Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender, and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture (American Sociological Association, 21st Century Careers with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology, 2014).

At the University of Dubuque, your studies will take you into analyzing patterns and inequities in social life - and the ways in which people systemically resist, change, and develop their life changes. Sociologists intersect with people, society, cultures, and organizations. You will develop the knowledge and skills to become an informed, effective, and responsible leader, while embracing diversity in your community, society, and the world. Upon graduating, you will be ready to build a career in human and social services, not-for-profit organizations, government, and a wide array of other professional fields. You will also be prepared to continue with graduate studies.

Making a Difference Through the Study of Sociology
Students and faculty at UD are active in the classroom and in the community. Their work contributes to advancement in multiple and diverse arenas, such as equity and sovereignty movements among Dakota people in Minnesota and the identification and community awareness of human trafficking. Sociology students are active at many levels, conducting research into current issues identified by field professionals. While at UD, sociology students have developed models to aid in the identification and reduction of food deserts in Iowa as well as a better understanding of community policing initiatives. They have also contributed to the advancement of educational equity through art- and poetry-based learning models as well as providing a better understanding of the collective and individual rights of marginalized populations.

Degree Distinctive

Sociology faculty offer elective courses in human trafficking awareness and prevention, cultural anthropology, history of the Black Hawk War, and contemporary indigenous sovereignty movements in Minnesota and Hawaii along with standard sociology classes in race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity in historical and present perspective. As a Sociology major, you will study classical theorists such as Jane Addams, James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Ida B. Wells, and Virginia Woolf in direct relation to contemporary writers and theorists such as Gloria Anzaldua, Eula Biss, Ta-Nahisi Coates, Owen Fiss, and Audre Lorde.  Students have the opportunity to publish their undergraduate work in UD's international online journal, The Collonade, and each year complete literature reviews on hot topic questions as provided to our students by professionals in the field. Growing your professional resume is a part of every class.

Career Opportunities

Sociology graduates enter a variety of positions in community and mental health services, such as schools, Red Cross, AmeriCorps, counseling centers, Department of Human Services, youth and family service agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, and government. Many students choose to continue their studies at the graduate level seeking careers in social work, psychology, law, criminal justice, as professors in higher education, and in other related disciplines.


Sociology Faculty/Staff

Ben Bartels

Ben BartelsDirector for the Mediation Team and Moot Court Programs

Phone: 563.589.3562 Fax: 563.589.3576 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 317 Severance Hall


JD, Loyola University; MAE, University of Iowa.

Shea ChapinAssistant Professor of Law

Phone: 563.589.3562 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 228 Charles C. Myers Library

Kim Hilby

Kim HilbyAssistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Phone: 563.589.3718 Fax: 563.589.3576 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 227 Charles C. Myers Library


MSW, St. Ambrose University; BA, Loras College.

Alice Oleson

Alice OlesonAssociate Professor of Sociology

Phone: 563.589.3307 Fax: 563.589.3576 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 226 Charles C. Myers Library


PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison; MA, University of Wisconsin - Madison; BA, University of Iowa.

John Shook

John ShookDepartment of Sociology and Criminal Justice Head: Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Phone: 563.589.3452 Fax: 563.589.3576 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 231 Dunlap Technology Center


MPA, Ohio State University; BS, Penn State University.

Kyung Yon JhiAssistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Phone: 563.589.3457 Department: Sociology and Criminal Justice Office: 225 Charles C. Myers Library