Course Requirements, AY 2023-2024
The curriculum has been carefully designed to provide students with instruction on essential aspects of the discipline: theory, research logic, methods, and real-world applications. To preserve its coherence, we discourage petitions to get out of taking a course requirement or to substitute a non-SOCI course for a required SOCI one.
Please plan ahead! Because several course requirements are offered concurrently, it will be difficult to take them all in one year without overloading.
1. Introduction to Sociology (choose one)
2. Sociological Theory (choose one)
3. Quantitative Methods (choose one)
4. Qualitative Methods (choose one)
5. Logic of Social Inquiry (choose one)
6. Four courses in sociology
7. BA project (optional)
It is strongly recommended that the requirements be taken in the following sequence: (1) Intro, (2) Theory, (3) the two methods courses, (4) Logic, and (5) the BA project (seminar and paper), with the four electives taken throughout.
Complete this checklist of requirements. It must be submitted for inspection in order to graduate as a sociology major.
Qualifying Courses, AY 2023-24
1. Introductory courses
- SOCI 20002. Society, Power, and Change (Autumn)
- SOCI 20000. Invitation to Sociology (Spring)
- SOCI 20295. Morrissey’s America: Contemporary Social Problems (Spring)
- SOCI 20104. Urban Structure and Process (Spring)
- Any theory course (in addition to the one taken to fulfill the Theory requirement)
2. Sociological theory courses
- SOCI 20005. Sociological Theory (Winter)
- SOCI 20576. Social Theory for the Digital Age (Spring)
- SOCI 20591. Introduction to Critical Social Theory (Spring)
3. Quantitative Methods
- SOCI 20004. Statistical Methods of Research 1 (Winter)
- SOCI 20567. Intro to Computational Sociology (Winter)
4. Qualitative Methods
- SOCI 20140. Qualitative Field Methods (Spring)
- SOCI 20508. Working with Found Data: Library/Internet Research (Autumn)
- SOCI 20523. Digital Media and Social Life (Winter)
- SOCI 20547. Involved Interviewing (Autumn and Winter) – third and fourth years only
- SOCI 20548. Coding (Winter and Spring) – instructor consent required
- SOCI 20568. Historical Methods in the Social Sciences (Spring)
5. Logic of Social Inquiry
- SOCI 20575. Logic of Social Inquiry (Winter)
6. Four courses in sociology
- These electives can be satisfied by taking any course in the major, including cross-listed ones—i.e., they must have a course number prefaced by SOCI.
7. BA Project (optional)
- Students pursuing this option must register for the BA Seminar and BA Project in their fourth year. They should have fulfilled their Methods and Logic requirements beforehand—no later than the Autumn quarter of their fourth year.
SOCI 29998. BA Seminar: This course is taken throughout the senior year. Students should register for it in the Spring quarter, but take it all three quarters (Autumn, Winter, and Spring). They will receive their course grade in the Spring. See description below. The BA Seminar typically has three sections: two sections for students writing BA theses and one section for students doing internships/apprenticeships.
See course descriptions here.
The BA project is optional. Students traditionally write an academic thesis for their projects, but now they have the option to complete an internship or apprenticeship.
Track 1: Thesis
Here students complete a 30-40 pp. paper based on substantial research. We recommend this track for most students and especially those pursuing academic or research-based professions.
Their research efforts are structured by the BA Seminar. Students should enroll for the seminar in the Spring quarter of their fourth year but take it all three quarters. They will receive their course grade at the end of the Spring quarter.
Students will need to secure a faculty advisor from within the Sociology department.
Ideally, students will have taken the relevant methods course before taking the BA seminar—i.e., if planning to conduct qualitative research for their thesis, they will have already completed the Qualitative Methods requirement.
Ideally, students will have started doing research in the summer before their fourth year. In order to prepare them to do so, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will hold a meeting in the spring quarter for all sociology third years interested in pursuing a BA project.
