“How does social context shape individual stories, and what sociological theories and methods can help describe and explain these stories? Off-campus study offers students a vivid place to ask complex questions about our social world, and to apply what they're learning first-hand to their own stories and to diverse local and global contexts." Michelle Janning, Raymond and Elsie Gipson DeBurgh Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology
Off-Campus Studies can help Sociology students…
- Gain primary research skills from field studies or work with primary sources
- Develop a global perspective
- Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
- Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
- Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace
- Improve foreign language skills
How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Sociology prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities?
- Off-Campus studies allows students to become involved in either a major research project of some kind and/or a focused internship. In both of these cases, the student is able to apply the concepts and textbook principles of the discipline to a real-life, applied setting.
- Foreign language skills and intercultural understanding developed during off-campus studies can increase opportunities to work with diverse populations in the work place.
- Off-Campus studies helps students develop a comparative perspective based on immersion and appreciation of another culture and/or a different setting (e.g. U.S. urban environment).
As a general rule of thumb, the Sociology Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.
Sociology majors who wish to study off campus should take SOC 117 Principles of Sociology in their first or second year.
- The following required courses for the major should be taken at Whitman
- SOC 117 Principles of Sociology
- SOC 207 Social Research Methods
- SOC 251 Social Theory
- SOC 490 Current Issues in Sociology
- SOC 492 Thesis or SOC 498 Honors Thesis
- SOC 207 Social Research Methods and SOC 251 Social Theory (required classes) are offered only in the fall semester, so that makes off-campus study in the spring semester somewhat more convenient for many students.(Note: Starting in 2023-24, we plan to offer Soc 207 and Soc 251 more frequently. Students should talk with their Sociology Major Advisor about planning courses during their junior year.)
- Environmental Studies-Sociology majors should consult either the OCS Environmental Studies Advising Sheet or the Environmental Studies webpage for further details.
Which requirements can Sociology majors fulfill while off campus?
- Elective major credit
- Research and/or experience that can help students develop ideas for senior thesis
- General Studies distribution credit
- General degree credit
Major Credit Limitations
- The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Sociology major from off campus studies (including AP credit, IB credit and credits from other U.S. institutions) is 8 credits with the approval of your major adviser.
Minor Credit Limitations
- A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.
What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Sociology department?
- Direct enrollment in a foreign university with local students
- Field study program with opportunities to engage in independent or collaborative research with the local community
- Program that offers an opportunity for an internship or community-based learning embedded in an academic course as part of an off-campus studies program in the U.S. or overseas
Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Sociology department?
Many off-campus programs offer sociology and sociology-related coursework. Therefore, sociology majors can choose from a wide range of OCS Partner Programs depending on their academic goals and which cultures/societies they wish to learn about. In particular, the department recommends that majors consider the following options:
- AU Washington Semester Program (USA)
- DIS Copenhagen (Denmark)
- Programs in Latin America and Spain that enhance Spanish language skills
Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.