Have you ever talked about “role models" or “self-fulfilling prophecies?" Have you ever said to someone "it's not what you know, it's who you know?" Have you ever talked about "glass ceilings?" If you've used any of these ideas, you've used sociology. These are all concepts that originated in empirical sociological research and have since seeped into popular consciousness.

Sociology is one of the great fields of inquiry of the modern era. The idea of social relations or social forces, the idea that much of life is causally shaped by specific relations among large groups of people, belongs alongside the theory of gravity, evolution, the unconscious, and other seminal ideas that have transformed human life and consciousness in the last few centuries. 

  • Charis Jones with a overhead view of a Middle Eastern city

    Cultural Connections in the Middle East

    Charis Jones hadn’t settled on a major when she arrived at UVM three years ago. An introductory class taught by Ellie Miller ignited her interest in sociology and the “Political Islam” course taught by Jan Feldman focused her interest in Middle Eastern Studies. That all morphed into a double major in sociology and political science. When she considered a semester abroad, she embraced the notion of getting out of her comfort zone.


Keeping up a tradition that goes back to the nineteenth century, UVM's sociology faculty apply the sociological lens to everything from social class to sexuality, from crime to the mass media, from aging to leisure. We teach students how to think sociologically and to apply that thought to real-world situations. If you are actively concerned about the world you live in and want to do something constructive and useful in it, sociology provides our best means for understanding how social life works.

UVM's Sociological Pioneer: Samuel Franklin Emerson