Track 2: Internship/Apprenticeship
Students may complete a BA project in the form of an internship in an organization or an apprenticeship with professionals in various fields. They may work in non-profits or government agencies or apprentice with policymakers, journalists, lawyers, doctors, artists, investors, and others. The goal of this track is to get students to think about these endeavors sociologically. To this end, they will be required to produce a review of the “literature” on their chosen field or organization, a series of sociologically minded reflection papers, and a final report considering their activities from a sociological perspective.
- Students pursuing this track must take the BA Seminar. They will be grouped into a particular section.
- They must obtain two advisors: a faculty advisor from within the Sociology department and someone to advise their internship or apprenticeship from within their chosen organization or field.
- Their internship/apprenticeship will last for a period of six months, typically beginning in mid-October and ending in late April.
- Students may enroll for the BA Seminar without having secured an internship/apprenticeship, but they should have a good idea of the organization or field they want to work in. The first month of the seminar will be devoted to securing an internship/apprenticeship.
- For more information, see the BA seminar/internship curriculum and sample syllabus.
- We encourage students interested in pursuing this track to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Marco Garrido (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the BA Seminar preceptor handling internships, Pranathi Diwakar (email@example.com), by the spring of their third year.
Want to get an idea of previous BA projects? BA Project Symposium
Students will receive a grade on their transcript for the BA seminar (SOCI 29998).
To attain honors in the major students will need to meet all four conditions: (1) a GPA of 3.25 in the college, (2) a GPA of 3.5 in the major, (3) completing a BA project, (4) their advisor’s determination that the project merits Honors, and (5) their advisor's determination that the project merits Honors.
We are able to make available 7 small grants of $1,000 each to students conducting research associated with their BA project during the summer months. Students will complete a brief application in the Spring quarter of their third year. Their preceptors will recommend a set of applications to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The DUS will review the applications and determine which merit funding. Students may also apply to the Dean’s Fund for research funding.
If you aim to eventually publish results from your BA Thesis in a peer-reviewed academic journal, you will need to obtain approval from the UChicago Institutional Review Board (IRB) before commencing data collection. The IRB oversees research ethics. You can learn how to navigate the IRB here: How to IRB.
We support sociology students wishing to study abroad during their time at UChicago. However, if you plan to study abroad in your fourth year, we ask that you participate in the BA seminar remotely. This means keeping up with the readings via Canvas, completing assignments on time, participating in the discussion boards, and attending office hours with your assigned preceptor as needed.
BA/MA Policy for the MA Thesis
Undergraduate sociology majors enrolled in the BA/MA program may choose to only write an MA thesis and not a BA one (they have to do the former but not the latter). If they choose to write both a BA and MA thesis, then these have to be different. They may be substantively related—on the same topic and drawing upon the same research—but should represent distinct intellectual products. The MA thesis can’t be the same document as the BA thesis, but it can be a significant revision of it—e.g., drawing upon new data and sources, expanding certain sections, reframing the argument. The faculty advisor will determine whether the revision is sufficiently significant. The same person may advise both BA and MA theses.
Students who wish to be candidates for June degrees and departmental honors must submit the thesis to the major by the department’s deadline. Departmental approval of the BA thesis is separate from MA program approval of the MA thesis. The MA thesis must be approved by a faculty advisor and preceptor. Students must complete all BA/MA requirements, including the MA thesis, in time to graduate by the August following their full-time BA/MA curriculum. BA/MA students in Sociology will enroll in the BA Seminar course and begin work on the thesis in Spring of their third year, conducting original research over the summer with appropriate IRB permissions. BA/MA students will work with a BA preceptor during the spring quarter and will be assigned an MA preceptor in September. They may submit a faculty-approved proposal early in the Fall quarter.
Students in a five-year BA/MA program (MACSS and CMES) will write a BA thesis in their fourth year, meeting all departmental requirements, and then develop an MA thesis that satisfies all MA requirements in their fifth year.
For substantive questions, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Marco Garrido (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also save your questions for the quarterly town halls (pizza with the DUS!). For administrative matters, email Pat Princell (email@example.com).