Sociology is the study of society, of the social frameworks within which we live our lives. It is a study of social life at every level, from two-person relationships to the rise and fall of nations and civilizations. More than any other discipline it is a meeting place of the social sciences, combining its own ideas and methods with insights from history, anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology in an extended examination of the ways societies work—or fail to work. Thus Sociology is unusual in its concern with the interrelation of social forces studied in isolation elsewhere. The breadth of subjects one can study in sociology is quite wide but the focus on social relations and the effect of society on the individual is the common denominator. Department Website
The Department of Sociology at Harvard has a diverse and distinguished faculty. Our faculty includes the world's foremost experts in race, ethnicity and immigration, inequality, economic sociology and organizations, urban poverty and the city, gender and family, crime and punishment, social movements and social change, politics, work, culture, social networks, comparative and historical sociology, and sociological theory. Students may take courses in a variety of areas or they may put together a focused program of study reflecting their own particular interests.
Course emphases range widely from the theoretical to the applied and incorporate an array of approaches, including field-based sociology, qualitative methods, quantitative and computer-based analysis, historical and comparative studies, and theoretical explorations. Our students receive instruction in classical and contemporary social theory along with cutting-edge qualitative and quantitative methods. Students also learn how to apply sociological analysis to real-world issues – whether from third world development to corporate capitalism, or from crime in the streets to crime on Capitol Hill.