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PhD Sociology Course Description

Course Description

Year One Semester One

SOC 701: Quantitative Research Methods

Course Content: This course gives an in-depth analysis of quantitative research methods. The course is in two parts; the first part would emphasize the philosophical underpinnings, the elements of research, theory, research design and survey research, formulation and testing of hypothesis, independent and dependent variables and the unit of analysis, treatment and control of groups and also how to choose samples. The second part would focus on teaching students how to use statistical reasoning to interpret and make informed decisions about empirical observation, descriptive statistics and probability theory, such as measures of central tendencies and the spread of distribution. Students will also be introduced to quantitative research analysis software such as SPSS and AMOS

Course Objectives: The course aims at equipping students with skills and knowledge to be able to collect data with quantitative research methods and analyse the data to make a meaning out of it.


SOC 703: Classical Sociological Thought

Course Content The course focuses on how societies develop, persist and change and also on the explanations that have been advanced by the founding fathers.  There would be the examination of the works of earlier theorists like Auguste Comte (1798 – 1857), Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903) and Emile Durkheim (1858 – 1917), George Simmel (1858 – 1918), Max Weber (1864 – 1920), Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929), and G.H Mead (1863 – 1931).  The study of thought of the founding fathers of Sociology is important because the basic features of social life they addressed are still prevalent in modern times, for example, the transformation societies from traditional to modern, increasing division of labour, rationalization of social life, class divisions of society, exploitation and poverty among others.

Course Objective: The course examines contributions of classical sociological theory to the understanding of the structures of modern societies.


SOC 705: Sociology of Organizational Behaviour

Course Content: The course would examine critical aspects of human behaviour, organizational design and processes to develop a conceptual understanding of organizational human resource issues such as motivation, leadership, communication, decision-making, team work and effectiveness. The course questions the assumptions underlying organisational behaviour. Approaches to organizational behaviour and the relevance of the literature to understanding behaviour in organizations, issues of behaviour in organizations, and theoretical frameworks and projected management practices, would be discussed.

Course Objective: The course has the objective of introducing students to how human behaviour influences interactions and their outcomes in the organizational setting.


SOC 707: Social Policy Analysis

Course Content: The course provides an understanding and need for Social Policy. It focuses on, what social policy is, the idea and concepts, the history, development and implementation. Further, the requisite critical skills in many social policy analyses are the understanding of the policy process which includes: problem definition and analysis, review of relevant research, identification of possible actions, implementation and evaluation.  To develop these skills, specifically conducting and communicating the analysis, contemporary Ghanaian social policies and discourses on health, education, livelihoods and sanitation among others would be examined.

Course Objective: The main objective of this course is to develop the ability of students to critically examine and evaluate existing policies and to be able to plan, develop and implement inclusive policies that address the different needs of different target groups including women, children, aged and disabled.


SOC 709: Deviance and Criminology

Content: This course examines issues of deviance and social control in societies. The course assesses the historical development of the concepts of deviance and criminology. The three (3) major perspectives, namely functionalism, conflict and interactionism would be applied to the analysis of deviance as well as the labeling theory.  The theories and agents of Social Control including the informal and formal mechanisms of social control would be discussed.

Course Objective: This course aims to teach students how to apply major sociological theories to an understanding and critical evaluation of social control and deviance concerns within a society.


SOC 711: Sociology of Work and Industrial Organization

Course Content: The course mainly investigates how social relations are involved in the production of goods and services. It starts by analysing what constitutes work in industrial organisations. It determines whether the task people perform at work provide for the satisfaction of human needs, The complete analysis of work and employment such as social, economic and political environments, labor process, managerial control systems, employee resistance and the effects of technological change.  The course also discusses the transformation of work and the increasing participation of women in the labour force. The course also discusses industrial democracy, workers participation and management, trade unionism in Africa and industrial relations.

Course Objective: The course has the objective of introducing students to the nature of work and its centrality to human life with emphasis on work in industrial organizations.


