BA in Sociology

Sociology is the study of social life, social relations, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociology majors acquire critical analytic skills in evaluating sociological research, including the background assumptions, appropriateness of methods used, and the strength of explanatory evidence; learn the fundamentals of theoretical and methodological approaches used by sociologists; and gain substantive expert knowledge in a variety of sociological subfields, including medical sociology, gender and sexuality, culture, urban sociology, global and transnational sociology, crime and policing, race, immigration, economic sociology, political sociology, and much more. Critical-thinking skills and broad theoretical knowledge prepare majors for many different career options. Sociology graduates work in fields that range from medicine and law to social work, education, market research, business, journalism, criminal justice, policy analysis, and nonprofits. Many students go on to complete graduate work in a variety of academic and professional fields, such as sociology and other social sciences, business and management, education, law and criminal justice, and medicine and public health.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental theoretical approaches and key disciplinary concepts.
  • Demonstrate understanding of sociological methods of research design, data gathering, and analysis.
  • Exhibit critical thinking skills in evaluating sociological research, including the background assumptions, appropriateness of methods used, and strength of explanatory evidence.
  • Communicate sociological knowledge in appropriate oral, written, and graphic forms.

Requirements

All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Sociology will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Scientific and Social Inquiry, Diversity, Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship, and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

The major in Sociology comprises 11 courses: 10 in sociology and 1 in statistics, as described below. All courses must be taken within the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), with the exception of transfer-of-credit courses, based upon department approval and only as described below.

All majors are assigned an advisor in the department with whom they should regularly consult in planning their programs of study.

All courses for the major must be completed with grades of C or higher.

Courses required are as follows:

  • CAS SO 100 Principles in Sociology (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 201 Sociological Methods (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 203 Introduction to Sociological Theories (4 cr)
  • CAS SO 303 Substantive Themes in Sociological Theory (4 cr)
  • Two additional 4-credit CAS sociology (SO) courses at the 200 level or above
  • Two additional 4-credit CAS sociology (SO) courses at the 300 level or above
  • Two additional 4-credit CAS sociology (SO) seminars at the 400 level or above
  • One 4-credit course in statistical analysis chosen from CAS MA 113, 115, 116, 213, QST QM 221, QST QM 222

Students are expected to take CAS SO 201 and CAS SO 203 in their sophomore year or the first semester after declaring the major. It is recommended that CAS SO 303 be taken in the semester following completion of CAS SO 203.

Sociology majors admitted to CAS from the College of General Studies (CGS) who have completed CGS SS 101 and SS 102, each with a grade of C or higher, will receive credit for completing the introductory sociology course, CAS SO 100 Principles in Sociology.

Students who have completed the two Core Curriculum social science courses (CAS CC 221, previously CC 211, and CC 222) with grades of C or higher will receive credit toward the major for the introductory sociology course, CAS SO 100 Principles in Sociology.

Transfer credit from outside the University will not be given for CAS SO 201, 203, 303, or any seminar (400-level) course, all of which must be taken within the department and in order to satisfy the Sociology major.

Honors in the Major

The department encourages interested and qualified students to pursue a special program aimed toward graduating with honors in the major. After completion of the sociological research practicum in the spring semester of their junior year, students conduct a yearlong independent research project under a faculty advisor, then write and defend a thesis before a committee of department faculty in the spring semester of their senior year.

Interested students are encouraged to discuss this senior honors thesis with their advisors in the fall semester of the junior year, when students are considering which courses to register for in the spring semester ahead. For more information, visit our departmental website or consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

If you choose to pursue senior honors thesis option, the course sequence is as follows:

SO 400 Advanced Research Practicum (4 cr) is taken in the spring of your junior year. This course counts for one of the two required seminars for graduation in the major. You must earn a B or higher in this course to continue with the sequence.

SO 401 Senior Independent Work (2 cr) is taken the fall of your senior year. This is a directed study course with your primary thesis advisor, who will continue to work with you on specific details of your project. You must earn a B or higher in this course to continue with the sequence.

SO 402 Senior Independent Work (4 cr) is taken the spring of your senior year. This will consist of a directed study under the primary supervision of your thesis advisor, culminating in the final draft of the thesis and the oral examination, including the oral examination and thesis defense. You must earn a B+ or higher for this course.