We believe that the goals of sociology, (originally known as the "science of society"), are strongly consistent with the objectives of the liberal-arts tradition. The sociological lens provides a powerful analytical tool for explaining, predicting, and understanding human behavior. Sociological insights can be applied to virtually every type of group setting, ranging from families, marriages, and small groups to institutions, organizations, and nations.

Sociology is especially relevant for the analysis of the causes and consequences of social change in a global landscape. We are therefore convinced that students of sociology are in a special position to help to improve the quality of human life. Thus, the mission of the Sociology Program at the University of Pittsburgh is to provide our students with the skills necessary to become effective in this endeavor.

Thematic Clusters

For Sociology majors wishing to pursue specific themes within the discipline, the Sociology Department currently offers five Thematic Clusters (PDF) in the following areas:

Global and Area Studies

Interested in doing global and cross-cultural research? This concentration of courses is designed for you.

Social Movements/Inequality

Causes and consequences of social inequality, along with efforts to create social change, are the bases of this concentration.

Race, Gender and Sexuality

This concentration is for students who want to study the social construction of racial, gender-based, and sexual identities, as well as the consequences of those social constructions.

The Helping Professions

This concentration is for students seeking careers in which they can apply sociological perspectives toward solving social problems at the micro and macro levels.

Health, Environment and Technology

Sociology courses within the HET cluster will provide students with in-depth knowledge of  the challenges and issues of these very relevant and inter-related fields.