A collaborative, top-ranked department

We are a large, comprehensive department at the forefront of sociological research and teaching in all of sociology’s major subfields. We pride ourselves on the world-class, hands-on intellectual support and guidance we provide our students, not only across the substantive fields that constitute sociology, but also across the discipline’s full methodological spectrum. For many decades IU Sociology has been ranked among the top graduate programs in the nation, according to the National Research Council and U.S. News & World Report.

Our faculty is recognized for both research excellence and a commitment to teaching. We remain the only department to receive the American Sociological Association’s Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award. Our department values a strong spirit of community and collegiality—we see these qualities as central to our intellectual vitality and academic excellence.

What is sociology?

Ours is a dynamic field dedicated to the scientific study of society, social institutions, and social relationships. We study the social forces that influence feelings, attitudes, and behaviors; how individuals and groups shape cultural and social structures; and the relationships among individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions. The discipline of sociology is as broad as society itself, encompassing analysis of all major social organizations and institutions, including the economy, education, health care, families, government, and religion.

Sociologists ask fundamental questions about the relationship between cultural and social structures and individual thought and action: Why do some people make more money than others? How do patterns of health and illness vary by race and why? What biases influence hiring patterns? What accounts for voting patterns in Presidential elections? They also ask questions about the relationships among social organizations and institutions. How do health care systems vary across economic systems? How do social welfare regimes shape family structures? We examine a wide range of topics and how they inform our lives—including economics, health and medicine, schools, government, sexuality, family, politics, race and ethnicity, and criminal justice.

Our research methods vary from qualitative studies of specific organizations to the quantitative analysis of large survey data. We may use historical and ethnographic materials or develop cutting-edge quantitative models and experimental designs. Our methods of gathering and analyzing data provide unique insights into the social forces shaping the structure of society, the experiences and life chances of individuals, and potential solutions to contemporary social problems.

Interested in learning about our degree programs?