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Social Analysis and Research

The Sc.B. concentration in Social Analysis and Research provides both a conceptual and a working knowledge of the techniques for data collection and analysis used for social research in academic and non-academic environments. The centerpiece of the concentration is a rigorous and comprehensive collection of courses: (1) that develop an understanding of the principles underlying the processes of data collection and analysis; and (2) that train students in the application of advanced statistical techniques for data description and analysis. The concepts and skills learned in these courses are reinforced through engagement in applied research with Sociology faculty and/or internships with local organizations in the for profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Concentrators also take courses that provide grounding in the theoretical approaches to social phenomena that are foundational to social research. Graduates develop an understanding of the concepts and processes that underlie the issues studied by sociologists and the analytic techniques that allow sociologists to understand social relations and individual behavior.

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

Required Core
MATH 0090Introductory Calculus, Part I1
SOC 1100Introductory Statistics for Social Research1
or APMA 0650 Essential Statistics
or ECON 1620 Introduction to Econometrics
SOC 1020Methods of Social Research1
SOC 2010Multivariate Statistical Methods I1
SOC 1010Classical Sociological Theory1
Three (3) substantive or theory courses (non-methodological courses) in Sociology, two (2) of which must be at the 1000-level or above3
Three (3) of the following advanced analysis courses:3
Market and Social Surveys
Focus Groups for Market and Social Research
Market Research in Public and Private Sectors
Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems
Spatial Thinking in Social Science
Spatial Data Analysis Techniques in the Social Sciences
Techniques of Demographic Analysis
Qualitative Methods
Multivariate Statistical Methods II
Event History Analysis
Capstone Experience (1-2 courses)1-2
A one-semester research internship (not for credit or for credit as SOC 1970 - Independant Study), or a summer research internship (not for credit)
Sociology Senior Seminar (SOC 1950)
Total Number of Courses (12-13)
Total Credits12-13

***See the Sociology website for details regarding Honors and Independent Studies

Course Substitutions: Students may petition the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor to use one advanced analysis course taken in another department to count toward the three required advanced analysis courses.

Research Internship

A one semester or a summer research internship is required. The research internship is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in social research. Students will typically complete the research internship in their junior year or during the summer between their junior and senior years. Students need to submit an Internship Proposal Form to the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor for approval prior to starting the internship. Upon completion of the internship, students are required to submit to the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor a brief summary report of their experience, which must be signed by the supervisor of the student's internship.

Academic research internships involve work on a faculty member's research project. Activities may range from data collection, data entry, data file management, descriptive analyses, and more advanced model estimation. Students are encouraged to approach faculty about opportunities for working on their research projects. Off-campus research internships are arranged through the Sociology Department Students Affairs Coordinator or the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor. Academic and off-campus research internships will typically entail 5-10 hours of work per week and may or may not involve compensation.

Students may receive academic credit for academic research internships and off-campus internships completed during the academic year if they combine the internship experience with an academic component under the direction of a faculty advisor. Students taking an internship for credit should register for an Individual Research Project (SOC 1970).

The Senior Seminar

 The concentration in Social Analysis and Research requires all concentrators to complete a thesis or project in their senior year as a capstone experience. The purpose of the thesis or project is to allow students  an opportunity to apply the knowledge they acquired  on a topic of their own interests. This capstone experience provides a hands on experience through which students learn what can be done with sociological research methods. To fulfill the capstone requirement students enroll in SOC 1950 - Senior Seminar during the senior year. The senior seminar is focused on finalizing a senior project or thesis and giving a presentation of the completed work. Participation in this seminar allows each cohort of concentrators to discuss diverse interests and exposes them to a wide range of applications of sociological knowledge. 

The senior thesis is supervised by a faculty member who serves as the primary advisor, and one additional faculty member who serves as a reader. The primary advisor and the reader are chosen by the student and approved by the Concentration Advisor. The reader will receive a draft and a finished copy of the students thesis, which the reader will be responsible to grade. The reader may be involved in the earlier development of the thesis depending upon the arrangement made by the student with the reader. The Senior thesis will normally consist of a major research project. By the end of the sixth semester, students must submit a prospectus of the senior thesis to the concentration Advisor. At the start of the seventh semester students should submit to the Concentration Advisor a proposal (not more than four pages) accompanied by the signature of one faculty member indicating that he or she is willing to serve as primary advisor on the thesis. Only a senior thesis qualifies the student for Honors. A thesis typically includes one or two semesters of course credit through  SOC 1980 - Senior Thesis/Project (fall semester)  and/or SOC 1990 - Senior Thesis/Project (spring semester). SOC 1980 and SOC 1990 do not count toward the 12-13 course requirement for the concentration. 

A senior project differs from a thesis in its scholarly content and form, and it depends only on the evaluation of the senior seminar instructor (although students may elect to have a faculty advisor for the project, in addition to the senior seminar instructor). Whereas the senior thesis follows the form of a conventional research paper, the project allows a wider array of research and creative outputs, including, but not limited to video documentaries, photographic exhibitions, and applied or policy related reports with an off-campus organization. Projects should be complemented by an analytical paper that situates the central subject matter of the project within the context of sociological scholarship. 

You should decide your senior project in consultation with the Concentration Advisor and the instructor of the Senior Seminar. You may also need to approach a specific faculty member within the department to advise you on your project. At the beginning of your senior year you should file a written statement with the Concentration Advisor describing your senior project and listing your advisor for the project (if you opt to have one outside of the SOC 1950 instructor). 

Due Dates

During the second week of March, a complete draft of the senior thesis must be given to the faculty advisor and the reader for comments, and the final version of the senior thesis is due during the second week of April (exact dates vary from year to year  and are announced at the start of the academic year). 

These deadlines are essential to allow the faculty time to evaluate theses for awards, and to notify the Registrar with recommendations for honors. 



In order to be considered for honors , students must receive a grade point average of at least 3.5 ( A=4, B-3, C=2) on all concentration courses taken, and no more than one (1) of the concentration courses with the "S/NC" option. Honors also requires a senior thesis, with a recommendation of Honors by the advisor and reader, that demonstrates an understanding of empirical research. 

Independent Study

Students can use no more than one (1) Independent Study course (SOC 1970 to meet the concentration course requirements. This course counts towards a 1000 level substantive requirement and will not serve as a substitute for any of the core concentration requirement.