ABOUT THE SCHOOL

Social Sciences Building

Arizona hosts one of the best sociology programs in the country as evidenced by the quality of the faculty and the recognition it receives. During the past 30 years, we have been consistently ranked in the top 25 of all sociology programs in the United States.

Mission

The overriding mission of the School of Sociology is to undertake all of its activities with excellence and distinction. Specifically, the School's tri-part mission includes relevant scholarship of the highest quality, undergraduate teaching and doctoral training, and service to the community, university and profession.

Programs Offered

Sociology at Arizona has a history of excellence in research and teaching, and has long been a wellspring of innovation in theory and methods.

Sociology explores and analyzes issues vital to our own lives, our communities, our nation, and the world. Our undergraduate majors provide a foundation for careers in many professional fields, and for graduate training as a sociologist in academia, government, business, and community agencies.

Our graduate training prepares students for careers in research and teaching. Our School is widely recognized as one of the top programs in the United States. Our faculty includes senior members who are nationally and internationally acknowledged authorities in their fields, and some of the best young scholars in the country.

We currently offer a B.A. in Sociology and a B.S. in Care, Health, & Society, as well as a new minor in Criminology. In 2019-20, the School hosts 553 undergraduate majors, 407 minors, and 45 graduate students.

According to our Academic Program Review in 2018, reviewers noted that “With its rich historical legacy, The School of Sociology is a gem for the University of Arizona…Arizona Sociology maintains a crucial position among sociology departments nationwide as an outstanding locus of research and graduate training.” 

History of the School

Sociology has been taught and practiced on the Arizona campus since the turn of the century. A Department of Sociology was established in 1943, and the first Ph.D. in sociology was awarded in 1972. In 1982, only ten years after Arizona awarded its first Ph.D. in sociology, an assessment of doctoral programs ranked the University of Arizona School of Sociology #9 out of 92 programs in the United States. According to the University of Arizona 2010 NRC-R rankings, the School of Sociology was the third highest ranked PhD program among all of the departments that were ranked at the UA. Among sociology PhD programs housed in public institutions we ranked #6, and among PhD programs housed in all institutions (public & private) we ranked #12.

School of Sociology BLM Statement

UA Sociology Statement on Black Lives Matter

 

The School of Sociology at the University of Arizona condemns the white supremacy, institutionalized racism, and state-sanctioned violence responsible for the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Dion Johnson, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and thousands of other Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. Black lives matter.

These murders evoke pain, terror, and grief, especially among Black people who have endured various forms of violence over hundreds of years of oppression. As sociologists, we know these murders are rooted in broader social structures, dynamics, and practices spanning centuries. They are a painful reminder that, in key respects, US society functions as a racialized system in which both overt (“old-fashioned”) and “color blind” racism continually affect our social institutions, organizations, and day-to-day lives.

Institutionalized white supremacy—weaponized wittingly or endorsed unwittingly by whites—has been a powerful and pervasive force of destruction for many peoples worldwide for centuries, and it remains so today. For Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in the US, racist actions, ideas, policies, and institutions have denied them equal educational and economic opportunities, stigmatized them as inferior, corroded their physical and psychological health, imprisoned them at alarming rates, shattered their families, destroyed their communities, and killed them. Anger, frustration, and despair are reasonable responses to the grief and terror that these communities have endured for centuries, yet these responses are all-too-often used to discredit and denigrate the reality of this pain.

Meanwhile, white people—especially the most privileged and including most of our own UA Sociology community—are often shielded from these realities. White people do not worry that a routine encounter with police may be fatal. White people need not worry that everyday interactions with business owners or fellow citizens may escalate simple, commonplace activities—walking, driving, enjoying a park—into lethal encounters. White people do not have to teach their children that their skin color makes them vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color bear the brunt of white supremacy, but all people pay a price. Racism has motivated white Americans to embrace public policies that are harmful to their own well-being, gutting education, healthcare, and social safety nets while expanding and militarizing law enforcement. This is not to ignore that white supremacy confers real, life-sustaining privileges to those society recognizes as white; it is to acknowledge the degradation of white humanity occurring alongside the dehumanization of others. The destruction of Black lives erodes our collective humanity.

Though we have inherited racist ideas and racist institutions—fueled and legitimized in no small part by white academics—we are not beholden to them. Change is neither easy nor comfortable, but it is possible. As sociologists, we recognize that racism transcends individual character: it is a complex network of ideologies, systems, behaviors, attitudes, policies, and power that we must all confront. Likewise, we recognize that transforming policing in American society will not eradicate racism or white supremacy. However, as an institution historically rooted in the slave patrols that violently controlled Black people in the South and vigilante groups and militias that violently oppressed Indigenous peoples and people of color throughout the US, public law enforcement remains central to the reproduction of racism and white supremacy. The formal and informal structures that protect the police from public scrutiny and prosecution are indefensible. They have facilitated police reliance on surveillance technologies and militarized tactics that have stolen lives, eroded rights, and devastated communities. Decades of research demonstrate decisively the urgency of transforming the police—whether through accountability reform, reduced funding, or pursuing alternative systems of public safety. Change requires all of us—especially white people—to rethink ourselves, our communities, and our institutions, and to commit to a practice of anti-racism.

As sociologists we teach and produce knowledge about inequality. Simultaneously, we inhabit a social institution (education) that contributes to the reproduction of inequality and the racist ideologies we now confront. We are especially aware that any lessons we learn from past and present anti-Black violence are meaningless unless we translate them into introspection and action. Silence is not an option. We are committed to developing a clear, concrete plan of action to implement in our School of Sociology in the coming months. This will be spearheaded by a new Diversity and Inclusion committee. Our efforts will be consistent with non-discrimination, freedom of expression, and academic freedom, all of which are vital to our goals.

The School of Sociology at the University of Arizona condemns white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racism. We stand in solidarity with the loved ones of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Dion Johnson, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and the many other victims of racism and police violence. And we stand in solidarity with all people who refuse to tolerate injustices in society.

Black lives matter.

June 15, 2020