All sociology majors complete a one-semester senior thesis, in which they have the opportunity to explore a topic of particular interest to them in greater depth.
In consultation with a thesis advisor from the Department, students use the tools they developed in the core, required courses, as well as in their junior/senior research seminars, to conduct original research. The thesis allows students to work as independent sociologists, focusing on the substantive area(s) of greatest interest to them, and using the methods and theoretical approaches they find most useful.
Before enrolling for thesis, students must complete at least one of their required junior/senior research seminars. As long as this pre-requisite is met, students are welcome to write their theses in either the fall or winter of their senior year. The thesis process begins at the end of the semester prior to enrollment in thesis (Soc. 457 or 458), at which time majors submit a brief topic plan and a thesis advisor is assigned (based on student preferences as well as faculty expertise). Students interested in being considered for Departmental Honors in Sociology must begin their thesis in the fall of the senior year, and must have a GPA within the major of at least 3.67, and should have a GPA of 3.67 overall as well. Additional details of the process for sociology theses in general, and for the Departmental Honors Program, are found in the Thesis Guidelines Handout.
A sampling of thesis titles for some recent graduates offers a feel for the broad array of topics and methods that sociology majors have pursued in their thesis work, and is available in the Sociology Handbook for Majors and Minors for sociology students.