SOC 244 Medical Sociology • 5 Cr.


What is medical sociology? This course will examine the major frameworks and sociological understandings of health and illness. Through a social and cultural lens, we will examine hospital and health care delivery institutions. We will ask probing questions about the distribution of health, illness, death, and longevity across socioeconomic strata and population subgroups. How does identification with certain subgroups of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality status, class position, and age impact health and illness outcomes? In other words, how and why does the medical system provide better outcomes for some groups and fail other groups?


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Describe health and illness from a sociological perspective, as well as understanding the hospital and health care delivery institutions from a sociological perspective 
  • Understanding the cultural and social interactions that inform provider-patient relationships 
  • Articulate the ways in which health and illness are constructed socially. 
  • Explain how and why dominant groups consistently have better medical outcomes than underrepresented groups. 
  • Discuss how the experience of health and illness is shaped by race, class, sexuality, age, gender and disability status.