Department of Sociology University of Oregon

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About the Department

For a longer history of the department, please click here.

Each year more than 3000 students enroll in the more than 60 courses offered by the sociology department at the University of Oregon. Our primary strengths are in gender, political and economic sociology, and the sociology of the environment.

The sociology program serves roughly 2,000 students per term and 700 majors each year, graduating an average 220 majors annually since AY93-94 (range 196-272).

The department's 200-level introductory courses are mass classes of generally 300-500 students, with weekly discussion sessions of approximately 25 students. The 300-level courses include three required core courses and courses that offer windows into subdisciplinary areas of the field. They generally enroll 70-100 students, and most have graduate student assistants. The 400-level courses provide depth and specialization. They typically enroll 25-40 students.

The faculty also includes specialists in the areas of criminology, demography, education, organizations, race & ethnicity, religion, stratification, and work & occupations.

The sociology faculty is affiliated with a wide variety of other university programs: the Center for the Study of Women and Society, the Center on Diversity and Community, the College of Education, the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Public Policy, Planning and Management, the Ethnic Studies Department, the Program in International Studies, the Oregon Survey Research Laboratory, the Department of Religious Studies, the Russian and Eastern European Studies Center, and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.

The Sociology Department at the UO is the oldest sociology program in the United States west of the Mississippi River. For more than two decades sociology was taught in a department containing several other social science disciplines. Indeed, the first sociology class appeared in the 1894-95 university Catalog as a course for students majoring in Economics, History, and Public Law. This was one year after the first department of sociology was established at the University of Chicago.

In 1919, a separate School of Sociology was created, and in 1930, the present Department of Sociology came into being. Following World War II, the department, along with the university as a whole, expanded rapidly. Before World War II the department had a master's program from which a handful of students had graduated. Between 1947 and 1970, the department faculty quintupled in number. A Ph.D. program was instituted in 1951, and the first degree was awarded three years later. By 2001 the department had awarded 230 Ph.D. degrees.

A number of scholarly journals have been edited in the department, including Family Life Coordinator (1955-1967), Pacific Sociological Review (1958-1969), American Sociological Review (1961-1962), Sociometry (1973-1976), Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1971-1974), Focus on the Family (1969-1974), Critical Sociology (1997-1999), and Monthly Review (2000-present).