Majors and Minor

The Department of Sociology offers two majors: sociology and sociology-organizational studies, both of which lead to bachelor of arts (A.B., from the Latin "atrium baccalaureus") degrees.

Did you know?

You can graduate in only three years. Learn how to expedite completion of the General Emphasis sociology major.

Questions about our majors?

Consult an undergraduate staff advisor for additional guidance. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, students majoring in Sociology will be able to:

  • Engage in critical, analytical thinking and writing.
  • Describe and analyze the connections between individuals, institutions, and social structure, which is fundamental to the sociological enterprise.
  • Discuss and synthesize the leading sociological paradigms, including the foundational work of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Karl Marx.
  • Conduct original research and collect data using quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Understand the crucial role of gender, race, class, and ethnic diversity in major American institutions, including economic, educational, political, and health care institutions.

A full version of these outcomes can be found here.

Pioneering sociologist Auguste Comte referred to sociology as the "Queen of the Sciences" because it embodies the basics of all the other social sciences. Students selecting our sociology majors may choose from different concentrations (also referred to as "emphases") to suit their personal interests and career intentions. While our emphases allow students to concentrate their coursework in particular subfields, any emphasis chosen will be applicable to all career paths related to sociology.

The sociology major offers four different emphases: general, law and society, social services, or comparative studies and world development.

The sociology organizational studies major offers four tracks: business and society, public policy and social welfare, nonprofit and social movement organizations, or student-initiated.  

Sociology major


The general sociology emphasis enables students to obtain a broad understanding of the concepts, methods, and theories of sociology. This emphasis is ideal for students in the sociology major who have interests in more than one sociology emphasis. The emphasis offers the most flexibility in allowing students to choose which upper division courses to take. This emphasis is appropriate for students who are interested in careers in social work, counseling, nonprofit organizations, teaching, city planning, research, criminal justice, political organizations and other endeavors requiring an understanding of social interactions among people. 

The general emphasis includes four broad areas of study:

    • Individual, Culture, and Society
    • Stratification and Social Differentiation 
    • Organizations and Institutions
    • Social Dynamics 

Law and Society  

The law and society emphasis is designed for students interested in the study of law, criminology, politics, deviance, and their relation to issues of societal order and change.  The curriculum is applicable to law enforcement, criminal justice, corrections, rehabilitation, case management, juvenile counseling, judicial affairs and related fields.

Students can expect to take coursework in the following topics:

  • Sociology of Law
  • Criminology and The Criminal Justice System
  • Deviance
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Violence and Inequality 

Social Services

The social services emphasis is designed for students interested in the study of social welfare, the family, adolescence, social stratification, healthcare, and social policy. This emphasis is ideal for students contemplating careers in social work, family planning, counseling, advocacy, teaching, case management, health care or other related fields. 

Students can expect to take coursework in the following topics:

    • Sociology of Gender
    • Social Interaction 
    • Race and Ethnic Relations
    • Social Psychology 
    • Social Policy and Institutions

Comparative Studies & World Development

The comparative studies & world development emphasis is designed for students interested in the study of developing and newly industrialized societies. In this emphasis, students have a regional focus which prepares them to make cross-cultural examinations of development. The emphasis takes an interdisciplinary approach to the social bases of change in economic, political, and cultural aspects of development. The emphasis is ideal for careers in community development organizations, government, or international agencies.

Students can expect to take coursework from multiple disciplines:

  • Economics
  • Politcal Science
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Religious Studies

Sociology – Organizational Studies

Organizational Studies

The sociology-organizational studies major is designed for students to have a broad understanding of the political, social, and economic organizations that comprise modern society. The major introduces students to a range of theories and methods that social scientists use in the analysis of organizations. The major is ideal for students interested in careers in business, public policy, legal professions, human resources, management, and labor relations. Students should expect to take classes from multiple disciplines: economics, agricultural and resource economics, political science, community and regional development, communication, women and gender studies, and history. 

Students select one of the following tracks:

  • Business and Society
  • Public Policy and Social Welfare
  • Nonprofit and Social Movement Organizations
  • Student-Initiated (consult with academic advisor)

Sociology Minor


The unit requirements for a sociology minor are satisfied by completing any five upper-division sociology courses for a total of 20 units (with the exception of 192, 193, 194H, 197T, 198, and 199).

You must wait until the quarter before you plan to graduate before you can declare a minor in sociology. Before you file for declaration of the minor, you should either complete all the courses required for the minor, or be enrolled in your final courses for the minor. You may file your minor declaration online through the Forms & Petitions tab on the UC Davis OASIS (Online Advising Student Information System) site. Please note the following:

  • Only one course may overlap for credit in the major and minor.
  • No course overlap is allowed between minors.
  • You must have an overall 2.00 GPA in the minor.
  • No emphasis will appear on your transcript or degree. It will simply state "minor in Sociology."
  • Although lower division prerequisites may be suggested prior to taking an upper division course, they are not required to complete the minor.
  • Pass 1 registration is restricted to declared sociology majors. Classes for minors must be obtained during Pass 2.


Suggested Courses

 Although you can choose any five (5) Department of Sociology courses to complete your minor (within the previously described parameters), we offer these suggestions for applicability to particular fields:

Social Services

SOC 122 – Sociology of Adolescence

SOC 124 – Education and Inequality in the U.S.

SOC 126 – Social Interaction

SOC 131 – The Family

SOC 135 – Social Relationships

SOC 154 – Sociology of Health Care

SOC 185 or 185Y – Social Policy

Law and Society

SOC 118 – Political Sociology

SOC 120 – Deviance

SOC 150 – Criminology

SOC 151 – The Criminal Justice System

SOC 152 – Juvenile Delinquency

SOC 155 – Sociology of Law

SOC 171 – Violence and Inequality

Class, Race, and Gender

SOC 129 – Sociology of Black Experience in America

SOC 130 – Race Relations

SOC 132 – Sociology of Gender

SOC 133 – Sexual Stratification and Politics

SOC 134 – Sociology of Racial Ethnic Families

SOC 137 – African American Society and Culture, 1790–1900

SOC 140 – Social Stratification

SOC 145B – Gender & Rural Development in the Third World

SOC 172 – Ideation of Class, Race and Gender