The Department of Sociology offers three certificates that provide majors and non-majors a focused program of study around major areas of professional practice.

Families and Social Welfare Photo

Families play a significant part in individuals’ lives and society. In sociology, one approach is to view families as a small group, focusing on relational processes like support, socialization, conflict, and intimacy that constitute interactions among family members. Another approach views the family as a major social institution that interacts closely with other institutions including those affecting education, law, healthcare, religion, the economy, criminal justice, and welfare. The family—in its varied and diverse forms—is also key to understanding how inequality is experienced and reproduced in society, as substantial responsibility for caring, nurturing, and raising others is delegated to families. The interplay of these multiple levels—the micro or interpersonal, the meso or institutional, and the macro or structural—also interests sociologists, as individuals influence social structures and institutions, and the latter, in turn, affect family interactions and relationships. This certificate provides students a foundation for understanding the complex role of families and family members at multiple levels, as well as the social systems and organizations responsible for supporting families and individuals. The content and methods courses will prepare students for direct service positions working with individuals and families (e.g., human and social services), or research, policy or advocacy positions addressing family issues (e.g., housing, violence and abuse, parenting, social welfare). Students earning the certificate also will be well-positioned to pursue advanced degrees in social work, public health, counseling, law, sociology, or related disciplines. More information and requirements.
Enhancing the health and quality of life for individuals and communities are central goals to societies the world over. Medical sociology is a subfield devoted to the study of population health, health care systems and policy, and the social dimensions of illness and healing. Medical sociologists study the causes of health inequalities, social constructions of health and illness, origins of medical authority, doctor-patient relationships, community influences on health, and the social forces that affect policy. The Sociology Department’s Sociology of Health and Medicine Certificate provides training in the core research methodologies and theories of medical sociology, examining individual experience, institutional structures, laws and policies that affect health, and broader systems of inequality that lead to unequal rates of illness and access to care. This certificate provides depth of training in these areas and is ideal for students interested in graduate-level study and social research on health and medicine as well as those interested in careers in public health, health care services, and non-profit organizations. More information and requirements
Crime and society’s responses to it represent core concerns for social scientists, policy makers, civic leaders, community organizations, and citizens across the globe. Criminology is the field of study dedicated to understanding crime as a social phenomenon. Criminologists study the social construction of laws, nature and causes of crime, reactions to the breaking of laws, and the prevention, control and treatment of crime. The Department of Sociology’s Criminology Certificate offers an essential foundation for students pursuing careers in criminal justice, victim and community services, criminal law, and non-profit organizations in local and international contexts. The certificate also prepares interested students for law school and graduate programs in sociology and criminology. Students may ultimately use this training to conduct social research on crime, influence public policy, and inform government decisions about crime and law. More information and requirements