Why study Sociology at MC?

Sociology is the study of people, society, and social life. Majoring in Sociology means exploring diversity among people, practices, and populations. Thinking like a sociologist means uncovering the taken-for-granted, testing the assumed, and critically exploring social situations.

As a sociology major at Maryville College, you will learn fascinating and challenging things about the world around you including the realities of inequality, social problems, and social change. Classes explore areas such as marriage and family, religion, education, and social movements. Sociology majors graduate with skills in social theory and a variety of scientific methods used to understand people. The sociology major at Maryville College is a welcoming and inclusive major for students of all backgrounds, providing a learning environment in which to better understand your own life circumstances as well as those whose life circumstances may be quite different from your own.

Sociology students will find unique opportunities at Maryville College including service learning, research with professors, and an option for certification in non-profit management. Your chosen senior thesis topic will let you explore any area of sociology under the two-semester mentorship of a sociology faculty member. Here are just a few of the recent senior thesis projects of sociology majors:

  • Organizational Development in Nonprofit Settings: Blount County Habitat for Humanity
  • The Romantic Revolution: A Sociological Study of Online Dating
  • Globalization and the Effects of Cosmetic Surgery on Women in South Korea
  • The Effects of Urban Agriculture on Urban Youth
  • Gender Norm Transmission Through Magazines to Teenage Girls
  • THIS COULD BE YOUR CHURCH: A Study of Church Signs

Maryville College’s Sociology graduates have gone on to a variety of careers. These include human services, criminal justice, sales and marketing, management, research, teaching, community planning, law school, and the Peace Corps. Sociologists work in professional settings with families, children, the elderly, community organizations, businesses, and individuals struggling with addiction or criminal behavior. Through conversations with your advisor, your experience at Maryville College will be custom-tailored to suit your own life goals

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

Meet a current student

Photo of Hailey CarmichaelHailey Carmichael ’22
Hometown: Kodak, Tenn.

Hailey decided to major in sociology after taking a dual credit course in the subject during her junior year of high school. Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer’s “Family and Gender Roles in the Past” course provided her with a more dynamic view of gender and culture, further piquing her interest in sociology.
She said she wants to understand social struggles plaguing society presently and how those issues might be remedied. Social justice and helping others have become a passion. “I have not settled on a specific career path because of the multitude of potential careers associated with sociology, but I hope to pursue a career either in the field of social work or as a guidance counselor after receiving my degree,” she said.

Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduates

Photo of Bailey Ritter

Bailey Ritter ’19
Currently: Lead Guide (Teacher) at Smoky Mountain Montessori School

Bailey started working at Smoky Mountain Montessori while enrolled at Maryville College. In her current role, she observes children ages 3 to 5 in a Montessori school environment. She said she finds fulfillment in seeing children grow and thrive and credits MC’s sociology program for preparing her for what she is currently doing. “Exposing my students to injustices going on in the world is something that I do regularly,” she said. “It’s so amazing to see how even young children are able to understand these injustices. Solutions seem much simpler to them, and it makes me wonder if solutions to some of the injustices in our society are pretty simple, after all.”

Marriah Wogomon Mabe ’05
Currently: Manager of the National Limb Loss Resource Center with the Amputee Coalition

After Maryville College, Marriah earned a master's degree in social work at the University of Tennessee College and accepted a full-time position as a clinical social worker at St. Jude, working with long-term survivors of pediatric cancer. Now on the staff of the National Limb Loss Resource Center, she raises awareness of the Amputee Coalition's programs and works with amputees and their family members on locating educational, financial, and mental health resources.  "My experience in the Sociology Department at Maryville more than prepared me for my graduate degree and beyond. I approached the field of Social Work with a solid understanding of the cultural, social, and ethical topics which are at the core of Social Work.  While at Maryville, I developed a passion for supporting families through difficult medical diagnoses and a better appreciation of the experiences and needs of others quite different from my own." 

Dr. Adam Pritchard ’03
Currently: Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Central Florida

As an MC student, Adam’s eyes were opened to issues of social inequality through sociology courses and volunteer service. Tutoring in the local jail GED program, he met women who told stories about how domestic violence and abuse had contributed to their incarceration and lack of education. After graduating, Adam enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he completed both his master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology. In 2004, he was given the opportunity to begin working on research with the newly founded Center for Research on Violence Against Women at UK, eventually becoming the Center’s full-time research coordinator. “Today I continue to study violence against women issues,” he said. “My work recently came full-circle when my co-authors and I published a study of incarcerated battered women. Working on this article took me back to my experiences volunteering and studying at MC, allowing me to reflect on how the opportunities I had at MC continue to impact my life and career today.”

Job Placements

American Cancer Society
Blount County Schools
Clayton Homes/Vanderbilt Mortgage
Crossroads Church
Ewha American Language Academy
Helen Ross McNabb Center
Henry County Schools
Ridgeview Behavioral Health
Rivermont Presbyterian Church
State of Alaska, Division of Alaska Pioneer Homes
State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
SunCoast Blood Bank

Graduate School Placements

Columbia University, Teacher’s College
East Tennessee State University, Criminology, Sociology
Emory University School of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law
Lincoln Memorial University, Education Administration
Union Presbyterian Seminary, Christian Education/Divinity
University of Colorado Denver, Sociology
University of Kentucky, Sociology
University of Tennessee Knoxville, College of Social Work
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Department of Plant Sciences