About the Undergraduate Program

Program Overview

Sociology provides the theoretical and empirical foundation for understanding how societies function and how they change over time. Sociologists are interested in the causes and consequences of processes such as the social construction of groups and identity, the evolution of culture, intersubjective meanings, intergroup relations, and hierarchies and social norms. They conduct research on individual behavior and outcomes such as educational attainment, jobs and careers, religious commitment, and political involvement; interpersonal processes such as intimate relationships, sexuality, social interaction in groups, and social networks; the behaviors of organizations and institutions; the causes and consequences of group differences and social inequality; and social change at the societal and global level.

The Sociology major provides both a solid foundation for students interested in careers in the social sciences and a strong background for a variety of professions in which knowledge about social processes and how societies work is relevant. Many recent graduates have gone on to law school, medical school, or graduate programs in public health, business, education, urban planning, criminology, or sociology. Others work in finance, consulting, publishing, marketing, city planning, teaching, research, and advocacy.

The Sociology department offers three undergraduate programs leading to the B.A. degree: (1) the standard program focuses on sociological concepts, theories, and methods; (2) a combined program allows students to combine sociology with a concentration in another field; (3) a concentration in markets and society focuses on the cultural frameworks, social ties, and social institutions that give rise to markets and that shape economic behavior. Students interested in the major are encouraged to contact the director of undergraduate studies early in their academic careers to discuss potential options.

Admission to the major Students interested in the Sociology major should complete either a freshman seminar or at least one introductory course (numbered 110–149) by the end of the sophomore year. This course may be applied toward the requirements of the major. The director of undergraduate studies can waive the introductory course requirement for students who demonstrate adequate preparation for advanced course work in sociology. All students interested in the Sociology major should meet with the director of undergraduate studies no later than the beginning of the junior year to elect a program of study.

Division of courses Courses in Sociology are divided by level, with introductory courses numbered from 110 to 149, courses in sociological theory from 150 to 159, courses in sociological methods from 160 to 169, intermediate courses from 150 to 299, advanced courses in the 300s, and individual study and research courses in the 400s. Freshman seminars are numbered below 100 and count as introductory or intermediate courses. In addition, qualified students may petition to enroll in graduate courses, with permission of the instructor and of the director of graduate studies. A list of graduate courses and descriptions is available from the director of undergraduate studies.

Program I. The Standard Program

The requirements for the standard program are:

  1. Thirteen term courses in sociology (including the senior colloquium), of which normally no more than two may be drawn from outside the Sociology department. At least one must be an introductory Sociology course or a substitute approved by the director of undergraduate studies, but no more than two introductory courses may count toward this total. A maximum of two courses taken Credit/D/Fail may count toward the requirements of the major.
  2. Two courses in sociological theory and two in sociological methods, normally completed by the end of the junior year. SOCY 151, Foundations of Modern Social Theory, and 152, Topics in Contemporary Social Theory, are the required courses for theory. SOCY 160, Methods of Inquiry, and one additional Sociology course numbered between 161 and 169 are required for methods. Students planning to study abroad in their junior year are strongly encouraged to begin meeting the theory and methods requirements in their sophomore year. They should also discuss the options for their course of study with the director of undergraduate studies before finalizing their plans.
  3. One advanced seminar in Sociology (SOCY 300–399).
  4. For students in the intensive major, a two-term senior essay and colloquium, SOCY 493494. Students in the nonintensive major take one additional 300-level seminar in Sociology and write a one-term senior essay in SOCY 491.

Program II. Sociology with Another Subject

The combined program allows students to unite the study of sociology with the study of another discipline or substantive area. The requirements are:

  1. Thirteen term courses (including the senior colloquium), of which at least nine and no more than ten are selected from Sociology, the remainder being chosen from another department or program. At least one must be an introductory Sociology course or a substitute approved by the director of undergraduate studies, but no more than two introductory courses in any department or program may count toward this total. The courses outside Sociology must constitute a coherent unit alone and form a logical whole when combined with the Sociology courses. A maximum of two courses taken Credit/D/Fail may count toward the requirements of the major.
  2. Two courses in sociological theory and two in sociological methods, normally completed by the end of the junior year. SOCY 151, Foundations of Modern Social Theory, and 152, Topics in Contemporary Social Theory, are the required courses for theory. SOCY 160, Methods of Inquiry, and one additional Sociology course numbered between 161 and 169 are required for methods. Students planning to study abroad in their junior year are strongly encouraged to begin meeting the theory and methods requirements in their sophomore year. They should also discuss the options for their course of study with the director of undergraduate studies before finalizing their plans.
  3. One advanced seminar in Sociology (SOCY 300–399).
  4. A one- or two-term senior essay in which the student integrates sociology and the other subject chosen. Students in the intensive major write a two-term senior essay and attend a yearlong biweekly colloquium (SOCY 493494). Students in the nonintensive major take one additional 300-level seminar in Sociology and write a one-term senior essay in SOCY 491.

