Department of Sociology | The University of Iowa

University of iowa sociology

Sociology studies principles of social psychology, stratification, and criminology in small groups, private and public organizations, neighborhoods, communities, entire societies, and worldwide.

An undergraduate degree in sociology prepares students for a wide range of careers, including social service, criminal justice, corrections, business, human resources management, applied social research, and secondary education.

Why Study at Iowa?

The Department of Sociology has a strong undergraduate program with outstanding academics and comprehensive career preparation, including careful advising by faculty members. Our faculty is especially strong in social psychology, criminology, inequality, organizations, and family/gender studies. U.S. News & World Report ranks the department’s social psychology program third in the nation.
As a sociology student, you'll acquire both “soft” and “hard” skills that are in demand in today’s labor market. Soft skills include the ability to think critically and creatively, lead, communicate, and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Hard skills include the ability to analyze data statistically (e.g., survey and census data), evaluate programs, and communicate statistical results to policymakers.

The department offers four special programs for undergraduates. One focuses on writing skills and another on strengthening international aspects of course work. A third program involves internships in the criminal justice and human services areas, in which you'll earn course credit while gaining work experience. Finally, the major's capstone course will help you prepare to transition from college to work, graduate school, or law school.

Course Work

Students majoring in sociology can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Students in both programs are encouraged to begin with the introductory and mathematics courses since they provide a foundation for the rest of the major. Course work for both programs includes:

Introduction to Sociology Principles Mathematics (BA students take a statistics course, BS students take Calculus I–II) Sociological theory and research methods (BA students take three courses, BS students take five) Five or more elective courses in sociology A sociology capstone course Students in the BS program also take courses in calculus or engineering mathematics Students in the BA program also take courses in sociological theory, data analysis, and research methods

Sociology elective courses allow you to focus on one of several areas:

Crime, law, and social control Gender and family Social psychology Social stratification and organizations Political sociology and social change

Students also are required to maintain a portfolio that chronicles their progress through the major, and are advised to complete two courses in at least one of these subjects: anthropology, economics, geography, political science, or psychology. A second major in anthropology, business, health-related majors, social work, psychology, or sport studies combines well with the sociology major.

Admission Requirements

Sociology majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

First-Year RequirementsTransfer Requirements

Transfer Tips:

This major can be sequenced in four semesters. Students may transfer either sophomore or junior year and still complete the major. Students should complete the following courses, if available, before transferring.

SOC:1010 Introduction to Sociology STAT:1020 Elementary Statistics and Inference or STAT:1030 Business Statistics

Students can also take one or two of the following Sociology courses, if available, prior to transferring:

SOC:1020 Social Problems SOC:1220 Principles of Social Psychology SOC:2710 The American Family

2 Plus 2 students must complete the fourth level of a single world language as needed for Iowa's General Education Program.

These resources can help facilitate your transfer to Iowa:

International Requirements

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Living-Learning Communities, Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

If you join the Undergraduate Sociological Association, a club for majors, you'll have opportunities to volunteer and to hear guest speakers talk about their careers. The Iowa Sociological Association holds an annual meeting that simulates professional academic meetings. Students present papers to an audience of faculty and other students as part of a competition.

You also may join the American Sociological Association and the Midwest Sociological Society. Your membership benefits will include discounts on professional journals, and you'll receive publications about careers and graduate programs. You'll also be able to attend professional meetings, where members network with others in the field.

If you're an outstanding student, you might join the campus chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the national honor society for sociology students.


The department works closely with the Pomerantz Career Center to place students in internships, which provide valuable preparation for graduate school and professional careers. You may earn sociology credit through the internship program.

Internships give you numerous opportunities to gain hands-on experience. If you're interested in criminology, you may enroll in an internship that will put you to work in a local criminal justice setting. A similar program is available in the human services area.
Independent study or field experience hours provide opportunities for community work. Students interested in areas such as child development, mental health, and the sociology of sport may work with faculty members, gaining experience and earning academic credit.
Many internships are available for students interested in teaching. The Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship provides seniors with experience in college-level teaching, which they may add to their résumés. They attend the course and hold office hours in order to help enrolled students.
The Washington Center offers students credit for internships in Washington, D.C., where they experience professional life in the nation’s capital.

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