Why major in Sociology?

Sociology is the study of human behavior, society, the relationship between the two and their influence on one another. If you are fascinated by people, how they live, the things they do and why they do those things, the study of sociology at UPIKE can offer unique insights into those questions. The demand for sociologists is expected to grow as societies are increasingly committed to humane and rational planning and governance. Modern society is complex, changing rapidly and producing so much disagreement and protest that there is a continuing need for sociology to offer understanding.

Sociology professor teaches his class at the iconic rock on campus.

Program Distinctives

As a sociology student, you’ll use multiple approaches to analyze many parts of human life. Sociologists study everything from large-scale elements of social structure that make up society (economics, politics, law, religion and medicine) to personal and intimate elements (social media, family relationships and dynamics, drug dependence and bonds with pet animals).

math students at whiteboard

Interesting Courses

Drugs and Society SOC 342
The ingestion of chemical substances in order to alter one’s consciousness has been practiced in virtually all cultures and ages throughout human history, despite the risks associated with this practice. This course is an examination of the relationship between drugs and the social contexts in which they exist, are used and misused.

Deviant Behavior SOC 355
The course begins with an overview of sociological theories of deviance which attempt to define the sociological significance of deviant behavior. Social conditions and processes associated with careers of deviants will be explored, as well as the relationship of deviancy to problems of social control. Offering a more complex way of understanding and defining deviance in relation to social expectations, substantive readings and selected media will offer examples of the nature of deviant behavior.

Social Stratification SOC 405
This course examines social inequality with a focus on race, class and gender. Students will study theories and empirical findings related to various status hierarchies and how positions in the hierarchies affect access to resources and power in society. In addition, these theories will be utilized to examine the structure, history and evolution of systems of stratification.

Student listens in class.

Student Learning Outcomes

Studying sociology at UPIKE helps you gain a better understanding of yourself, the world around you and your place in the world. On a more practical level, studying sociology prepares you to enter a variety of careers or professions. After graduating from UPIKE with a sociology degree, you’ll be able to look beyond individualistic explanations for social phenomena, see the interplay between the individual and society in the creation of the social world, understand the scientific nature of sociology, apply critical thinking skills, and understand ways in which sociological knowledge can have tangible, positive effects in the world around you.

Career paths in Sociology

Corrections Professional
Guidance Counselor
Human Resources Representative
Human Services Professional
Law Enforcement Officer
Market Research Analyst
Parole Officer
Policy Analyst
Rehabilitation Counselor
Substance Abuse Counselor

Where Recent Graduates have gone to work or study

American Financial Group, Inc.
Appalachian Pregnancy Care Center, Inc.
ARC of The Three Rivers, Inc.
Behavioral Health Group
Crossroads For Kids, Inc.
Gardner-Webb University
Hammond Law Firm, LLC
Lyall Law Office
Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, Inc.
Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Pikeville Medical Center
Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services
Youth Services Network, Inc.


“I will always value my time at UPIKE. The sociology department challenged me, which in turn pushed me to be the best version of myself. It was one of the only times in my educational career where I can truly say that I wasn’t just a number on the roll.  My success and growth mattered to my professors. I am forever grateful to each of them.“

 JB SMILEY, JR. /CLASS OF 2009 /ATTORNEY /SMILEY & Associates PLLC / Memphis, TN


Eric Primm

Chair, Division of Social Sciences/Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice
(606) 218-5041