Social Problems

Western Texas College
Department of Social Sciences

  1. Basic Course Information
    1. The course considers history, culture, politics and theory as we examine the relationship between personal troubles and social problems. Students will be introduced to several social problems and will learn to better understand them from a sociological perspective. We will accomplish this via prepared lectures, assigned readings, and classroom discussion.  Students are expected to keep up with their readings and participate fully.  Further, students are challenged to employ critical thinking defined as “a willingness to ask any question, no matter how difficult; to be open to any answer that is supported by reason and evidence; and to openly confront one’s own biases and prejudices when they get in the way.” (Appelbaum and Chambliss 1997).
    2. Prerequisites: none
  2. Student Learning Outcomes - Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
    1. Describe how the sociological imagination can be used to explain the emergence and implications of contemporary social problems.
    2. Explain the nature of social problems from at least one sociological perspective, e.g., critical, functional, interpretive, etc.
    3. Identify multidimensional aspects of social problems including the global, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of social problems.
    4. Discuss how “solutions” to social problems are often contentious due to diverse values in society.
    5. Describe how the proposed “solutions” to a social problem, including social policies, may bring rise to other social problems.
  3. Major Requirements
    1. There will several essay exams
    2. There will be written discussion including peer review on a regular basis
    3. There will be several quizzes spaced throughout the semester
  4. Information on Books and Other Course Material
    1. Henslin, J. REVEL for Social Problems: A Down-to-Earth Approach 12/E ISBN-13: 9780134521428 
  5. Other Policies:Please refer to the WTC Course Catalog for the following:  
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final Exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Students with disabilities
    7. Policy on late work: Late work accepted at the discretion of the instrutor and only under rare circumstances. 
  6. Course Organization & Tentative Schedule*
Week Topic Reading Assignments

Week 1


Week 2

Poverty and Wealth

Week 3

Racial and Ethnic Inequality

Week 4

Gender Inequality

Week 5

Aging and Inequality

Week 6

Crime and Violence

Week 7


Week 8

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Week 9

Physical and Mental Health

Week 10

Economy and Politics

Week 11

Work and the Workplace

Week 12


Week 13


Week 14

Urban Life/ Population

Week 15

Technology and Environment

Week 16

War and Terrorism

*The above schedule, policies, procedures, and assignments in this course are subject to change.



Last Modified: August 7, 2017