Curious about how large social groups function? Wonder how your birthplace or ethnic identity or gender contributes to how you experience the world around you? Want to make a positive impact on society one day?

As a Central sociology major, you’ll gain valuable hands-on, career-related experience early on. Real-world activities, such as internships and service-learning opportunities, will serve to enhance your exploration of the social dynamics of family, education, race, ethnicity, gender, global development, popular culture and religion. Your studies will be guided by successfully published professors whose academic pursuits have taken them all over the world.

Along the way, you’ll acquire the critical thinking, writing, data analysis and presentation skills you’ll need to begin building a stellar résumé that leads to a successful career or graduate school program.

of recent sociology graduates completed an internship
of sociology graduates attend graduate or professional school
of department graduates report being highly satisfied with relationships they developed with professors in the department

The Central Difference

Gain Valuable Research Experience

As you investigate current research in a variety of sociological disciplines, you’ll come to learn the skills needed to one day conduct your own meaningful research. Join your fellow sociology students and travel to the Iowa Sociological Association’s annual meeting, where you’ll be encouraged to present your research papers and posters.

In the end, Central sociology graduates have reported that they have been better prepared for graduate school than their peers from other colleges and universities.

From Central to Africa

Clayton Boeyink ’10 travels the world to help people in crisis.

Work Toward Distinguished Honors

Each year the Gordo F. De Jong Award is presented to a deserving sociology graduate — one day this could be you. This award program also provides funding for Central students to travel to, and present at, sociology conferences.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

A Valuable Major

“I genuinely believe that everyone needs sociology. For me, it’s an important tool we all can use in order to make sense of our own experiences, empowering us to make more informed decisions about our futures. I want my sociology students to see that they have a personal stake in internalizing sociology’s lessons, using what they've learned long after their sociology class is over.”

– Jon Witt, Professor of Sociology

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Leticia Francisco Pascual ’23, Judicial Specialist II, Iowa Judicial Branch
  • Joseph Areyano ’23, Counseling Assistant, Selma Unified School District
  • Sarah Schirm ’22, Lifestyle Coordinator, Wesleylife
  • Erin Dilger ’20, Human Resources Generalist, Van Gorp Corporation
  • Christian Escobar ’20, Police Officer, Ames Police Department
  • Anna Bowser ’16, Case Manager, Youth Outreach Services

Central Alums Among 40 Under 40 Leaders

Three Central Alumni are honored as 40 Under 40 leaders by the Des Moines Business Record.


Criminal Justice Club: Students interested in pursuing careers in criminal justice are encouraged to join this student-led organization. The Criminal Justice Club brings in speakers, conducts fund-raisers to assist local organizations and provides career guidance for students interested in law enforcement and related criminal justice careers.

Anthropology Club: Sociology students are welcome to participate in the anthropology club. The sociology and anthropology programs reside in the same department, and students can take elective courses in either program as part of their major. The anthropology club organizes field trips, invites speakers and serves as an academic and career support group for students interested in studying anthropology.

Graduate Placement

  • Loyola University Chicago – sociology
  • DePaul University – women and gender studies
  • Drake University Law School
  • Colorado State University – counseling and career development
  • Penn State University– sociology and demography
  • University of Iowa – social work
  • Iowa State University – sociology
  • University of Northern Iowa – school counseling
  • University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
  • St. Ambrose University – social work
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – social work
  • Kansas State University – school counseling
  • Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology – clinical psychology


Central College offers a wide variety of internship opportunities to gain practical experience. The sociology department also has established internships where students can learn by observing social work, law enforcement and other professionals in their field. Recent internships sites include:

  • Youth Emergency Services & Shelter
  • Anamosa State Penitentiary
  • Marion County Sherriff’s Office
  • Pella Regional Health Center
  • Bethany Christian Services
  • Crossroads of Pella
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

Sociology majors take courses that provide a solid background in the discipline and prepare them for careers and graduate school by focusing on critical thinking, writing, data analysis and presentation skills.

In Principles of Sociology, the foundation course for the sociology major, students explore the sociological imagination, which enables them to better see the degree to which their lives are shaped by the relationships they have with others. The department carries that basic insight throughout all sociology courses, such as Sociology of the Family, Criminology, Sociology of Sport, and Schools and Societies, along with required courses such as Research Methods and Sociological Theory.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Andrew Green, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Institutional Research Director
  • Dawn Reece, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Shawn Wick, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Jon Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Sociology

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • Principles of Sociology
  • Sociology electives

Sophomore Year

  • Sociology of the Family
  • Criminology
  • Social Problems
  • Social Work

Junior Year

  • Methods of Social Research
  • Statistics
  • Elective courses in areas of interest (courses could include Sociology of Gender; Globalization, Development and Social Change; American Ethnicity; Sociology of Popular Culture and Sociology of Religion)
  • Off-campus experience

Senior Year

  • Sociological Theory
  • Senior Seminar
  • Internship experience
  • Sociology electives


Learn More

Want to find out more about Sociology at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.