/ Sociology and Social Work Department

Special Programs and Opportunities

It’s important for you to get out of the classroom — whether that means working through internships, studying off-campus or gathering with fellow students. What you do in your spare time at Hope is up to you — and there’s plenty of options to choose from.

You’ll find that taking part in required and extracurricular activities during your time at Hope enhances your field of study. We offer ample opportunities in research, field work and off-campus studies, which will complement your coursework, and access to student organizations, which gives you meaningful connections that carry with you during your time at Hope.


Student/faculty collaborative research is an integral part of our program. In the past decade, our faculty have been awarded nearly half a million dollars in research grants from the Lilly Endowment, Michigan Department of Education, the Aspen Institute, the Reformed Church in America and several other funding agencies.

We have access to many state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for research, including an electronic library of social science data, a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system (CATI), quantitative and qualitative data analysis software and an optical scanner.

As a sociology or social work major, we encourage you to collaborate with faculty on original research. Students actively publish and present findings, and we send students to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) almost every year.

Topics for research vary by year and faculty member, but have included gender differences in educational attainment, post-traumatic stress and violence, development of grassroots social movements and community health.

Sociology Research

If you’re interested in theory-based research, contact Professor Franzen. For summer research, gender and qualitative projects, contact Professor Swanson. For information about other research opportunities for sociology students, contact Dr. Nemeth.

Social Work Research

Contact Professor Chavis for mentoring opportunities in social work and professors Feaster and Sturtevant for international, qualitative research.

Students and faculty taking a bike tour of HollandAbove: Professor Roger Nemeth's SOC 390 – Advanced Research Methods class took a bike tour of the seven Holland neighborhoods included in their study this semester.


We offer internships in sociology and field placements in social work.


You can pursue a sociology internship as part of your degree program in SOC 499. You’ll have the opportunity for a supervised, practical internship in governmental, private and/or non-profit organizations. Chicago Semester is a great option for all sociology majors, and gives you the benefit of working in an urban setting.

Sociology with Criminal Justice Emphasis

If you’re a sociology major with criminal justice emphasis, your coursework and internship placement through the Chicago Semester are a required part of your degree program, since requirements for field placement are very stringent.

Social Work

Field work is a requirement of the social work degree program. As part of SWK 443 and 446, you’ll spend 220 hours in the field each semester during your senior year. Our social work field experience involves opportunities at over 30 local human service agencies, including schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations. You might find yourself at the Community Action House in Holland, at Allegan County Family Court in Allegan or at the Career Assessment Center in Holland. Your opportunities are varied and diverse, based on what specialty you’re looking to go into. With prior permission, you may elect to take your senior year internship in Chicago at the Chicago Semester.

These off-campus opportunities give you a chance to work for urban social work agencies in a diverse setting.


Studying off-campus is a great way to gain a broader understanding of human behavior in different contexts get a more diverse understanding of the very nature of people and what’s going on within their environment — an essential practice that we strive to understand as sociology and social work majors. Visit the Fried Center for Global Engagement for information on studying off-campus during the school year, May Term or summer.

May Term Programs

Several of Hope’s May Term programs are perfect for our sociology and social work students. Travel to the Rosebud Native American reservation with the Department of Education to practice social work, healthcare and practical teaching methods with the Lakota Sioux, as well as the Todd County School District. Travel to Northern Ireland to study peace and reconciliation or to Liverpool for courses on the many ways we connect with one another and create community, both with our Department of Communication.

Join our student-run group, the Sociology and Social Work Organization, to promote our disciplines within the community, on-campus and among your peers. Faculty advisors include Pam Koch and Llena Chavis, and 2017–2018 student leaders are Lizzy Van Harn, Emily MacArthur, Emily Dunphy, Keila Mendoza and Ava Massarella.
We encourage sociology and social work majors to take advantage of off-campus study opportunities. In fact, as a sociology major with criminal justice focus, your coursework and internship placement through the Chicago Semester are a required part of your degree program.

Alpha Kappa Delta

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) is the International Sociology Honor Society. It is affiliated with the Association of College Honor Societies and the American Sociological Society.

Alpha Kappa Delta seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in scholarship in the study of sociology, the research of social problems and such other social and intellectual activities as will lead to improvement in the human condition. Alpha Kappa Delta scholars are dedicated to the ideal of Athropon Katamannthanein Diakonesin or “to investigate humanity for the purpose of service.”

Undergraduates at Hope must meet the following minimum criteria to be eligible to join Alpha Kappa Delta:

  • Be an officially declared sociology major or demonstrate a serious interest in sociology within an official program. Sociology minors are eligible. Other majors are eligible so long as they have taken at least four SOC classes and meet all other requirements.
  • Be at least a junior (third year).
  • Rank in the top 35% of their graduating class in general scholarship. If class rank is not readily available to a chapter representative, in lieu of class rank, students shall have accumulated the equivalent of an overall grade point average of at least 3.3 by a four point scale where: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0
  • Have maintained the equivalent of a 3.0 GPA in sociology courses taken at Hope prior to initiation.
  • Have completed at least four regular courses in sociology at Hope prior to initiation (exclusive of extension of courses graded pass/fail)

The Alpha Kappa Delta faculty advisor is Pam Koch.

Phi Alpha

The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideas. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

An undergraduate student is eligible for active membership after achieving the following national minimum requirements and meeting local chapter requirements:

  • Declared social work as a major
  • Achieved junior status
  • Completed nine credit hours of required social work classes
  • Rank is the top 35% of their social work cohort

The Social Work Honor Society is advised by Liz Sharda.


Senior Sociology Student Award

Katie Cruz and Prof. Deb SwansonThis award is presented to a senior sociology student who shows excellence in academic achievement, demonstrated service and outstanding promise in the field of sociology.

Senior Social Work Student Award

This award is presented to a senior social work student who shows excellence in academic achievement, demonstrated service and outstanding promise in the field of social work.

Jeanette Gustafson Award

This award is presented to the most deserving graduate student of the social work major, chosen on the basis of demonstrating academic achievement, voluntary involvement in organizations aimed at aiding the community and/or the college, and promise for significant contribution to the helping professions.

Honors Convocation