Sociology examines the organization, structure, and change of societal groups. It combines rigorous methods of inquiry and analysis with a remarkable freedom of choice in research topics: mass media, the environment, racism, gender issues, class, war and peace, and deviance and social control, to name just a few possible topics. At Boston College, sociologists also take a transformative, activist approach toward issues of social injustice and inequality, making the sociological experience here not only rigorous and creative but socially relevant and engaged. Training in this field is useful in a broad range of occupations, and also prepares students for graduate study in a number of disciplines.
The diverse possibilities in sociology are reflected by our faculty, which includes scholars like Stephen Pfohl, who studies postmodernism and psychoanalysis, among other topics, and who creates art that experiments with new mediums of sociological exchange; Zine Magubane, an influential scholar and prolific writer (with article titles like "Globalization and Gangster Rap: Hip Hop in the post Apartheid City”); Juliet Schor, who's been interviewed on the Today show, NPR, and elsewhere for her research and books on the impact of consumerism on daily life; and many others.
We invite you to look over our website and see whether the study of sociology at Boston College seems right for you. If you have any questions about our program, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 617-552-4130, or drop by our office at McGuinn 426.
- Critical skills and thinking. Students will be able to apply a sociological lens to scholarly research and other sources of information (e.g., newspapers).
- Career training. Students will be well-prepared for graduate training and/or entry-level positions in various fields:
- Students will be able to reason logically, write cogently, and work with others.
- Students will be able to discuss, in depth, sociological theories, ideas, and literature.
- Research skills.
- Students will be able to transform a problem of interest into a researchable question.
- Students will be able to justify various methodological decisions on ethical as well as logical grounds.
- Students will be able to collect, analyze, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data.
- Life skills. Students will develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their role in society. Students will be able to explain how societal and structural factors influence life experiences and social problems across historical and cultural contexts.
Frequently Asked Sociology Questions
Listed below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about undergraduate study in Sociology at Boston College. In addition to the FAQs below, you are strongly encouraged to download your own copy of the Department's "Manual" for undergraduate students. This document will answer many of your questions.
The Student Services FAQ website answers more general questions such as:
- How to register
- How to use a degree audit and graduation requirements
- How to overload (six courses in one semester)
- How to take a class pass/fail
- What to do if a class is closed or restricted
No. We recommend Statistics before Methods, but that is only a recommendation; any sequence is acceptable.
Students who are thinking of doing an honors thesis, or any serious research project in their junior or senior year, should try to take Methods, Social Theory, and Statistics as early as possible.
These courses must be taken during the regular academic year; they may not be taken in the evening or summer sessions. One exception to this rule is that BC summer or evening courses taught by a regular, full-time member of the Sociology Department will usually be accepted.
Some courses are acceptable, others are not. In general, we accept the statistics and methods courses from the departments of communications and psychology; we also accept some sections of ECON1151. To get approval, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The policy of the College of Arts and Sciences is that courses in one's major field should be taken during the regular academic year. Although there may be exceptions in special circumstances, this means that the Department of Sociology will NOT approve requests for Major field courses taken outside of Boston College or during the summer or evening sessions.One exception to this rule is that BC summer or evening courses taught by a regular, full-time member of the Sociology Department or a departmental Teaching Fellow iwill usually be accepted. Another possible exception may be granted to students who have transferred to Boston College after completing one or more years elsewhere. A third type of exception may be allowed for students making up a deficiency incurred through failure, withdrawal, or underload.
Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The only person who can give you an override is the instructor of the course. Contact the instructor. The instructor will email you his or her permission, and you will need to print out a copy of the email and take it to McGuinn 426 in order to be enrolled.
Pass/Fail is not an option for courses in one's Major or Minor fields. Sophomores, juniors and seniors may enroll in a non-major, non-minor, or non-Core course on a pass/fail basis on-line during the first seven days of the semester. Undergraduates only may add a pass/fail to a course until October 1 in the fall semester and February 15 in the spring semester in their Associate Dean's office. No more than one pass/fail course may be taken in any semester. No student may take more than six pass/fail courses for credit toward a degree.
The policy of the College of Arts and Sciences is that courses in one's major field should be taken during the regular academic year. Although there may be exceptions in special circumstances, this means that the Department of Sociology will NOT approve requests for Major field courses taken outside of Boston College or during the summer or evening sessions. One exception to this rule is that BC summer or evening courses taught by a regular, full-time member of the Sociology Department or a departmental Teaching Fellow iwill usually be accepted. Another possible exception may be granted to students who have transferred to Boston College after completing one or more years elsewhere. A third type of exception may be allowed for students making up a deficiency incurred through failure, withdrawal, or underload.
Generally, if you want to take a course that is cross-listed (i.e., listed in sociology and one or more other departments) you must register for the course as a sociology course. The sociology department will only credit these courses towards a major or minor if they are sociology courses.
For the Five-Year B.A./M.A. Program in Sociology:
The Department of Sociology and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provide qualified students with the opportunity to earn a Master’s Degree in Sociology along with their Sociology Bachelor’s Degree in a combined five-year program. The B.A. degree is awarded with the student’s class. The M.A. degree is ordinarily conferred one year later.
Application materials are available from The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 108 Gasson Hall, or students can apply online.
Application takes place late in the first semester of the Junior year. The deadline for application is February 1, the same date as all M.A. applications. Applicants must submit the same admissions materials as required of all graduate degree applicants, which include two letters of reference, the application, formal transcripts from all universities the student attended, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. GRE scores are strongly recommend but are not required. Undergraduates applying for this Dual Degree Program should recognize that admissions requirements are strict. Ordinarily, a student must have an overall grade point average of at least 3.50 after a minimum of five semesters of undergraduate course work, with at least a 3.50 GPA in Sociology. When considering whether to apply for this program, students are encouraged to meet with the Sociology Department's Director of Graduate Admissions, currently Professor Natasha Sarkisian (email@example.com).
For the Five Year B.A./M.S.W. Program in Sociology and Social Work:
The Department of Sociology and Graduate School of Social Work offer Boston College undergraduate Sociology Majors the opportunity to earn a Master's Degree in Social Work, along with a B.A., in a five-year program. The B.A. degree is awarded with the student’s class at the completion of four years, and the M.S.W. is normally conferred one year later. The application to the program is normally made early in the second semester of the sophomore year.
The application process is done in the Graduate School of Social Work. Early in the Sophomore year, students should consult with the Department's Liaison with the B.A./M.S.W. Program, currently Professor Sara Moorman (firstname.lastname@example.org), and with the Director of Admissions in the School of Social Work.
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