Group of people near the water

About Sociology

Sociology is the study of human relationships. At the personal level, sociology investigates the social causes and consequences of things like romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behavior, aging, religious faith, and more. On a larger level, sociology investigates issues such as crime, poverty, discrimination, education, population growth, war, and social reform. Sociologists use what they learn to understand why the world is the way it is and how it can be shaped for the better.

Students who major in sociology at Buffalo State will understand the language and role of the discipline in contributing to our knowledge of the world; understand the role of theory in describing and explaining social phenomena; and understand the methods and procedures used to conduct sociological inquiry. 

Sociology, B.A. 

Sociology, Minor

Deviance, Minor

Environment and Society, Minor

Degree Information

Sociology majors are prepared for careers in community organizations, criminal justice units, and government agencies as advisers, internal or external consultants, and counselors. The bachelor of arts in sociology also is a designed to prepare undergraduate students for graduate work in business, law, public administration, media studies, demography, crime/deviance, or other social science disciplines. 

Like other social sciences, sociology has a wide variety of applications:

  • Adoption Counselor
  • Abuse Investigation Caseworker
  • Child Welfare Advocate
  • Disability Service Specialist
  • Family Planning Specialist
  • Governmental Outreach Coordinator 
  • Human Resources Coordinator
  • Journalist/Reporter 
  • LGBT Outreach Specialist
  • Labor Rights Organizer
  • Lawmaker
  • Leadership Training Specialist
  • Market Researcher
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Multicultural Outreach Coordinator 
  • Nonprofit Organizer
  • Political Analyst
  • Public Administrator
  • Public Relations Agent
  • Rehabilitation Officer
  • Social Studies Teacher, K-12
  • Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor 
  • University Professor
  • Youth Services Provider

Research Centers: Our associated research centers include the Center for Health and Social Research and the Center for China Studies.  

Sociology Club: This student-run club helps to sponsor programs and lectures on campus.

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD): the Sociology Honor Society affiliated with the American Sociological Association (ASA) is open to qualifying students. Its mission is to promote excellence and scholarship in the research of social problems. 

Annual Banquet: The Sociology Department hosts an annual awards banquet to celebrate the outstanding efforts of sociology majors. Students with the highest grade point averages are eligible for induction into the International Sociology Honor Society. 

Global Sociology Program: Offers students the opportunity to engage in guided immersive experiences in different locations around the world. Students live with a host family, earn course credits, take foreign classes, and tour the surrounding city under the supervision of a faculty member. Previous locations have included Santiago de Chile and Caen, France. 

Students have the chance to present projects at conferences off campus as well as at Buffalo State’s annual Student Research and Creativity Conference. 

Student Research and Creativity Conference

Students can work with the college’s associated research centers including the Center for Health and Social Research (CHSR), which facilitates the initiation, implementation, and continuation of research and education at Buffalo State on health and social problems, especially alcohol and drug abuse, and the Center for China Studies, which promotes China programs to the campus and the community through public lectures, exhibitions, newsletters, and a website.

Center for Health and Social Research

Center for China Studies

A wide variety of internships are available for sociology students; some may coincide with employment. Recent internships include:

  • Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services
  • American Red Cross
  • Buffalo Board of Education
  • Buffalo Psychiatric Center
  • Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
  • Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled
  • Crime Victims Board
  • East Ferry Youth Detention Center
  • Erie County Child Protective Services
  • Friends to the Elderly
  • Group Ministries
  • Journey's End Refugee Services
  • Lancaster Police Department
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Montessori Teacher Education 
  • Native American Student Services
  • Niagara Falls Police Department
  • Planned Parenthood
  • U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's office
  • Workforce Development Consortium
  • Youth Opportunity Ethnographic Study

Award-Winning Faculty

Faculty are committed to student success and are involved in research and community work in areas such as gender, mental health, environment, race, suicide, and substance abuse. Four faculty members have received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Small Class Size

Typical classes have about 30 students, while capstone courses are usually fewer than 20 students, which means students receive individualized attention. 

Service-Learning Opportunities

Our capstone course options provide students with the opportunity to engage in internship and service-learning opportunities.  Students have worked with Buffalo State’s Community Academic Center, the West Side Community Collaborative, and many other sites throughout the city.

Community Academic Center

Deviance Minor

Explores the nature of deviant behavior and related theoretical perspectives and societal reactions. This minor is especially attractive to criminal justice majors.

Environment and Society Minor

Offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary study of "human-environment" interactions, providing students with the skills to analyze environmental problems and solutions.

Kaitlin M. Burns Administrative Assistant 1
Joseph P. Cleary Assistant Professor
Joyce A. Joyce Lecturer
Luke J. Krieg Professor
Staci Newmahr Associate Professor
Allen C. Shelton Professor
Ron Stewart Chair and Professor
Richard K. Strahan Lecturer
Thomas S. Weinberg Professor
Jie Zhang Distinguished Professor