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Sociology

Available as a major or minor

Sociology encourages you to ask critical questions about social issues and prepares you to become an agent of change. Recent graduates of our program are working in a range of positions in business, education, government, social services and law.         

Curriculum & Courses

SOCI 277: Politics in Art 
SOCI 277: Sociology Goes to Bollywood
SOCI 277: Exploring Ghana 
PHST 208: Introduction to Public Health

Anna Markey '26 taking notes in sociology class

Student Experiences

  • James Suleyman ’24 and Associate Professor Daisy Ball co-authored a research paper, published in the journal “Laws,” about the 2023 shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

    Suleyman, who is pursuing majors in criminal justice and sociology, as well as minors in Spanish and psychology, has been conducting research with Ball for most of his college career. For the article, the pair reviewed details of the school shooting and studied them in the context of increasing anti-transgender sentiment in the United States.  

    “James worked tirelessly through the peer-review process,” Ball said. “For an undergraduate student to have already published in an academic journal is a huge accomplishment."   

Study Abroad

Students traveled to Palau for an intensive learning course to learn about Pacific Island culture, see firsthand the influence of globalization on Palauan livelihoods and participate in ongoing community research that seeks to improve nutrition and food security.

Students snorkeling
Students kayaking
Students kayaking
Student peering into a triangluar building
Students by the beach
Students on a hike directed by a guide
Students on a boat
Student sitting under a small waterfall
Student climbing a palm tree while others watch
Students in an outdoor pool
Students dressed in traditional cultural clothing
Student snorkeling
Student ziplining
Students getting food
Students snorkeling with sea life
  • Three years ago, Chelsea Schafer '18 learned a new language - American Sign Language. She grew to love sign language and the deaf culture, and an experience at her church further sparked her interest in this unique population.

    "When a deaf couple joined our church, I realized I wanted to research how churches could minister to the deaf, a group that is normally forgotten about," said Schafer, a sociology major. In the spring semester of 2017, she studied in Ireland, where she researched how deafness and religious experiences interact. She also learned Irish Sign Language. Schafer hopes her research will equip churches to better minister to the deaf and hard of hearing populations.

Careers & Outcomes

College student smiles and sits beside a young childSarah Thompson has long wanted to serve others; that's part of what attracted her to sociology. While at Roanoke, she realized she could combine service and study by taking on an internship at Roanoke Refugee and Immigration Services. She then spent one summer working with children in Belize and another summer working with children in Ireland. Thompson graduated in 2011 with a major in sociology and a concentration in gender and women's studies. After graduation, she taught elementary school for two years in China. Thompson is now in Brussels in the University of Kent's graduate program in International Development.

Roanoke grads have gone on to prestigious graduate programs at schools like Washington and Lee, University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Faculty

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Photo of Nicole Terrill
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Trout Hall

Professor speaking to studentAs a part of her Criminology and Intimate, Marital and Family Relationships courses, Kristi Hoffman, professor of sociology, offered a service learning component. Students spent ten hours each semester volunteering at the Bethany Hall Recovery Home for Women in Roanoke, a residential treatment facility that helps women recover from substance abuse.

Hoffman believes the Bethany Hall project dispels many stereotypes about drug offenders. "By being involved with the project, students develop a sense of empathy that they cannot get from a textbook," Hoffman said.

Shelly Cooke became involved with the Bethany Hall project as a part of a criminology class, caring for children while their mothers were in group therapy. Cooke said that it was an experience she will never forget. "The aspects of everyday life that these children have to deal with never crossed my mind when I was their age," she said.

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