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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
SOC 1950Senior Seminar1
Three (3) substantive or theory courses (non-methodological courses) in Sociology, two (2) of which must be at the 1000-level or above.3
Three (3) of the following advanced analysis courses:3
Focus Groups for Market and Social Research
Context Research for Innovation
Market and Social Surveys
EPIC: Ethnographic Praxis in Industry
Market Research in Public and Private Sectors
Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems
Multivariate Statistical Methods II
Qualitative Methods
Techniques of Demographic Analysis
Event History Analysis
Spatial Thinking in Social Science
Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis for the Social Sciences
Spatial Data Analysis Techniques in the Social Sciences
Causal Analysis
Advanced Spatial Data Analysis Techniques in the Social Sciences
Research experience (1 course)0-1
A one-semester research internship (not for credit or for credit as SOC 1970 - Independant Study), or a summer research internship (not for credit).
Total Credits12-13

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

Course substitutions: Students may petition the Director or Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies 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

Social Analysis and Research​ requires all concentrators to complete a thesis or capstone project in their senior year. The purpose of the thesis or capstone project is to allow students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they acquired on a topic of their own interests. To fulfill this requirement students enroll in SOC 1950 – Senior Seminar. Participation in this seminar allows each cohort of concentrators to discuss their diverse interests and expose them to the wide range of applications of Sociological knowledge.

An undergraduate thesis must ask an original research question, answer it with appropriate evidence, and place that work within relevant scholarly literature in sociology. The thesis is supervised by a faculty member who serves as the primary advisor, and one additional faculty member who serves as a reader. By the end of the sixth semester, students must submit a prospectus of the senior thesis to the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies. At the start of the seventh semester students should submit to the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies 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 capstone project is an independent, student-initiated project or experience developed during the Senior Seminar (SOC 1950) that connects in a meaningful way to the learning in the concentration. A capstone project differs from a thesis in its scholarly content and form, and it depends only on the evaluation of 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 are complemented by a paper or report that situates the central subject matter of the project within the context of sociological scholarship.


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.