Sociology and Anthropology

Go beyond headlines, blogs, and sound bites in your understanding of the world.

The Sociology and Anthropology major allows students to take courses in both disciplines. Our students develop an appreciation for human diversity and multiculturalism through their exploration of differences based on such factors as gender, race, class, and sexuality. The combined major enables students to understand their place in the world in relation to issues of social justice, sustainability, social inequality, cultural survival, and global change. Our objective is to offer students a range of perspectives that allow a rich understanding of communities, societies, and cultures found in the United States and around the globe. The curriculum, with a number of required courses in method and theory, as well as elective courses in a wide range of areas, is designed to provide well-rounded preparation for graduate study in sociology and anthropology, as well as many other areas within the social sciences.

a dig site
Oddline festivities
floral arrangement
Poster presentation
Deep in thought

Sociology courses explore the reciprocal relationships among individuals, social context, and social institutions; experiences of inequality rooted in processes of segregation and stratification; and the many ways that everyday performances simultaneously maintain order and provide the potential for social change. Our students learn about the food system, institutions such as the family and education, genocide, US/ Latin American relations, and our relationship with natural resources.

Outside of the Sociology and Anthropology major, students may choose a minor in Sociology.


Anthropology courses explore the origins of human kind, the archaeology of past cultures, the importance of language to human knowledge, and the cultural variation that exists in the contemporary world. Our students explore the relationships between culture and religion, the environment, and development. Courses on the Pacific, Latin America, and Indigenous North America explore cultural survival in a globalizing world.

Outside of the Sociology and Anthropology major, students may choose a minor in Anthropology.

Internships and Study Abroad Opportunities

Many Sociology and Anthropology students complete internships in order to explore potential careers or to gain hands-on experience, bringing their knowledge of culture and society out of the classroom and into the real world. Wells alumnae who are established leaders in their fields often provide internship opportunities for current students. Recent students have completed internships in the following areas:

  • Activism: annual Activism Symposium at Wells College
  • Cultural Groups: African Immigrants in Paris; Native American Reservations
  • Crime: Domestic Violence Shelter, Auburn, NY
  • Education: Aurora Pre-School, Aurora, NY; Bellevue School, Syracuse, NY
  • Health: Hospice of Ithaca, NY
  • Human Rights: Human Rights Commission, Syracuse, NY
  • Legal: law offices in various cities
  • Mental Health: group homes in various cities
  • Social Services: Crisis Intervention, Ithaca, NY

Want to study culture, ecology, and society in Hawaii? Or conduct archeological field work here in the Cayuga Lake Basin? Wells makes it possible. Sociology and Anthropology majors can pursue fascinating programs across our country and around the world. Check out our off-campus study programs.

What comes next?

The Sociology and Anthropology major prepares students for graduate and professional programs or a variety of careers. Recent graduates of the program are currently working in education, volunteer and community services, counseling, social work, and a broad range of administrative positions. They are also found in graduate and professional programs across the country, including the Syracuse University College of Law, City College of New York, the New School for Social Research, University of Denver, Portland State University, and SUNY Albany.


"[As a Wellsian] you can change things, and you can dictate what happens to you. You have a voice."

Brad Murray '15
Sociology Major, Current Albany Law School of Union University Student
Sarah Konwahahawi Rourke at her desk
Wells College's First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program presents a talk by Sarah Konwahahawi Rourke '03 titled "From Wells to Wellness: Stories from a Kaienke"haka Woman." This event will take place...
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Program Faculty
Laura McClusky
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
Ernie Olson
Professor of Anthropology and Religion
Daniel Renfrow
Associate Professor of Sociology
Share Your Work

Students choosing the Sociology and Anthropology major have many opportunities both on and off campus. Professor Renfrow often works with students on research projects for professional publication—these have included examinations of men's perceptions of each other in the gym, the practice of "sexting" on campus, and when and why fans rush sports fields. Guest speakers visit classes to talk about their work in multicultural fields; recent lectures have featured work by the San Pedro Sister Community Project and Brazil's Landless Worker's Movement. Students gain valuable experience in presenting their own research at conferences as well as in front of their peers when their thesis is completed.


Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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