Dr. Vickie Luttrell
Chair of Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Psychology
Office: (417) 873-7254

About the Sociology Program

Sociology began its evolution as an academic discipline in the early 19th century, and the first sociology department in the U.S. was founded at the University of Chicago in 1892. Since these early years, a number of specialty areas have developed within the field, such as culture studies, demography, gender relations, marriage and the family, medical sociology, organizational sociology, social stratification, sociology of race, and sociology of religion. Regardless of the sub-field, sociology utilizes scientific methodologies and analytical techniques to examine complex relations among individuals, groups, and institutions. More directly, sociologists explore how human behavior impacts social context and how social context impact human behavior.

Our sociology degree requires students to complete 35 credit hours, including courses that examine global social problems and the development of sociological theory. We offer electives courses that explore topics ranging from political sociology to minority groups and the sociology of religion, and all students complete an internship at an approved site, which is designed to ensure that they better understand policies and the relationship between theory and practice.

Students pursuing a degree in sociology also complete a series of classes endorsed by the National Science Foundation and referred to as the Scientific Core. This series of courses helps students understand and use science as a problem-solving and critical thinking tool. The Scientific Core culminates in a team-based research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Upon completion of these projects, many of our students present their research findings at regional and national conferences.

Standardized test scores suggest that our sociology majors are well prepared for entry in graduate schools and places of employment. In 2006, our seniors scored in the top 90% nationally on the Major Field Achievement Test, which contains questions in eight focus areas. On the “Critical Thinking” section of that examination, our student scores were in the top 81% nationally.