College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences


The Sociology major, with options in Criminology, Social Work and General Sociology, is housed in the Department of Psychology and Sociology. The Sociology major is designed to provide a substantial foundation in theoretical, methodological, and content areas of sociology, leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.


Sociology is concerned with the study of human societies and as such touches on most spheres of human behavior. At Cal Poly, Sociology majors study a variety of subject areas including criminology and juvenile delinquency, the family and religious and political institutions, ethnic relations and minority communities, social organization and stratification, population dynamics and gerontology.

The Sociology program at Cal Poly is intended to meet several goals. It is designed to provide a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue graduate training in Sociology or related fields such as Criminal Justice and Public Administration and professional programs in Social Work and law. In addition, it also provides an excellent background for entry level positions in management, in both public and private sectors. In the world of business, industry and government, the Sociology major provides a strong base for careers in personnel, management, training, sales, and related occupational fields. Many graduates work in government positions at the city, county, state, or federal level. In addition, many of our Sociology graduates are pursuing careers in the helping professions including health and medical services. Finally, some of our students, after completing their graduate education, pursue careers in Sociology in both academic and non-academic settings.

The Social Work option is designed to equip students with a basic understanding of social work and social welfare. Students in this option will gain an in-depth understanding of the current theoretical perspectives, skills, and ethical values of the profession as a foundation necessary for the future local or global social work practice. In addition to course work, field work and internships under faculty supervision provide students opportunties to further develop their skils by integrating theory with practice.

As we progress through the 21st century, our world continues to be more interconnected due to technological advancements that speed communication and information dissemination. One important sociological outcome is that societies can now be experienced more readily as it transcends a variety of erstwhile established boundaries such as international borders, cultures, and other sealed systems based on a politics of exclusion. Through our general Sociology undergraduate program students are exposed to a variety of sociological imaginations that allow them to read these social dynamics in ways that inform them of their place in local and global society. This is accomplished by our dedicated faculty and their course offerings that refine students’ sociological discernments about social class, gender, ethnicity/race, culture, and political economies. It is further enhanced by our foundational courses that address methodology, research, and theory. Working closely with our diverse student population, our dedicated faculty members cultivate and challenge students’ critical analyses of social structure and social life without editing out the increasingly complex and influential dynamics of 21st century society.

Dr. Jack Fong, Sociology Associate Professor