Welcome to SOC101: Introduction to Sociology
Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.
Learn basic sociological principles and develop your sociological imagination by studying the origins of sociology as a discipline, the major sociological theories and methods of research, and the concepts of sex, gender, deviance, and racism.
Sociology is the scientific discipline that studies society. It examines human interactions, cultural phenomena, and topics that include inequality, urbanization, and their effects on groups and individuals. In unit 1, we study the philosophy of science sociologists rely on called positivism which asserts we can only gain authentic knowledge or truth through empirical observations. We need to be able to experience our observations or make scientific measurements with a form of sensory experience instead of using faith-based and emotional experiences.
The sociological imagination is a central concept to sociology, which allows sociologists to make connections among personal experiences and larger social issues. For example, did you know the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world? To understand this trend, sociologists use scientific methods to study and make connections about various social issues, such as sex education in schools, sexualization in the media, poverty, and the personal issue of teenage sexual activity and pregnancy.
In this course, we introduce a range of basic sociological principles so you can develop your own sociological imagination. We study about the origins of sociology as a discipline, and some major sociological theories and research methods. We also explore the topics of sex and gender, deviance, and racism. As we move through the course, try to develop your sociological imagination by relating the topics and theories you read about to your own life experiences.
This course includes the following units:
- Unit 1: Introduction to Sociology
- Unit 2: Culture, the Socialized Self, and the Individual in Society
- Unit 3: Social Inequality
- Unit 4: Institutions
- Unit 5: Social Change and Social Issues
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- define sociology and its purpose;
- define and discuss sociological imagination;
- use the sociological perspective or imagination to interpret or describe social phenomena, such as stratification, racism, sexism, and deviance;
- describe and critically discuss major theoretical perspectives, such as conflict theory, structural functionalism, and symbolic interactionism; and
- apply sociological concepts to observable events and social issues.
Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.
The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.
All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.
Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score
Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.
There are also end-of-unit assessments and other quizzes in this course. These are designed to help you study, and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.
Tips for Success
SOC101: Introduction to Sociology is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 42 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.
Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:
- Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
- As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.
This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.
- To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.
For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.
This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.