Explore Life's Questions & Social Interactions

If you like making a difference in people’s lives, consider studying at Kirkwood. Sociologists study social life, social change, diverse communities and their interactions, and they use scientific methods to find empirical answers to complex social questions.

Your studies will focus on various topics within the sociological field, including marriage and families, minority groups, aging, LGBT studies, social problems, and the environment.

A strong background in sociology can help foster your creativity, innovation, critical thinking, scientific reasoning, analytical problem-solving, and communication skills. With a sociology degree, you will have a foundation for better understanding and engaging with the world.

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As a Liberal Arts student, you will take core requirements while choosing thought-provoking and interesting electives in Sociology. Kirkwood has special transfer agreements with all three state universities and many other four-year institutions, including a 2+2 agreement with the University of Iowa

Our advisors help take the guesswork and confusion out of the process, ensuring you meet Kirkwood’s graduation requirements, as well as the admission requirements and transferability of courses to your transfer school. By meeting with our advisors early and often, you’ll be better prepared for the next steps in continuing your sociology education after Kirkwood.

Kirkwood is the affordable option! We have more than $3 million in scholarships available each year.

Career paths with a Sociology background include:

  • Social services
  • Community work
  • Law
  • Academia
  • Health services and business

Kirkwood can help you explore your career options by providing exciting experiences in and out of the classroom to help you find the best path for you.

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The Sociology interest area at Kirkwood is part of our Liberal Arts program. You will work closely with the Advising and Transfer Center and sociology faculty when deciding on which classes to take. Our sociology faculty are experienced professionals and experts in their field who are ready to help you find the right path during your sociology journey.

With many options to choose from, the advising process will also help you figure out what specialty area of sociology to pursue.

Sample of sociology course work:


SOC-110 Introduction to Sociology
Surveys the basic principles, concepts, research strategies, and empirical findings representative of the field today. The course examines the range of sociological thought, identifies areas of specialization within the discipline, and establishes a basis for further study in the field.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-115 Social Problems
Examines social problems as consequences of given types of social organization. Students examine research and theory to build an understanding of the definition, existence and persistence of social problems, as well as collective efforts to resolve those problems.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-120 Marriage and Family
Explores contemporary family institutions by studying the family as an ideological, demographic, historic, economic, and legal entity. The marital life cycle is documented through current research. Marital dissolution and remarriage are also examined. The course emphasizes the continuities and discontinuities in the family experience of individuals and the society as a whole.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-200 Minority Group Relations
Examines majority-minority group relations utilizing sociological theory and research. Addresses diverse populations with special attention placed on race, ethnicity, gender and other disadvantaged categories in American society.  Students will apply basic concepts central to inter-group relations and their implications. Students will consider the consequences of inequality.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-220 Sociology of Aging
Examines the trends of an aging society including demographic, economic, and social trends that can meet with far-reaching social consequences affecting the present and future. Acquaints students with the typical aging process, including the social and psychological challenges related to that process. Offers study on national and global issues regarding late life development.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-265 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies
Introduces students to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) studies. Explores the impact of social, cultural, historical, and political factors on LGBT individuals and communities. Studies the social construction of LGBT persons and cultures across time and place, theoretical debates regarding sexual orientation, identity formation, LGBT people of color, gender roles and gender identity, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS. Includes contemporary LGBT issues in families, education, religion, media, and the law.
Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-284 Sociology of the Environment
Explores the application of the sociological perspective to local, national and global environmental issues, with a particular focus on sustainability. Studies theories and methodologies that guide environmental research and ethical issues. Examines the way complex social structures and processes define, create, and interact with the natural environment. Includes research on land use, population, waste disposal, public health, environmental justice, the environmental movement, and public policy. Provides students with an opportunity to learn and apply grant writing skills.

Credits: 3, Hours: (3/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A


SOC-924 Honors Project
Allows a qualified honors student to pursue a special concentration of study under the guidance of a faculty member. Requires that student meet honors eligibility criteria. Requires completion for an honors project contract.
Credits: 1, Hours: (1/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A
Requires approval of supervising professor and dean


SOC-928 Independent Study
Provides readings, papers, basic research or other projects under the individual guidance of a staff member.
Credits: 1, Hours: (1/0/0/0), Prereq: none; Coreq: none; Arts & Sciences Elective Code: A

Dr. Alissa R. King
Title: Associate Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5716
Office: 1032 Cedar Hall
Education: B.L.S., M.S., and Ph.D.; Iowa State University
Bio: Alissa began teaching sociology as a graduate student at Iowa State University in 2001. She typically instructs Introduction to Sociology, Marriage and Family, and Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies both on campus and online. Her research interests include sex/gender, race/ethnicity, family and sexuality. In addition to teaching sociology and leading study abroad opportunities, she is often teaching yoga classes at the Kirkwood Rec Center. Alissa also brings stress relieving techniques into the classroom. 


