Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Students majoring in sociology can distinguish themselves and establish momentum toward grad school by qualifying for and producing an undergraduate honors thesis.

The honors thesis program offers an enhanced academic experience for talented undergraduates. Writing an honors thesis provides a taste of graduate school — honors students conduct their first original, in-depth research project under the guidance of a faculty member. Those who have completed an honors thesis agree that it is an unforgettable and highly rewarding experience.

Honors students have completed theses on a wide variety of topics, including incarceration, immigration, environmental attitudes, marijuana and the media, and alcohol consumption. Additionally, the College of Letters & Science specifies that only participants in departmental honors programs are eligible to graduate with high or highest honors.

List of Previous Undergraduate Honors Theses


To be eligible, students must be sociology majors who have completed 135 units, taken at least four upper-division courses in the major, have a 3.3 GPA in the major, and have secured a faculty advisor for the thesis. Completion of an honors thesis and enrollment in SOC 194H is required for students seeking to graduate with high or highest honors.

SOC 199

Before writing a thesis, students are encouraged to take an independent study course (SOC 199) with their thesis advisor in the quarter before beginning their SOC 194H units (often spring quarter of their third year). A benefit of completing an independent study prior to enrolling in the honors thesis program is to obtain a thorough understanding of the proposed thesis topic. SOC 199 activities may include a literature review of the proposed thesis topic; completion of assigned readings as they relate to the thesis topic; regular meetings with the faculty advisor to discuss the readings; and/or completion of a reflection paper demonstrating sufficient understanding of the assigned readings. Students will need to complete a variable unit form in order to enroll in SOC 199 (Pass/No Pass grading only).

SOC 194H

Once accepted into the honors thesis program, students must enroll in SOC 194H for two quarters (4 units per quarter). The first quarter typically involves a literature review (if not previously completed in a SOC 199 independent study), primary data collection (e.g., interviews, surveys, or participant observation) or analysis of existing data in relation to the thesis topic. The second quarter often entails directed reading, research and writing culminating in an honors thesis. Students meet regularly with their faculty thesis advisor during both quarters to assess the progress of the thesis both in the research and writing stages.