Majors & Minors

Sociologists seek to answer questions about human behavior to help develop new theories and inform social policy, programs, and laws.

Sociology is the broadest of all the social sciences, offering you an extensive range of practical and marketable skills, as well as an excellent foundation for law school or graduate programs. Check out our video with Professor Joe Gerteis, who explains a few types of questions sociology seeks to answer and talks about introductory courses in sociology.

Sociology majors and minors develop:

  • analytical and critical thinking skills
  • quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • written and oral communication abilities
  • cultural competence
  • big picture perspective

You will find a supportive, collaborative, and challenging intellectual environment in the Department of Sociology. Our department values a diversity of viewpoints and experiences.

Sociology Major Programs

In the sociology department, you can choose one of two undergraduate majors: sociology or sociology of law, criminology, and justice. Whichever you choose, you will take the same number of core courses and electives and complete a major project.


Sociology is a very flexible major, and our sociology program allows you to choose how to concentrate your sociology electives. Learn more about the bachelor of arts in sociology (BA) or the bachelor of science in sociology (BS).

Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Justice

Sociology of law, criminology, and justice is more structured and gives you a concentration of courses in this area of specialization. Learn more about the bachelor of arts in sociology of law, criminology, and justice or the bachelor of science in sociology of law, criminology, and justice.

Are you a transfer student?

Find information for transfer students.

Degree Options

Within both the sociology and sociology of law, criminology, and justice programs, you have the option of choosing to receive a bachelor of arts (BA) degree or a bachelor of science (BS) degree.

Bachelor of Arts

We recommend you choose a BA degree if you want to develop skills in a language other than English in addition to your sociology coursework. The elective credit flexibility afforded by the BA degree pairs nicely with a minor in another field.

Bachelor of Science

We recommend you choose a BS degree if you prefer to develop skills in statistics and data analysis in addition to your sociology coursework. With the BS option, you can choose one of four career-oriented sub-plans: health care and careers; organization, business, or nonprofit; policy analysis; or quantitative emphasis.

Sociology Minor Programs

Adding a sociology minor to your major is an excellent way to round out your undergraduate education and give you a complementary skill set. There are two options for an undergraduate minor in sociology: the sociology minor and the sociology of law, criminology, and justice minor.

Public Health Minor

The public health minor is a joint project between the School of Public Health and the College of Liberal Arts. Sociology splits the advising for the public health minor with the Department of Geography. For more information, view the online presentation and talk to our sociology advisor.

Population Studies Minor

The population studies minor is a new interdisciplinary minor that pulls in courses from a variety of disciplines across three colleges with possible research and employment opportunities at the Minnesota Population Center.

Population studies encompass the study of the size, structure, and distribution of populations across space and time in response to birth, migration, aging, and death. Changes in the size and composition of populations, as well as in the underlying components of population change (i.e., mortality, fertility, and migration), strongly influence and are influenced by natural and human systems in ways that are increasingly consequential.