Throughout its 75-year history, the Department of Sociology has been known for the cutting-edge research of its faculty and for its exceptionally strong graduate and undergraduate training programs. As of 2007, it is the highest-ranked social science department at Cornell in discipline-specific rankings. The Department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Department has a long-standing tradition of engaging and valuing theoretically driven empirical research. This approach to sociology uses sophisticated theoretical reasoning and rigorous methodological tools, many of which are developed by Cornell faculty, to answer fundamental questions about the social world, how it is organized, and how it is changing. The Department’s focus on basic science is complemented by a deep commitment to informing public and educational policy, particularly on issues related to gender and racial inequality, income inequality, poverty, drug use, economic development, school funding, organizational practices, and race and ethnicity.
The Department’s fifteen or so full-time professors are nationally and internationally known in their fields for their scholarly work. The breadth of their substantive interests and the diversity of their methodological styles are evident in the different fields that are represented in the department: comparative and historical analysis, computational sociology, culture, deviance and social control, economic sociology, education, family, gender, inequality, mathematical sociology, organizations, political sociology, public policy, race and ethnic relations, science and technology, social movements, social networks, social psychology, and work and occupations.
The intellectual community of sociology is further diversified by the many points of connection between the Department and other social science units on campus. Some of our voting faculty members have their primary homes in Policy Analysis and Management, Industrial and Labor Relations, Government, and Human Ecology. Other sociologists from around Cornell are part of the Graduate Field in Sociology, cross-list undergraduate courses with Sociology, and participate extensively in a broad and vibrant intellectual community.
The Department also has close ties with the many interdisciplinary research centers on campus. The Center for the Study of Inequality and the Center for the Study of Economy and Society are housed on the third floor of Uris Hall and help organize the intellectual life of the department and Cornell social sciences more generally. Our faculty and students also participate extensively in the activities of the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center, the Institute for Social Sciences, the IGERT training program in nonlinear systems, the Program for the Study of Contentious Politics, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Networks and Social Dynamics Group, and a host of other centers and workshops on campus.
The Department’s faculty members combine their commitment to research with a devotion to teaching. Some of our faculty members have recently won prestigious and highly selective College teaching awards, and all are committed to offering the best possible training in the fascinating field of sociology.
The department offers a variety of undergraduate courses each year, spanning a range of faculty and student interest. Many are small seminars in which students have close contact with, and receive personal attention from, their professors. We graduate more than 60 undergraduate majors per year, making us one of the top ten majors in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Additional information about the department can be found on these web pages. Have a look around … we think you’ll like what you see!