Honors in sociology are awarded for excellence in the major, and excellence is determined by overall grade point average and the quality of an honors thesis. In addition to the regular requirements of the major, candidates for honors must complete Sociology 4950 and Sociology 4960 (in the senior year), and write an honors thesis. (Note: Sociology 4950 and 4960 can be used to fulfill elective requirements for the allotted 10 sociology courses needed to graduate as a sociology major.)
The level of honors awarded to a graduating senior is determined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, in consultation with the faculty of the Department of Sociology and in discussion with the candidate’s senior thesis advisor. Students are awarded one of four designations: (1) no honors, (2) honors (cum laude), (3) high honors (magna cum laude), and (4) highest honors (summa cum laude). The honors distinction will be noted on the student's official transcript, and it will also be indicated on the student's diploma. Most students who complete an honors thesis are granted cum laude, but each year a few students receive magna or summa when their theses are exceptionally meritorious and their grade point average is uniformly high.
To qualify for entrance into the honors program, students must have at least a B+ grade point average overall and an A- average in the major. In addition, they must also have secured the consent of a faculty member in the sociology department to advise an honors thesis.
Students who wish to be considered for the honors program should talk with their faculty advisor and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (preferably in the second semester of their junior year).
To obtain admission to the honors program, candidates must submit an application form (also available in 316 Uris Hall) to Sue Meyer, the undergraduate program coordinator. The application must include a description of the proposed research project that will comprise the senior honors thesis and the endorsement of a faculty member from the sociology department stating that s/he will be pleased to advise the student’s honors thesis.
Students are encouraged to seek admission to the honors program by submitting the required application before the end of their junior year. But, because some senior thesis ideas are still in development during the summer between the junior and senior years, the application form can be turned in as late as the end of the third week of classes in the first semester of the senior year, as that is the add-course deadline for Sociology 4950.
During the senior year, each candidate for honors in sociology enrolls in a year-long tutorial (Sociology 4950 and Sociology 4960) with the faculty member who has agreed to serve as their thesis advisor. During the first semester of their senior year, students finalize the focus of their honors thesis and typically submit a 15- to 20-page overview (or, alternatively, a preliminary draft) of the thesis to their advisor. During the second semester, they complete their honors thesis and submit final copies to the department.
The text of the honors thesis is typically between 40 and 80 pages. Two copies of the honors thesis are due to the undergraduate program coordinator (316 Uris Hall) on the last day of classes in the second semester of the senior year. One of these copies will go to the student's thesis advisor and the other will be used by the Director of Undergraduate Studies to determine the level of honors (and thereafter will remain on file in the department).
IMPORTANT: Any honors candidate whose research directly involves working with human subjects must receive approval for the project from the Institutional Review Board for Human Participants.
Statistics Tutoring for Seniors
Senior majors in the Department who are working on honors theses or who are working with faculty members on research projects can request help with learning statistical packages – such as SPSS or Stata – that facilitate data analysis. Advanced PhD students in the Department are available to serve as tutors in the basics of operating these programs (e.g., inputting data, saving and opening files, executing basic statistical tests). Contact Sue Meyer (ss30) or Benjamin Cornwell (btc49) if you would like to request this service.
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