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Sociology seeks to understand human behavior by studying how individuals connect to the groups and institutions in which they live. Sociologists analyze the interrelationship of social structures with political, economic, and cultural forces, from the micro to the macro level. As a discipline, sociology provides students with the conceptual and analytic tools to make sense of complex social structures in a rapidly changing global environment. Brown’s Sociology department brings together a dynamic group of scholars with international reputations for outstanding achievement in a range of important research areas -- social demography, health and medicine, environmental justice and environmental change, development, politics and democracy, urban and spatial analysis, and organizations and occupations. Concentrators passionate about social challenges may also choose to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program, which allows the opportunity to connect theory and practice and gain hands-on experience working with community partners.

Standard program for the A.B. degree

Ten courses are required:

Requirements: (10 course)
One introductory level course to be selected from:1
SOC 0010
Culture, Power, and Social Change
Perspectives on Social Interaction: An Introduction to Social Psychology
American Heritage: Democracy, Inequality, and Public Policy
SOC 1010Classical Sociological Theory1
SOC 1020Methods of Social Research1
SOC 1100Introductory Statistics for Social Research1
SOC 1950Senior Seminar1
Five additional courses5
a. At least three of the optional courses have to be 1000 level and one of them must be a substantive seminar (1870/1871).
b. Students can choose to take up to two (showcase) lower level (0100 level) courses.
c. Students can petition to take two courses outside of the discipline (this will be allowed only when the proposed course makes sense given the insterests of the student, and there is no equivalent sociology course).
Total Credits10

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

The Senior Seminar

Sociology 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 Sociology. 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 their diverse interests and expose them to the 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 student's 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 paper. 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 - Senior Thesis/Project (fall semester) and/or - Senior Thesis/Project (spring semester) and do not count toward the 10 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 the Concentration Advisor describing your senior project (if you opt to have one outside of the 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 ( the exact dates vary from year to year and are announced at the start of the academic year).

These deadlines are essential to allow 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 can take 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 to meet the concentration course requirements. This course counts  only towards a 1000 level substantive requirement and will not serve as a s substitute for any of the core concentration requirements.