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Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Focus on global, urban, and community change


A woman is painting a traditional Khmer lacquered vase in Cambodia. Photo by Marc A. Garrett
The department of sociology and anthropology is unique in its focus on global, urban, and community change. Both sociology and anthropology are academic disciplines dedicated to the understanding of human social life.

Sociology is the study of society and the social forces that affect human behavior. A central goal of sociology is to provide insights into how our own lives are influenced by the social relationships around us. Since all human behavior is social behavior, sociology is a very broad field of study. Its subject matter ranges from families to global communities, from the values and beliefs Americans share to the ways we are divided by race, class, and gender, and from giant corporate organizations to small friendship groups.

Anthropology is the study of culture past and present from a global perspective. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict said, "the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences." Anthropology provides insights on how human beings across the globe live and work and shape their cultural world in families, cities, societies, ethnic groups, and nations. One of the goals of anthropology is to promote understanding among peoples -- an increasingly important venture in our vastly interconnected global community.

Our department welcomes new students into two majors: International & Global Studies (B.S.) and Sociology & Anthropology (B.S.). The Urban & Community Studies degree has been broadened into a Sociology & Anthropology degree. Students interested in Urban Studies can still take the same coursework; they simply sign up for the Sociology & Anthropology degree and choose the Urban Studies track specialization. All existing UCS students can finish their degrees as planned.