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Digital Sociology

SOCY@VCU is a vibrant, critically engaged sociology department where we do theory, research, and praxis that impacts the world.

In fall 2016, we will offer the U.S.'s first Master of Science degree in Sociology with a focus on Digital Sociology. In addition to taking traditional M.S. sociology courses in theory and methods, students will also be able to elect to study the digital world. We study what all this change means for how we work, go to school, form families, understand ourselves, and enact social change. This rigorous degree program will prepare graduates to shape emerging local, national and global conversations about big data, privacy, algorithms, inequality and social movements. Students will create meaningful projects from the start, building a digital portfolio of analytical skills, theoretical chops, and critical analysis. The course sequence brings together a cohort from day one that moves through an eight course sequence in methods, theory, substantive courses and internship/practicum. Join us as sociologists shape the digital future at VCU SOCY.

Learn Together. Grow Together.

Semester 1

  • Statistics
  • Theory
  • Digital Social Problems

Semester 2

  • Research Methods
  • Public Sociology
  • Big Data/Data Scraping

Semester 3

  • Quantitative
  • Digital Sociology
  • Project 1

Semester 4

  • Data Visualization
  • SNA
  • Project 2

What is a Digital Sociologist?

According to sociologist Deborah Lupton, digital sociology has four distinguishing characteristics:

  1. Professional digital practice: using digital media tools for professional purposes: to build networks, construct an e-profile, publicize and share research and instruct students.

  2. Sociological analyses of digital use: researching the ways in which people's use of digital media configures their sense of selves, their embodiment and their social relations.

  3. Digital data analysis: using digital data for social research, either quantitative or qualitative.

  4. Critical digital sociology: undertaking reflexive and critical analysis of digital media informed by social and cultural theory.

As a Digital Sociologist, you will:

  1. Develop a professional digital practice: using digital media tools like WordPress, soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat,, Slack and other platforms you will share sociological analysis with various audiences.

  2. Analyze digital use: using various methods you will apply classic and contemporary social theory to how individuals, institutions and groups use digital media.

  3. Do digital data analysis: you will develop analytical skills using data mining, textual analysis, content analysis, virtual ethnography, social network analysis, linear regression and surveys.

  4. Apply critical sociology to contemporary social problems: using theory, data, and methods you will demonstrate that you can identify and analyze stratification and articulate theories of social change.

Dedicated, Involved Faculty

Faculty and students share a strong interest in bringing sociology out into the public through social action, internships, community research, digital storytelling and civic engagement.

Our dedicated faculty works tirelessly with students & the community.

What are you waiting for?

Apply Today!