Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Sociology major, a student will have demonstrated a command of the theoretical and methodological approaches of contemporary sociology, the ability to complete a sustained research project, and the ability to present their work in writing and in discussion. Majors will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate command of the theoretical and methodological approaches of contemporary sociology:
    • Identify and formulate questions appropriate to contemporary sociology, and locate these questions in their broader context;
    • Analyze, discuss, and evaluate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of existing scholarship in the field of sociology and related social science disciplines;
    • Compare and assess quantitative and qualitative approaches to sociological data analysis and acquisition; 
    • Demonstrate competency in introductory statistical analysis and data manipulation
    • Assess impact of existing research on the field
    • Articulate future possible avenues for research that build on existing work
  2. Execute and defend a sustained independent research project:
    • Choose and define a research topic from the field, and independently investigate that topic with the support of an advisor;
    • Develop and pursue a rigorous method appropriate to the research topic;
    • Demonstrate broad knowledge of their research area and contextualize this research within it;
    • Collect and analyze data;
    • Produce a well-written, referenced and thorough document that contributes to a subfield in sociology
  3. Communicate work done
    • Write a clear and coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project and formatted in a style appropriate to the approach
    • Orally present, discuss and defend work done

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis; the junior qualifying examination, which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a second assessment tool. For more information, see our description of the thesis, the major and Junior Qualifying Exam, and the academic program.