Honors theses

All students are required to write a one-semester thesis as part of the requirements for the major in sociology.

If you are interested in earning Departmental Honors by completing an Honors Thesis, you should begin by planning for a fall semester thesis, and should indicate to your assigned thesis advisor that you would like to be considered for Departmental Honors. In November, the Department will meet to review summaries submitted by students interested in honors consideration. On the basis of the quality of work, as well as each student’s overall performance in coursework within the major, a few students will be invited to continue their thesis work during the winter semester as honors thesis work. The following are required for consideration for Departmental Honors in sociology:

  • must have a GPA within the major of at least 3.67, and should have a GPA of at least 3.67 overall as well.
  • completion of a fall semester senior thesis deemed by the Department’s faculty to be of sufficient scope and quality to be considered for honors Students hoping to participate in the Honors Program should plan their winter semester courses as if they will not be enrolling for a second semester of thesis, and make adjustments as appropriate once honors invitations have been extended by the Department.

Students continuing their thesis work in the second semester for the Departmental Honors Program may collect additional data/evidence, further develop their analysis of evidence they collected in the fall, deepen their review of the existing scholarly literature on their topic, and revise the written work in their fall semester thesis. The College requires that students being considered for Departmental Honors submit their final thesis by early March. Later in March, honors candidates are required to defend their thesis orally, before a panel of sociology faculty, other Bates faculty from outside the Department, and an outside expert in the student’s field of interest. It is on the basis of the final thesis, as well as this oral defense, that the panel makes a final determination of whether a student will receive Departmental Honors.


All of this information may leave you with questions, and any member of the department will be glad to talk with you about the senior thesis process, the department’s expectations, and/or your particular thesis ideas. As for all students who complete a senior thesis at Bates, this is a substantial and potentially intimidating process. But it is also an experience that most Bates alumni report was of lasting significance for them. We hope all sociology majors will feel free to ask for help, and for answers to any questions that may arise, as they embark on this experience.