Two students sit on the lawn outside of Kendall Hall enjoying their lunch pizza.


Chatting with co-workers at lunch, visiting family, participating in a campus club—these are just some of the places you can practice the power of the sociological imagination and storytelling to contribute to some of the biggest challenges our society faces, from racial justice to gender equity, climate change, labor movements, immigration, LGBTQ+ issues, gender inequality, and sexualized violence.

The Sociology Department trains students in critical thinking, data collection and analysis, and a social justice perspective that highlights movements seeking equality in terms of race, class, and gender and sexuality. Our program specializes in seeking to question and explore intra- and inter-group conflict, micro- and macro-social forces, and qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Students learn to reflect on their own situatedness but also how to practice sociological empathy that enables them to act as global citizens and allies to underrepresented groups. By the end of the program, students are well-versed in the skills of public sociology, which blends sociological data, theory, and perspectives, rendering them useful for nonsociologists in addressing current social issues. Our students are adept at doing sociology in any setting they find themselves in.

Join a passionate and student-centered faculty and a diverse and engaged student body to challenge received ideology and build a better world.


On-campus majors enjoy a face-to-face learning environment and casual conversation with our faculty outside of class time. Because the on-campus program uses a cohort model, students get to know each other and create community within the major, while still maintaining the option to take one or two classes online each semester if they wish.

Students who live outside of the Chico area enroll in our distance education program—one of the oldest online majors in the CSU. This distance education program allows students to get a Chico State degree from anywhere in the world. Many distance education majors work full-time and/or are raising children, so our online program strikes a balance between students' need for flexibility and structure to succeed in their educational pursuits.

Committed to the notion that data alone doesn’t tell a story, students learn how to merge data and theory to frame problems and solutions to local, national, and global phenomena. Students learn how to collect and work with data, and in doing so, become better consumers of information, and develop job skills in gathering and analyzing data. A unique year-long theory sequence of courses allows students to learn about the foundational classical social theories that underpin our understanding of modernity followed by foundational contemporary theories that shake up our understanding of contemporary social life.

Our curriculum offers the chance to focus on micro, social-psychological scales or on macro, planetary scales. Although race, class, and gender underpin every course in our curriculum, the department offers specialized classes in all three. Additionally, major elective courses apply theories of race, class, and gender inequality in various contexts.

Because students normally take our methods and theory sequences at the beginning of their junior year, they can expect to take multiple classes with many of the same classmates. This allows students to develop meaningful connections and helpful relationships. Other opportunities for connection include the student-run Sociological Association of Chico State (SACS) for on-campus students, the Online Sociological Association of Chico State (OSACS) for online majors, our Chico chapter of the national sociology honors society AKD, and the honors program in the major, where students work with individual faculty to complete an honors thesis.


Students graduate from our program with passion and concrete skills. Hands-on courses that focus on grant writing, internships, and research practice prepare students for life after graduation by developing actionable skills beyond critical thinking. Our unique course on maneuvering the job market with a sociology degree helps students identify careers in which they can thrive and teaches them how to secure jobs in these fields.

Some alumni work for regional, national, and global nonprofit organizations. Others pursue careers in teaching; university life; nursing; medicine; nonprofits, public, and private administration; and cutting-edge technology. Some go on to master’s and doctorate programs in sociology and become professors or professional researchers. We are both proud and honored that some of our alumni have returned to teach in our department.

Our graduates gain the skills and tools to practice sociological thinking in any career or social environment they enter. Our students, wherever they end up, are on the front lines of social change.