Required Reading
The required text for this course is:

Macionis, John J. and Vincent Parillo. 2017. Cities and Urban Life, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-386980-4.

There will be additional required readings such as articles, news stories, websites, etc. available on this class website. I will surely add another reading here and there to the calendar. Do not print everything out on day one and then fail to check back later.

You are expected to read a daily newspaper. Current events are fair game for exams.


midterm exam 100
final exam 100
little assignments worth various points 160

Course grading follows the conventional brackets: 90’s are A’s, 80’s are B’s, etc. So for instance, to get an A, you need at least 90 percent of 360 points, or 324 points.

The exams will be essay tests covering the text, lectures, additional readings available on this class website, and classroom discussions. There may be a few multiple choice questions about the readings.

The “little assignments” will be quizzes, response papers, maybe a point or two for attendance now and then, and other little projects that I may assign ahead of time or on the spot (as in pop quizzes). If you come to class after such a little assignment has been given, you will not be allowed to make it up.

Course Objectives
By the end of the semester, you will be stronger in a number of areas.
With respect to written communication skills, you will be a veteran of essay exams.
With respect to multicultural knowledge, your understanding of the ways the urban condition shapes race and ethnicity will be much improved.
With respect to critical thinking skills, you will have practiced evaluating the assumptions of divergent theories and explanations of urban phenomena.
With respect to theoretical knowledge, your repertoire will be much expanded by the addition of theories of city growth, urban deviance, and so forth.
With respect to applications of sociology, you will no doubt feel excited by the practical implications of urban planning and new theoretical approaches to the study of cities.

Extra Credit
There is no extra credit. There are 360 points of regular credit – earn those. Do not ask for extra credit.

Attendance and Make Ups
If you don’t attend regularly, you will surely struggle in this class. There are no make ups for little assignments missed due to an unexcused absence, so attendance is graded indirectly in that way. Students with poor attendance routinely make the lowest grades in my classes, in large part because the exams are based so heavily on classroom lectures and discussions. You really should come every day. I will be more likely to round up borderline grades for students I have noticed attending regularly and participating in class.

Any make up exam that is allowed will be given at the end of the semester, immediately after you finish the final exam. Barring extraordinary circumstances, any make up little assignment that is allowed must be completed within a week of the original due date. You will not be allowed to make up any little assignment without a note from a doctor or a funeral home showing that you had to miss class due to illness or a death in the family.

Students with Disabilities

Per the Office of Disability Services: “If you are a student with a disability who will require an accommodation(s) to participate in this course, please contact me as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide documentation from the Office of Disability Services. Failure to contact me in a timely manner may delay your accommodations.”

Electronic Devices
Departmental statement: “The Department of Sociology reserves the right to limit or deny the use of any and all electronic devices in the classroom.” Do not secretly video the lectures and post them on YouTube. Also, students using laptops in class must sit in the front half of the occupied rows.

Department Statement about Academic Dishonesty
(and I quote:)
As members of the university community, students are expected to be aware of and abide by university policies regarding academic honesty. By the same token, members of the faculty within the university community are expected to enforce those policies. Members of the Department of Sociology operate on the assumption that each student has thoroughly reviewed the university policies regarding academic honesty and that the policies will be followed. Accordingly, members of the Department of Sociology will enforce all policies related to academic honesty.

[For specifics, see, Academic Honesty, UPPS No. 07.10.01.]

The following is not a substitute for the statement of policies found in the above referenced material. Rather, it serves to call each student’s attention to the breadth and depth of academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty includes the following: Cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or abuse of resource materials. Each term or phrase is defined in some detail in the above referenced material. Because the offense of plagiarism can be confusing to students, the following information is provided as essential reading by all students.

‘Plagiarism means the appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own written work offered for credit.’ (Texas State University Handbook, UPPS No. 07-10-01)
Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • downloading or buying a research paper
  • cutting and pasting information from several sources to create a paper
  • leaving out quotation marks around quoted material, placing quotation marks around some but not all copied information
  • leaving out quotation marks around copied information but adding a citation implying that the information is the student’s summary of the source
  • leaving out quotation marks for more than three consecutive words taken directly from a source
  • providing a reference/bibliography page but leaving out the reference citation in the body of the paper
  • faking a citation
  • unintentionally using words or ideas or quotes without citing them in the body of the paper and on the reference/bibliography page (

Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism or having plagiarized in the past without having been penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology. Any student charged with plagiarism may appeal in writing in accordance with Texas State University policy.

The phrase, academic dishonesty, includes a variety of transgressions. It refers to acts such as cheating on a test to committing plagiarism when writing a paper. The Sociology Department assumes that it is the responsibility of each student to know what constitutes academic dishonesty. A lack of understanding of the phrase is no excuse when academic dishonesty is at issue. Similarly, a student may not be excused from a current transgression because he/she committed a similar act in the past and was not charged with a violation of university policy. Any student who is accused with academic dishonesty has the right to challenge the accusation, but the challenge must be submitted in writing and in accordance with university policy.

A complete statement on the policy of the Department of Sociology regarding academic dishonesty (including plagiarism) is available on the departmental website Remember: ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or having participated in academic dishonesty in the past without being penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology.