Undergraduate Program


Have you ever wondered why some people go hungry in the midst of plenty? How population changes and new industrial production practices affect Wisconsin’s environment? Do you care about the survival of community cultures or local food production in an increasingly globalized and homogenized world? Would you like to learn about new strategies for promoting social, economic, and environmental sustainability?

If so, a major in Community and Environmental Sociology may be what you are looking for.

Sociology is the study of how societies are organized and change, and how the organization of society and social changes affect individuals, groups, and communities. Faculty and staff in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology provide a broad view of how forces such as new technologies, globalization, changing social values, public policies, and the rise of new social movements are related to each other. In addition, we study local and practical issues such as community change, the interaction of humans and the environment, applied demography, the social issues of science and technology, and the design of more locally oriented food systems.

Faculty in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology teach about a wide range of issues, including agrofood systems, community development, environmental sociology, applied demography, science and technology studies, and the sociology of labor markets.

The faculty in the department are committed to providing a quality educational experience for undergraduates. Each of our majors is assigned a faculty advisor, and professors meet with their advisees each semester to provide guidance in course selection and the overall design of each student’s academic program.

Many courses offered by the Department of Sociology are cross-listed with the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, and Community and Environmental Sociology majors thus have a very wide range of courses available to them for satisfying degree requirements. In addition, Community and Environmental Sociology students often build on their major by selecting one of the certificate programs available from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences or from other UW-Madison colleges.

Findings from the 2007 follow-up of a 2005 survey of senior sociology majors show that more sociology BAs are working, that many are employed in social services or administration and management, and that how closely current activities are related to sociology impacts overall satisfaction with the major. View this report on the ASA website. Visit the ASA Jobs and Career page for other reports on jobs and careers in sociology.

Findings from two UW surveys show 90% of Letters & Science alumni, including Sociology majors, are either employed full time, attending graduate school, or employed and continuing their education. Many of the benefits from their degree also apply to Community & Environmental Sociology majors. Most of the alumni said that obtaining and processing information, verbal communication, and working in a team structure are required for their jobs. These skills are often developed during the Community and Environmental Sociology classes. The full report from both surveys are available at http://ls.wisc.edu/documents/201213_LS_Career_Outcomes_Report.pdf and http://ls.wisc.edu/documents/200306_LS_Career_Outcomes_Report.pdf.

Requirements for the major:

  • Stats 301, Stats 371, Economics 310, Psychology 210, Psychology 280, Geography 360, Political Science 551, Math Stats 310, and General Business 303 can be substituted for the C&E Soc 360 requirement. Please be aware that Math Stats 310 and General Business 303 don’t fulfill the Quant B requirement.
  • All of our majors take a “capstone course” toward the end of their undergraduate studies. One capstone section is always “community-engaged”, with students engaging in a large impactful research project with a community group. Students have had the chance to be part of amazing projects. Five years ago the very first offering of the capstone worked with a diverse group of residents in southwest Madison who wanted to establish a new community center for their youth. The capstone class worked with residents on research to learn about zoning, building code, and accessibility law. And they studies how other community centers operated so that residents could put together a proposal to the city government. A second capstone class (because goals like this take time to achieve) did research with residents to learn not just what they would want from such a center but also what talents they could bring. The residents took that research and got a unanimous vote from the Madison City Council and there is now a new community center on Theresa Terrace in Madison. Two years ago another capstone class worked with Neighborhood House–Madison’s oldest community center. Digging in archives and interviewing people, the students’ pieced together all 100 years of Neighborhood House’s history in time for their centennial celebration in 2016. This past year another capstone class worked with the Urban Community Arts Network–a group of Hip-Hop artists and their supporters–to study the question of whether Hip-Hop performances were more associated with violence than other music genres. The students started with a database of eight years of police data on calls from all the bars in Madison–over 4,000 calls. They then added information on whether there was a music performance for each call, and what genre it was. The results, which found that Hip-Hop is not associated with greater violence than other genres, made a local media splash and helped UCAN convince the city government to establish an entertainment equity task force. And the project received a University of Wisconsin-Madison Community-University Partnership Award as a best example of The Wisconsin Idea.

Internship Opportunities:

Certificate Programs:

In addition, Community and Environmental Sociology students often build on their major by selecting one of the certificate programs available from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences or from other UW-Madison colleges.

Relevant options include:

Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS)

The Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) provides a variety of free resources for students interested in receiving or providing tutoring, forming study groups, improving their study skills, enhancing foreign language skills and inter cultural exchange. Being a volunteer tutor or Conversational English partner for GUTS is also a great way for students to enhance their resumes. Click here to learn more about the programs they provide to students.

Program Advising Service

For departmental advising services, prospective students are welcome to attend drop-in advising at the following times: