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Major Requirements

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Sociologists seek to understand the complexities of social life by understanding people as situated within the larger contexts that shape their experiences and outcomes. The scope of our curriculum is quite broad, ranging from the study of individual behavior, interaction and organization to the analysis of global social processes. Our overall goal is to develop in students a deep, intellectual curiosity about how society works – both its organization and the consequences of that organization. Our major requires courses in sociology's key theoretical approaches and diverse methods of gathering and evaluating evidence, to inform students' understandings of themselves and their active engagement in the pursuit of social justice.

Sociology prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Our students have gone on to careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors (policy, advocacy, activism, research). Many of our alumni pursue graduate degrees in sociology, law, public policy, education, medicine, public health, and related fields.


To see more information about the sociology major — defining elements of the discipline, career paths of majors, methodological skills developed through our curriculum, and requirements — download the sociology major information sheet.

Sociology Major (11 credits total)

A good way to enter the major is through any of the First Year Foundations courses offered by the sociology department.  Alternatively, students may enter through any of our 100-level courses, including Thinking Sociologically (SO100), Inequality in the U.S. (SO101), Art and Society (SO105), Gender Inequality (SO112), Racial Inequality (SO113), Global Inequality (SO116), Deviance and Social Control (SO118), Environmental Sociology (SO130), or any of our topics courses (SO190). Any one of these courses will satisfy the prerequisite for 200-level courses in the curriculum.

Required courses (5 credits) [recommended timeline indicated in brackets]

  • SO228 Social Theory [2nd year; no later than 3rd year]
  • SO229 Sociological Research Design [2nd year; no later than 3rd year]
  • Either SO301 Quantitative Research Methods or SO302 Qualitative Research Methods [3rd or 4th year]
  • SO450 Senior Thesis (2 credits) [4th year]

Electives (6 credits)

  • No more than three 100-level electives may count toward the major
  • At least one 300-level elective must be completed prior to undertaking senior thesis (SO450)
  • SO451 Senior Seminar does not count toward the major
  • Study abroad programs that include a sociological element may contribute 1 elective (at the 100-level) toward the major