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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

To declare a major in Sociology, students must email the Sociology student services office once they have declared in Axess; see for contact information. It is recommended that new majors schedule a meeting with their assigned faculty adviser promptly after declaring the major.

Major Requirements—To graduate with a B.A. in Sociology, students must complete a minimum of 60 units of course work in the major. Units applied to the major must be taken for a letter grade (except for independent study or directed reading), and a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 (C) or better must be achieved. Related course work from other departments may fulfill part of this requirement; such work must be pre-approved by the Sociology student services office and a faculty adviser and may not exceed 15 units.


Students are required to complete a minimum of 40 units of core and foundation course work as detailed below.


The following core courses (25 units) are required of majors. It is recommended that students complete SOC 181B, SOC 180A, and SOC 180B in this order.

  1. SOC 170. Classics of Modern Social Theory
  2. SOC 181B. Sociological Methods: Statistics, or another introductory statistics course such as STATS 60, PSYCH 10, or equivalent
  3. SOC 180A. Foundations of Social Research
  4. SOC 180B. Evaluation of Evidence
  5. SOC 200. Junior/Senior Seminar for Majors. It is recommended that students take this course in Spring Quarter of the junior year or Autumn Quarter of the senior year. This course fulfills the Writing in the Major (WIM) requirement. Students considering honors are encouraged to enroll in SOC 202, Preparation for Honors Thesis, in the junior year; see "Honors Program" below.

In addition to core courses, students pursuing the B.A. in Sociology must complete at least three foundation courses (15 units). To ensure breadth of course work, each foundation course must represent a different area of study. For detailed information about Sociology concentration areas, see section on areas of study. Foundation courses, classified by area of study, are as follows:

Organizations, Business, and the Economy

SOC 114. Economic Sociology

SOC 160. Formal Organizations

Social Movements, Comparative Politics, and Social Change

SOC 110. Politics and Society

SOC 118. Social Movements and Collective Action

SOC 130. Education and Society

Social Psychology and Interpersonal Processes

SOC 120. Interpersonal Relations

SOC 121. The Individual in Social Structure: Foundations in Sociological Social Psychology

Social Inequality

SOC 140. Introduction to Social Stratification

SOC 149. The Urban Underclass

In addition to the 40 units required in core and foundation course work, students pursuing the Sociology major must complete 20 elective units of Sociology course work. Students may choose their elective courses according to personal interest; however, students are encouraged to complete some course work at the 200-level. Sociology majors are encouraged to participate in directed research or undertake independent research with Sociology faculty. Students who wish to engage in more in-depth study in a specific area may do so by focusing on course work within an area of study.


Sociology majors who wish to complete an independent scholarly project under the direction of a faculty member are encouraged to apply for admission to the department's honors program. Admission to the program requires a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher in courses taken within the major, and an overall GPA of 3.3 (B+) or higher in all undergraduate course work. Applicants are required to identify a Sociology faculty member to advise on the research and writing of the essay. With the approval of the director of the undergraduate studies committee, students may work with faculty advisers in other departments.

The honors project is typically initiated when a student enrolls in SOC 202, Preparation for Honors Thesis, or SOC 200, Junior/Senior Seminar. Students undertaking an honors project are encouraged to enroll in SOC 202 or 200 in the junior year. Students begin designing their honors project in connection with this seminar and in consultation with the seminar leader. If the student is admitted to the program, the honors project is completed during the senior year.

To apply to the honors program, students must complete the application form available from the Sociology student services office or from the department's web site. This form requires the faculty adviser's endorsement, a brief description of the proposed project, and a copy of the student's unofficial undergraduate transcript. Applicants must submit the completed application to the Sociology student services office no later than the fourth quarter before graduation, typically Spring Quarter of the junior year.

Honors students may earn up to 12 independent study units for work leading to completion of the required honors thesis, excluding units associated with the Junior/Senior Seminar. Completion of honors in Sociology requires: (1) completion of all requirements for the major; and (2) completion of a thesis of honors quality (a grade of 'A-' or higher). The thesis is due on or before the beginning of the End-Quarter period in the student's final quarter before graduating. If the thesis adviser is a faculty member outside the department, the thesis must be submitted to both that sponsor and to the Sociology student services office, who coordinates appointment of a departmental reader to evaluate the paper. Both the honors adviser and the reader must agree that the paper merits honors. In every case, two copies of the final paper must be submitted; one is retained by the department and becomes a part of the department's permanent collection. If a grade of 'A-' is not earned, the thesis credit counts toward meeting the standard major requirements.

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