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Welcome to the Sociology Department!

We invite you to join the world community of students and scholars who share a desire to better understand society, and through that understanding make the world a better place. We are among the newest sociology departments in the United States, and have shaped our curriculum to address the problems and potentials of twenty-first century social life.  We help students develop strong sociological theory, research, and advocacy skills that empower them to engage and improve their spheres of social experience — from the local to the global.

Sociology Offerings

Undergraduate Bachelor's Degrees:

Master's Degree program:

Sociology Minors:

Both of our bachelor's degree programs combine strong core skills development with opportunities to develop expertise in one or more specific content areas. The master's degree program builds professional-level competencies in applied sociological theory and research. Most masters students complete terminal research projects that provide crucial information to local social services agencies and communities. We also offer two undergraduate minors that students use to enhance course work in a major.

We offer excellent programs of study to help you reach your educational and career goals. Our graduates are well prepared for a broad array of careers. Our alumni have used the skills acquired in our programs as springboards to successful careers in such diverse areas as human and social service administration, education, law enforcement, health care, counseling, business, politics, and the arts.

CSUSM Extended Learning also offers a fully-online Accelerated Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

This Time We Call it FERGUSON: Racial Shootings, the State and Resistance 10/22/14

Democracy In Action

Department Statement:  Standing Up for Social Justice

As a community of scholars/teachers who engage social justice issues in our courses, research and creative activity we are compelled to speak as we witness the rise of anti-immigrant, white supremacist ideology and continuing repression of our communities. How do recent executive decisions reflect the ideas engraved on the Statue of Liberty from Emma Lazursus’ poem?


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  

Our society is rapidly moving backwards. We have seen presidential edicts for a “Muslim ban,” and a “border wall,” the rollback of access to healthcare and education, the refusal to stand against neo-Nazis and white supremacy, and most recently, the plan to repeal DACA.

We are proud to serve a diverse student body and we are particularly proud of our students’ success despite their struggles against so many forms of injustice—racism, sexism, and economic oppression. DACA students represent the perpetual striving to “make a way out of no way”—despite the slim promise of a future, they have committed themselves to work and school and they are succeeding. We have seen this year after year. 

We are dreamers, too. We dream of: Bridges not walls. Religious freedom, not intolerance and fear. Free education. Free healthcare. Affordable housing and childcare. Open borders. Right to a “living wage.”

The “Mother of Exiles” must be mighty angry to see how far astray we have moved. May her torch light our way to resistance, to secure social justice for all.

September 25, 2017

Message from the Chair

Dear SOC and CJS majors,

 I wanted to reach out to you all about the events in the last few days. Our nation and region are experiencing strong winds of protest against injustice, curfews, and violence. 

 You are all part of the Sociology Department. We have a vital perspective to understand our social world through critical thinking so that we see events occurring as an intersection of history, place, and issues of inequality. 

 Our Criminology & Justice Studies major provides you with a strong theoretical and practical foundation for building a lifelong understanding of crime and social justice, and the myriad social processes surrounding both. You are being trained to evaluate critically issues of crime and justice and to pursue solutions for positive social change. Additionally, Sociology majors can use their Sociological imagination to analyze and to the understand contemporary problems such as violence, crime, and policing. 

 Whether you want to enter into careers that continue to analyze social life, provide services to those most impacted, or join law enforcement, our SOC and CJS majors will prepare you to be thoughtful leaders in your respective fields.  

Additionally, we have expertise among our faculty who have previously addressed the police killing of an unarmed Black man for a campus event called, "This Time We Call it FERGUSON: Racial Shootings, the State and Resistance." The video can be found on our Sociology homepage.

 Finally, I appreciated the email that CSUSM President Neufeldt's sent to our campus community. Did you have a chance to read it? She acknowledged “the trauma and pain that many of our [Black] students, families, faculty and staff are experiencing in the wake of these most recent tragic acts of violence.” She further asserted, “As an institution of higher education, we must speak out with our voices to condemn racism while also actively working together to destroy oppression and hate in all its forms.” See her full email here: President Neufeldt's Message

 In closing, we often want to do more and/or we need more support because we are hurting. At the bottom of this email you will find a myriad of resources both local and national resources to explore. 

 This week, the CSUSM Black Student Center (BSC) is hosting "Reflections on Ahmaud, Breonna, George, and Others: A Space to Feel and Act" on Tuesday, June 2 at 6pm.  Additional details about how to access this event are available on their website or you may contact Black Student Center Director John Rawlins III at We encourage you all to be a part of important discussions. I have registered and perhaps will see some of you there. 

 Sincerely, Marisol 

 PS: Thanks to Dr. Sharon Elise, Sociology graduate students Daniela Carreon and Laura Martinez, and Dr. Luke Lara for sharing resources that appear below. 


Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Alternatives to Calling the Police

“Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay – Chances Are They’re Not”

 National Black Police Association

The National Black Police Association Demands True Justice in the case of George Floyd

 Sign a petition:

Get involved with local and national organizations


Mental health links to support the Black community:

Black Emotional and Mental Health

African American Mental Health

Black Girls Smile

Therapy for Black Girls

COVID and Racism – Essay by Roxanne Gay

 “Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.” 


UndocuStudent Scholars

UndocuStudent Scholars

Members of the research collective, UndocuStudent Scholars, presented in a one-hour session titled, "Identifying Ways to Support Undocumented Students." The student team presenting included: Josefina Espino, Maira Guadalupe, Xiomara Herrera, Lizeth Ortiz, Selina Paniagua, Perla Perez, and Lucas Schacht. Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibáñez and Carolina Valdivia (doctorate student at Harvard and CSUSM Alum) are coordinating the research team. The conference, geared toward school counselors and immigrant advocates, was SDSU's 3rd Annual Conference "Supporting Access to Higher Education for Immigrant and Undocumented Students" (Monday, April 16, 2018).


 New Book Congratulations

Congratulations to Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibáñez and various MASP student collaborators on publishing their book, Undocumented Latino Youth: Navigating Their Worlds, in July 2015. Learn more about the book.

Student Resources