Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years, students have similar questions about the best ways to successfully complete their requirements as a Sociology major or minor. To alleviate students’ anxiety and better understand departmental procedures and guidelines, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. Department changes its guidelines periodically to improve the process. As such, students should check this website for changes.

Initial Steps

Q: When should I declare my major?

A: In order to ensure that sociology major or minor is the appropriate track for students, prospective majors or minors are strongly advised to have taken a 100-level and a 200-level sociology course before declaring Sociology as their major or minor. We advise students to take a 100-level course in their first year and at least one 200-level sociology course before the Spring of their second year.

Q: What is the difference among Soc 101, Soc 102 and Soc 103?

A: Sociology 101, 102 and 103 are all equivalent; students should only take one of these. Any one of these as introductory courses serves as the prerequisite to all other sociology courses.

Q: Is there a minimum grade I need to earn in one of the Soc 100-level courses?

A: If a student earns lower than a C in Soc 101, Soc 102, or Soc 103, that student may continue to take Soc 200-level courses but that student will not be able to continue as a sociology major or minor.

Q: As a sociology major or minor, what should I do if I did not earn a C or higher in one of the Soc 100-level courses?

A: If that happens, a student has two options. A student can either retake the course to earn the required minimum grade or change his or her major or minor.

Upper-level Sociology Courses:

Q: How many upper-level sociology courses are required for the major?

A: Sociology major has two required core upper level-courses which students usually complete at Gettysburg College.

Q: When should I start taking these upper-level sociology courses?

A: The prerequisite for upper-level theory is Soc 296. The prerequisite for the senior seminar and thesis courses are Soc 296, 298, and 299. Students should plan on taking these courses by the end of their junior year.

Q: Is there a minimum grade requirement in upper-level courses for a sociology major?

Students must earn at least a C or higher in Soc 296 in order to continue as a Sociology major because it is the prerequisite for the upper-level theory course required of Sociology majors.

Q: Can I retake Soc 296 if I fail to get a C or higher in the course?

A: Students have only one chance to earn that grade. If a student fails to earn a C or higher in Soc 296, then that student will have to change their major.

Q: Can I take these upper-level sociology courses outside of Gettysburg College?

A: Our policy is that these must be completed at Gettysburg College, and exceptions to this policy are rarely allowed.

Course Sequencing:

Q: How often are Soc 296, Soc 298, and Soc 299 offered during an academic year?

A: At least one section of Soc 292 and Soc 298 are offered every semester. Soc 299 is only offered once a year.

Q: How often are upper-level theory courses offered during an academic year?

A: At least one advanced theory course is offered every semester. The topic of each course may vary semester by semester. Students will be able to choose the appropriate course depending on their interest, whether they have the prerequisite, and their course load in that semester.

Q: How often are senior seminars offered during an academic year?

A: At least one senior seminar is offered every semester. Students take this seminar in their senior year. Students should participate in pre-preregistration to state their preferred semester for that course. While we cannot guarantee students will be placed in their preferred semester, we will try our best to accommodate students’ preferences.

Q: What should I consider if and when I try to plan ahead to fulfill my major or minor requirements?

A: Students should plan ahead to make sure that they will have the appropriate prerequisites completed to progress to the next stage in the sequence at the appropriate time, particularly if they plan to study abroad or are combining Sociology with another major or several minors.

Q: If I think I have a valid reason, can I request to take courses out of sequence?

A: The Sociology major is organized with a series of prerequisites and sequencing of courses to help students progress from elementary sociological analysis to more complex and sophisticated analyses. This sequencing is not negotiable.

Q: What would be some of the less desirable outcomes?

A: Even with planning, the department may not be able to offer courses at times that best fit the students’ course schedules. In the worst-case scenario, students may face the tough decision of focusing on completing fewer majors and or minors.

Courses taken outside of the Sociology Department at Gettysburg College

Q: What WGS courses can count as sociology electives?

A: The following six courses can be counted as sociology 200 – level electives. In addition, #5 and #6 can be used to in place of our advanced theory requirement for double majors (SOC and WGS). #1 can be used as our Anthropology substitute. These decisions only apply to students who double major in WGS ad Sociology. This does not apply to minors.

  1. WGS / LACLS / ANTH 231: Gender and Change in Africa and Afro-Latin America
  2. WGS 226 - Feminism in Global Perspective
  3. WS 230 - Women and Development
  5. WGS 300A: Theories
  6. WGS 310 Queer Theories

Q: How many courses can I take outside of Gettysburg College that will count toward my Sociology major or minor?

A: In total, Sociology accepts no more than two courses taken outside of Gettysburg College for credit towards the major or minor. Please keep this in mind when you are planning to transfer credits from summer schools and or when you are studying aboard.

Q: Will Sociology accept online courses?

A: Students should not take online sociology courses for Gettysburg College credit. These are generally not accepted for transfer credit by the College, and they are unlikely to be accepted by the department.

Q: If I plan to take courses at another institution, what should I do?

A: Students are responsible for verifying with the Registrar’s Office whether that course taken outside of Gettysburg College will be equivalent to a full credit at Gettysburg College. Many courses at other colleges do not count as a full course credit toward graduation at Gettysburg College. The Sociology department is only responsible for approving whether the course will count towards the major.

Q: What course cannot be taken outside of Gettysburg College?

A: These six courses cannot be taken outside of Gettysburg College: Soc 296, Soc 298, Soc 299, the inequality course requirement, the upper-level theory, and senior seminar.

Miscellaneous Advice…

Q: What is pre-pre-registration?

A: Each spring, the Sociology Department conducts a pre-pre-registration for declared majors and minors to help them get into the sociology classes they want and need. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in the departmental pre-pre-registration; no special accommodations in sociology course selection will be made for those who do not participate.

Q: Is there a difference which faculty member is teaching a course?

A: Students are strongly encouraged to take classes with full-time faculty. This will help students to develop mentoring relationships with department faculty and may open doors to research opportunities. In the past, students have attended conferences and presented their research in various US cities, and in Thailand, Singapore, Sweden, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Q: Are there other activities I should engage in in the department besides taking courses?

A: The department offers many opportunities for students to develop as a scholar and professionally. Research opportunities, professional conference presentations, field trips and more are available to students. To get more information on various opportunities, please consult Sociological Experience, our student club, for more information.