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Painting by Paul Gaugin


Bachelor of Arts Degree

We live in challenging times. Globalization and communication technologies are bringing us into regular contact with those who are different in terms of culture, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and more. Additionally, we often seem at the mercy of large, impersonal forces that we don't quite understand. Sociology offers a useful perspective on our world, as well as a wide range of research techniques that can be used to inform policy and as a force for social change.

Starting with the premise that all human behavior is social, sociology examines the structures of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. To use the words of American sociologist C. Wright Mills, a sociological imagination allows us to understand how individual lives are shaped by economic and political institutions of the society, and not merely by "the personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals."

The BA Sociology curriculum at URI is rich in the analysis of inequality, in the examination of the structural constraints of life, and in a humanistic appreciation for cultural diversity. Sociology at URI provides the substantive background and analytic and technology skills necessary for success in 21st century careers and for thoughtful and engaged citizenship.

Students in the Bachelor of Arts curriculum are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits in sociology. These credits include several required courses:

  • Sociology 100 General Sociology: This is a first course in the discipline and is designed to provide students with an introduction to sociological analysis and discourse
  • Sociology 301 Sociological Research Methods: This course is a sustained examination of sociological research techniques with an emphasis on critical reasoning and the evaluation of sociological research
  • Sociology 401 History of Sociological Thought: This course provides students with some sense of the relationship between sociological discourse and other intellectual developments in both non-Western and Western societies
  • Sociology 495 Senior Seminar: As a capstone course, the senior seminar focuses on a single topic to give students an in-depth appreciation of how sociologists examine the world and how sociological analysis can shed light on contemporary problems

In addition to these required courses, students are required to select at least two courses that focus on issues of inequality. These courses include:

  • Sociology 240 Race and Ethnic Relationships
  • Sociology 242 Sex and Gender
  • Sociology 336 Social Inequality
  • Sociology 413 Gender Inequality
  • Sociology 428 Institutional Racism
  • Sociology 452 Class and Power

The department offers a host of other courses including numerous courses in the following areas:

  • Work, Employment, and Organizations
  • Social Movements and Social Change
  • The Individual and Society
  • Institutional Analysis (Religion, Families, Systems of Knowledge)
  • Criminology and Corrections (including a B.S. program in Criminology and Criminal Justice)

News & Announcements


Donna Hughes, Carlson Professor of Gender and Women's Studies has accepted a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology. Professor Hughes is a leading international researcher on human trafficking. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea and also does research and writing on women's rights.


Dr. Pravin Patkar, a Fulbright Scholar from India will be in residence in Sociology and Anthropology during the 2015-16 academic year. The founder of Prerana, a center for women and children in Kamathipura - the largest red-light district in the world -- he written extensively on the topic of human trafficking. He has worked with victims of bonded labor (modern-day slavery) and prostitution and sex trafficking, and is an advocate for laws and policy that protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. Dr. Patkar will be doing research and co-teaching courses with Professor Donna Hughes.


Julie Keller Julie C. Keller has joined the department as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to URI, Professor Keller was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Oberlin College.


Rosaria Pisa has been appointed director of the Gender and Women's Studies program. Professor Pisa has conducted in-depth fieldwork in rural and urban Mexico since 1993. Her research has evolved from studying the impact of the privatization of communal land on community life to her current focus on the gender dynamics of local and organic farming.


URI Anthropology & History student, Morgan Breene, earns prestigious international award to continue her studies of underwater archaeological sites. For full article click here



For the second year in a row, an anthropologist has been awarded the University’s Early Career Research Award.

Associate Professor Holly Dunsworth received the 2014 award for her research comparing energy use in apes and other mammals with particular reference to how the energetics and metabolic parameters of pregnancy, fetal growth, infant growth, and lactation and how those determine the timing of birth in humans and other mammals. Kudos to Holly!!!

Department contacts

Department Chair
Leo Carroll,

Justice, Law & Society Minor Coordinator
Professor Leo Carroll,

Administrative Assistant
Theresa Nobile,