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A Message from the Chair of Sociology

Dear Colleagues, Students, and Friends,

Sociology is the systematic study of societies. Sociologists study what societies are, how they are organized, how they change, and how they persist. We study forms of solidarity and forms of conflict. We also investigate the effects of social networks and institutions on how people think, feel, and act.

As we live through a time of enormous political, economic, racial, and medical upheaval, sociology is more important than ever. Many of today’s controversies involve basic questions about how we should organize our societies. But too many powerful voices in politics, media, and government express contempt for expertise and scholarly inquiry. Everyone is vulnerable when disagreements about society are settled by those with the loudest voice or the biggest fists—instead of by reasoning and evidence. Our department upholds the values of social inclusion and scholarly inquiry. We condemn any attempt to silence scholars, particularly those underrepresented in the academy, through the use of intimidation or threats of violence.

The Department of Sociology at the University of California San Diego was founded in 1968 with a vision of sociology that encompasses the study of social theory, history, and culture around the world. We offer training in a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, from the humanistic to the computational. We have particular concentrations of expertise in the sociology of international migration; science, knowledge, and medicine; politics and social movements; and social inequalities. We are also distinguished by our global reach, with scholars who study—and teach about—societies in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. 

An undergraduate major in sociology offers rigorous preparation for graduate study in sociology, political science, and other social and behavioral sciences. It is also an excellent preparation for professional training in law, medicine, business, education, or social work. A sociology major provides a strong foundation for careers in the private sector, government, and non-profit organizations. I invite students interested in pursuing a sociology major or minor to meet with our undergraduate coordinator for more specific information and advice on requirements, courses, and departmental activities in general.

Amy Binder
Chair, UC San Diego Department of Sociology

Click here for more information on the history of the UC San Diego Sociology Department.