About the Major

Department/Program Description

The program is designed to help students develop new frameworks for analyzing a broad array of social relations—from everyday life interactions to large-scale historical and structural transformations—and to cultivate a critical appreciation for the academic discipline of sociology.

Admission to the Major

Students who wish to declare the major must have successfully completed SOC151 and must have completed or be currently enrolled in one additional Sociology Department course including:

Major Requirements

Majors must complete a total of 10 courses in fulfillment of the major requirements; this includes the capstone requirement.

  • Four Sociology Department topical courses (SOC220-SOC412)
  • Three additional topical courses from any combination of:
    • SOC220-SOC325
    • SOC401 or SOC402 (Sociology Department individual tutorials, including education in the field)
    • SOC411 or SOC412 (Sociology Department group tutorials)
    • Advisor-approved courses taken outside the Wesleyan Sociology Department, including study-abroad credit, sociology-relevant courses at Wesleyan, and sociology courses taken at other institutions.

All sociology majors must enter their senior year having taken a minimum of three courses within the Wesleyan Sociology Department. This includes at least one of the two required courses (SOC202 or SOC212).

Study Abroad

Study abroad is fully compatible with completing the major, but students who plan to go abroad for a semester are expected to discuss with their major advisors how such studies will fit into their overall academic program before finalizing their plans.

Capstone Experience

Capstone Course Requirement. Advanced majors are required to craft a substantial capstone research project. There are two routes toward completion of this project:

  • Advanced Research Seminar. Students enroll in an Advanced Research Seminar during the 6th, 7th, or 8th semester. Enrollment in these special-topic seminars, numbered SOC399, is limited to 15 student majors per course. These seminars feature in-depth engagement with advanced course materials and culminate in a significant research paper.
  • Honors Thesis. Students who qualify for the honors program write an honors thesis in the Thesis Seminar (SOC405-SOC406) during the 7th and 8th semesters. See above for information on qualifying for honors.

Students are invited to explore with their faculty advisor the possibility of qualifying for honors. Discussion should be initiated in the fall of the junior year. Students interested in the sociology honors program should obtain a copy of the department guidelines elaborating all of the steps in the process of qualifying for honors. These guidelines are available online and in the Sociology Department office.

All honors candidates must meet the course and sociology GPA requirements, but fulfillment of these requirements is not sufficient to guarantee qualification to register as an honors candidate. Sociology majors who wish to be registered as honors candidates must submit a thesis proposal by the end of spring semester of their junior year. The department faculty will determine, in light of the thesis proposal and the course and grade point averages stipulated below, whether the applicant will be authorized to register as an honors candidate.

To qualify for honors, students must have taken at least five courses in the Wesleyan Sociology Department by the end of the sixth semester and completed at least six Wesleyan sociology courses by the end of the seventh semester. Students must have an A- (91.7) average.

Note: Honors candidates must complete SOC202 and SOC212 by the end of the sixth semester with a minimum of A- in each.

Additional Information
  • Major advising. Each major is assigned a faculty advisor with whom the student works out a program of study.
  • Transfer students. Major declaration and completion requirements are subject to the approval of the Sociology Department faculty. Transfer students are encouraged to meet with the department chair, and then petition to use prior coursework credits toward fulfillment of the Wesleyan Sociology Department declaration and completion requirements.
  • Double majors. Please consult with the department chair or a department advisor.
  • Education-in-the-field credit. Students, whether majors or non-majors, seeking education-in-the-field credit must provide the department, in advance, with an acceptable prospectus of their work and assurance of professional guidance during the field experience. Students must submit research papers based on this experience. These papers should refer substantially to sociological literature pertinent to their field experience.

In planning their programs, students should examine the full list of WesMaps course offerings. Other information about the sociology major is available in the department office, Public Affairs Center 122.