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SOC 4720 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SOC 4720 - Sociological Theory

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This class is designed for students to examine the contributions of classical and contemporary sociological theory. You will review theories that span from the 19th to the 21st century through readings and discussions, and learn how these theories affect your lives.. 

Course Outcomes:

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

  • To become familiar with some of the basic sociological perspectives: Structural Functionalism, Critical Theory, Symbolic Interaction Theory and Dramaturgy, Exchange and Rational Choice Theories, Phenomenology, and Poststructuralism.
  • To be able to define and apply the basic theoretical terms and concepts used in sociology.
  • To be able to think and write from a critical perspective.
  • To learn some of the fundamental theories key to the field of Sociology.
  • To develop the ability to examine different perspectives outside of one's current worldview. This does not mean accepting a different perspective but it does mean trying to understand it.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

It is highly recommended that students take Introduction to Sociology before signing up for this class. You must be able to read and write at the college level.

Course Topics:
  • Karl Marx
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Max Weber
  • Georg Simmel 
  • W. E. B. Du Bois
    Herbert George Mead
  • Structural Functionalism: Talcott Parsons and Robert Merton
  • Critical Theory: Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Jurgen Habermas, Patricia Hill Collin
  • Exchange and Rational Choice Theories: George Homans, Peter Blau, James Coleman
  • Symbolic Interactionism and Dramaturgy: Erving Goffman and Arlie Hochschild
  • Phenomenology: Alfred Schutz, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, Dorothy Smith
  • Poststructuralism: Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Edward Said
Specific Course Requirements:

Students should have basic computer skills including the use the Internet, email, and a word processing application (Word, WordPerfect, etc.). To view some of the readings, they should have access to Adobe Acrobat Reader and the PowerPoint Viewer. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Title: Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. 
Authors: Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 
Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press.
Year: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-19-953300-8

This book is recommended, not required. A Sociology dictionary is useful for a quick check on the definition of a concept. Particularly when you are reviewing for your final Web-based material available through links within the course units

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Letter grades for this course will be assigned based on the following scale.

Point RangeAssigned Grade
1575 - 1750 pointsA
1400 - 1574 pointsB
1225 - 1399 pointsC
1050 - 1224 pointsD
under 1049 pointsF

Graded Items

7 discussions @ 100 points each700
7 assignments @ 100 points each700
7 quizzes @ 50 points350
Total Points1750


Grading Scale:
Assignments and Projects:

You can find specific information about each assignment in the "Table of Contents" under the heading Assignment Instructions.

Student grades will be based on the results of assignments, discussions, and quizzes: (Detailed instructions for each assessment will be provided in the course content section).

The Quizzes will be 50 questions (50 points) containing true/false and multiple choice 

questions. You will have the option to re-take the quiz once. The highest grade out of the 2 attempts will be kept. Quizzes will be timed.

The student will also participate in discussion forums to share perspectives with classmates and to evaluate the perspectives of others. Since the most effective techniques for analyzing and learning about sociology come from writing and discussing what we have read, a large portion of your grade will come from these discussions. Additionally, these discussions focus on helping students meet several of the course objectives and specific module objectives. The student's discussions will be graded on BOTH frequencies of participation in each forum and quality of input. Responding to a classmate’s discussion posting is required to be eligible for full credit. The instructor will also be an active participant in the discussion forums.

The assignments will involve analyzing and critiquing sociological theoretical frameworks being, as well as exploring the student's comprehension and interpretation of the ideas in the works read for class. The essay, then, will offer an in-depth analysis of the student's comprehension and interpretation of theories and theorists in the works we have read, placing them in the context of the student's real-world environment. Specific requirements will be revealed in the individual assignment guidelines.

This class will be using Turnitin. Turnitin is an online plagiarism detection service that matches submitted papers to a text-matching database consisting of traditional publications, Internet publications, and other TN eCampus student papers. It is a useful tool for learning proper summary, paraphrase, and quotation skills in addition to identifying overt instances of plagiarism. Further information and instructions can be found at and Turnitin for Brightspace Students.

Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes are due at various stages of the semester as indicated in the course content section.

Class Participation:

Pay close attention to your course Calendar, and use the Checklist function to keep abreast of upcoming due dates. Login to the course a minimum of three times a week.

Late Policy:

D2L is set up so that late work will not be accepted. If you have a serious emergency and know that you will not turn in the assignment on time, you must let your instructor know in advance of the due date, or at the very least, on the date that the event occurs as long as it is before or on the due date.

Your instructor will not accept any late work if you have not first discussed the problem with him/her, and he/she reserves the right to refuse late work if he/she does not deem your excuse valid.
If the submission is allowed, late work will be reduced one-half letter grade per day it is late.
All work must be submitted through the Dropbox in D2L to be considered for a grade (or in the proper channels per the instructor).

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 25, 2018