Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania


W.E.B. Du Bois, Erving Goffman, Dorothy Swaine Thomas, and E. Digby Baltzell all broke new sociological ground while working at the University of Pennsylvania. As one of the oldest departments of sociology in the country, Penn Sociology continues its tradition of excellence with twenty-plus award-winning, distinguished faculty recognized for their scholarly achievements and leadership in the field.

With University support, our top-ranked Department has been able to recruit some of the best graduate students in the country, and to do our part in maintaining the University of Pennsylvania's highly-regarded undergraduate program.

Today, the Department preserves its tradition of research and training by a very active interaction between faculty, students, and visitors. We continue to push forward to advance our understanding of past, present, and future society.

Colloquium Series

The Sociology Department's weekly colloquium brings in leading scholars from other universities, as well as from Penn, to present their current research and engage in discussion with faculty and graduate students.

Research Clusters & Workshops

In addition, six ongoing interdisciplinary workshops bring together faculty, students, and outside visitors into supportive intellectual environments that promote innovative sociological research. The workshops are open to graduate students and faculty from other Universities including those in the larger surrounding area enhancing diversity and collaboration in the research process.

  • The Culture, Interaction, and Ethnography workshop discusses the many ways that culture is instantiated and reproduced through face-to-face interaction.
  • The Family & Gender workshop continues the focus on the most important institutions through which social processes get played out.
  • The Education & Inequality workshop focuses on issues of inequalities in educational opportunities that have been central to sociology.
  • The Population Studies workshop provides a direct link between the department and the Population Studies Center investigating contemporary demographic processes.
  • The Race, Ethnicity, & Immigration workshop builds on the long-standing tradition of racial stratification research in our department, investigating new perspectives and developments.
  • The Medical Sociology workshop gives students the opportunity to expand their understanding of the sociological study of medicine and health.
  • Finally, the Media Activism Research Collective (MARC) offers a collaborative space for graduate students, faculty, and activits working at the intersection of media studies and social movement theory.