SOC 2500

Time and Place:

MTWR 10:10-12:30, TODD 203


J. Brandon Wallace, Ph.D.

Instructor's Office, Phone, and Email:

TODD 330, 898-5976,

Office Hours:

By appointment.

It is the responsibility of each student to read and understand this syllabus. It acts as an implicit contract between the student and the instructor specifying the rights and responsibilities of each. Be sure to clarify any questions you may have about the syllabus as soon as possible.


SOC 2500 is lower division course introducing students to the sociological study of marriage and the family.  The family is presented as a social institution situated within broader historical, cultural, and societal contexts.  The course is not a "how to" course per se, but the information presented should provide students with important insights into their own family life, as well as the many "family issues" that fill current political and social debate.  Class time will be divided between lecture and student-led discussions of contemporary "family issues."  Questions and comments are always welcomed and class participation is encouraged. Students are expected to be courteous and respectful of other persons and opinions.  While it is not required that you agree with the material presented in class, you should be able to indicate an understanding of the material on exams.


The required text for the course is The Marriage & Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society by Bryan Strong, Christine DeVault, and Theodore F. Cohen.  Other readings will be distributed in class or made available via the Internet.


Students are expected to complete assigned readings, attend class, participate in classroom discussions, and take good notes. 

There will be three take-home essay exams in which students will choose and answer three questions.  Each exam is worth 100 points. 

Students will also be required to choose two topics from a list of "family issues" currently debated in American culture.  They will take a position on each issue, write a 1-2 page outline or summary indicating why they take the position they do, present their position to the class, and lead the class in a brief discussion of the issue.  Specific topics will be assigned the first week of class.  Each presentation is also worth 100 points.


A total of 500 points are possible.  Each student's point total will be divided by 5 to determine their final grade.  Grades will be assigned according to the following scale: 90-100%=A, 87-89%=B+, 83-86%=B, 80-82%=B-, 77-79%=C+, 73-76%=C, 70-72%=C-, 67-69%=D+, 63-66%=D, and 60-62%=D-.  Below 60% is failing.


Copying someone's work, having someone complete assignments for you, and claiming another's written work as your own (plagiarism) will be considered cheating. Students engaging in such acts will not only fail the assignment in question, but may fail the course as well. Further, the professor may choose to report such actions to appropriate university officials (See the Student Handbook). Students should be certain that all work claimed as original is indeed the student's on work.


Students with special needs certified by the Disabled Student Services should see the instructor the first week of class to discuss arrangements to meet these needs.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at MTSU hosts an Undergraduate Social Science Symposium each Fall to give undergraduate students an opportunity to present papers and/or research they have done in conjunction with various social science classes. I encourage you to consider participating as a presenter. Please contact the Sociology Department at 898-2508 for more information. 

Additional information of interest to sociology students, majors, and minors is available on the Department of Sociology and Anthropology web page at