Graduate with honor

Undergraduate Honors

Departmental Honors in Sociology/Senior Thesis

The Departmental Senior Honors Thesis is an opportunity for seniors in Sociology to conduct in-depth research in the major or minor field. It is the most stimulating intellectual enterprise in which an undergraduate can engage, demanding dedication and the ability to exercise independent judgment.

Students who successfully produce and defend a senior honors thesis will receive a note of distinction on their transcript and diploma. Students will also receive cords to wear on their commencement regalia, recognizing their special achievement.

You must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and 3.3 in Sociology to participate. Thesis writers ideally will have completed SO 201, SO 203, and SO 303 prior to their spring semester, Junior year. Please work with your advisor to discuss participation in the Honors in the major program.


Junior Year:

  • In the Fall, interested students sign up to take SO 400 in the Spring of their Junior year; students who will be abroad during SO 400 or discover their interest in doing a thesis proposal after the start of SO 400 are still eligible to do one, provided they have the support of an adviser who will help them through the process (usually through an independent study) in the Spring of their Junior year.
  • In the Spring, students in SO 400 develop and finalize their thesis proposal, secure adviser, file IRB application (if relevant) and file funding application (if needed.)
  • No later than May 1 of the student’s Junior year, students must submit their application for a senior honors thesis, including obtaining participation of a faculty advisor. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Application for Departmental Honors DUE MAY 1.

Summer between student’s Junior and Senior year:

  • Student collects data/conducts research for project.

Senior Year:

  • In the Fall, the student takes SO 401 (2cr). SO 401 does not meet as a formal class. Rather, these are essentially placeholder credits that gives the student credit for the data analysis and writing work they are doing that fall.
  • In the Spring, the student takes SO 402 (4cr). SO 402 does not meet as a formal class. Rather, these credits further acknowledge the intensive work the student continues to do leading up to their capstone thesis presentation and thesis
    defense in April of their Senior year.

Honors Courses:

Senior Thesis FAQ:

Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP)

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) facilitates participation by BU undergraduates in faculty-mentored research. UROP can provide financial support to Sociology undergraduates for summer research fellowships, academic year stipends, research supplies, and travel for research or to professional meetings.

The UROP research experience generally involves mentoring of a student project by a faculty member working in his or her area of expertise. Students conduct research either on individual research projects or as part of a larger team.  This provides an excellent opportunity to experience sociological research first-hand.

Undergraduate Research Support Fund

The Department of Sociology at Boston University is pleased to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to apply for modest financial support for independent research on sociological topics.  Students may use the funds for research supplies or research travel.

Applications must include a two page description of the research topic, questions, and methods; budget justification; and evidence that the student has applied or external funding, such as for UROP support.  In addition, the student must ask a faculty member to provide a short letter of reference indicating their willingness to supervise the project.  Preference will be given to applications from Sociology majors and minors.

For research involving human subjects, students should provide evidence of their submission of an application to the Institutional Review Board or of communication with the IRB indicating that the project does not require IRB approval.

Available funds are capped at $500 per student/project.  Applications, which will be considered on an ongoing basis, should be submitted electronically to the Department Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Sociology Awards and Prizes

College Prize for Excellence in Sociology

Awarded by the College of Arts & Sciences on the basis of faculty recommendations, contributions to the department and University, and GPA in the major, the winner of this top prize addresses their graduating class at the Sociology convocation each year.

Outstanding Senior Thesis Prize

Awarded by the Department of Sociology faculty to the author of the best senior Sociology honors thesis written during the academic year.

Outstanding Seminar Paper Prize

Awarded by the Department of Sociology faculty to the author of the best seminar paper written during the academic year.

Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society in Sociology

Founded in 1920, Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) is an international sociology honor society with more than 400 chapters worldwide. Membership allows students to participate in national undergraduate research paper competitions and receive support for travel to professional meetings.

The Boston University chapter of AKD inducts majors in their junior or senior years who meet certain academic standards. For more information, students can visit our departmental website, consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or see the Honor Societies section of this Bulletin.

Diedre H. Symington Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded annually to one of several juniors or seniors receiving financial aid and concentrating in sociology. The recipients are nominated by the faculty of the department on the basis of academic accomplishments and financial need.

Alpha Kappa Delta

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD) is the international sociology honor society, founded in 1920, with more than 400 chapters worldwide.  Each year the Boston University chapter (Gamma of Massachusetts) invites juniors and seniors of high scholarly achievement in Sociology to be inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta.

Membership allows students to participate in national undergraduate research paper competitions, to receive support for travel to professional meetings, and to receive the Society’s journal Sociological Inquiry.
Students are eligible for AKD upon completing six sociology courses toward their major (or minor), including SO 201 and SO 203.

They will have maintained a GPA in sociology of at least 3.30 and an overall GPA of at least 3.00, and must be ranked in the top 35% of their class in general scholarship.  They must be at least a junior (third year) by BU standards, and have officially declared sociology as a major or minor and demonstrate a serious interest in the subject.

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