The parent discipline of criminology, the sociology curriculum and minor offers an opportunity to investigate society and to better understand ones role in it. The scientific study of society, sociology examines the interworkings of different social institutions in society, the order of social interaction in groups, and the politics of social reality. Many sociologists address social problems such as crime, education, poverty, immigration, institutional discrimination and prejudice; in short, some of the very issues that inspired the School Sisters to found Notre Dame. The program provides students with a perspective on the world best described as sociological mindfulness or, put simply, a way to tune in to the social world. Offered currently as a minor and as part of the criminology major, the curriculum provides both a micro and macro perspective on society and course readings expose students to peer-reviewed research based on surveys, field work, comparative/historical reviews and experimentation. Criminology majors at Notre Dame also study psychological explanations of criminal behavior.
The Practicum course can be done with a social service agency, grassroots organization, or research organization that gives the student an opportunity to put their sociological imagination to work. It includes a series of seminars directed by a faculty member designed to help students integrate the field experience with their classroom learning. Recently, students have completed Practicum at such field sites as the National Women’s Prison Project, Boys Hope, Our Daily Bread (part of Catholic Charities), and House of Ruth.
A sociology minor is an excellent way to round out your experience at Notre Dame. Those who major in business, nursing, education, communication arts, and religious studies all benefit from a better understanding of the social world. The Practicum course is recommended so that one can apply their knowledge to an internship experience.
All courses credited toward the minor must be completed with a C grade or higher.