Sociology is the study of the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate a wide variety of subjects within the realm of social life and consider the contemporary social issues that face our world.

Study sociology in Gettysburg: both a crucible of conflict and a pivotal turning point in the formation of modern US society. Beyond the apt metaphor of the battle, however, scholars of sociology continually grapple with individuals’ and groups’ divergent experiences of inequality, freedom and justice, not only here but around the globe. Studying sociology at Gettysburg will give you the tools to apprehend and address these enduring legacies via the rigor, depth and breadth of the liberal arts. We, as a department, are profoundly committed to issues of diversity and inclusion.

In concert with the unique Gettysburg Approach to a consequential education, sociology majors and minors learn flexible and adaptive critical thinking, deeply analytical modes of inquiry, and innovative multi-media communication skills that have helped them to excel in a variety of fields. Former students have pursued graduate degrees and careers in business and consulting; data science; media and marketing; law and policy; nonprofit advocacy and governance; sociology and social work; and teaching at the college and K-12 levels.

Why study sociology?

In a world of profound and ongoing social, economic and environmental change, a major or minor in sociology offers rigorous methodological and theoretical training for understanding such changes and the social foundations of human behavior. Sociologists study patterns and histories of structural inequality; origins and outcomes of social institutions; and the effects of such inequalities and institutions on individual and group experience.

Students can major or minor in Sociology or double major in Sociology and another discipline—as a field of study, it easily complements degree programs in the social and natural sciences and humanities. Via Gettysburg College’s innovative new Guided Pathways approach, sociology majors can explore entrepreneurship, intercultural fluency, community change, and leadership as they chart their own individual career trajectory.

Majors and minors frequently pursue domestic and international experiential learning and certificate programs through the Center for Public Service, the Garthwait Leadership Center, and the Eisenhower Institute. We also offer numerous opportunities for learning outside the classroom through collaborative student-faculty research, editorial work on the student-led Gettysburg Social Sciences Review, presentation at selective professional conferences, and publication in the Cupola.

Major in sociology

The sociology major at Gettysburg College requires a sequence of (10) introductory, intermediate and advanced courses, culminating in a rigorous capstone seminar. Students are required to complete both qualitative and quantitative research methods courses along with courses in introductory and advanced sociological theory. In addition, all students must choose at least one course on social inequalities—like class, gender, race and sexualities—along with several intermediate-level electives in a diversity of subfields. The capstone experience requires students to design and complete an independent research project.

Students who choose to study abroad can usually count up to two electives towards their major program.

View sociology’s requirements for the major in greater detail.

Minor in sociology

A minor in sociology allows students to explore their passion for the discipline via (6) introductory and intermediate courses. Students are expected to complete at least one course in sociological theory and a second in either qualitative or quantitative research methods. In addition, students have the opportunity to study a variety of sociological subfields through a series of electives.

Students who choose to study abroad can usually count up to two electives towards their minor program.

View sociology’s requirements for the minor in greater detail.


The Sociology Department offers a wide variety of courses in a diversity of subfields, allowing students to learn from scholars who study and publish on deviance and diversity; childhood, adolescence and family; economics and capitalism; education; environmental justice; gender; health and medicine; mass media; race and ethnicity; sexualities; social problems in Latin America; tourism; and wealth, power and prestige.

In addition, the department offers multiple courses in research methods and social theory that provide students with the analytical tools for thinking and communicating in an ethically informed, theoretically rigorous, social scientific way.

Finally, the capstone research seminar, required for all sociology majors, provides students with the tools to develop and implement their own primary research project and to share their work through a website, data visualizations, and public presentation.

What is unique about sociology at Gettysburg?

Studying sociology at Gettysburg is a richly multidisciplinary endeavor, replete with opportunities for career development both inside and outside the classroom via the Guided Pathways. The intimate, liberal arts environment at Gettysburg is built on close faculty mentorship and guidance and low student-to-faculty ratios. You will receive rigorous training in ethical research and multi-media communication skills that will remain integral to careers and graduate programs beyond Gettysburg.

Departmental opportunities

As a current student, you can improve your writing and editorial skills through leadership roles in the student-led and peer-reviewed Gettysburg Social Sciences Review journal, housed in the department. With membership in the Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society, you can apply for fellowships and awards to support your research and writing. If you plan to pursue a career in education, you can easily tap into the support and training offered by the Office for Teacher Education and Certification (OTEC).

Experiential learning

Current students also frequently make use of the intense experiential learning available with the Center for Public Service; the leadership certification of the Garthwait Leadership Center; and the in-depth policy education and training initiatives of the Eisenhower Institute. You should also consider exploring our numerous study abroad opportunities via the Center for Global Education, including popular, sociologically-oriented programs in places like Cuba, Brazil, France, Ghana and Mongolia.

Career preparation

Our carefully crafted curriculum prepares sociology majors and minors for a diversity of careers, including jobs in business, data analytics, law, marketing, policy, social work and teaching. Ours is a close-knit community of scholars and students. Faculty advisors and mentors therefore help to guide students’ course selections and support their summer internships and research experiences. Early in your time at the college, you should also reach out to the Center for Career Engagement and work closely with your advising team via the Guided Pathways program in order to chart your individual career trajectory.

Graduate and professional study

The rigorous training that sociology majors and minors receive at Gettysburg College will make you a highly competitive applicant for graduate study in a variety of disciplines. Successful applicants report that the extensive education they received in research methodologies and data analysis at Gettysburg distinguished them from fellow applicants and from their graduate program colleagues. Recent graduates have gone on to study data analytics at the University of Massachusetts; higher education at University of Michigan; law at University of Virginia; sociology at Rutgers University; and public policy at Georgetown University.


The Department of Sociology is deeply committed to improving and invigorating existing alumni networks so that current students can learn about and from graduates around the world. Every Gettysburg student also has access to The Gettysburg Network via the connectGettysburg platform. As the College’s online engagement, networking, and mentoring platform, connectGettysburg offers endless connections for networking with Gettysburg’s more than 32,000 alumni.

Learn more about a sociology degree at Gettysburg College

Discover the transformative power of a sociology degree at Gettysburg College, where you can delve into the complexities of social change, inequality, and justice. Ready to shape the future? Request more information now.

Creating Social Change

Sociology major and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies minor Ty Abdul-Karim '18 talks about bringing groups together in order to create social change. His group The Fellaship unites African American males on campus for fostering support and engagement.
Ty Abdul-Karim 18 and friends kneeling on the field with basketballs in their hands

Our faculty

We research, publish and teach on topics as diverse as global social movements, tourism, economics, race and the environment, family and education, media, gender and sexuality, and much more!