Sociology Major and Minor

What is Sociology?

Sociology is a systematic, scientific attempt to explain, interpret, predict, and understand human behavior. Sociologists study human behavior as it is shaped by culture and social structure. Sociological theory and the results from sociological studies can apply to virtually every type of social setting, ranging from small groups to institutions, organizations, and nations. Students of sociology are in a special position to help improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.

What do Sociologists Do? 

Sociologists study social organization. Some examine how societies are structured, how they work, and how they change. Others study small social groups, including social networks that people form as part of their social life. Issues of race, class, and gender are important elements of sociological analyses. Sociologists study families, groups, and organizations, including how people develop identities in these settings. Others focus on broad patterns of social organization such as socialization, education, welfare, healthcare, and the legal system. As the social world becomes more and more globalized, sociological analysis is increasingly relevant to complex and urgent problems such as social inequality and the social causes and impacts of climate change.

Sociology is a useful preparation for students looking forward to careers in social services, education, law, business, social work, criminology, urban planning, child development, and the health-related professions. An undergraduate degree in sociology can also provide an excellent steppingstone to graduate school.

Required Courses for the Sociology Major

The sociology major requires the completion of 27 credits in sociology and four credits in statistics, distributed as follows.

One of the following:

  • SOC 0002 Sociology of Everyday Life
  • SOC 0005 Societies
  • SOC 0010 Introduction to Sociology

Both of the following: 

  • SOC 0140 Classical Social Theory (W) or SOC 0150 Social Theory
  • SOC 0230 Social Research Methods

One of the following:

  • STAT 0200 Basic Applied Statistics
  • STAT 1000 Applied Statistical Methods       

    Note: The above courses are prerequisites for the research practicum, and all of the listed courses must be completed prior to taking it.

Research Practicum

SOC 1500 Capstone Research Practicum for Majors

Elective courses

Students are required to complete a minimum of 15 elective credits in SOC, six of which must be at the 1000 level. Internships and directed research do not count toward the six 1000-level elective credits.

Honors Major Requirement

Honors in sociology is granted if in addition to fulfilling all requirement for the major, the student:

  • maintained a GPA of 3.5 or above in SOC courses;
  • maintained an overall GPA of 3.25 or above;
  • completed SOC 0140 or 0150 and SOC 0230 prior to completeing a three-credit SOC 1002 honors seminar; and
  • completed a three-credit SOC honors thesis, written under the direction of a faculty mentor.


Students complete an honors thesis by enrolling in Sociology Honors Seminar (SOC 1002) in the fall semester and Directed Research (SOC 1903) in the spring semester of their senior year.  A description of SOC 1002 is below:

Sociology Honors Seminar (SOC 1002) is the first of a two semester sequence (SOC 1903, taken in the Spring semester, is the second) designed to facilitate students’ independent research toward the completion of an honors thesis, a requirement for graduating with honors. The seminar affords students the opportunity to utilize the skills they have acquired as sociology majors, apply their sociological imaginations, dive deep into a topic that is important to them, and produce a work of original scholarly research. Each student will formulate a research problem, identify a faculty member who will serve as their advisor, design a research strategy, locate an appropriate research setting, and begin collecting data. By the end of the Fall semester, students will be well positioned to continue the remaining work on their theses in the Spring semester under Directed Research (SOC 1903) with their thesis advisors.

The honors thesis may replace the capstone course (SOC 1500) and three of the 15 required elective credits. Students pursuing the honors major are required to complete the same number of credits that are required for the standard major. For additional details, students are encouraged to consult with the undergraduate advisor.

Grade Requirements

A minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher in departmental courses is required for graduation.

Satisfactory/No Credit option

No more than six credits in SOC can be taken on an S/NC basis. After declaring the major, SOC 0150 and SOC 0230 may not be taken on an S/NC basis.

Writing (W) Requirement

Students must complete at least one W-course in the major.


Courses for Sociology Minor

One of the following:

  • SOC 0002
  • SOC 0005
  • SOC 0010

All of the following:

  • SOC 0140 or SOC 0150
  • SOC 0230
  • SOC (elective)
  • SOC 1 (1000-level elective)

Note: Students must apply for any official minor they will complete or have completed at the time they apply for graduation.