be explicitly comparative and use theory and data to understand the rationales, strengths and weaknesses of different health care systems, variations in the extent of governmental versus private control; and rights and responsibilities within health care systems.

SOC 546, Environmental Sociology
This course connects the importance of environmental issues broadly to how environmental sociologists have been studying these issues. We will discuss pivotal theories, drawing on classical thinkers and new offerings alike. Across a range of topics, we will delve into several critical environmental issues ranging from environmental justice to climate change denial to how communities respond to disasters.

SOC 551, Social Stratification
This seminar explores the nature, causes, and consequences of social inequality. We will review historical trends in social inequality and the principal theoretical frameworks that social scientists have developed for understanding inequality and the political and economic circumstances under which patterns or trends in inequality have changed. We will consider individual and societal factors that lead to upward and downward mobility and which sustain inequalities over time, with considerable attention to the effects of race and gender on social inequality.

SOC 552, Sociology of Poverty
This class explores sociological perspectives on the issues of poverty, inequality, and wealth. Topics covered include the distribution of income and wealth in America and around the world; the experience of being poor and wealthy in the U.S.; the relationship between poverty, gender, and race; the causes and consequences of poverty, wealth, and inequality; and policies and social movements that remedy or sustain poverty, wealth, and inequality.

SOC 553, Neighborhoods and Crime
In this seminar, students review the relevant literature that examines the relationship between neighborhood context and criminal behavior, alongside the influences of neighborhood effects on delinquent behavior and general well-being. The material will include the classic texts that first situated crime in an ecological context through the most recent empirical literature -- quantitative and qualitative -- that tries to thoroughly explore the association between neighborhood patterns and crime. Throughout the semester, students will address an important consideration with neighborhood & crime research: what is the relationship between structure, culture, and agency, expressed at the neighborhood level, and how does empirical research attempt to study such relationships?

SOC 555, Sociology of Aging
This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the sociology of aging. Theoretical perspectives and research approaches will be considered in relation to a variety of subject areas, including: the demography of aging; work and retirement; health; care work and families; death and dying; and age and social policy. Throughout the course, we will attend to the social context of aging and the intersection of history and biography, in order to understand how the process of aging is temporally, socially, and culturally situated. The implications of an aging society for social policy and individuals of all age groups will be considered in relation to all core topics.

SOC 561, Sociology of Science
This course will explore the ways that science is a social phenomenon which is laden with issues of power and culture, but which can also tell us a lot about the world around us. It will cover the history of scientific thinking, from the scientific revolution and Darwinism to current scientific methodologies, as well as contemporary topics in science such as nuclear development, genetic editing and tensions between local ecological knowledge and Western conceptions of science.

SOC 562, Sociology of Law
This course explores law as a social institution, emphasizing how some of its central features (lawyers, disputes, rules, etc.) are related to wider historical and social characteristics. Students will read classical and contemporary work that define the field, concentrating on recent empirical studies and the theoretical concepts and claims that undergird them. Sociological perspectives are emphasized, although this course takes an interdisciplinary approach that also includes psychology, political science, and legal scholarship and draws attention to the methodologies used by scholars in a range of work and disciplines.

SOC 566, Urban Ethnographies
This seminar provides a foundational overview of urban ethnographies, emphasizing theoretical, epistemological, and methodological considerations. The course readings include a brief review of classic urban ethnographies but the central focus is contemporary work. The aim of the course is to review and understand major critiques of the idea of ethnographic inquiry through focused reading of recently published monographs. By completing this course, students will gain in-depth knowledge of urban ethnography as a field of inquiry in the social sciences.

SOC 569, Social Inequalities and Health
This course examines medical sociological theories and empirical findings pertaining to the social underpinnings of health. Topics covered include the impact of socioeconomic status, race, and gender on health; the social processes and institutions shaping health disparities; and current health policy debates, including debates about healthcare reform. The course provides a broad overview of sociological research on health disparities (both in the U.S. and internationally), while inviting students to delve more deeply into a specific topic for their final project.

SOC 576, Race, Ethnicity, & Residence
The overall objective of this course is to expose students to a broad range of issues and debates about residential segregation and stratification in the United States. The residential context in which people live has a substantial impact on an array of outcomes and opportunities including one's exposure to poverty and crime, effective schools, as well as job networks and availability. We will focus on the unequal nature of these neighborhood exposures, particularly the continued disadvantaged position of African Americans relative to other racial and ethnic groups.

