Sociology

As a sociology student at Oakton, you will examine the social causes and consequences of human behavior. You'll explore patterns of social interaction in groups, organizations and societies, as well as the underlying social structures that shape our everyday lives. The perspective you develop in our sociology courses will encourage you to critically examine the world we often take for granted. It will help you understand, navigate, influence, and live in a multicultural and global world

Using social science research methods, sociologists analyze culture, deviance, social class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, among other topics. Through this research, sociologists seek to understand how social patterns can unite or divide us as a group, society and world.

A degree in sociology provides you with many different career choices. Analytical and research skills and knowledge gained in sociology are readily transferable to a wide range of fields. You may find opportunities in the corporate, non-profit and government sectors as a researcher, policy analyst, consultant or manager. As a sociologist, you may also work as a teacher in a high school or as faculty in a college or university. For more on careers in sociology, visit the American Sociological Association careers page.

Pre-major

The employment of sociologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for sociologists was $86,110 in May 2020.

The following pre-major is recommended for students who are considering completing a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology after transferring to a four-year institution. It will help students to deepen their knowledge of Sociology as well as their overall understanding of individuals, societies and cultures, while completing the general education requirements for Associate degree.

It is designed for students who have not decided upon a specific four-year college or university. Once a transfer school is selected, students are strongly encouraged to consult the Office of Advising, Transitions, and Student Success and the transfer institution’s catalog to select courses that will meet both Oakton and transfer institution requirements.

For more information on course selection or program-specific advising, contact the department chairperson. Part time students should also consult the Office of Advising, Transitions, and Student Success for part-time pre-major recommendations. General Education courses should be selected from the list of IAI General Education Courses.

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Job Outlook

Employment of sociologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 300 openings for sociologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The median annual wage for sociologists was $86,110 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $52,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $143,020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Meet Your Faculty

Meet our full-time faculty

Michelle Naffziger-Hirsch
Co-chair, Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Sociology & Social Sciences (ACEPSS) 
Professor of Sociology
B.A. Northwestern University
M.A. Northwestern University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
mnaffzig@oakton.edu
847.376.7269
Office: 3604, Des Plaines

Katherine Schuster
Co-chair, Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Sociology & Social Sciences (ACEPSS) Department
Coordinator, Education and Global Studies
Distinguished Professor, Education
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College
M.S. Minnesota State University
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
schuster@oakton.edu
Homepage: www.oakton.edu/~schuster
847.376.7118
Office: 2526, Des Plaines

Julio Capeles
Assistant Professor of Social Science
B.A. University of Puerto Rico
M.A. New Mexico State University
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
jcapeles@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 2702, Des Plaines

Gregory Hamill
Distinguished Professor of Sociology
B.S. University of Illinois
A.M. University of Michigan
M.A. Loyola University - Chicago
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
ghamill@oakton.edu
http://www.oakton.edu/user/4/ghamill/
847.376.7041
Office: 2608, Des Plaines

Anika Jones
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
B.A. (Sociology) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
B.A. (Africology: Culture and Society) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
M.A. (Liberal Studies) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Ph.D. (Cultural Anthropology) University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
ajones@oakton.edu
847-376-7038
Office: 2554, Des Plaines

Megan Klein
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology
B.A. (Spanish) University of Iowa
B.B.A. (Management) University of Iowa
M.A. (Spanish) Loyola University - Chicago
M.A. (Anthropology) University of Illinois-Chicago
M.A. (Sociology) Loyola University - Chicago
Ph.D. (Sociology) Loyola University - Chicago
mklein@oakton.edu
847.376.7125
Office: 2704, Des Plaines


Meet our part-time faculty:

Dana Cole
Lecturer
B.A. Indiana University
M.A. (ABD) Loyola University, Chicago
M.A. Northeastern University
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
dcole@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Yasmin Cordero
Lecturer
B.A. University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley
M.S. University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley
ycordero@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Bilal Hussain
Lecturer
A.A. Harper College
B.A. Northeastern Illinois University
M.A. Loyola University, Chicago
bhussain@oakton.edu 
847.635.1910
Office: B206, Skokie

Rondell Merrill
Lecturer
B.A. Southern Utah University
M.A. Ball State University
ABD University of Illinois at Chicago
rmerrill@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Traci Minnick
Lecturer
B.A. Western Illinois University
M.A. Western Illinois University
tminnick@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Kathleen Pacyna
Lecturer
B.A. Marquette University
M.A. Loyola University - Chicago
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
kpacyna@oakton.edu 
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Monte Staton
Lecturer
B.A. Texas Technical University
M.A. Bowling Green State University
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
mstaton@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

Cheryl Thayer
Lecturer
B.A. Doan College
M.S. Utah State University
Ph.D. Louisiana State University
cthayer@oakton.edu
847.635.1950
Office: 2430, Des Plaines

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Michelle Naffziger-Hirsch
Co-chair
847.376.7269
mnaffzig@oakton.edu

Katherine Schuster
Co-chair
847.376.7118
schuster@oakton.edu