Time and Place: MTWR 10:10-12:30, PH 319
Instructor: J. Brandon Wallace, Ph.D.
Instructor's Office, Phone, and Email: TODD 330, 898-5976,
Office Hours: By appointment.
Required Text: Aging and the Life Course:  An Introduction to Social Gerontology by Jill Quadagno

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 4020/5020 offers an introduction to the sociology of aging. It summarizes the theoretical and empirical work in the area of social gerontology, emphasizing the impact that social forces have on aging individuals and populations as well as the impact the latter have on society at large. The course is primarily a lecture course, supplemented by classroom discussions and student presentations. Questions and comments are always welcomed. 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.


Students are expected to complete assigned readings, attend class, take good notes, and participate in classroom discussions. While no specific credit is given for attendance or participation, students who come to class and take part in discussions always make better grades. Further, attendance and participation are considered if a student's final average is borderline between two letter grades.

There will be three in-class essay exams, each consisting of two questions chosen randomly from a list of study questions. Students will have approximately 1 hour to write their answers. Study questions for each exam can be accessed online via the course outline. The exams are worth 100 points each.

Students also will complete the following out-of-class assignments:

Guidelines for the above assignments are available online and can be accessed from the course index page. Specific due dates for the written summaries and class presentations will be assigned by the instructor the first week of class. Generally, students will turn in and present one paper a week. The out-of-class assignments are worth 100 points each.

Graduate students enrolled for SOC 5020 should meet with the instructor as soon as possible to discuss work that will need to be completed in order to receive graduate credit.


Scores from the exams and assignment papers will be added together to determine a student's total points. The total points possible for undergraduate students is 700. Each student's total points will then be divided by 7 and final grades assigned according to the 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, 60-62=D-. A score of less than 60% will result in failure.


Copying someone's exam, using notes or texts during the exam, having someone complete assignments for you, and plagiarism (claiming another's written work as you own) is cheating. Students engaging in such acts will be given a zero on the exam or assignment in question and may fail the course as well. Further, the professor may choose to report such actions to appropriate university officials for additional disciplinary action. (See the Student Handbook.)


The syllabus, course outline (which contains links to the study questions), interview guidelines, guidelines for viewing the film, and guidelines for the site visit can be assessed via the main web page for the course. The page is located at

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 Professor Ben Austin (, 898-2690, PH 361) if you are interested.

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