Sarah Barfels
Title: Associate Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5932
Office: 1027 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A.; Oberlin College, M.S.; University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bio: Sarah teaches Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Sociology of the Environment, and Introduction to LGBT Studies. Her Ph.D. course work is complete in sociology with an emphasis on multicultural education. Sarah is interested in how mindfulness principles can improve our interactions with each other and our environment. 


Jeff Sherman
Title: Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5532
Office: 1025 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A.; Bemidji State University, M.A.; Western Illinois University
Bio: Jeff has taught courses in Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Minority Group Relations, and Marriage and Family, as well as College 101. While having taught courses online and through KTS, Jeff’s preference is face-to-face courses in which he can regularly interact with students on a more personal level. He has been an International Student Mentor and enjoys traveling and exploring cultures. He has led study abroad trips to Vietnam, and Peru while incorporating service projects to help the local populations. 


Serena Tarr
Title: Assistant Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 5480
Office: 1028 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A. and M.A.; Washington State University
Bio: Serena teaches Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Marriage and the Family, and Sociology of the Environment. 


Dr. Jennifer Meehan Brennom
Title: Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899 ext. 1090
Office: 2170C Linn Hall
Education: B.A.; Coe College, M.A.; University of Northern Iowa, Ph.D.; Iowa State University
Bio: Jennifer's doctoral coursework focused on romantic relationships and quantitative research methods. Her dissertation involved a developmental approach to understanding cohabitation versus marriage as a first union. Jennifer's master’s thesis was on the influence of social prestige between dating partners on dating behaviors, and she has published research on in-law relationships. She was previously employed as a Statistician. Jennifer was awarded the Frank Costin Memorial Award of Excellence from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology for best promoting quality teaching methods, as well as a NISOD Excellence Award. 


Finn Kolsrud
Title: Assistant Professor, Sociology
Phone: 319-398-5899
Office: 1022 Cedar Hall
Education: B.A.; St. Olaf College, M.A.; University of Northern Iowa
Bio: Finn teaches Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, and Marriage and the Family. In addition to teaching, Finn is the main campus contact for Campus Compact. Campus Compact is a coalition of colleges and universities dedicated to promoting civic education and community development. 

Adjunct Faculty

Stephen Wieting

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies (LGBTA) - Iowa City
Bridget Malone, LGBTA Advisor

LGBTA exists to promote the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students at Kirkwood in Iowa City. It is open to all students and meets weekly.


Multicultural Club - Iowa City Campus
Olga Petrova, Multicultural Club Advisor

The Multicultural Club exists to encourage understanding and openness between students of all cultural, ethnic, religious and lifestyle backgrounds. Club members plan cultural day during the spring term and participates in conversation parties throughout the year. This club is open to all students.


Eliot Blake, Unity Advisor
3017 Cedar Hall, 319-398-5899 ext. 5762

Unity provides a positive environment and place to share concerns for LGBT and allies.


Environmental Club
Liz Maas, Environmental Club Advisor

The goal of the Environmental Club is to promote and carry out environmentally sustainable practices. Contact Student Life for more information about this club.


Sustainable Garden Club
Sarah Barfels, Sustainable Garden Club Advisor

Joe Greathouse, Sustainable Garden Club Advisor

David Bullwinkle, Sustainable Garden Club Advisor

This is an inclusive, respectful community for those that know a little or those that know a lot about gardening. It is a place for like-minded thinkers to have friendly conversations and an opportunity to cultivate deeply-rooted friendships where we can learn from one another. 

Kirkwood Student Katelyn Kucera

“I love all the expected aspects of community college – cost, location, smaller classes – but at Kirkwood, all of that comes with a really direct connection to the 4-year school I’m transferring to. I’m in contact with advisors and people from the Agriculture department at Iowa State who make sure I can easily transition over there. It gives me a lot of peace of mind and feels like I’m already a part of my ISU program in a lot of ways.”

Katelyn Kucera,
Traer, Iowa


Social Sciences
2092 Cedar Hall