What is the Honors Program in Sociology?
The Honors Program in Sociology offers exceptional students the opportunity to conduct independent research, write a thesis paper, and graduate with honors. For many who complete the program, it is one of their most rewarding experiences as undergraduates. Honors students get individual mentoring from faculty members, hands-on research experience, and opportunities to present their work at regional and national sociology conferences.
To graduate with honors in sociology, a student must complete the major with a 3.5 GPA in sociology and a 3.3 cumulative GPA, and must complete an honors thesis in the context of a year-long honors thesis course. Students earn a total of 9 credits for completing the thesis (3 credits each of S495, S498, and S499).
The honors thesis is an empirical research paper based on a research study. It can range in length from 20-30 pages and is completed while taking an honors seminar where analysis and writing issues can be discussed with other honors students and the faculty advisor. Students are required to prepare a formal presentation of the honors thesis in the seminar.
Though the Department of Sociology does not have funds to support undergraduate research, most students in the seminar are eligible for funding through the Hutton Honors College. Please contact the Undergraduate Advisor for more information.
How to apply
Sociology majors with a 3.5 GPA in sociology and a 3.3 cumulative GPA are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted each spring. The Director of Undergraduate Studies reviews the applications and conducts interviews before making a final decision. Students do not have to have a faculty recommendation to apply.
The Sociology undergraduate advisor is the initial contact for a student interested in the honors program. The undergraduate advisor will put the student in touch with the faculty member who supervises the year-long honors thesis course. Honors students also select a second reader for their thesis from among the Department of Sociology faculty.
Students are encouraged to take the required theory, methods, and statistics courses before pursuing an honors thesis, along with courses related to their desired honors thesis topic. Students must enroll in the year-long thesis course during their senior year. They will conduct research and write the thesis in this structured, supportive context.
Apply for the program using this form. If you have questions, please contact the Undergraduate Advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Benefits of the Honors Program
Students participating in the honors program in sociology will benefit in a number of ways. They will produce an excellent written product that is ideal for graduate school admissions in any field, and will secure a detailed letter of recommendation for graduate study from a faculty mentor with whom they have worked closely. Honors students will also develop skills and build a resume for a career in marketing, program development, advocacy, counseling, or other areas. Moreover, they will practice presentation and writing skills that are critical in today’s job market. Finally, honors students can satisfy their intellectual curiosity by choosing to study virtually any aspect of society.