SOC 713: Sociology of Education

Course Content: The course is designed to introduce students to the definition of Sociology of Education, value of studying Sociology of Education and objectives of education, the Culture, Social Functions of School Education and agencies of Education. It questions the philosophical assumptions underlying the concept of education in different contexts. Issues of School Units including: the Community as a social unit, the School as a Social Unit and the School- Community Relations which are of long-standing interest in the study of Sociology. Special attention will be paid to Education and Social Control, Occupational Attainment, Equality and Social Stratification.

Course Objective: The course is aimed at introducing students to the sociological perspective of education and educational policies.


SOC 715: Gender and Sociology 

Course Content: It explores the idea of gender and its philosophical underpinnings. It focuses on historical perspectives on gender studies; theories and concepts in gender analysis; feminist theories and movements; definition of status and roles of men and women in society; women and work, legal provisions for women’s rights; women and men in politics; media and women; gender issues in rural communities (rights and access to land, households & rural production, among others.); gender issues in rural development politics; gender issues in urban communities (household & urban production); gender issues in urban production and politics; gender and reproductive health problems; gender issues and the environment; gender based discrimination, violence and the law. Finally, the course entails a Gender theory workshop which includes seminars and lectures.

Course Objective: The course aims at introducing students to gender analysis of society.


SOC 717: Social Psychology

Course Content: The course explores the various ways people think about, affect and relate to one another. The course provides students with an awareness of the historical and philosophical background of social psychology and an in-depth knowledge of contemporary theoretical approaches to the discipline. Topics to be covered includes: social self-concept, social judgment, attitudes, persuasion, conformity, aggression, helping behaviour, prejudice, and interpersonal relations and social psychological research methodologies.

Course Objective: This course is designed to further students’ understanding of Social Psychology, the scientific study of human social influence and interaction. 


SOC 719: Sociology of the Media

Course Content: It essentially looks at the effects of media on society; the Ghanaian world view of the media, media and socialization, the industry and professionals, political influences on the media, media influences on politics and media in the changing world. The course examines the electronic media and other forms of media in a changing world, globalization and uptake of ICTs: mobile phone usage and social interaction, social media and social movements and mobilization and issues of political and economic constraints.

Course Objective: The course has the objective of offering students a sociological analysis of the mass media and communication contents and industries - the radio, print and audiovisual.


SOC 721: Rural Sociology

Course Content: The course begins by interrogating the concept ‘rural’, followed by the theoretical approaches to the study of rural areas, importance of rural societies, rural settlement patterns and rural social structure; rural participation appraisal, women in rural societies, youth in the rural development, understanding of the complex problems of Rural Development of the developing world; meaning and causes of rural poverty; the role of the state in the variety of developmental programmes.

Course Objective: The course is to identify the institutional arrangements which characterize the rural way of life as distinct from the urban.


SOC 723: Population Studies

Course Content: The areas to be covered include the interpretation and appreciation of demographic information within the context of sociology, their critical relevance in political, social and economic planning, especially education, health and public services.  It also examines the basic knowledge in population studies, i.e., rudimentary demographic techniques to analysis of census, survey and vital statistical data. Concepts, measures and analysis of population dynamics - fertility and migration, population projections and their relevance to issues in population studies and interrelationships with social and economic changes.

Course Objective: The course has the objective of introducing students to population issues from the sociological perspective.


SOC 725: Conflict Prevention and Management

Course Content: The course covers a variety of literature on conflict and crisis management. It assesses the theoretical basis of conflict. The main focus is to build students’ capacity to identify types and sources of conflict; use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) principles and techniques to manage conflict and prevent crisis.  It is also to equip students with knowledge and skills to critically analyze and use different strategies to meaningfully and objectively manage conflict situations.  It provides an opportunity to build on strengths of different methods to deal with conflict to promote peace for social and national development.

Course Objective: The course is meant to equip students with skills and techniques to prevent and manage conflict in society.


