Top 12 Reasons to Study Sociology at Chico State

#12 Best bang for your buck

As this article about Chico State describes, Money Magazine's ranking by value, Chico State was named #48 out of 623 universities, landing Chico State within the top 8% of all higher education institutions around the country, and we placed #15 in Washington Monthly's "Best Bang for the Buck Ratings: West" list. Our tuition and fees are $7996 per year for full-time students, as compared to a national average of $12,341.


#11 One of the top 5 majors to graduate students at Chico State

At a time when nationally there are fewer people going to college, many majors in the CSU are shrinking. Our sociology program, however, continues to grow.  We graduated 154 students last year, putting us in the top 5 majors at Chico State by number of students graduated.

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#10 Your choice between on-campus and distance education programs

Choose between being an on-campus sociology major and a distance education sociology major. Our on-campus majors enjoy a face-to-face learning environment, casual conversation with our faculty outside of class time, an incredibly beautiful campus, and many fantastic events on campus and in the incredible community of Chico. Our distance-education majors enjoy the flexibility of a program that allows them to study from anywhere in the world. Many of our distance education majors work full-time and/or are caring for their children, and our distance education program allows them the balance between flexibility and structure to succeed in their educational pursuits.


#9 One of the oldest sociology distance education programs in the country

We didn't just jump on the online bandwagon in 2020 because of COVID. Our department started offering a distance education program to students in our region way back in the 1970's via closed circuit television and then satellite. In 2000, we went online, enabling us to reach students anywhere in the world. This means our department has more than 20 years experience delivering a high-quality online program. Our students benefit from our demonstrated know-how in structuring student learning in proven and effective ways to maximize opportunities for students' academic success. And, as technology continues to change, so do our classes, as we constantly strive to provide the same high quality education for our distance education students as we do for our on-campus students.

#8 Preparation for a wide range of career fields

Sociology is a field that provides a background in critical thinking, application of complex concepts to specific situations, and a nuanced understanding of some of the most pressing social issues facing our communities. Our students learn how to conduct research, analyze data, and express themselves verbally and in writing, all highly sought-after skills in the job market. We have a "skills" requirement that gives students concrete job skills that they can put on their resumes. Sociology students become social workers, therapists, public administrators, government officials, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, directors of nonprofits, and staff who work on college campuses in such areas as Student Life. We prepare students to find and secure these jobs after graduation with the course "Maneuvering the Job Market with a Sociology Degree.

#7 A range of different course modalities

We offer courses in a range of modalities to accommodate the needs, schedules, and learning styles of both our on-campus and distance education students. Some of our classes are on-campus only, but some of our on-campus classes are simultaneously Webcast, allowing online students to log in synchronously and participate live in the class with the on-campus students. For distance education students who work and can't join the class live, most of these classes are also recorded, so distance education students can watch the recording of the class. Other courses are offered entirely on Zoom, with some students logging in live and others watching recordings of the Zoom sessions. We also offer asynchronous classes, in which there is no meeting time, and students work through the week's videos, readings and assignments at their own pace during the week. We try to offer all of our core courses in a wide range of these modalities so that students can choose the format that works best for them.

#6 Faculty you can identify with

Our faculty are more diverse than in many other departments on campus. 62% of our tenured/tenure track faculty are people of color. We also have faculty who are first generation college students, identify as LGBTQ+, are older, are younger, have immigrated, are children of immigrants, are bilingual, have children, have chosen not to have children, have taken care of elderly or sick family members, have battled cancer or have chronic illness themselves, have learning disabilities, are religious, are not religious, have multiracial families... Add to this that five of our lecturers received their BA's in sociology here in our department, so have literally sat in your seat! Whatever your identities and experiences, all of our faculty are caring & empathic, and some of them will share similar identities and experiences as you.

#5 A diverse group of classmates

64% of our sociology majors are people of color, and our students span ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic classes, genders, physical abilities, and sexualities. This diversity results in rich, engaging dialog in classes with students who bring a variety of lived experiences to their study of sociology. And it means that no one is an outsider here--all are welcome, and all are supported, by students and faculty alike. Everyone can find a home in our department. For example, our oldest major returned to school after more than a 50-year hiatus, and graduated from our program at age 83!

#4 Our faculty love what they do

Across the board, our faculty love teaching. They get animated when talking about their classes and students. They are passionate about sociology, and sharing sociological ways of seeing the world. They are excited by conducting their own research, and sharing it with students. They are engaged in all kinds of activism and social justice work, both in the community and on campus. And they care deeply not only about students' academic success, but about their physical and emotional well-being.

#3 Our students love their sociology major

We hear it over and over again: our sociology majors love this major! On our yearly survey of senior students, they report being very satisfied with the major, the courses, and the faculty overall. Many choose to take more sociology classes than they are required to take, just because they love the subject matter. And our alumni tell us that the thing they miss most about college is having engaging conversations with other sociologists. 

#2 Award-winning faculty

Our sociology faculty include one of the campus's Outstanding Teaching Award (Nandi Crosby), Outstanding Lecturer (Marianne Paiva), and two winners of the Exemplary Online Instruction Award (Chunyan Song and Liahna Gordon). They are also top-notch researchers, and have won such awards as the prestigious Lantis Fellowship (Nik Janos), and the campus Professional Achievement Award (Dana Williams).

#1 Fantastic instructors with a wide range of teaching styles

Across the board, our instructors are fantastic, earning average teaching evaluations of 4.5 out of 5. Each instructor has a unique teaching style, which means that while perhaps not every teacher's style will be your favorite, every student can find faculty members whose style particularly fits for them. Whether you need a lot of structure or a lot of freedom; many smaller assignments or just a few larger ones; tests or creative assignments; power point lectures, discussion-based classes, or activity-based learning-- we have it all!