Honors Program

Sociology Honors Program

The honors thesis offers excellent sociology majors an opportunity to develop independent research on a topic of interest. There are many ways to pursue honors research. Students may further develop a project from a previous course or pursue a new topic that has always fascinated them. Honors research should be more than a review of existing literature; it involves some kind of new contribution, whether it be empirical, theoretical, critical or in the form of raising new questions. If you would like to pursue honors, in the junior year or at the beginning of the senior year, meet with your advisor or any member of the sociology faculty with whom you would like to work, and get started in conceptualizing the work you want to do.

The proposal should be 8 to 10 pages long and should:

  1. define the research question
  2. propose a theoretical framework appropriate to the question
  3. provide a preliminary review of relevant sociological literature
  4. describe a research design including an overview of the findings of any research already completed
  5. develop a plan for completing the thesis including a detailed timetable
  6. provide an IRB form, a bibliography, and, where appropriate, potential interview questions

Normally honors research is a two-semester experience. In the first semester the student works with an honors advisor to develop a proposal. Some students develop their proposal in conjunction with Soc 298, Soc 299, or Soc 400; some receive course credit by signing up for an independent study; others simply work with a faculty member. During the second semester the student completes the honors research, gives an oral presentation, and writes a polished thesis. Most students do this as part of Soc 400 or by signing up for an independent study course.

Time Table:

Proposal Semester:

Throughout the semester Meet regularly with your honors advisor
Two weeks before end of semester Submit a polished proposal to Department
During finals Meet with Sociology Department to discuss your proposal

Students whose proposals are approved will be assigned an honors committee consisting of an honors advisor and two additional faculty mentors.

Thesis Semester:

First week of semester Meet with honors advisor
Before midsemester Meet with committee to report progress
By midsemester Complete research
After midsemester Write, write, and rewrite
Four weeks before end of semester Give a draft to honors committee; Meet with honors committee
Two weeks before end of semester Give research presentation to Department
Last week of classes Write a final revision of thesis, taking into account questions raised in the presentation
Last Wednesday of classes Turn in polished Honors Thesis


Normally, 3.3 in the major is the minimum GPA for a student to be considered for honors. Occasionally faculty will encourage a student with a strong proposal but a slightly lower GPA to enter the thesis semester.