The combined program allows students to design a program to satisfy their own substantive interests and future career plans. By the beginning of the junior year, participants in the combined program are expected to consult with the director of undergraduate studies in order to obtain approval for their course of study.

Program III. Concentration in Markets and Society

Students in the markets and society concentration gain a broad understanding of markets and their relationship to social networks, religion, the state, and culture. Students explore the field of economic sociology, develop insights into market logics and economic outcomes, and solidify their basic skills in network analysis. Application is required to the markets and society concentration, using a form downloaded from the Sociology department Web site. Requirements for the concentration are:

  1. Thirteen term courses in sociology (including the senior colloquium). At least one must be an introductory Sociology course or a substitute approved by the director of undergraduate studies, but no more than two introductory courses in any department or program may count toward this total. Up to four courses may be drawn from outside the Sociology department, with approval from the director of undergraduate studies. A maximum of two courses taken Credit/D/Fail may count toward the requirements of the major.
  2. Two courses in sociological methods, one in network analysis (e.g., SOCY 167, Social Networks and Society) and another in statistics (e.g., SOCY 162, Methods in Quantitative Analysis).
  3. SOCY 321, Sociology of Markets. A different seminar may fulfill this requirement with approval from the director of undergraduate studies.
  4. One other intermediate or advanced course in economic sociology. Suitable courses include SOCY 219, Economic Sociology; SOCY 318, Debates over Capitalism; SOCY 348, Consumption and Chinese Popular Culture; and SOCY 395, Wealth and Poverty in Modern China. An intermediate or advanced course in economic anthropology (e.g., ANTH 346, Anthropological Approaches to Capitalism) or a course in economic history or behavioral economics may fulfill this requirement with approval from the director of undergraduate studies.
  5. At least one intermediate or advanced course in microeconomics (e.g., ECON 121 or 125).
  6. A one- or two- term senior essay integrating sociology with business, markets, or economic behavior. Students in the intensive major write a two-term senior essay and attend the yearlong biweekly colloquium (SOCY 493494). Students in the nonintensive major take one additional 300-level seminar in Sociology and write a one-term senior essay in SOCY 491.

Senior requirement for the nonintensive major Students electing the nonintensive major take one additional seminar in Sociology (SOCY 300–399) and write a one-credit senior essay during the senior year (SOCY 491). The senior essay for nonintensive majors is intended to be an in-depth scholarly review and critical analysis based on secondary sources. Students select a controversial topic in any sociological field and write a literature review that evaluates what is known about the topic. All nonintensive majors are required to enroll in SOCY 491 to receive credit for the senior essay. To register for this course, students must submit a written plan of study approved by a faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies no later than the end of registration period in the term in which the senior essay is to be written. Nonintensive majors are not eligible to graduate with Distinction in the Major.

Senior requirement for the intensive major The intensive major gives students an opportunity to undertake a yearlong program of original research resulting in a contribution to sociological knowledge. The yearlong project requires substantial independent research and knowledge of a sociological subfield. Students use research methods such as data gathering through participant observation, in-depth interviewing, conducting of small-scale surveys, or secondary analysis of existing data. They may present findings in a variety of forms, from ethnographic narratives to analytical statistics. Students select primary and secondary advisers from the faculty. Students in the intensive major enroll in SOCY 493494, Senior Essay and Colloquium for Intensive Majors, during their senior year. The colloquium provides a forum for discussing the research process and for presenting students’ research at various stages. Intensive majors are eligible to graduate with Distinction in the Major if they meet the grade standards for Distinction—see under Honors in the Undergraduate Curriculum section—and submit a senior essay written in SOCY 493,494.

Admission to the intensive major Students should apply to the director of undergraduate studies by the last day of classes in the spring term of their junior year. In special circumstances, applications may be accepted through the end of registration period in the first term of the senior year. Applications should include a one-page statement of interest that includes a list of relevant courses taken and identifies a prospective senior essay adviser. Admission is based on performance and promise. The director of undergraduate studies and the senior essay adviser serve as advisers to candidates for the intensive major.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisite 1 freshman sem or intro course (SOCY 110–149) or equivalent

Number of courses 13 term courses (incl prereq and senior essay)

Specific courses required Programs I and II—SOCY 151152160, 1 addtl Sociology course numbered 161–169; Program III— SOCY 321

Distribution of courses Program I—at least 11 courses in Sociology, as specified; 1 Sociology sem at 300 level; Program II—9 or 10 courses in Sociology, as specified; at least 1 Sociology sem at 300 level;Program III—at least 9 courses in Sociology, as specified; 2 methods courses, at least one in network analysis and another in stat; 1 intermediate or advanced course in economic sociology; 1 intermediate or advanced course in microecon

Senior requirement Nonintensive major—1 addtl 300-level Sociology sem and senior essay (SOCY 491);Intensive major—two-term senior essay (SOCY 493494)