Earlham’s sociology/anthropology (SoAn) program provides you with a broad and deep understanding of how humans interact with and are shaped by society and culture. You also have the option to pursue a concentration in applied social sciences, which emphasizes ways sociology and anthropology can be applied to improve well-being in societies. This concentration prepares you for careers in public policy, urban planning and public health.

As a sociology/anthropology major, you will engage in your own independent projects. Earlham students have studied a broad range of topics including the campus response to a pandemic, life histories of immigrant women and the history of race in Argentina.

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of sociology/anthropology majors from the classes of 2017-2019 were working within six months of graduation.
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Top jobs for 2017-2019 graduates were in community and social services, political organizing and administration.

Many sociology/anthropology alumni pursue volunteer opportunities with the Peace Corps, Teach for America, City Year, Americorps and Quaker Voluntary Service.

Critical perspectives and skills for understanding contemporary life

The sociology/anthropology program at Earlham is continually exploring new topics and current issues, both in the classroom and through collaborative faculty-student research projects.

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Ethnography lab

In the Ethnography Lab you will find our SoAn student workers analyzing data for collaborative research projects with faculty, creating visualizations and chatting about Marx and Weber. You can also come here for tips on your own sociological and anthropological work.

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Career preparation

You also have the option to pursue a concentration in applied social sciences, which emphasizes ways sociology and anthropology can be applied to improve well-being in societies. This concentration prepares you for careers in public policy, urban planning and public health.

Sociology/anthropology faculty

Our faculty

We are sociologists and anthropologists who are deeply engaged in teaching and research on a wide range of topics from hunting dogs in Tennessee, acupuncture and the Black Panthers to racial segregation, homeownership and the American Dream.

Program details

The study of sociology/anthropology at Earlham provides you with a strong framework for understanding humans and society. Alumni have found successful and rewarding careers in schools, social service and community development organizations, public health initiatives, business and nonprofit settings, government agencies and human rights organizations.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements.

Sociology/anthropology majors must complete at least 40 credits in the department, of which up to four credits may be at the 100 level.

The following classes are normally* required of all majors:

  • Core Requirement
    • SOAN 217: Foundations in Social Thought: Second Year Seminar
  • Methods
    • SOAN 345: Social Research Methods OR SOAN 346 & 347: Fieldwork and Ethnographic Methods I & II
  • Theory
    • SOAN 341 Contemporary Social Thought
  • Capstone Experience
    • SOAN 488: Senior Capstone Experience


  • 21 credits of SOAN courses
    • Including no more than three courses below the 300-level
    • May not include more than four credits at the 100 level
    • May include the optional course SOAN 487 – Senior Thesis

Note: SOAN 487 Senior Thesis is an optional course that may not be counted towards the major.

Note: In cases where a different configuration would strengthen your course of study in the major, the department will work with you to develop an appropriate alternative.

We strongly encouraged you to include an internship and/or foreign study as part of your studies. If majoring in sociology/anthropology, you may take up to four credits in other departments or on off-campus programs at the discretion of your departmental adviser (and according to departmental criteria established for off-campus programs).

Normally, we expect you to complete a research methods course by the end of your junior year. In addition, in the spring semester of junior year, students meet with departmental faculty to discuss the Senior Capstone Experience requirement.

View a full list of So/An courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in sociology/anthropology, you must complete the following courses:

A minimum of 20 credits, which must include:

  • An introductory course
  • A course in Social Thought


  • 12 credits of upper-level SOAN courses

Note: No more than one course that counts toward your major or another minor may count toward the minor in sociology/anthropology. Also, at the discretion of the department, one sociology or anthropology course from an off-campus study program may be applied toward the minor. You may file a written petition with the department if requesting a reasonable exception.

View a full list of So/An courses and their descriptions.

The concentration in applied social sciences is an option for sociology/anthropology majors who wish to develop hands-on experience that will allow them to pursue careers in public policy, urban planning and public health. The concentration emphasizes the ways sociology and anthropology can be applied to improve wellbeing in societies.

To pursue the concentration in applied social sciences, you must complete the following:

  • Applied Experience:
    • SOAN 481: Internships, Field Studies and other Field Experiences


  • Two Designated Applied Courses:
    • SOAN 333: Medical Anthropology and Global Health
    • SOAN 335: Health, Medicine and Society (4 credits)
    • SOAN 356: Social Deviance (4 credits)
    • SOAN 371: Sociology of Education (4 credits)
    • SOAN 101: Introduction to Social Work (3 credits)
    • SOAN 215: Identity and Social Movements (4 credits)
    • SOAN/AAAS 140: Urban Sociology (4 credits)
    • SOAN 3XX: The Family, Social Welfare and Society (proposed)

Capstone Requirement: 

In the senior capstone course, you will reflect on your practical internship or field study experience in your senior thesis.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Yes! We encourage you to consider off-campus study. Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.

Sociology/anthropology majors are interested in exploring questions of humanity and human society. If you enjoy engaging with questions about society and culture and want to seek out ways to improve human society through your studies, internships and careers, the sociology/anthropology major would be a great fit for you.

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