The Honors Program in Sociology gives majors the experience of doing original research culminating in a senior honors thesis. Students take a three-course sequence of courses across their junior and senior years, working closely with faculty and with other students in the program to design the student’s own project, gather and analyze data, and write and present the work. The experience of conducting research teaches honors students to think more critically, to learn about a topic of interest in depth, and to acquire greater expertise in social science research methods, all of which are useful both on the job market and in graduate school.
Sociology students with a within-major GPA of 3.7 or higher will be invited to apply to the Honors Program in the summer before their junior year. However, all interested rising juniors should apply. To apply to the Honors Program, simply
- Write an essay of not more than 500 words that states
- (i) why you want to write a senior honors thesis and
- (ii) what benefits you think you will get from participating in the Honors Program; and
- Ask one instructor in the Sociology Department to write a letter of reference on your behalf.
Please arrange to have these materials e-mailed to Professor Sara Moorman by October 1 of your junior year.
Once admitted to the program, students take:
- SOCY4931: Important Readings in Sociology. This course is usually taken in spring of the junior year. If students accepted to the Honors Program decide to study abroad during spring of their junior year, they will take Important Readings during the spring of their senior year. The course covers some of the most engaging classics of sociological research. Additionally, juniors will complete a thesis proposal.
- SOCY4961: Senior Honors Thesis Seminar. This course is taken in fall of the senior year. In this class, students choose a faculty advisor, design their research project, obtain approval from the Boston College Institutional Review Board (IRB), and expand their literature review.
- SOCY4963: Senior Honors Thesis. This course is taken in the spring term of the senior year. The course is an independent study between the student and faculty advisor. Students complete data collection and analysis, and writing of the thesis. Students deposit their thesis at the University Libraries, and create a scientific poster to disseminate their results to the Sociology department.
All three courses meet upper-level elective course requirements for the major.
The Honors program can be linked with other university opportunities. Projects undertaken as Advanced Study Grants can evolve into honors projects. Beginning in the summer after junior year, honors students with a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher may participate in the Scholar of the College program. Honors projects can also result in prestigious awards, such as the McCarthy Prize. Some honors students even publish their thesis work!