/ Sociology and Social Work Department

Degree Programs

We offer a major and minor in sociology, a major in sociology with a criminal justice focus, and a CSWE-accredited social work major.

Sociology studies human society, seeking to understand what influences human behavior for different groups across periods of time. Social work applies principles of sociology to the art and science of helping people. At many institutions these are two separate departments. At Hope, our faculty work alongside each other, sharing resources and knowledge between these closely-related disciplines.


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Program Outcomes

Students who graduate with a degree in sociology will:

  • Explain and compare sociological theories and use theory to explain human behavior
  • Describe and interpret the social and cultural processes that inform social interaction
  • Understand and apply data collection and analysis techniques used by sociologists and critically evaluate sociological research
  • Describe and interpret the forms and sources of social stratification, inequality and difference that exists in societies
  • Integrate their sociological imagination with their post-graduation plans

Social Work

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    • Our social work major is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Because of this, it’s competitive and not everyone is accepted into the program.
  • Social work major, CSWE (for students admitted to Hope College in 2018 or earlier)

Admissions Requirements

Hope students interested in pursuing a social work degree must take our introductory course. To apply, you must:

  • Complete SWK 241: Introduction to Social Welfare — as part of the course, we’ll guide you through the rest of the application process
  • Have completed or be enrolled in SOC 101: Sociology and Social Problems
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5, and a minimum GPA of 2.7 in all social work courses

Please note that even if you’re not accepted into the social work program you can still go on to become a social worker. We’d encourage you to earn a sociology degree at Hope, then apply to graduate school to pursue an MSW.


By earning a CSWE-accredited social work degree from Hope, social work majors may be eligible to reduce the time it takes to earn an MSW by up to two semesters through advanced standing programs. Please consult the social work faculty for more details.

As an accredited program, we're held to very high standards. And we've exceeded them every year. It's this recognized excellence that helps many of our graduates earn advanced placement in MSW programs around the country.

Program Outcomes

Hope College students completing a Social Work degree will*:

  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice 
  • Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • Engage in policy practice
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

* Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Competencies

Make It Your Own

You can go almost anywhere with a sociology degree, depending on your interests. Within the program, we offer courses to help you specialize in different aspects of sociology, from gender studies to urban sociology to ecology, education and health. And, while our social work program follows a prescribed course plan to meet national accreditation standards, the interconnected nature of our department makes it possible to achieve a double major in sociology and social work in four years with careful planning. Many of our students study off-campus, gain work experience through internships and pursue double majors or minors in related fields.

Popular Double Majors/Minors

Some of our students choose to double-major or minor in a variety of areas, including:

  • Sociology and social work
  • Sociology and psychology
  • Sociology and gender or ethnic studies
  • Sociology and ministry
  • Social work and psychology
  • Social work and Spanish

We’re closely connected to the peace and justice program, and it’s a popular minor option for our sociology students.