Sociology and Anthropology
- Course Work
- Undergraduate Programs
- Graduate Programs
- Anthropology, MA
- Sociology, MA
- Financial Aid
Robinson Professors: Dumont (anthropology), Weitzman (sociology)
Emeritus faculty: Black, Golomb (anthropology); Tavani (sociology)
Professors: Gusterson, Lancaster, Seligmann, Williams (anthropology); Dennis, Scimecca, Vallas (chair) (sociology)
Associate professors: Haines, Palkovich, Snead, Trencher (anthropology); Best, Guagnano, Hanrahan, Jacobs, Rader, Rosenblum (sociology)
Assistant professors: Benitez (anthropology); Bickford, Bryant (anthropology); Bockman, Dale, Davis, Samara (sociology)
Term associate professor: Masters (sociology)
Term assistant professors and instructors: Arabandi, Zimmerman (sociology)
Affiliate professors: Avruch (anthropology); Bainbridge, Dopkins, Goldstone, Johnson, Levine (sociology)
Adjuncts: Mashayekhi, Minnich, Nambiar, Pearlman, Sandole-Staroste
This department offers all course work designated ANTH, SOAN, and SOCI in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog.
Anthropology is the study of human beings and their cultures. It draws broadly from the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. Anthropology is thus an ideal undergraduate major, providing sound interdisciplinary preparation for a variety of careers. In addition to satisfying university-wide general education requirements and requirements for the BA degree in CHSS, students majoring in anthropology must complete the following 36 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.00:
- 9 credits anthropology core:
- ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
- ANTH 390 Theories, Methods, and Issues I
- ANTH 490 Theories, Methods, and Issues II
- 9 credits of four-field requirement:
- Archaeology: ANTH 120 or ANTH 420
- Biological anthropology: ANTH 135 or ANTH 365
- Linguistic anthropology: ANTH 380
- 18 credits of 300- and 400-level electives
SOCI 311 and 313 may be applied toward the 18-credit elective requirement. LING 326 General Linguistics may substitute for ANTH 380. SOCI 311 may substitute for ANTH 390.
See an advisor to learn how anthropology majors may fulfill university-wide requirements in global understanding, information technology, and synthesis, as well as the CHSS requirement in non-Western culture.
Students wishing to pursue careers in anthropology should consider including ANTH 492 (or subfield specialty equivalents, such as ANTH 420, 450, 495, or 496) as an elective in their program of study.
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in anthropology may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing ANTH 490.
Honors Program in Anthropology
Anthropology majors who wish to pursue the honors program in anthropology must meet the following criteria: a minimum GPA of 3.50, 60 credits, completion of ENGL 302 for the social sciences, 3.75 GPA in anthropology courses, and 15 credits of anthropology (ANTH 114, 120, and 135, and two additional courses).
Candidates for honors in anthropology are expected to earn 6 credits in one of two possible sequences of special honors sections: ANTH 492h (for those focusing on sociocultural anthropology) or ANTH 420h (for those interested in archaeology or biological anthropology). All honors candidates will undertake additional research leading to the completion of an honors thesis in ANTH 499h. For more information, contact the anthropology coordinator at 703-993-1334.
Minor in Anthropology
Students must complete 21 credits in anthropology with a minimum GPA of 2.00. All emphases require ANTH 114, 120, 135, or 332; and 430, 450 or 410. See an advisor in the department for more information.
For policies governing all minors, see Minors under the Undergraduate Academic Program section in the Academic Policies chapter of this catalog.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology coordinates the concentration in anthropology within the master of arts degree in individualized studies (MAIS).
Sociology involves the systematic study of social structures, cultural patterns, and human relationships. The sociological imagination combines rigorous methods with theory and observation, yielding insights that challenge commonly held assumptions about the social world. Sociology also informs the practice of social and public service, aiding efforts to address important social problems. Majoring in sociology positions students so they can pursue a varied set of career paths, ranging from teaching, human service, and human resource occupations to positions in the criminal justice system, marketing, and social research. The sociology major is excellent preparation for students considering law school or graduate training in the social and behavioral sciences.
In addition to satisfying university-wide general education requirements and requirements for the BA degree in CHSS, students majoring in sociology must take 35 credits of sociology courses with a minimum GPA of 2.00. These include 17 credits of core courses (SOCI 101 or 102, 303, 311, 313, and 412), each of which must be completed with a minimum grade of 2.00, and an additional 18 credits of course work in sociology at the 300 or 400 level. Of the required 35 credits in sociology, no more than 6 credits of courses with unsatisfactory grades (C- or D) may be applied toward the degree, none of which can be core courses.
