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The sociology department has structured our faculty recruitment and graduate student selection around three areas of study: Family, Health, and Life Course (FHLC); Gender and Sexuality (G&S); and Race and Urban Studies (R&U).

See also: Graduate Student Handbook.


The Family, Health, and Life Course concentration introduces students to the cultural, political and historical realities of families, health, and life course change.  FAMILIES are one of the earliest and most influential social groups to affect our lives. The rise in divorce, cohabitation, single parent families, and alternative/queer families are currently challenging conventional definitions of family life. HEALTH also has become a major social issue in the twenty-first century.  At the center of many discussions are the debates over universal health care; the racial, class, and gendered disparities in health and health-care access; and the increasing medicalization of the body, mind, and sexuality.  LIFE COURSE research emphasizes the trajectories of intimate relationships and the social construction of the life course. It also examines how the needs of the young are often pitted against the needs of the old, and how, when resources are especially scarce, the problems and processes of the life course become increasingly complex. We offer courses in family sociology, family diversity, queer families, sociology of health & illness, HIV/AIDS, mental health over the life course, aging, birth & parenthood, and death & dying. See course descriptions for other exciting course offerings.


The Gender and Sexuality concentration introduces students to the sociological study of gender and sexuality.  Among the topics studied are:  gendered and sexual identities and embodiments; gender fluidity; gendered and sexual behaviors and relationships; inequalities and discrimination; disclosure and the closet; gender and sexuality at work; sexual and intimate violence; and the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with race, class, age, and bodily ability. We offer courses in sexuality, gender, girls, queer identities, and sexual and intimate violence among other fascinating offerings.


The Race and Urban concentration explores two exciting and interrelated fields of sociological inquiry.  The urban facet to our concentration explores the city in history, how cities are organized, and the social forces that constantly change the city’s form and function. We examine the social, economic and political forces that contribute to the death and life of cities in the U.S. and the linkages that connect these cities to globalization.  Our “urban” faculty research interests include the study of residential segregation, homelessness, immigration, space and crime, sprawl, and transportation. Our “race” faculty examine the centrality of race and ethnicity here and around the globe, race and popular culture, the role of race in educational outcomes, the intersection of gender and racism, institutional racism, racial disparities in health, identity constructions and how racial and ethnic inequality is socially reproduced.  We offer classes in urban studies, race relations, African American women, immigration, housing, and other exciting topics.