Year One Semester Two

SOC 702: Qualitative Research Methods

Course Content: The course introduces students to qualitative approach to research. It is aimed at teaching students the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research method, how to use participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and conversation, diaries to collect data and produce findings in social science research. In addition, the course would introduce students to the use of secondary data and mix methods. Besides, students will be thought how to analyze data with qualitative research software such as NVIVO and ATLAS.

Course Objective: This course aims at equipping students with interactive skills necessary in qualitative research.


SOC 704: Contemporary Sociological Theory

Course Content: The course introduces students to the relationship that exist between the classical, modern and/or contemporary sociological theories. Therefore, the course concentrates on sociological perspectives that came up after the classical sociological theory such as ideas of Positivism and Phenomenology and their research methodologies. Other sociological perspectives the course focuses on are:  Structuralism in Sociology; Consensus and conflict approaches; Neo-Functionalism; Marxism and Neo-Marxism: Critical theory, the ideas of Habermas, and cultural analyses of modern societies; Historical orientation of Marxism; Macro and Micro or Structure and Agency debate; Interpretative traditions and definition of the situation; social construction of reality; Exchange and rational choice theories; Feminist theories; Structuralism, Poststructuralism - the ideas of Foucault; Bourdier, Giddens, Habermas, sociolinguistics; Recent integrative developments in sociological theory; Postmodernism and postmodern social theories.

Objective: The course aims at bringing students up to date on the growth of sociological theory which followed the classical theories of the founding fathers. 


SOC 706: Sociology of Religion

Course Content: The nature and philosophical background of religion; Classical approaches in Sociology of Religion: Arguments for the existence of God (ontological, cosmological and teleological), Theism and Probability; the Moral argument and the argument for special events, experiences; Grounds for belief and disbelief in God.  Theories of religion, The Problem of Evil, and the Challenge of Modern Science, The Major Religions of the World (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, some Eastern Religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism), African Traditional Religion, New Religious Movements. Religion and the environment, Religion and Leadership, Religion and Culture and Secularism would be discussed.

Course Objective: The course aims at examining the institution of religion and its social significance.


SOC708: Human Resource Management

Course Content: The course focuses on understanding of how to improve the contribution of staff to organizational performance and update competencies in Human Resource Management.  The students would also appreciate latest developments in civil service reforms, or national/sectoral human resource management and understand the relevance of learning achieved on the programme to their own settings. It would examine concepts and practices in human resource management, overview of Human Resource Management, behaviour in organizations, employee resourcing, human resource development, reward management employee relations and employment and personnel administration.

Course Objective: The course seeks to equip students with increased understanding of how to improve the contribution of staff to organizational performance and update competencies in Human Resources Management.


SOC 710: Gender and Development

Content: It looks at feminist criticisms of development and Third World criticisms of feminism.  It examines the conceptual shift in Women in Development (WID), Women and Development (WAD) and Gender and Development (GAD). These are then applied to a range of specific issues including the nature of poverty; work, household and division of labour; gender dimensions in rural change, gender and industrialization.  The environment, developmental issues and approaches to gender planning in development would also be discussed.  These include gender mainstreaming, affirmative action, gender budgeting and planning and gender in governance.

Objective: This course aims at introducing students to current development issues in the Third World, paying attention to the analysis of gender and socio-cultural and economic issues. 


SOC 712:  Environmental Sociology

Course Content: The theoretical underpinnings of the concept of environment is examined. The course examines the intricate relationship between ecology, human habitation and social organization.  It addresses problems related to settlement patterns, population activities, cultural values and the impact such activities have on the environment as a whole.  It highlights environmental impact assessment procedures, as well as environmental management techniques and policy formulation. 

Course Objective: The course has the objective of helping students to understand the nexus between social groups/society and the environment and its resources.