In completing the 18 credits of study beyond the core sociology courses, students are strongly encouraged to select a concentration to suit their interests and career objectives. A concentration consists of 12 credits, including one required course. Students who are invited to participate in the sociology honors program may apply 3 credits of honors course work (480, 481, or 482) to their selected concentration.
Childhood and Youth
This concentration focuses on the changing social realities, experiences, and identities of children and youth as they are formed in different social and historical contexts. It emphasizes children in peer groups, youth subcultural activities, youth and children and the media, schools, families, social movements, social policy, and the welfare state. This concentration is appropriate for students interested in working directly with children and youth or in organizations serving them in a broad range of fields, such as educational counseling, teaching, policy, advocacy or clinical work, family and community services, social work, early child development, and juvenile justice. Students must complete SOCI 360 and choose 9 credits from SOCI 302, 309, 307, 315, 382, 483, 395 (depending on topic), and ANTH 315.
This concentration focuses on the social and institutional forces that shape religion, the arts, language, gender, and cultural norms and tastes. It is appropriate for students interested in the media, the arts and popular culture, identity, multiculturalism, and the problems of cultural difference, religion, education, and the construction of knowledge in contemporary societies. Cross-cultural work in this field is encouraged. Students must complete SOCI 314 and choose 9 credits from SOCI 309, 315, 332, 377, 382, 385, 355, 395 (depending on topic), 414, 505, and ANTH 332, 488.
Deviance, Crime, and Social Control
This concentration focuses on the social, legal, and political systems that underpin social control in Western societies and beyond. The emphasis is on how norms, values, and common sense regulate human action and the social forces that produce deviant behavior and societal responses to it. This concentration is appropriate for students interested in the criminal justice system and the law. Students must complete SOCI 300 and choose 9 credits from SOCI 301, 302, 307, 308, 310, 332, 340, 352, 355, 402, 395 (depending on topic), and 502.
This concentration focuses on global interconnectedness and its effect on the nature of societies around the world. It emphasizes new technologies and social processes, migration, transnational communities, global cities, and social movements working across state borders. This concentration is appropriate for students interested in pursuing internationally oriented careers in social change, political reform, and international development. Students must complete SOCI 320 and choose 9 credits from SOCI 307, 308, 332, 326, 340, 413 (depending on topic), 523, and ANTH 332.
Inequality and Social Change
The focus is on inequalities, such as those of race, class, and sex, and on the manner in which such inequalities become structurally rooted in a society. The emphasis is on understanding the rise of the struggle for human rights, democracy, and various social movements that have sought to reverse these inequalities through protests, demonstrations, counter-organizations, and the ballot. This concentration is appropriate for students who seek careers in social justice organizations, social services, or teaching, and those who wish to participate in social and political movements. Students must complete SOCI 355 and choose 9 credits from SOCI 300, 308, 310, 315, 332, 340, 360, 390, 395 (depending on topic), 450, and 523.
The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in sociology may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing SOCI 412.
Honors Program in Sociology
Sociology majors who have completed 75 credits (with a minimum of 15 credits in sociology, 6 of which must have been taken at Mason) and have a 3.50 GPA overall and a 3.50 GPA in sociology may apply for admission to the honors program in sociology. To graduate with honors in sociology, students must complete SOCI 480 and 481 with a minimum GPA of 3.50 overall and in sociology courses presented for graduation. The 6 credits of honors courses may be counted toward the major requirement in sociology. For more information or application procedures, contact the department.
Minor in Sociology
To receive a minor, students must complete 21 credits in sociology courses with a minimum GPA of 2.00, including SOCI 101 and 311, each with a minimum grade of 2.00. Students may select a focus to their minor from one of the five concentrations offered by the department.
Academically strong undergraduate majors are encouraged to apply to the accelerated master's program after they complete 90 credits. Applicants should have a 3.25 GPA, with a 3.50 in sociology courses. If not, they may submit two letters of reference from faculty in the department. For more information, see the sociology graduate coordinator.
Students who wish to become teachers should consult the College of Education and Human Development chapter and attend an information session early in their undergraduate career. For more information, call 703-993-2892, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to gse.gmu.edu.
