Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Prepare to help solve social problems and formulate public policy with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bellarmine.

Our department embraces a strong social-justice philosophy and encourages student activism to bring about a more just and humane world. Our students develop strong analytical skills and knowledge of how social forces create and maintain inequalities by studying some of the most pressing social issues we face today. Sociology majors will have opportunities to conduct and present research, participate in service learning, and complete internships with local organizations in the Louisville area.

Why earn your sociology degree at Bellarmine?

We are an inclusive Catholic university that educates students—mind, body, and spirit—for meaningful lives, rewarding careers, ethical leadership, and service to improve the human condition. At Bellarmine, sensitivity to social justice issues and the role of social institutions in creating conditions of injustice are central to the sociology learning experience. The program will develop your full potential to make a positive contribution to the local community and the world at large.

Through a combination of rigorous coursework and hands-on learning opportunities, Bellarmine’s Sociology Program will prepare you for advanced study in graduate school and/or meaningful careers in fields related to sociology.

Read our Racial Justice Statement >>

Program Highlights

The Sociology major emphasizes a combination of rigorous classroom preparation in sociological theory and research with hands-on experience in the real world. Numerous students have presented scholarly papers at undergraduate research conferences around the Midwest. The program also embraces a strong social justice philosophy and encourages student activism.

In addition to applied and experiential classes which give practical and hands-on knowledge, selected humanities courses in philosophy, psychology, literature, and drama provide interpretations of issues involving society that can only be found in a liberal-arts education.

The Sociology Program is home to both the Anthropology Minor and the African and African American Diaspora Studies Minor. We also offer courses in Human Geography. These additional course offerings bring a critical cross-cultural perspective and allow students to tailor their major to meet their individual needs and interests. Many of our sociology majors combine their interest in Sociology with other disciplines, for example, by minoring in Anthropology or African and African American Diaspora Studies, or completing a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice, Psychology, Communications, Political Science, Business, or some other field of interest.

Learning Goals

  1. Sociology graduates will demonstrate a fundamental grasp of classic and contemporary theories of society and their origins with the founders of the discipline.
  2. Sociology graduates will identify connections between theory and research in the construction of scientific knowledge.
  3. Students will demonstrate proficiency with fundamental data analysis.
  4. Students will express sociological ideas clearly and coherently both in writing and in oral presentations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What courses are required to complete the program?
Required core courses for major: SOC 101, SOC 235, SOC 290, SOC 301, SOC 305, SOC 323, and SOC 410; PLUS choose three courses (nine credits) from the following: ANTH 215; ANTH 325; CJS 100; SOC 202; SOC 306; SOC 341; SOC 410; SOC 419; SOC 444/445
Required related courses: MATH 205. Sociology majors must also complete six credits of a foreign language or satisfy the Bellarmine College of Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Arts foreign language proficiency requirement.
Up to twenty-one additional elective Sociology, Anthropology, or Geography hours may be taken.
*Note: SOC 341 is a special topics course and may be taken multiple times as long as the topics are different.
Required core courses for minor: SOC 101, SOC 290, SOC 301, SOC 410, and six additional credit hours from other offerings in Sociology, Anthropology, or Geography.

What employment opportunities are available with a sociology degree?
The Sociology Program provides students with practical and marketable skills for a competitive and ever-changing job market. Our students develop critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills, as well as an ability to communicate complex ideas in writing and oral presentations. Our graduates are also versed in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. As a result, there is tremendous variety in the kinds of careers students pursue after graduation. Graduates with a sociology degree can find employment in the following areas: the business sector; community services; higher education; law; health services; and local, state, or federal social services. Below is a sample of career paths sociology graduates may pursue based on their individual skills and interests:

  • Consumer and Marketing Research
  • Public Relations
  • Human Resources (personnel management)
  • Non-Profit Agencies
  • Survey Research
  • Urban Planning
  • Community Development
  • Policy Analyst
  • Group Advocacy (e.g. patient or victim advocacy)
  • University Recruitment, Admissions, or Advising
  • University Student Affairs
  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Judicial Affairs
  • Probation and Parole Administration
In addition, many students complete a bachelor’s degree in sociology before pursuing a graduate degree in sociology, social work, law, criminal justice, or other related fields.

Do you provide job or internship placement?
Yes. Bellarmine guarantees every student the opportunity to have an internship, develop a career plan and build a professional network. The following are a few of the organizations that have provided part-time internship positions for Bellarmine Sociology students:

  • The Family Place
  • The Center for Women and Families
  • The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office
  • The State Data Center
  • United Way
  • Dare to Care
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • The Spouse Abuse Center
  • Child Protective Services
  • Dismas halfway houses
  • The Louisville Police’s Child Abuse and Exploitation Unit
  • Kentucky State Reformatory
  • The Kentucky Department of Probation and Parole
  • The Public Defender’s Office
  • The FBI

Is financial aid available?
Please go to Bellarmine’s financial aid website for detailed information on financial aid packages. Additionally, students can work with our Faculty Development Center to apply for grants and awards outside of the Bellarmine offerings.

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?
Each student has their own learning style so this can vary greatly. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend an average of two hours studying for every hour you spend in class.

