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 thesis 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. 


By the application deadline you must:

  • Be a declared major in sociology or sociology-organizational studies.
  • Have completed 135 units.
  • Have a 3.3 GPA in your upper division major courses.
  • Have completed at least four upper-division sociology courses.
  • Have agreement of a Sociology 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 throughout your senior year.  Please note: 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

Students should begin by thinking about general topics that they would like to research.  Once they have some ideas, they can begin discussions with faculty to determine a more concrete research question and learn how to conduct their research in a way that is feasible so that the project can be completed in a year.   

Ideally, students will have an agreement of sponsorship from their faculty mentors before the end of their spring quarter prior to their senior year. 

If you have difficulty finding a mentor by the end of spring quarter, please contact Caroline Herrod at .  You can find a list of Sociology faculty on the Sociology website.  When you click on the faculty name you will be able to see their bios and research interests.

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, 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.   

While students only enroll in 194h in fall and winter quarters, it is very common for students to continue to work on their thesis in spring quarter.  It could be possible to receive SOC 199 units for spring quarter.  Please make an advising appointment with Caroline if you have questions regarding how the honors thesis units can fit into your academic plan.  Schedule an Advising Appointment

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 research question(s). What do you want to find out and why? What is the puzzle that you are trying to solve? Your research question may change over the course of the year, but having a question at the beginning of your research can help guide your thinking and data collection.
2.Discuss your preliminary plans for conducting your research. What method(s) will you use? 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?

Sample Proposal 1 - Max Lisch
Sample Proposal 2 - Nastassya Ferns


2023-2024 Honors Thesis Application - Due Aug 31

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.