Introduction to Sociology

Explore sociological imagination and perspectives, culture and society, inequality, health and aging.

Foundations of social stratification are shifting rapidly in the United States and the world. The sociology discipline introduces new students to a social awareness not easily found in other areas of study.

This course opens the door to students in their understanding of how to research and engage with the field of sociology.

Key concepts include the sociological imagination and perspectives, scientific research methods, culture and society, socialization and interaction, deviance, crime and social control, inequality, race and ethnicity, gender, sex and sexuality, marriage and family, religion and education, health and aging, urbanization, the environment, government, work and the economy, and media.

The content and assessments for this course are aligned to the following learning outcomes.

Module 1: Foundations of Sociology

  • Define sociology and explain how empirical research is used to study the social world
  • Define sociology and describe the historical and social context from which it emerged
  • Explain the sociological imagination and the relationship between the individual and the broader workings of society
  • Differentiate between the three main theoretical paradigms/perspectives in sociology
  • Describe and apply the scientific method to sociology
  • Identify and differentiate between types of research methods, discussing the benefits and limitations of each

Module 2: Culture and Society

  • Differentiate between culture and society, describe the basic elements of culture, and compare types of societies
  • Define culture, society, cultural universals, and cultural relativism
  • Describe the basic elements of culture
  • Examine pop culture, subculture, and cultural change
  • Describe of the evolution of societies
  • Contrast the various theoretical perspectives on culture society
  • Explain how society shapes reality

Module 3: Socialization and Interaction

  • Describe socialization throughout the life course and understand how groups structure society.
  • Describe theories of self-development
  • Describe the roles that agents of socialization play in the socialization process and describe how socialization develops
  • across the life course
  • Define types of groups and describe how group dynamics are impacted by leadership, size, and conformity
  • Describe characteristics of formal organizations

Module 4: Deviance and Crime

  • Define deviance and describe the sociological theories that account for deviance, conformity and social control
  • Define deviance and methods of social control
  • Contrast the varying theoretical perspectives on deviance
  • Describe the criminal justice system and types of crimes

Module 5: Social Stratification and Inequality

  • Describe various measures of social stratification in the US and globally, with an emphasis on social class and poverty
  • Provide examples of social stratification
  • Describe social stratification and mobility in the United States
  • Explain global stratification and classification systems
  • Compare poverty throughout the world and explain its consequences
  • Describe theoretical perspectives on social stratification

Module 6: Race and Ethnicity

  • Compare relative experiences of ethnic groups in the United States while demonstrating an understanding of race, ethnicity, majority and minority groups, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and racism.
  • Define and differentiate between race, ethnicity, majority groups/minority groups, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination
  • Summarize the key ideas behind the three theoretical perspectives on racial inequality
  • Compare and contrast the experiences of ethnic groups in the United States

Module 7: Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

  • Discuss gender and gender identity, feminism, and sexuality
  • Differentiate between sex and gender, define sexual orientation, and understand gender identity
  • Describe the socialization of gender and gender inequality
  • Explain sexual attitudes and practices

Module 8: Marriage and Family

  • Discuss family, marriage and the variations in family life, including marriage, divorce and family abuse
  • Define and describe marriage and family
  • Recognize variations in family life
  • Describe the social and interpersonal impacts of family challenges

Module 9: Religion and Education

  • Describe the role that religion and education play in shaping values and beliefs, and compare various religions and educational practices around the world.
  • Explain how major sociological perspectives view religion
  • Explain the basic tenets of major world religions
  • Describe religion in the United States
  • Examine educational differences around the world
  • Examine the major theoretical perspectives on education
  • Identify and discuss historical and contemporary issues in education

Module 10: Health and Aging

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the social construction of health, and describe the processes and challenges associated with growing old
  • Describe the social construction of health and the theoretical perspectives on health and medicine
  • Compare and contrast health care in the United States and abroad and describe major health disparities and issues within the United States
  • Evaluate the aging of society and summarize the theoretical perspectives on aging
  • Examine the process of aging and the biological, social, and psychological changes and perceptions associated with growing old
  • Describe and give examples of challenges facing the elderly

Module 11: Government and Politics

  • Analyze types of power and authority and explore the political process in the United States
  • Define and differentiate between power and authority
  • Describe forms of government and explain politics in the United States
  • Describe the varying theoretical Perspectives on Government and Power

Module 12: Work and the Economy

  • Discuss the historical development of the types of economic systems and describe modern economies and globalization
  • Differentiate between economic systems and discuss theoretical views of economics
  • Define globalization and describe its manifestation in modern society
  • Describe working conditions in the United States

Module 13: Population, Urbanization, and the Environment

  • Describe the nature and growth of population and the resultant impacts on the environment
  • Describe demographic measurements, read population graphs, and describe demographic theories
  • Describe the growth of cities and the process of urbanization
  • Understand the impact of climate change and pollution on the environment and society

Module 14: Social Movements, Media, and Technology

  • Summarize the nature and influence of collective behavior and social movements, and assess the impact of the media and technology on social change
  • Describe the causes and development of collective behavior, social movements, and social change
  • Describe technology in a sociological context
  • Describe the evolution and role of the media in society
  • Understand and discuss how we analyze media and technology through various sociological perspectives

The content, assignments, assessments and exams have been designed to achieve the course learning outcomes.

This course, based on the OpenStax Sociology text, was developed by Lumen Learning, with contributing work from Cathy Matresse from Columbia Basin College and provided by Lumen Learning (License: CC BY: Attribution). 

Admission Requirements

This course is open to all Integrated Master’s Degree students.

Degree Credits

By completing this course students will earn 5 ECTS study credits which can be applied towards the Integrated Master’s Degree.

Accreditations & Certificates

A course certificate of attendance will be provided.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Contact us for a detailed overview of the course tuition including potential credits, financial aid and sponsorship options.

Check each course lesson for text books or study instructions.

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Course Includes

  • 15 Lessons
  • Course Certificate