Alumna Story

Darian Deaver Combs

“Bellarmine helped prepare me for a career in Sociology through practical knowledge taught in the classroom, assigned projects and field work that developed my understanding of the world around me, and encouragement every step of the way. This equipped me to serve my clients to the best of my ability. I'm so grateful for my experience at Bellarmine.”

Darian Deaver Combs ’17
Family Support Specialist
Department of Community Based Services
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Career Prospects

Graduates of Bellarmine’s Sociology Department have had successful careers in administrative or research positions in various social agencies; in corrections; in counseling adult and juvenile offenders; in police work, including the FBI and other law enforcement agencies; and in private-sector business enterprises such as marketing and sales. Many also go on to complete graduate work in sociology, social work, and related disciplines, or to enter law school.

Student Highlight

Becca Broda

Sociology student Becca Broda recognized for work on food justice. Click to listen to her interview.

On- and Off-Campus Experiences

The Compassio Learning Community is designed for students who wish to engage in dialogue and experiences focused on four pillars: compassion, civic engagement, civility and community. It challenges students to think morally and ethically about issues of social justice so that they may be more enlightened citizens of a diverse and inclusive community. The CLC educates students in issues of social justice by engaging in meaningful and lasting service to the community. Students in this community should have a special interest in creating a more inclusive society and be willing to engage in challenging dialogue about current societal issues of injustice and intolerance.

Service learning is an increasing component of classes in sociology, criminal justice studies, and anthropology, involving students in projects outside the classroom where they can engage the diverse communities that make up Louisville. These reciprocal relationships allow us to move beyond textbooks to learn about social, cultural, economic, and political issues, while making meaningful contributions to our city.

Faculty Profiles

Here is a quick snapshot of a few of our faculty members. Read profiles of all of our distinguished faculty.

Frank Hutchins

Frank Hutchins, Ph.D.
Frank Hutchins is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Bellarmine. He earned his BA from the University of Kentucky, his MA from the Patterson School of Diplomacy at UK, and his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on cultural change among indigenous peoples in the Amazonian and Andean regions of Ecuador. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador and continues to do research and work there as director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Field School in Ecuador for the Study of Language, Culture, & Community Health. At Bellarmine, he teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Introduction to Human Geography; Anthropology of Mind and Body; Anthropology of the Supernatural and Sacred; Anthropology and the Environment; and Theory and Methods in Anthropology. Dr. Hutchins also serves as coordinator of the IDC 301 courses. He is the co-editor, along with Dr. Patrick Wilson, of Editing Eden: A Reconsideration of Identity, Politics, and Place in Amazonia (University of Nebraska Press, 2010). He is a native of Bardstown, Ky., and he and his wife, Christine, have a daughter, Anna.

Office: Pasteur Hall 110A • 502.272.8393 •

Dr. Ainsley Lambert-Swain

Dr. Ainsley Lambert-Swain
Originally from Louisville, Ainsley Lambert-Swain earned her B.A. in sociology from Morehead State University, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati. She joined the faculty at Bellarmine University as an assistant professor of Sociology in 2018. She teaches several sociology courses, including Introduction to Sociology, Social Inequality, Contemporary Social Problems, Race and Ethnicity, and the introductory course for the African and African American Diaspora Studies Minor. Her research interests include racial and ethnic inequality in the U.S., critical race theory, and racial identity processes, including how racial identities are negotiated in interaction. Her current research examines how partners in interracial relationships understand and navigate racial meanings across racially segregated spaces. At her previous institution and during her time here at Bellarmine, she has dedicated herself to creating an inclusive campus, serving on university committees and leading workshops on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is a member of the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. When she is not teaching or doing research, she enjoys traveling to new places, trying new foods, and spending time with her family.

Office: Pasteur Hall 108C • 502.272.8172 •

Heather Pruss

Heather Pruss, Ph.D.
Heather Pruss earned her BA and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. She has taught courses on a wide variety of topics, including (Introduction to) Criminal Justice, Criminological Theory, Research Methods, Courts, Capital Punishment, and Law & Society. At Bellarmine, she hopes to develop new courses focused on pertinent social/criminal justice issues, such as wrongful conviction or defending the accused. Broadly speaking, Heather’s research focuses on how oft-marginalized individuals experience the United States court system. She has done work on how capital jurors make life or death decisions, how indigent clients perceive their public defenders, and how family members and friends of homicide victims navigate case adjudication. Heather looks forward to engaging with students and community members through her research agenda and has a strong interest in experiential approaches to pedagogy.

Heather enjoys spending time outdoors, especially with her partner and their animal pack. She grew up in nearby Santa Claus, Indiana.

Office: Pasteur Hall 108A • 502.272.8241 •

Crash Course Sociology Preview

Still not sure if sociology is right for you? This video explains what sociologists do in just over a minute.


Bellarmine University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees.

Study Abroad

Bellarmine offers a wide variety of study abroad options around the globe. Learn what opportunities are available to you on our Study Abroad and International Programs site.

Contact Information

Dr. Frank Hutchins, Program Director
502.272.8393 or

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