Aug 15, 2022  
College Catalog 2022-2023 
College Catalog 2022-2023

Sociology Option, Arts and Science, A.A.

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Tracy Ross, 413.552.2348,


The Sociology Option is intended for students desiring a solid liberal arts education as well as those interested in transferring to four-year colleges in the social sciences. Students select courses from areas such as family, religion, government, the environment, social changes, social deviance, social problems, substance abuse, social inequality, diversity, disability, race, class, and gender.

The Department of Sociology at Holyoke Community College seeks to provide a thorough grounding in the historical and theoretical development of the field of sociology and to give students the tools to make this knowledge relevant to the world around them. The program is designed to prepare students for professional careers in a number of arenas, including research, education, social work, human services, law enforcement, probation and corrections, government, non-profit organizations, labor relations, business management, personnel administration, and market analysis.

The Sociology program provides the opportunity to combine a liberal arts education with a unique focus on the study of human societies– including social dynamics, institutions, diversity, and inequality. Through its use of scientific methods and systematic theory, sociologists seek to identify and explain the underlying patterns of social relations. This knowledge base allows students to gain insights into and challenge assumptions about the fundamental elements of human systems behavior. Sociologists are particularly concerned with understanding diversity in our social world and addressing inequality.

The program goals of the Sociology Department were established to support the student learning outcomes established by Holyoke Community College: 

Critical thinking/Writing: Students will be able to:

  • present opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various issues
  • identify basic premises in particular arguments
  • move easily from remembering through analysis and application to synthesis and evaluation
  • examine one’s own cultural practices, beliefs, and values
  • write a clear and concise report of the findings from sociological data analysis
  • write a clear and concise sociological analysis and account of a social event, issue, or problem

Information Literacy/Effective Communication: Students will be able to:

  • use online databases to find published and peer-reviewed research
  • use the internet, email, software, and web pages to communicate to others and find course-related materials

Knowledge of Diversity: Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate awareness of the effects of domestic and global forces on social institutions, on one’s life, and on the lives of other individuals and groups
  • distinguish between data and ideology
  • build an appreciation of the “sociological imagination” and utilize this knowledge in relation to one’s own biography and how it relates to time and history, as well as to the social structure in which one finds her/him self
  • discern vested interest in a particular social order
  • comprehend the processes by which prejudice and discrimination are created and perpetuated, as well as utilize techniques geared towards interrupting this cycle
  • be able to explain how societal structural factors influence individual behavior and the development of self

Quantitative/Qualitative Reasoning: Students will be able to:

  • recognize how one uses the scientific method in social science and develop hypotheses relevant to the discipline
  • know the difference between an independent and dependent variable
  • identify the basic methodological approaches for gathering data
  • link method and theory, as well as critically assess a published research report
  • produce a research report that utilizes relevant sociological databases and statistics
  • understand the ethical issues involved in social science research


Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • make evident an understanding and command over fundamental concepts and data regarding diversity, culture, and society 
  • exhibit an appreciation for and actively apply sociological theory 
  • understand fundamental theoretical approaches and key disciplinary concepts 
  • critically evaluate social research
  • display a working knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • understand the sociological methods of research design, data gathering, and analysis 
  • communicate sociological knowledge in an appropriate oral, audio, written, visual, and/or graphic form
  • exhibit critical thinking skills in evaluating sociological research
  • formulate a thesis and assemble relevant peer reviewed background research
  • utilize an annotated bibliography and/or literature review and be able to support their thesis including the background assumptions, appropriateness of methods used, and the strength of explanatory evidence
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a substantive area within sociology (i.e. social movements, urban sociology, environmental sociology, social and economic equity, migration patterns, health-based outcomes, racial, and ethnic relations) 
  • utilize the “sociological imagination” when analyzing current events, political, economic, and cultural news and apply this knowledge within both private and public spheres


Select any 5 SOC-designated courses

  • SOC Elective Credit(s): 3
  • SOC Elective Credit(s): 3
  • SOC Elective Credit(s): 3
  • SOC Elective Credit(s): 3
  • SOC Elective Credit(s): 3


Sufficient to complete 60 credit graduation requirement

  • Program Elective Credit(s): 31
  • Program Elective Credit(s): 31
  • Program Elective Credit(s): 31



1 Recommended courses: SOC 213 SOC 214 SOC 215 , SOC 220 , and SOC 235  

Only 6 non-Arts and Science credits may be taken toward an A.A. degree.

Most four-year colleges require two years of a foreign language. It is recommended that students complete or begin their foreign language study at Holyoke Community College.

This program qualifies for MassTransfer, which guarantees credit transfer to Massachusetts state colleges and universities. MassTransfer will also grant students automatic acceptance to certain state colleges and universities by achieving the minimum grade point average and the HCC degree.

Depending on course selection, 80% of this program can be completed online.  Go to Online Learning  for more information.


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