A Letter from the Head


Tim Liao

As the study of fundamental processes of the structure and transformation of human societies, Sociology offers unique and powerful insights into the opportunities and challenges of our rapidly changing world. For 112 years, the Department of Sociology at Illinois has contributed to our understanding of these changes through scholarship engaged with both academic and public audiences. With a commitment to undergraduate education as well as a focus on preparing the next generation of professional sociologists, Sociology at Illinois remains linked to its strong tradition as a top-tier research program while looking to the future with the pursuit of cutting-edge scholarship and pedagogic innovation.

We locate our research and teaching within the broadly defined areas of Inequalities and Global and Transnational Sociology. The faculty explore their substantive interests in locations around the world, with research being conducted in the United States, the Middle East, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Our diverse interests have allowed us to forge productive connections outside of the Department, with many of the faculty having joint appointments with several of the interdisciplinary research centers and programs on campus, including but not limited to, the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, the Center for African Studies, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the European Union Center, and the Center for Global Studies, and the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center, with these five centers now all part of the Illinois Global Institute.

The Department of Sociology offers an undergraduate major and minor, through which students gain sociological knowledge that they can apply in seeking solutions to local, state, national, and international problems. We also offer an undergraduate minor and a certificate in Criminology, Law, and Society that provides a foundation for students seeking to supplement their major area of study, to develop knowledge and skills needed for criminological, law, and justice related occupations, or to lay foundation for law school or graduate study in sociology, criminology, or justice fields. Our certificate in Social Science Research Methods is designed to create a preparatory track for undergraduate students aspiring to graduate school or a research career and enhances preparation for social science research.

We also are proud of our strong graduate program. Our students continue to be active in research, presenting at conferences, publishing papers, winning awards, and securing tenure-track jobs and working as professional sociologists in Asia, Europe, and Latin America in addition to the U.S.

We invite you to explore our website and our newsletters to learn more about our research and publications, as well as our undergraduate and graduate programs. Please feel free to contact us! We would love to hear from you.


Tim Liao, PhD
Professor & Head