Rajshahi College: The Department of Sociology

--Assoc. Professor Dr. Nazneen Sultana


Sociology is the scientific study of human society and social relations. It attempts to understand the life patterns of individuals with diverse characteristics who live in society. As such, Sociology is one of the  most important fields in social sciences. In Bangladesh, Sociology as a separate discipline started in 1957 at the University of Dhaka with technical assistance from UNESCO under the direction of Pierre Bessaignet, a UNESCO advisor and famous social anthropologist. Prof. A.K. Nazmul Karim, a prominent sociologist in Bangladesh, became the first Bengali head of the department. After the establishment of the Department of Sociology at the University of Dhaka, Sociology was launched in other public universities including the University of Rajshahi and University of Chittagong.  However, after liberation, this discipline opened its doors in various renowned government colleges in Bangladesh including Rajshahi College.

Sociology as a separate discipline started its journey in 1972 at Rajshahi College and was first offered BSS (Pass) and MSS (Preliminary) courses. Dr. A.H.M. Zehadul Karim, a renowned anthropologist in Bangladesh, had been the founder chairman of this department and later he joined the Department of Sociology, Univer-sity of Rajshahi. In 1993, Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) course in Sociology was introduced at this department under the National University, Bangladesh. Since then, the department has been offering BSS (Honours) and Masters courses in Sociology.  Sociology is also being offered at the higher secondary level alongside undergraduate and graduate levels at this college.

The Department of Sociology is situated on the 1st floor of the four storied ‘Third Science Building’ at Rajshahi College. Presently, nine teachers are working in this department, of whom one is associate professor, four are assistant professors and the rest are lecturers. Of the nine teachers, four teachers have PhD and MPhil degrees from renowned universities. All the faculty members have high professional attitudes and are committed to their duties and teaching.

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The Department of Sociology is one of the largest departments of Rajshahi College in terms of the number of students. About 2000 students are pursuing undergraduate and graduate courses. Each and every year, roughly 235 students get enrolled in BSS (Hons) course. Moreover, approximately 250 students are enrolled in Masters Part-1 course, and about 400 students are enrolled in Masters Final course. Many students of this department are working in various capacities in different organizations of both private and public sectors across the country and thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.

The teachers have very wonderful relations among themselves and with the students. They are very friendly and cooperative to the students. They strictly follow the course plan throughout the year. Research is an important aspect of Sociology since it attempts to examine social phenomena, analyze the motives of social behavior and deal with the social problems scientifically.  As such, the faculty members put much emphasis on research methodology which provides the students with systematic guidelines and methods to carry out social studies. The teachers provide important guidelines and directions to each of the students in preparing term-papers and research monograph as part of their courses. They also provide invaluable advices to the students in designing their career plan. The department arranges seminars and workshops very often; at least once in every two months focusing on contemporary issues and events in connection with the curriculums.

The department has a rich seminar library with a congenial and excellent academic atmosphere. It contains about 7000 academic books and journals related to social sciences. The students can also read the daily newspapers, weekly and quarterly magazines. The graduating students publish souvenirs every year containing their photographs, mailing addresses, special moments and memories during their stay at this department. The department has already taken an initiative to publish a half-yearly journal in which both the teachers and students of Sociology across the country would have scope to publish their research papers focusing on contemporary sociological issues. The department undertakes various extracurricular activities to enhance individual capacity of the students alongside academic classes. These activities include organizing study tour, debate, general knowledge competition, essay writing, game arrangement, and so on.