Sociology is a social science discipline oriented to a critical understanding of social arrangements and expectations. The notion of social arrangements is central - we seek to explain both where they come from and how they matter. This idea of critical understanding or "critique" is also very important. It means that we have an obligation not only to describe how things are but also to contribute to an informed discussion of what might be. Science and values tend therefore to be only partially or temporarily separable. Since this concern for informed debate and improvement is also a fundamental responsibility of citizenship, sociology is centrally involved in the business of helping develop the perspectives and skills of responsible members of society.
Our diverse and accomplished faculty in the Department of Sociology provide an excellent core curriculum to almost 800 undergraduate students and 50 graduate students. Specialties include:
Western Michigan University has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with high research activity. The Department of Sociology offers one of the university's oldest and strongest graduate programs. We are committed to building a diverse community of scholars, each dedicated to quality teaching and innovative research.