Sociology is the systematic study of social life. It is based on the assumption that there are certain patterns to the way people live and think and that by studying their behavior and attitudes, these patterns can be discovered and explained. Sociologists investigate how the group influences behavior, from the smallest (a two-person relationship, like husband and wife) to the largest (huge organizations, such as General Motors or the Catholic Church). Anything having to do with social behavior is the subject matter of sociology.
The Bachelor of Arts program at Stony Brook seeks to develop in students both an understanding of a history of social thought and skills in the collection and analysis of social data. The core program includes one semester of Introduction to Sociology, one semester of sociological theory, one semester of research methods, and one semester of statistics.
Students who have completed this program have attended graduate schools in sociology or related disciplines, law school, social welfare, and pursued careers in advertising, marketing, and business management. Some work in the field of market research (studying for large companies what products people want to buy), demography (studying the population scientifically, as in the United States census), criminology (investigating the causes and nature of crime and criminal justice), urban planning, polling, and public opinion (like the Gallup or Harris Polls).