Accelerated Master's Program in Sociology
Highly qualified undergraduates may apply to the accelerated master's degree program and obtain both a BA and an MA in sociology following satisfactory completion of 144 credits. Well-prepared undergraduates are encouraged to apply as they near completion of 90 credits. Admitted students are able to use up to 6 graduate credits in partial fulfillment of requirements for the undergraduate degree. On completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree with satisfactory graduate-level performance (3.00 in each course, grade of B or better) in graduate courses, students are given advanced standing in the master's program. All other master's degree requirements must be met.
Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, with a 3.50 in sociology courses, or submit two letters of reference from faculty in the department. Interested students should contact the department for details about the application process.
The master's degree program in anthropology prepares students for advanced work in anthropology through courses focusing on the study of culture. Students learn how to use participant-observation field work methods, as well as comparative and holistic knowledge and research methods. Course work progresses from core courses to more advanced courses and culminates in a thesis.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a limited number of merit-based graduate assistantships.
Students with a 3.00 or above who do not wish to pursue a degree or who have not supplied all required documents to be considered for admission may enroll as nondegree students. Nondegree students may later apply for admission to the degree program, and up to 9 credits earned in nondegree status may be applied to the master's degree, subject to the approval of the program director and the dean.
In addition to fulfilling the admission requirements for graduate study, applicants must submit:
- Three letters of recommendation from faculty members or others who can evaluate the applicant's academic potential (If possible, at least one letter should be from an academic setting.)
- 1,000-word writing sample, such as an essay or full-length research paper
- A current resume
Students must successfully complete 36 credits distributed as follows.
- Five required core courses (15 credits): ANTH 535, 536, 635, 650, 750
- Three to five elective courses (9-15 credits) chosen from advanced courses in anthropology. Up to 6 credits may be from other programs, subject to the approval of the director.
- 6-12 credits of proposal (ANTH 798) and thesis (ANTH 799)
Students have the option of completing an internship (ANTH 690). An internship can serve as a primary field research site for the thesis, if appropriate. Courses in archaeology and biological anthropology may not be used to meet any requirements for the MA in anthropology.
Students pursuing a master's degree in sociology may choose an emphasis in general sociology; sex and gender; crime, delinquency, and corrections; race and ethnicity; cultural studies; or conflict analysis and management. The general sociology emphasis allows maximum flexibility in the application of sociological knowledge to the analysis of social processes and systems. All emphases are appropriate for those anticipating further graduate study leading to the PhD in sociology.
The department provides opportunities for students to develop expertise in a variety of areas, including applied methods, community, conflict analysis and management, development and social change, deviance, environmental sociology, gerontology, medical sociology, occupations and professions, policy analysis, race and ethnicity, sociology of science and technology, cultural studies, and survey research.
In addition to meeting general admissions requirements for graduate study, applicants must present the following:
- Minimum of 3 credits each in undergraduate sociological theory, statistics, and research methods. Equivalent courses in other disciplines may be substituted for some of these requirements, with permission.
- Three letters of recommendation from people who have supervised the student's work. If possible, at least one should be from an academic setting.
- A written statement (approximately 600 words) explaining the student's interest in sociology
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.00
Students who do not wish to pursue a degree or have not supplied all required documents to be considered for admission may enroll as nondegree students. These students may later apply for admission to the degree program. With approval and subject to university policy, a maximum of 12 graduate credits earned prior to enrollment as a degree-seeking student may be applied to a master's degree.
Students are required to complete 33 credits distributed as follows:
6 credits of social theory (SOCI 611 and 612)
9 credits of research methods and statistics, including SOCI 530 and SOCI 531
3-6 credits of master's thesis (SOCI 799)
Emphasis in General Sociology
Additional sociology electives
Emphasis in Sex and Gender
9 credits in sex and gender (SOCI 505, 525, and 696)
Emphasis in Conflict Analysis and Management
9 credits in the sociology of conflict and conflict management
Emphasis in Race and Ethnicity
9 credits in race and ethnicity
Emphasis in Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections
9 credits in crime, delinquency, and corrections (SOCI 607, 608, and 609)
Emphasis in Sociology of Culture
A degree with this emphasis prepares students for the doctoral program in cultural studies. It requires SOCI 614 Sociology of Culture; a 3-credit master's-level course that also serves as an introduction to a cultural studies feeder program in a department other than Sociology and Anthropology; and CULT 802 Histories of Cultural Studies I.
A master's thesis is required to demonstrate capacity to carry out independent research. The thesis consists of a substantial sociological research or theoretical project that will contribute to sociological knowledge.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a limited number of graduate assistantships. For more information, call 703-993-1440.