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Understand and Address Inequalities

Sociology Department

In Their Own Words


Hear from our sociology students and faculty what makes Maxwell so special.

With breadth and depth in subspecialties across the discipline—in a highly engaged interdisciplinary school of public affairs—the Sociology Department supports and empowers new scholars to develop knowledge, hone research skills and focus on what matters to them most.

Undergraduate Studies


An undergraduate major or minor in sociology provides students with both a broad introduction to the field and an opportunity to explore the specialty areas of the department. Students will take a variety of substantive courses that examine topics such as inequality, race and ethnicity, gender, health, education, immigration, family, aging and the life course, criminology and criminal justice, and social policy.

Graduate Studies


Graduate students will receive core training in sociological issues, theory and methods. Ph.D. students will develop substantive specialization in areas of faculty expertise and prepare for all aspects of their career in research, teaching publishing, grants and mentoring. The department does not admit students to a terminal M.A. program, but students in the Ph.D. program earn an M.A. degree along the way.

View of the City of Syracuse skyline from campus
A $350,000 grant from the RWJ Foundation funds an investigation of the role of tenants’ unions in improving housing conditions for poor families in the Syracuse, N.Y., community.
American Sociological Association

Maxwell faculty hold leadership roles at the American Sociology Association (ASA), the premiere professional organization for scholarly research in sociology.

Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS)

A $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, funds the three-university consortium in Central New York, headquartered at Syracuse University along with the University of Albany and Cornell.

Map of Developmental Disability in US

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) die at much younger ages than people without IDD. This website tracks trends for adults in the U.S., stratifying results by U.S. state, biological sex, race-ethnicity and year of death.

A Message from Sociology Faculty and Staff

Portrait of Ph.D. student (sociology) Claire Pendergrast

I am Maxwell.

Doctoral student of sociology Claire Pendergrast recently testified at a state Senate hearing about her research on the impact of COVID on older adults living at home, and the importance of “building local infrastructure” to equip older adults to avoid often unwanted institutional care. “The reason I’m studying these organizations is to understand if they’re effective and how we can do better to help older adults be healthy and independent,” she says.

Claire Pendergrast

Doctoral student, sociology; graduate fellow, Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health; intern, Office of New York State Senator Rachel May

Sociology Department
302 Maxwell Hall