McDaniel College Department of Sociology. illustration


Sociology is the study of social life and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. At McDaniel, sociology coursework takes a scientific, humanistic and cross-cultural approach when investigating the structure of groups, organizations and societies. It also analyzes the relationships that unite societies in the world system. Topics of interest to sociology include community life, family patterns and relationships, social change, social movements, intergroup relations, race, gender, social class, the environment, and technology.

The sociology major provides a good foundation for students wishing to pursue professional degrees in social work, education, public health, business administration, and community planning, in addition to law, medicine, and divinity school.

Lewis Recitation Hall, 2nd floor

Dr. Debra C. Lemke
Department Chair
(410) 857-2533

Sociology Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

Sociology majors have some long term career advantages when compared to students with specialized degrees. Many employers now realize that liberal arts majors such as sociologists are often better able to think abstractly, formulate problems, ask appropriate questions, get answers, analyze situations and data, organize material, write well and make oral presentations.



Pre-Professional Studies: Pre-Law

Experiential learning opportunities, enhanced mentoring, and professional skills development – key features of the McDaniel Commitment – combined with the flexibility of the McDaniel Plan curriculum make McDaniel an ideal place to pursue pre-law. Learn more »


Professor and department chair Debra LemkeProfessor and department chair Debra Lemke

(Ph.D., Iowa State University), teaches a Reiki Jan term,  advises several campus clubs including the Asian Community Coalition, focuses her research collaborations with students on student designed projects relevant to the biannual campus survey and college pedagogy while her course topics include introductory sociology, sociological theory, social stratification, and asian culture.

Professor Lauren DundesProfessor Lauren Dundes

(Sc.D., Johns Hopkins University), who has published with students research papers that include such topics as combatting dental anxiety to perceptions of recommended portions of various foods, teaches the introductory sociology course, criminology and criminal justice and medical sociology while pursuing such research interests as the analysis of Disney films and crime.

Associate Professor Sara RaleyAssociate Professor Sara Raley

(Ph.D., University of Maryland), whose research and teaching interests include family, gender, sexuality, demography, and child well-being, regularly teaches introduction to global societies and the sociology of sexuality, gender and society, and helped develop the popular sophomore interdisciplinary studies course, “South Park and Contemporary Issues,” which she team teaches with Philosophy senior lecturer Josh Baron.

Associate Professor Linda SemuAssociate Professor Linda Semu

(Ph.D., Indiana University), teaches urban sociology, introduction to global societies and global social change, in which she encourages her students to think about global inequality, international human rights issues and the cultural aspects of development in various countries, and has research and teaching interests in social change, international development, globalization, gender, comparative studies/Africa, family, social policy, social demography and political sociology.

Associate Professor Richard Maurice SmithAssociate Professor Richard Maurice Smith

(Ph.D., Temple University), focuses his research and teaching on issues of racial relations and racism in the US, African-American culture, and the interconnection of race and religion. He is currently doing research on the persistence of African-American movements and backlash to those movements as well as African-American vegan culture. He is an active speaker on race and social justice issues and has led discussions and taught seminars on the current Black Lives Matter movement and its connection to the history of movements for racial equality.



Interested sociology students have the opportunity to conduct independent research with any of our professors. In addition, we strongly encourage sociology students to pursue internships.

Recent Internship Placements for Sociology Majors:

  • NCIS – acquisition and logistics
  • Suffolk County Police Department, NY
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes of Johns Hopkins University- assist program coordinator
  • Maryland State Police Forensic Lab- assist with handling and cataloging evidence
  • Maryland State Police Fire Marshall Office- assist with arson investigations, fire safety, and K-9 training
  • Sisters of Bon Secours — develop and update social media options
  • Silver Oak Academy — mentoring young males
  • National Security Scholarship Program — work with classified data
  • Baltimore City Police
  • Carroll County Detention Center Pre-Trial Services
  • Emergency Management Homeland Security Prince Georges County Youth Program — design and give emergency preparedness seminars
  • Voices for Children Carroll County, MD
  • Abused Persons Program, Montgomery County, MD — assist with English/Spanish translation for domestic violence victims

Recent student–faculty research collaboration

Student Professor Topic
Shelby Dolby Dr. Lauren Dundes, Dr. Debra Lemke Managing Time for the College Climb
Joseph Timpanaro Dr. Lauren Dundes, Dr. Debra Lemke Parents’ Divorce Limiting Your Straight A Course?
Rula Zaru Dr. Sara Raley Sexting Among College Students: Who Does It and How Do they Feel About It?
Ja’Nairra Myers Dr. Richard M. Smith Building a Church in the City

Sociology Honor Society

McDaniel has a chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the national Sociology honor society, that seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in scholarship in the study of Sociology, research social problems and engage in social activities that will improve the human condition. To qualify, students must be at least a junior in credit standing, have taken at least 4 Sociology courses at McDaniel, have maintained a 3.0 average GPA in those courses, as well as a 3.0 overall GPA, and rank in the top 35% of their class.

Current Students

Our current students are involved in nearly every aspect of student life. They are on almost every sports team, are ROTC Cadets, organize intramural activities and are leaders in numerous student organizations. They are working on and off campus.

Life After McDaniel

Recent graduates are Teachers, Account Executives, Coaches at all levels, Administrative Assistants, Financial Advisors, Global Client Operations Supervisors, Human Resources Administrators, and work at all levels of Law Enforcement. Current Employers include Booz Allen Hamilton, CareFIrst BlueCross BlueShield, FBI, Johns Hopkins University, MedStar Health, Social Security, all branches of the armed forces, and T. Rowe Price

Sociology professor presents at global conference on health in Africa

When international scholars and practitioners gathered recently to discuss health in Africa and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Sociology professor Linda Semu was among the invited presenters.

When international scholars and practitioners gathered recently to discuss health in Africa and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Sociology professor Linda Semu was among the invited presenters.

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