Photo of sociologists speaking at the International Roundtable.


Our lab? The world.

Why are things the way they are? By studying the context of people’s lived experience—from family life to complex organizations—you will learn the hows and whys of power and inequality, social norms, and social change

In sociology, you will be trained in multiple methods of quantitative and qualitative research so you can research and understand issues like migration, border security, wealth gaps, education, eviction, incarceration, identity, and political participation. In our department, faculty members’ doors are always open for you, and you will develop close mentoring relationships that grow throughout your academic career. Sociology is closely connected to nearly every one of the college’s concentrations or interdisciplinary minors, including urban studies, legal studies, and data science.

Our academic structure and tight-knit department fosters connections. Your peers will know and care about you and your research, and you will inspire each other to do great work

In the Sociology Department

  • Inclusive and transformational classroom experiences, with classmates from all over the world, help students learn critical skills and find their futures
  • Our meaningful and high-quality student/faculty research experiences have real-world impact on the campus and in the community, from surveying students about political participation, to conducting transit research for the Metropolitan Council
  • Students can apply for the Mahnaz Kousha Student Research Fund—10 weeks of paid summer research with a faculty mentor
  • Our research both spans borders and closely observes issues right here at Macalester

Life after Macalester

Studying sociology provides an excellent grounding for many careers. Post-Macalester, sociology students work in the United States and abroad in fields such as law, social work, public policy, medicine, and user experience, and pursuing graduate study in sociology.

Sociology in the Cities

Explore policy issues at the state legislature 5 miles from campus or any number of institutions and civic organizations


Internships mentored by sociology faculty recently

Courses regularly partner with local institutions and civic organizations, such as the International Institute of Minnesota

Join the community

We build the sociology community at the large, wooden table in our department. On Pickle Fridays, students and faculty members gather to chat and munch on pickles and other snacks. Even if there’s not a formal event taking place in the department, you will always find students at the table, studying over coffee and tea, talking sociology, and catching up with classmates and staff. At the end of the fall semester, you and other sociology majors can support your peers as seniors present their research over lunch. At our annual holiday party, everyone is invited to celebrate the season and the hard work we’ve accomplished over the semester.

Department happenings

Aaron (Xunwen) Zou ’22

While pursing a Masters in Public Health in Disasters from Universidad de Oviedo/University of Nicosia, Sociology alum Aaron (Xunwen) Zou (’22) conducted field research on the historically high numbers of Chinese migrants passing through Colombia and Panama to reach their final destination, the United States. Zou’s research and subsequent report aimed to close in the knowledge gap relating to Chinese immigrants so that humanitarian organizations can better enhance communication and safety for these migrants. His report, entitled “Examining the Information Needs of Chinese Migrants Crossing the Darien Gap,” can be found here.