The Department of Sociology at Samford University equips students with the skills and knowledge to explore the social world and inspires them to lives that build flourishing human communities.
The Department of Sociology provides students exceptional and engaging learning experiences, both curricular and co-curricular. Our purpose is to nurture the intellectual and personal development of students, with special attention to the following competencies: (1) the ability to analyze the powerful and pervasive impact of social context on individual behaviors and outcomes; (2) the capacity to conceive and articulate structural explanations to account for societal and institutional outcomes (e.g., persistent social stratification); and (3) the skill to interpret, construct, and evaluate empirical arguments about social reality.
Flourishing human communities are those where persons have the freedom and opportunity to realize their own gifts and to live a good and full life; put another way, in flourishing human communities, humans thrive (see Smith, 2015). Found in diverse religious and moral traditions, human flourishing is manifest in the biblical ideal of shalom which calls for, “The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. . . (Platinga n.d.).”
John Howard, for whom Samford’s College of Arts and Sciences is named, worked tirelessly to promote human flourishing. The statue erected to his honor in St. Paul’s Cathedral bears testimony to “his eminent services” aimed at improving conditions in the prisons and hospitals and to the miles he “traversed to reduce the sum of human misery. . . (Ellis 1818).”
Ellis, Henry. 1818. History of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in London, from Its Foundations. London: Lackington.
Platinga, Cornelius. N.d. “Educating for Shalom: Our Calling as a Christian College.” Retrieved February 16, 2016 (http://www.calvin.edu/about/who-we-are/our-calling.html).
Smith, Christian. 2015. To Flourish or Destruct: A Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, Failure, and Evil. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
This department has opened so many doors for me. I was able to conduct my own research and present it at a regional conference with many other professionals and students in sociology. Because of all of the hands-on experience I've had I am confident that I would be prepared for graduate school or any other career that I could imagine. Morgan Mitchell, Howard College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador
Students are prepared to enter careers with critical analytic skills giving them insight and competence. They have entered fields such as Geriatrics, Social Work, Social Policy Analysis, Industrial Relations, and Law Enforcement as well as Sociology. Graduates have been admitted to post graduate programs in numerous regional state universities including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, as well as such private and public universities such as University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Sociology majors are eligible to participate in a fast track option that allows students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social work after five years of study. Students then enroll in Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) courses during their senior year of undergraduate studies; the M.S.W. courses they complete during that year also satisfy general and directed undergraduate elective requirements, allowing students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree after four years of study. A final year of graduate coursework leads to completion of the M.S.W. degree, allowing students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Participation in this program requires careful advisement and scheduling, as well as permission of both the undergraduate department chair and the M.S.W. program director.
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Social Work is an excellent career choice for Sociology majors, as both disciplines utilize similar theories, research strategies, and practice methods. The Samford University M.S.W. program is a distinctively Christian learning community that prepares graduates for lives of service as advanced social workers who promote healing, wholeness, and reconciliation. The program offers concentrations in Clinical Social Work and Global Community Development and prepares graduates to serve in fields such as clinical, medical, and hospice social work; human services administration; child welfare; community organizing; and international relief.