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Real World Learning Courses

The Sociology Department's Real World Learning Courses

  • Research Methods I (Quantitative Research): Students learn research design by working with a community partner on a survey needed by the organization.Local community partners this class has worked with include: Cafe Solar, Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership, GEAR UP Lowell, the Partnership for College Success, Merrimack Valley Small Business Center, Budget Buddies, and the Museum of Science Boston.
  • Social Anthropology and Sociology of the Family: Students develop ethnographic research skills and learn about immigrant and refugee families and communities in Lowell by working at organizations such as SayDaNar (Burmese Community Development Organization), Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, and the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center.
  • Sociology of Health and Healthcare: Students have the opportunity to work closely with geriatric social workers at Fairhaven Healthcare Center and D'Youville Life and Wellness Community in Lowell. They also learn about food insecurity and urban gardening through service projects at the Merrimack Valley Food Bank and Mill City Grows.
  • Community Service: Students in this course develop workshops, mentoring programs and college tours for at-risk high school students. In this process, they work side-by-side with school counselors and social workers at Lowell High School and the International Institute of New England (Lowell branch).
  • Honors Seminar on Homelessness: This course features original projects designed by students in collaboration with staff and homeless guests at Lowell Transitional Living Center and Living Waters Drop-In Center. This past year, students created a new clothing distribution system and helped stage an exhibit featuring work created by artists who are currently experiencing housing insecurity.
  • Fast Food Hot Planet: This course maps the social and historical dimensions of crisis and inequalities of food production and distribution. While exploring food security's relation to sustainable food production, students strengthen critical thinking, writing, and library research skills.  Students also engage in a service learning project that links food and climate issues.  Past partners include World Peas, Cafe Solar, Support Our Students, and the Lowell Food Day Coalition. Read more about this course here.
  • Sociology of the Environment: This course will trace how political, social, economic and cultural arrangements and choices contribute to environmental catastrophes and their resolution. In the course students help develop projects such as survey design, that help local community partners that are concerned with environmental issues. In the past, students have worked with the Tsongas Industrial History Center.
  • Internship I: Individual students are paired to intern with local organizations in the community. Examples of internship placements include: The Center for Hope and Healing, Coalition for a Better Acre,  Girls Inc.,  and Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group.
  • Social Problems: This course uses the core concept of social problems to introduce basic social science reasoning, including how social scientist define research questions, develop systematic methods to study them, gather evidence, search for pattern, and link findings to existent knowledge. Students choose a social problem that they feel is important in the local community and try to find solutions to address the issues. The course has worked closely with the Merrimack Valley Project and Public Higher Education Network Of Massachusetts.
  • Learning from the Field: This course provides students with the opportunity to directly observe and participate in the operation of a social service organization. 

Students can find all the latest course information in the UMass Lowell online Academic Course Catalog.