Students in classSociology 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.


The diverse and accomplished faculty in the Department of Sociology at Western Michigan University provide an excellent core curriculum to almost 700 undergraduate and 35 graduate students. Specialties include:

  • Administration
  • Class
  • Corrections
  • Comparative sociology
  • Criminology
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Policing
  • Political sociology
  • Race
  • Research methods
  • Social justice
  • Social problems
  • Social psychology
  • Statistical analysis
  • Theory

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.

Policy statement

The Department Policy Statement seeks to ensure meaningful participation by the faculty and procedural regularity within the department.

Commitment to Social Justice

See our statement here.

Chair's Staff Appreciation Award

Awarded at the discretion of the Chair of the Department of Sociology, to a sociology staff member who has performed at an exemplary level.