The Ohio State University Department of Sociology is a leading department in the nation in graduate and undergraduate programs and faculty research. Our PhD program is ranked 17th in the nation and our undergraduate program is one of the largest on campus. Faculty have research expertise in stratification and inequality; community and urban sociology; criminology; population and health; education; family; work; and political sociology. Among 118 National Research Council-ranked sociology programs nationwide, we are in the top 10 percent in publications per faculty and percent of faculty with grants.

Areas of Study

  • Sociology
  • Criminology
  • Community and Urban
  • Education
  • Family
  • Globalization and Social Change
  • Occupation and Work
  • Political Sociology and Social Movements
  • Population and Health
  • Stratification—Race, Class, Gender

By the Numbers

  • 1000 undergraduate majors
  • 70 graduate students
  • 30 faculty

Degree Programs

  • BA, Sociology and Criminology
  • BA, Criminology
  • BA, Public Health Sociology
  • MA and PhD 

Public Health Sociology Major

The Public Health Sociology major is the only undergraduate program in public health in the U.S. that incorporates sociological perspective on health. By integrating a broad pre-professional foundation in population health with internship and research opportunities, students emerge well-prepared for a range of health careers or graduate study. The program has grown since launching in 2012 and has added a new 3+2 option allowing undergraduates to complete an MPH in five years. 

Affiliated Centers

Criminal Justice Research Center (CJRC)

CJRC is the focal point for collaborative interdisciplinary research on crime, delinquency and justice issues. The center fosters intellectual exchange among faculty, graduate and professional students, policymakers and practitioners, and provides research-based outreach to crime and justice policymakers. Major CJRC projects include:

  • Historical Violence Database
  • Institute for Excellence in Justice
  • Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice-Network
  • Spatial Crime Research Working Group

Institute for Population Research (IPR)

IPR serves as a bridge between the behavioral and biomedical departments and nurtures population and health research at Ohio State. It fosters new large-scale collaborative multidisciplinary research projects that can compete successfully for external funding. It also cultivates interests and skills of faculty and students in demographic research. Key areas of IPR research include:

  • Fertility and Reproductive Health
  • Union Formation/Dissolution
  • Health and Development through the Life Course
  • Migration

Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR)

CHRR is a multi-disciplinary research organization that specializes in developing survey software and instruments and in collecting and disseminating fully documented research data. The National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS) data collected by CHRR have been used in more than 8,700 books, articles, dissertations, and working papers and research using the NLS data has long been a key source of knowledge on which much social and economic policy in the U.S. is based. 

Adolescent Health and Development in Context

Christopher Browning, professor of sociology, is the director of The Adolescent Health and Development in Context (AHDC) project, which focuses on the impact of multiple social contexts — neighborhood, home, school, and peers — on risky behavior (including substance use and delinquency), and mental/physical health outcomes. Collecting data on a large sample of adolescents, ages 11-17 years, in Franklin County, this innovative project combines in-home surveys with a week of smartphone-collected GPS and real-time mini-survey data. This research will develop our understanding of how the actual places youth go and the people with whom they interact on a daily basis influence their health and behavior.

Innovative Curriculum

This experiential-based learning course is composed of various approaches and interdisciplinary modes of inquiry into U.S. models of corrections, including classical debates and contemporary issues. The program brings college students and incarcerated individuals together in a classroom setting to develop a partnership between institutions of higher learning and prison systems nationally.

Debt and College Graduation

Sociology Professors Rachel Dwyer, Randy Hodson and Laura McCloud examine whether student loans are associated with graduation or represent a drag on degree completion in their new research work, “Student Loans and Graduation Rates from American Universities.” The authors find that the relationship between the likelihood of graduating and student indebtedness forms an inverted U curve; as debt goes up, graduation possibilities increase and then flatten out at around $10,000 a year. Although a college degree has historically been the ticket to the middle class in America, more and more middle class families have lost the ability to pay for some or all of college, and loans have surpassed grants as a way to fund college education. 

12 2017