SOC 714: Sociology of Health

Course Content: The course traces the theoretical development of health. It also investigates the styles of social behaviour characteristic of health personnel and those who are consumers of health care. The health differences between men and women, advanced nations and developing nations, as well as the rich and the poor would be critically examined as well as the medical ethics, the hospital organization (general and mental hospitals) and the role of health practitioners, such as nurses, physicians, pharmacists and dentists. Issues of Non-Traditional Medical Practice, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), social stress, dying and euthanasia, and the National Health Insurance Scheme, among others, will be discussed during the course.

Course Objective: The course aims at explaining the social-cultural perspective of health and illness as well as health care policies and practice.


SOC 716: Urban Sociology

Course Content: The course assesses the changing conceptualisations and their ramifications of the concept ‘urban’. Major areas to be treated include city location, urban growth, regional ecology, city planning, social organization and mass phenomena, with special reference to African cities, including urban personality, leisure activities and voluntary associations.

Content Objective: The course is aimed at examining the urban space, its features and changes that are taking place.


SOC 718:  Social Gerontology

Course Content: The course begins by assessing the philosophical assumptions that underlie the concept of gerontology. The main topics include theories of aging, social, psychological, physical aspect and economic determinants of aging. The aged population, their needs, available resources and services in the community, assisting the aged in obtaining services, implications for the future, policy response to aging in Africa, elder abuse and combativeness would be assessed.  There will be an examination of the adaptation and life satisfaction in old age, personal adjustment problems, marital problems, family conflict, relocation, adjustment to separation and loneliness, anxiety over limited income, mental illness and interpersonal loss, and social security.

Course Objective: The course is aimed at introducing students to the major sociological frameworks for understanding the personal as well as societal issues associated with aging.


SOC 720: Social Anthropology

Course Content: The course would look at the theoretical orientations, provide a critical analysis of the fundamental methods of Social Anthropology. It should acquaint students with a wide range of methodological skills that will enable them engage in critical analysis and empirical research concerning culture of simple societies. The institutions and social organizations in simple preliterate societies will be discussed. The impact of colonialism, westernization, urbanization, and the development of the world system; applied anthropology, critiques of anthropological works of the past with particular reference to Africa as well as and future trends are examined. This course also known as cultural anthropology focuses on the evolution of human societies from the early beginning to the present times. The various sub-fields of anthropology will be delineated. There will be advanced discussion of theoretical perspectives: evolution, diffusionism, functionalism, structural functionalism and post-structuralism, etc.; contributions of key figures to the development of social anthropology. Social anthropological research methods and their changing nature, from armchair to modern field work techniques, social institutions and practices, e.g., kinship, marriage and family, religion, rituals and myths, politics, law and social control, economics and the theories explaining them are explored. The impact of colonialism, westernization, urbanization, and the development of the world system; applied anthropology, critiques of anthropological works of the past with particular reference to Africa as well as and future trends are examined.

 Course Objective: The course focuses on the evolution of human societies from the early beginning to preset times.   


SOC 722: Political Sociology

Course Content: The course analyses the issues inherent in the concept of politics. This course studies the distribution of power in society. Theories of the state, revolutions, and the political activities of social classes, racial and ethnic groups, genders and other groups are examined.  The course also explores how social forces shape policy on issues such as welfare, health care, education, abortion, criminal justice, defense, and unemployment.

Course Objective: The course is meant to introduce students to the nature and use of power, institutions of authority and linkage between political actors and followers. 


SOC 724: Sociology of Law

Course Content: The course looks at the major classical studies on law; sociological approaches to law and their social importance. It would introduce students to an understanding of law as a social institution acquiring its form, meaning and effect through social practices. The course would cover topics such as customary law, social control, colonialism and development of law in society, law and social change, the legal profession, social reality of law, family law, minority rights and affirmative action, labour law, sexual harassment, abortion, criminal and civil commitment law, the death penalty, environmental law, students’ rights, mechanisms for conflict resolution, mediation, arbitration, adjudication, trial by ordeal and mob justice.

Course Objective: The course has been designed to examine the sociological basis of law both as a mechanism of social regulation and as a field of knowledge.


