Sociology and Anthropology

The Sociology and Anthropology Department at Fairfield University challenges students to critically examine the social and cultural dimensions of the modern world. The program integrates quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand and engage major social problems faced by societies, our own and others.

Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social behavior. It seeks to understand why individuals form groups and how membership in groups influences a person's behavior. Why do human beings live in families? Why do the rich act, and even think, differently from the poor? What makes some people break social rules and others obey them? What holds societies together? Why do they sometimes break apart? Why do all societies change over time? These are questions that sociologists ponder.

Anthropology asks similar questions, while emphasizing cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and longer-term perspectives. The discipline includes four subfields: biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. This integrative and comparative approach highlights patterns of similarity and difference among human groups and helps people understand their own practices and those of others in a broader cross-cultural and historical context.

The department offers two majors and two minors. Students may choose the sociology major or the joint sociology-anthropology major. For minors, students pursue a sociology minor or an anthropology minor.  

Sociology and anthropology students are supported by a committed faculty, dedicated to developing their knowledge of these disciplines. Sociology and sociology-anthropology majors at Fairfield University begin their study by taking several fundamental courses that provide them with an understanding of the basic concepts and methodologies of the field. Students build on this foundation by selecting from a wide variety of elective courses. The diversity and flexibility of the curriculum provides unique opportunities for majors and minors to work with faculty to clarify their career goals and build an excellent foundation for graduate school, or for finding careers in fields such as business, marketing and communication, criminal justice, social work, health services, and education.