Students in our department also have a variety of opportunities to do independent research. These include an upper-level research seminar in which students design and implement their own study, a senior honors thesis in which a student works with a faculty advisor on a project chosen by the student, and readings and research courses in which a student and a faculty member explore a specific topic of mutual interest. In addition, students occasionally serve as research assistants on ongoing faculty research projects.
UVM sociology students are encouraged to build on their coursework by taking advantage of additional opportunities tailored to their specific skills, interests, and goals.
Classroom and real-world research leads to PhD program
As a high school student at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, Vt., Catherine Burgess ’20 discovered the best match for exploring her interests in criminal justice was in her home state.
“I read that UVM’s sociology department offered a concentration in crime and criminal justice. It seemed like an ideal route to explore the mechanisms of change in the prison system,” she recalls.
Her passion for public policy and social justice deepened at UVM, and she was recently accepted to a University of Arizona sociology Ph.D. program which begins in the fall. Burgess credits her success at UVM to the mix of classroom theory, independent research, and on-the-ground experience.
“I learned a lot about justice and ethics generally, but removing myself from the classroom and getting into the field to explore first-hand how prisons operate—that gave me a much deeper understanding of the criminal justice system,” she said.
A highlight of her UVM career was participating in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty’s Summer Internship Program after her sophomore year. It was a fully-funded eight-week internship at a public defender’s office in West Virginia.
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Can I do an internship for sociology credit?
The internship coordinator for the department is Alice Fothergill. Presently, the only way for students to get sociology credit for an internship is through Professor Fothergill's spring semester course, Soc. 286: Applied Sociology (designated as a service-learning course). The course allows students to participate in a service-learning partnership with King Street Youth Center. This is a group project in which students volunteer and conduct an evaluation of King Street Youth Center's programs. Alternatively, students can choose and arrange their own internships in a local non-profit for the spring semester. Students can be supervised independently through enrollment in this course. Students who want an internship experience but do not need sociology credit might consider earning course credit through the Service-Learning office of Career Services. Contact Mary Barritt for more information (Mary.Barritt@uvm.edu). Generally, internships require ten hours a week of service in the agency site for three hours of course credit. Sociology requires a rigorous scholarly component as well, including bi-weekly meetings, a sociological literature review, and a final paper. To find out which non-profit internships are available locally, consult the Career Services page. For more information on sociology internships, contact Alice Fothergill at 656-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Does UVM offer a criminal justice degree?
No, but the sociology department offers the greatest range of courses related to criminal justice. For example, we offer courses on deviance & social control, the Sociology of Punishment, Criminal Justice, Crime, Juveniles in the court, and Corrections. One can certainly explore that interest and gain expertise within the sociology major.
If I am a Psych major and have taken Psych 109 and 110 (their research methods courses), do I still have to take Soc. 100?
No, the Psych 109/110 sequence can substitute for our Soc. 100 methods requirement. However, you will have to take another 100-level sociology course to take its place. Also note that if you are a Soc. major, you will need to make sure you have at least 34 credits in Sociology, including the extra 100-level sociology course mentioned above. Finally, if you are a psych minor and have only taken Psych 109, this alone does not count for our methods requirement.
What do prerequisites mean to me?
Prerequisites for 100 and 200-level Sociology courses must be successfully completed before the start of the 200-level course in question. So, for example, you can be taking Soc. 101 in the spring semester and sign up for a 200-level seminar in the fall semester. But these are not co-requisites; you cannot fulfill the requirement by signing up for 100 or 101 at the same time as you sign up for a 200-level.