Course Number:
SOC 206
Transcript Title:
Social Problems
Aug 16, 2022
Jul 17, 2023
Total Credits:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture / Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement:
Satisfies General Education requirement:
Grading Options
A-F, P/NP, Audit
Default Grading Options
Repeats available for credit:

Placement into MTH 65 or MTH 98


WR 121 or WR 121Z

Course Description

Applies the sociological perspective to the study of social problems, including their identification, analyses of causes and consequences, and considerations of possible solutions. Explores topics such as inequality, poverty, crime and delinquency, substance abuse, discrimination, domestic violence, the environment, global stratification, and international conflict. Prerequisites: placement into MTH 65 or MTH 98. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121 or WR 121Z. Audit available.

Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Apply sociological perspectives and use their sociological imagination in analyzing the causes and consequences of social problems and evaluating social actions and policies.
  2. Identify and evaluate the impacts of social phenomena that cause social problems within societies. 
  3. Participate within societies as informed members, identifying and understanding social phenomena that impact social problems. 

Alignment with Institutional Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
Not Addressed
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)
4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Suggested Outcome Assessment Strategies

The determination of assessment strategies is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: writings (journals, self-reflections, pre writing exercises, essays), quizzes, tests, midterm and final exams, group projects, presentations (in person, videos, etc), self-assessments, experimentations, lab reports, peer critiques, responses (to texts, podcasts, videos, films, etc), student generated questions, Escape Room, interviews, and/or portfolios.

Department suggestions:
  1. Short analytical or application papers on specific concepts, themes, and issues.
  2. Term or research papers, using a variety of research strategies.
  3. Oral presentations.
  4. Group research, analysis, and presentation projects.
  5. Class participation in full-class discussions and small groups or teams.
  6. Response papers or journals reflecting on life experiences, events, and social phenomena.
  7. Service-learning tasks, involving service to community, reflection, and application of sociological perspective.
  8. Student-instructor conferences.
  9. Portfolios.
  10. Video projects.
  11. Oral histories and interviews.
  12. Field reports.
  13. Policy analysis and development.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content

  1. Social problem definitions and identification.
  2. The difference between social problems and personal troubles and the interaction between them.
  3. Culture, social organization, norms, deviance, and social control mechanisms considered in relation to social problems.
  4. Sociological theories and perspectives on social problems.
  5. Social change and social movements, related to social problems.
  6. Types of social problems: problems arising from value and norm conflicts, from social structure, from social change, and from social policy.
  7. Analysis of particular social problems, such as wealth and power distribution, demographic changes, poverty, abuse, addiction, harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes based on race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or social class, violence, crime and justice, environmental problems, global conflict and disasters, mental and physical health, illness and healthcare.
  8. Solution strategies, including human services, treatment and therapeutic communities, charity, social policy, legal system, voluntarism and community action, education and prevention, scientific research, and social movements.

Competencies and Skills

  1. Apply sociological approach and perspectives to a variety of social patterns and processes, specifically related to social problems.
  2. Hone critical thinking skills regarding the analysis of social problems.
  3. Observe and identify social problems, definitions of social problems, and responses to social problems.
  4. Integrate course work with current events and trends through examination of popular and news media.
  5. Apply social change theories to historical/contemporary social problems and policies.
  6. Write and communicate orally in a clear, organized, and effective manner.
  7. Use varied and effective research resources, techniques, and strategies.
  8. Develop and refine group process skills, which may include listening, brainstorming, communicating, negotiating, or cooperating on shared tasks.
  9. Develop ability to listen to and empathize with diverse perspectives and experiences.
  10. Develop and practice active citizenship skills in accordance with principles of democratic and inclusive process, social justice, and ecological sustainability.
  11. Apply a sociological perspective to the development of policies and actions to alleviate and solve social problems.
  12. Identify and locate agencies and resources that respond to social problems.

Suggested Texts and Materials

There is no standard text used by all instructors, but the department must approve all required texts.