What are the forces that shape who we are and what we can do?  Why do communities and societies have particular structures and cultures across places and times?  How do power, inequality, and justice interact to shape the modern world?  These are some of the many important questions that we ask in Sociology and Anthropology.  We use various theories and methods provide a critical lens and tools to ask and answer questions.

In our courses and mentoring, we pass on these tools to our students, so that they can ask and answer questions not only about the worlds they live in, but also about themselves.  Our primary goal is to help our students grow through learning analysis, argument, critique, and empathy.  This provides our students with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and experiences that open the doors to various different kinds of careers.

students with certificates

Honors Program & Honor Societies

The goal of the anthropology and sociology honors programs is to allow students with superior interests and talents to explore these fields, personal intellectual interests, and themes beyond the limits of typical courses.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology also offers students the opportunity to join two honor societies. Alpha Kappa Delta seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in the scholarship and study of sociology, the research of social problems, and other social and intellectual activities that will lead to improvement in the human condition. Lambda Alpha supports scholarship and research by acknowledging and honoring superior achievement in the discipline among students engaged in the study of anthropology.

2022 Lambda Alpha recipients

Department Award

Each year, the Department of Sociology & Anthropology awards the James A. Sartain Award.

Dr. Sartain was a professor of sociology from 1963 to 1986. This award was established by the department in 1987 in his memory. Dr. Sartain loved the department, his colleagues, and above all, his students. Education was his mission in life. He received the University’s Distinguished Educator Award in 1986. The Sartain Award is awarded to a graduating senior sociology major who best exemplifies the qualities personified by Dr. Sartain: scholarship, humanitarianism, integrity, and commitment to the ideals of the University of Richmond.