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Offerings: Bachelor | Master | Minor

Course Description

Sociology is the study of human societies, of the institutions, organizations, and groups that compose them, and of the way individuals and groups relate to one another. The discipline also offers comparative, cross-national, and cross-cultural perspectives throughout the curriculum. Sociological knowledge is vital to the understanding of contemporary problems such as crime, poverty, overpopulation, mental illness, and aging. Studying this field is highly relevant to careers in human services, research, and government that address these problems.

To study the broad subject of sociology, a student needs to acquire information (what we know), methodology (how we know), and theory (how we explain). A major in sociology will require students to develop backgrounds and strengths in each of these domains. Sociology students also need to acquire critical thinking skills necessary to understand the underlying sources of and policy responses to contemporary social problems. Students may choose to concentrate in a particular content area of sociology, such as health, education, and welfare; aging and the life course; critical race studies; or children, youth, and families.


The mission of the Master of Arts in Sociological Practice at California State University San Marcos is to provide a superior academic and professionally useful graduate education for students interested in working in human services and criminal justice agencies, those who plan for teaching careers at the community college level, and those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. degree. The focus of the program is on sociological practice — applying sociology to current social problems confronting the community with developing sensitivity to multicultural, gender, sexual identity, and age differences. The MA in Sociological Practice includes theory and methods, field experience in human service and criminal justice environments, and applied research.

Solidly grounded in social scientific theory and methods, the program prepares students for a range of careers in which professionals are required to provide needed services to clients and to administer and evaluate programs in human services and criminal justice agencies. Applied work is sufficiently central to the discipline of sociology that we also accept students with intentions to continue on to a Ph.D. program in sociology. The faculty represent the major sectors of human services – aging and gerontology, the sociology of health and mental health, criminology and juvenile delinquency, social welfare, and family and community studies. They are engaged in and committed to teaching and research in these fields and to students gaining field experience in them. In addition, the program is uniquely prepared to offer courses in the study of differences in ethnicity, race, gender, age, and sexuality, and how these qualities may affect values and practices in the human services and criminal justice sectors.

  • Sociology
  • Criminology and Justice Studies*
  • Sociological Practice

College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences (CHABSS)


  • Attorney
  • Case manager
  • College advisor
  • Community educator
  • Consultant
  • Counselor
  • Grant writer
  • Human resources manager
  • Human resources specialist
  • Lawyer
  • Outreach specialist
  • Paralegal
  • Police officer
  • Prevention coordinator
  • Probation officer
  • Program director
  • Prosecutor
  • Public defender
  • Researcher
  • Social services director
  • Sociologist


  • Case management
  • Communications
  • Community development
  • Counseling
  • Crime
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Human services
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Law enforcement
  • Non-profit
  • Politics
  • Public relations
  • Research
  • Senior services
  • Youth services


Age, Class, Criminal justice, Criminology, Culture, Customs, Disability, Diversity, Ethnic, Ethnicity, Gender, Human relations, Human rights, Human services, Immigration, Inequality, Institution, Justice, Minority, Multicultural, Race, Racial, Sexuality, Social justice, Social movement, Social problems, Social welfare, Society, Socioeconomic, Sociological concern, Values