Scientific Study of Social Life

Sociology is the exploration of social change and a lens into the complexity of the causes and consequences of human behavior.  Sociologists study many topics including crime, politics, media, inequalities, organizational efficiency, educational policy and community development.  The results of sociological investigations help inform social policy, programs, and laws.  Sociologists who become experts in their fields work for the Center for Disease Control, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Census Bureau, as well as for state, federal and local authorities such as county commissions, city management, social service coordinators, and in private industry as analysts, marketing consultants, and managers.

The Sociology program at Lake Superior State University department offers the most applied undergraduate experience in all of Michigan.  Our students write grants, conduct original, in-depth research, and work on community action projects.

Sociology at Lake State provides hands-on training during a 1½ year research sequence that allows students to explore their interests while gaining practical knowledge in how to actually DO sociology.  Students also have the opportunity, if they so desire, to work at our community research facility on actual projects from all over the state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.   Learning and Motivation, Research Methodology, Cognition, and Personality.  Psychology electives include Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology, and Child and Adolescent Development. The Psychology program also provides applied courses required for many minors that can also be taken as Psychology electives including Health Psychology, Behavior Modification, Communication Skills in Counseling, Family Therapy, Group Therapy and the Psychology of the Exceptional Child/Adolescent

Why Students Choose LSSU

  • In the last five years, sociology students at LSSU have won the undergraduate research competition from the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, and have won the research award for outstanding undergraduate papers from the Michigan Sociological Association the last four years in a row!
  • Students receive personal attention, not only in our small upper-division classes which typically average 12-15 students, but also one-on-one for one hour a week during the senior research sequence.
  • Sociology students can pursue two tracks—research or community development.  They can then customize their specialty within each track by selecting electives in aging, criminology, deviance, family, inequality, or social change and by carrying out either an applied project or research project within that area.
  • Senior Thesis Research Projects are presented annually to campus, at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, and at the Michigan Sociological Association.  Thesis papers are kept in a library office and are made into poster presentations, with findings given as formal presentations to the public.
  • In the past five years we have had 100% of our graduates either attend graduate school in sociology or social work or gain employment in their chosen field—whether at policing agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, rehabilitation facilities, or working directly for the state. In addition, there is a practicum at a community agency to obtain direct experience.
  • We have an active chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society.


Career Options

  • Criminologist
  • Data Analyst
  • Demographer
  • Education
  • Management
  • Human Resources
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Social/Public Service Coordinator
  • Social Service Case worker
  • Social Science Researcher

Tie for first place in MSA

Brooke Tiefenbach

Brooke Tiefenbach, Drummond Island, and Stacey Forejt, Sault Ste. Marie, were both recognized with Outstanding Undergraduate Paper awards from the Michigan Sociological Association during its recent statewide meeting. The recognition from MSA comes after they presented their preliminary findings during the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters.

“This year the Michigan Sociological Association outstanding undergraduate paper award was a tie between two LSSU students,” said LSSU Sociology Prof. Dr. R. Kirk Mauldin, who is chair of the LSSU Dept. of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. “That’s seven first-place awards from the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters and the Michigan Sociological Association over the past five years.”