SOC 726: Sociology of Knowledge

Course Content:  The course will focus on socio-historical conditionality of knowledge; knowledge acquisition; consciousness; social aspects of the production; dissemination; use of various types of knowledge by society as a whole and by specific classes; social groups, and organizations. It will also look at the domains of knowledge and their practitioners, foundations, bodies of legitimated information as well as arrangements of capital, epistemology and politics.

Course Objective: The course has the objective of introducing students to the social nature of knowledge.


SOC 728: African Social Thought

Course Content: It first explores who an African is and its implications. The course engages students in critical discussions on the contributions of major social thinkers of African descent in Africa and the Diaspora to sociological thinking about society. Topics include: social thoughts about social organization in Africa, the African worldviews, conceptions of the individual, society, community and family life, economic and political organization, and religion, cultural traditions, conceptions of rights, obligations and justice, Africa’s contact with Europeans and the origins and development of “new ideas” about Africa and the African responses and concern; slavery, colonialism, nationalism, Negritude, Neo-colonialism, African American thoughts and actions, Pan-Africanism, African unity, socialism and self-reliance. The course seeks to discover Africanist social thoughts and show their sociological relevance for understanding the Africans situations.

Course Objectives: The course is meant to strengthen student’s knowledge and understanding of the classical and contemporary theories of the founding fathers of Sociology. It is also aimed at introducing students to the ideas and thoughts of African scholars which are relevant to current Sociological thought. 


SOC 730: Demographic Analysis

Course Content: The course introduces students to basic concepts of demographic measurement and modeling used to study changes in population size and composition.    It covers population projections and age pattern, methods used to measure the dimensions and dynamics of population, techniques of demographic analysis, the sources for data for demographic research, basic measure of mortality, fertility and migration,

Course objective: The course aims at equipping students with the knowledge to be able to identify appropriate sources of data and perform basic demographic analysis and interpret data. 


SOC 732: Rural Development

Course Content: It introduces students to the concept of development within the context of rural Ghana and Africa as a whole. This course focuses on the general rural transformation and development of Ghana and Africa. The economic reforms, the socio-political superstructure and how these interfaced with development as it unfolded and through interventionism in space and time will be analysed.  Students would be equipped with knowledge regarding the performance of some rural development programs by both government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ghana and other parts of Africa. Finally, students would be trained in skills to design appropriate rural development policies and programs that can help to reduce the misery in rural settings

Course Objective: The course has the objective of helping students to appreciate the challenges to rural development and how to solve the challenges.


Year Two Semester One

SOC 791: Seminar Presentation

Course Content: The proposal should cover issues such as background//introduction of the research topic, problem statement, aims and objectives of the study, research questions, hypothesis/assumptions, justification of the study, significance of the study, definition of concepts/terms, theoretical perspective/conceptual framework and a brief methodology of the study.

Course Objective: Students are to start writing their theses proposals in the first semester of second year.


Year Two Semester Two

SOC 792: Seminar Presentation

Course Content: Reviewing of related literature on their research topics.

Course Objective: Students are supposed to write their literature review in the second semester of second year.


Year Three Semester One

SOC 793: Seminar Presentation

Course Content: The issues to be covered under the research methodology include the following: research design, sampling procedure, sample selection, sources of data, data collection methods, data analysis, ethical considerations and designing of data collection instruments for fieldwork.

Course Objective: Students should start work on their research methodology and designing of data collection instruments in the first semester of third year.


Year Three Semester Two

SOC 794: Seminar Presentation

Course Content: Data collection in the field.

Course Objective: Students should start fieldwork (data collection) in the second semester of third year.


Year Four Semester One

SOC 795: Thesis I

Course Content: Draft theses.

Course Objective: Students are supposed to start the write-up of their theses in the first semester of fourth year.


Year Four Semester Two

SOC 796: Thesis II

Course Content: Final draft of theses.

Course Objective: Students should finalize work on the write-up of theses in the second semester of fourth year.