SOC 584, Sociology of Social Policy
This course introduces the theory and practice of social policy. The first course section explores concepts associated with the development of social policies in modern welfare states, including theoretical, conceptual, philosophical, and ideological foundations of social policy. The second section of the course focuses on the empirical world of social policy, using a range of theoretical approaches and policy domains to better understand social policy research and social policies in the United States and other wealthy developed countries.

SOC 587, Criminology
Students will examine the theories of crime that have built the foundation for contemporary criminology in the United States. Readings will range from classic theoretical descriptions to empirical analyses that test particular theories. Students will critically examine the theories by noting their relevance to the present state of criminology as well as the issues surrounding various theoretical perspectives.

SOC 588, Gender & Work
This class examines the conceptual and theoretical frames for understanding gender inequality in work and employment. We will use an intersectional approach to study gender in the context of race, class, sexuality, and other axes of inequality in work organizations and the labor market, emphasizing theories of gendered organizations and women's disproportionate representation in unpaid work. Topics include mechanisms of gender inequality, including gender discrimination in hiring, promotion, and advancement; occupational segregation; gendered social networks and cultural ideologies; caregiving, work-life balance, and the maternal wall; gendered social interactions and doing gender; and law, policy, and changing organizations.

SOC 591, Inequality in Families
This course provides an introduction to the literature addressing intergenerational relationships and inequality in families at different stages of the life course. We review the major theoretical perspectives informing the literature and discuss several important research topics and continuing debates related to intergenerational relationships and inequality, including inequality in elder care provision, housework, and parental investments. A range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of inequality in families is offered.

SOC 613, Sociology of Gender
Gender is intrinsic to almost every area in sociology, and theories of gender are common components of research in a wide variety of topical areas such as race, urban, family, work, organizations, the state, law, crime, and globalization. This course provides an overview of the vast field of gender studies in sociology, covering both classic theoretical approaches and recent empirical scholarship.

SOC 614, Sociology of Work
This course is an introduction to the sociology of work. Its focus is the relationship between work and equality/inequality, specifically how inequality is produced and reproduced in the workplace. Students begin with some of the classical and contemporary theorists of work before turning to the sociological literature on class and inequality. The focus is on how class (as measured by education, occupation, earnings, and wealth) structures opportunities for upward mobility. Additional topics include reviews of workplace transitions (in terms of worker demographics, occupations, culture, and the economy) and recent research in the sociology of work, moving beyond traditional human capital explanations for workplace inequality to examine a number of more subtle mechanisms of inequity.

SOC 615, Sociology of Immigration
This course examines questions of why people migrate to different countries and what happens when they arrive by concentrating on historical and contemporary immigration to the United States. The heart of the course will revolve around empirical issues of immigrant adaptation: social, economic, and spatial adaptation, among others. Divisions along racial and ethnic lines -- past, present, and future -- will be central to the course.

SOC 620, Crime and the Life Course
This course will introduce students to the study of crime and deviance within a life course framework. Students will examine the ways in which involvement in antisocial behavior develops and changes from childhood into adulthood (and between generations). Within the life course framework, we will apply prominent criminological theories (e.g., low self-control theory, social learning theory, social bond theory) to different stages of life to examine the way in which these perspectives help us understand correlates of crime over the life course. Topics covered in this course include the role of parents and peers in the progression of delinquency, the transition to adulthood, and the role of turning points (such as marriage and employment) in redirecting one's criminal trajectory.

SOC 630, Gender & Crime
This course will examine the role of gender in crime and criminal justice. It will cover the absence of women from traditional criminological theories, the gendered nature of offending and its explanations, how gender impacts experiences with prison and the criminal justice system, and women and men as criminal justice professionals. Special emphasis will be placed on the intersection of gender with race, ethnicity, and class.

SOC 652, Diversity in the Military
This course is a study of social diversity in one of America's major institutions, the U.S. Military. Relevant theories and empirical research from sociology and demography will be used to analyze trends in the integration of minorities (racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual) into the American armed forces. We will examine how the interplay between cultural forces (values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes) and other factors, (such as technological change, demographic patterns, occupational structures, labor shortages, and the goal of military effectiveness) shape the roles of majority males, women, racial minorities, and sexual minorities in the military. We will examine past events and policies as well as current ones. Finally, we will examine effects of military service on the lives of women and men when they return home from war. We will investigate past, present, and future trends in the integration of minorities in the American armed services. Although the primary focus is on the American military, we will also consider experiences associated with armed forces of other societies.