Although classes began on this campus in October 1859, the first sociology course was not taught until fall semester 1919. The course was "Elementary Sociology." From the time of this first course until 1935, when a separate Department of Sociology was established, all sociology courses were offered by the Economics Department. During the 1970s, the Sociology Department was restructured and Anthropology and Criminology became separate programs. Today, the Sociology Department houses the Center for Innovation, the Maryland Time Use Laboratory, the India Human Development Survey and the Group Processes Lab, and is affiliated with the Maryland Population Research Center.

Over the years, the Sociology faculty has included many nationally and internationally renowned scholars. In the 1920s, sociology courses were taught by George Peter Murdock, who later created the Human Relations Area Files. In 1938, Logan Wilson, who later became the President of the University of Texas, joined the faculty for a few years. C. Wright Mills, the author of The Power EliteWhite Collar, and The Sociological Imagination, was a member of the faculty from 1941-1945. Since then, renowned scholars on the faculty have included Patricia Hill Collins (who served as president of the American Sociological Association), Annette Lareau (who also served as ASA president), Morris Rosenberg, Harriet Presser, George Ritzer, Suzanne Bianchi, and John P. Robinson.

The Department has had thirteen leaders: Theodore B. Manny, Carl Joslyn, Edward Gregory, Harold Hoffsommer, Robert Ellis, Kenneth C. W. Kammeyer, Jerald Hage, William Falk, Lee Hamilton, Suzanne Bianchi, Reeve Vanneman, and Patricio Korzeniewicz. The current chair is Jeff Lucas.

Among the many people who have earned a degree from this department and subsequently achieved considerable recognition are William Form, who became president of the American Sociological Association; Parren Mitchell, who became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Adele Stamp, for whom the Stamp Student Union is named; and Charles Wellford, who chaired Maryland's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice for many years.

Last modified
06/20/2023 - 8:31 am