Welcome to the Department of Sociology at Appalachian State University! A primary goal for our undergraduate sociology majors is to provide opportunities to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for analyzing and living in the complex social worlds we all inhabit. To this end, as you progress through the program you will acquire broad knowledge of the methodological and theoretical tools used by sociologists to study various dimensions of social life. You will also gain critical insight into specific substantive areas, such as aging, health, crime, families, politics, social movements, and social inequalities. Sociology is typically defined as the scientific or systematic study of human social behavior. The focus is on human relationships in various groups and social settings. The subject matter ranges from intimate families to hostile mobs, from crime to religion, from divisions by race, gender, and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture.