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About the Department

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The Radford University Department of Sociology provides students with a wide variety of courses designed to promote critical thinking and further understanding and perception of social processes, social problems, and differing cultures both within the U.S. and from a global/international perspective.  Through rigorous coursework, students learn how to gather, analyze, and interpret quantitative and qualitative data.  Through research-in-service and internships students learn how to apply their knowledge and skills to problems and needs in businesses, organizations, and communities.

A central part of our mission is to provide opportunities for independent student research as well as faculty and student collaborative research.  We teach from the philosophy that active engagement in real-world research enhances employment opportunities and opens doors to graduate school.  The department engages in sound career planning and preparation with each major.

Radford University's Department of Sociology has special strengths and emphases in:

A Focus in Applied Careers

The department curriculum is designed to provide graduates with a solid foundation for studying and understanding social and cultural behavior in organizational, national, and global settings, and providing graduates with the professional "toolkit" of social science methods and skills that can be "applied" in a wide range of career paths, including:  business and industry, social work and human services, law and criminal justice, medicine and health care fields, education, urban planning, public policy, community and international development, immigration and refugee services, and many other fields where recognizing patterns of social and cultural differences and similarities is crucial. With our focus on Applied Sociology and Cultural Anthropology, students learn to market their skills, explore opportunities, and prepare for entry into the workplace. See our Career Information page to learn more.

Hands-on Experiential Training

Our emphasis is on providing students with classes in Social Research Methods, Survey Research Methods, Ethnography, and Organizational Research, as well as Internships and Practicum classes where students can learn research skills and methods while participating in research, service-learning, and other community-based projects of value to the public. This experiential training helps our graduates build substantial resumes they can use to aid them when seeking jobs and graduate-school entry.  See our Internship page for more information, and talk with your professors and advisors who can help direct you to these opportunities.

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Multicultural and Global Issues

Sociologists and Cultural Anthropologists are specialists in understanding socio-cultural behavior in the U.S., in all of our diverse multicultural settings, and on the wider global, international stage where a solid understanding of cross-cultural diversity can be applied profitably in any type of international career including international business, politics, health care, and others. The department curriculum focuses on our strength in providing classes that develop better understanding of the critical multicultural and global issues that affect us now and shape our future. Among these are courses in Social Problems, Global Inequalities, and Culture Change and Globalization.

Environmental Issues

The Sociology Department places a strong emphasis on offering classes that focus on the relationship between human behavior and environmental issues. These are designed to help students better understand the delicate balance that exists between human societies and their environments. The department curriculum includes classes that study the way that humans around the world, past to present, have developed cultural survival strategies highly in tune with their environments, as well as classes that focus on the present and future environmental problems that face us now at the local, regional, and global levels. These include courses on Environmental Sociology, Economic and Environmental Anthropology, Rural Sociology, and Appalachian Cultures, to name just a few.

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More opportunities for Sociology and Cultural Anthropology students:

Undergraduate Forum

Each Spring Radford University holds an Undergraduate Student Forum where Sociology and Cultural Anthropology students present the results of their research. This is another good resume builder. Talk with your professors about the possibilities. The Forum takes place each April.

International Study Abroad

Many of our Cultural Anthropology and Sociology majors choose to enhance their studies with international travel and study abroad experiences. Talk with your professors about the possibilities. The RU International Education Center has many opportunities to choose from--visit their web site to view Study Abroad opportunities as well as international events taking place on the RU campus.