Skip to main
Crowd of anonymous people walking on busy city street.

Urban and Community Studies

Cities are systems where individual and social behaviors collide in ways that can be beautiful and productive, disturbing and violent, frequently all at once. How do urban communities manage these realities? And how should cities work?

Degree Types
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements

Offered as a minor in McDaniel’s Sociology department, Urban and Community studies explores the many facets of urban reality. 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.

Future Career Paths

Recent graduates of the Sociology department are:

  • Law Enforcement Specialists at all levels
  • Teachers
  • Account Executives
  • Financial Advisors
  • Global Client Operations Supervisors
  • Human Resources Administrators

Career Success

McDaniel students have recently been employed by:

  • The FBI
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • BlueCross BlueShield
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Social Security
  • Armed Forces (all branches)

Distinctive Courses

SOC 1104 - Introduction to Sociology: A Global Perspective

This course offers an overview of the discipline of Sociology from a global perspective, focusing particularly on cross-cultural examples of social, economic and political relationships. It explores how social forces impact the structure of society and its social institutions as well as cultural patterns, crime, groups, personality, and human interactions.

SOC 3303 - Urban Sociology

This course studies the ecology of social processes, organization and problems of the urban community. Hence it undertakes an overview of the evolution of cities in the US and recent and contemporary local and global patterns of urbanization. Evaluates social, economic and political forces that shape cities by examining social issues in the urban setting: immigration, ethnic, cultural and class diversity; cross-cultural and international comparisons; population and environmental concerns. Also studies social planning by examining major concerns of urban residents and the role of local, state and federal governments in addressing these concerns.

SOC 4355 - Urban and Community Studies Service Colloquium

Urban Studies is a broad multi-disciplinary examination of the environmental, political, economic, socio-cultural and aesthetic factors affecting cities, urban life and culture. The colloquium will enable students to understand the dynamics of urban opportunities and challenges, thereby enabling them to understand the processes that make cities vibrant as they adjust and reinvent themselves in the ever-changing environments. In this course, students will spend one third of the semester in the classroom while the rest of the time will be spent on an independent study or individually designed and supervised field work in agencies of state and local government, community service organizations, programs and non-profit associations in Westminster, Baltimore, Washington DC and other surrounding areas. For those students not able to do service work, an independent study option will be made available to them that will enable them conduct an in-depth study and analysis of an issue related to their major within the realm of Urban Studies.

SOC 3429 - Race and Ethnic Relations in the U.S.

A comparative approach to race and ethnic relations in the United States. The course compares and contrasts the experiences of multiple racial and ethnic groups. Special attention is paid to issues of privilege and power and the underlying historical and contemporary symbolic and structural factors affecting both intra and inter-group interactions.

Urban and Community Studies Program Requirements

Special Opportunities

An employer talks to students at a job and internship fair.


Internships can spark a passion you’ll pursue for a lifetime, which is why we strongly encourage Sociology students to pursue one in their time here at McDaniel. Recent internship placements include:

  • Maryland State Police Forensic Lab
  • National Security Scholarship Program
  • Baltimore City Police
  • Carroll County Detention Center Pre-Trial Services
  • Emergency Management Homeland Security Prince Georges County Youth
  • Voices for Children Carroll County, MD
  • Abused Persons Program, Montgomery County

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Sara Raley

Professor Spotlight Sara Raley Associate Professor

Professor Raley, 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.