Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Students majoring in Sociology or Sociology - Organizational Studies can distinguish themselves to potential employers and establish momentum toward grad school by 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.

 

Eligibility

By the application deadline you must:

  • 1. Be a declared major in sociology or sociology-organizational studies.
  • 2. Have completed 135 units.
  • 3. Have a 3.3 GPA in your upper division major courses.
  • 4. Have completed at least four upper-division sociology courses.
  • 5. Have agreement of a faculty member to serve as the advisor for your thesis. The advisor will serve as your mentor while you are working on your thesis and will meet with you regularly.  You will also enroll in the department's Honors course - SOC 194HA (fall quarter  - 4 units) and SOC 194HB (winter quarter - 4 units). 

Preparing for Honors Thesis - SOC 199 Units

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 194HA and 194HB - Honors Thesis Course

Once accepted into the honors thesis program, students must enroll in SOC 194HA (fall quarter  - 4 units) and SOC 194HB (winter quarter - 4 units). 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. 

Research Proposal

Students will be required to submit a 3-page proposal answering the questions below along with their honors thesis application. Students' faculty mentors need to review and approve their proposals before students complete the application.  Proposals and applications will be due Aug 31.

1.Begin with a brief, clear statement of your research topic and your researchquestion(s). What do you want to find out and why? What is the puzzle that you aretrying to solve? Your research question may change over the course of the year, buthaving a question at the beginning of your research can help guide your thinking anddata collection.
2.Discuss your preliminary plans for conducting your research. What method(s) will youuse? What are some potential sources of data?
3.What two books or five articles do you plan to read on your topic over the summer?

 

2019-2020 Honors Thesis Application

List of Previous Undergraduate Honors Theses

Students can also submit their papers for the Lofland Research Award.  Links to papers of previous Lofland Award winners can be found on this page and can give you an idea of what a strong honors thesis looks like.