Majors and Minors

Pioneering sociologist Auguste Comte referred to sociology as the "Queen of the Sciences" because it embodies the basics of all the other social sciences.

Our department offers a wide range of courses relevant to contemporary society so that students can explore a variety of topics and interests in sociology and other social science disciplines.  You can see examples of courses we offer on our 2023-2024 Planned Courses Sheet.

You can also check out the American Sociological Association (ASA) website to learn more about what sociologists study.

Major and Minor Options

Our department offers two major options both of which lead to bachelor of arts degrees (A.B., from the Latin "artium baccalaureus").  You can also choose to minor in sociology.

  • The sociology major offers five different emphasis choices: 1) general 2) law and society 3) social services, 4) international and global sociology and 5) race, ethnicity and immigration.
  • The sociology organizational studies major offers four tracks: 1) business and society 2) public policy and social welfare 3) nonprofit and social movement organizations and 4) a student-initiated theme.  
  • The Sociology Minor gives students the opportunity to take five upper-division sociology courses of their choosing that can compliment their major while giving students the units required for graduation.

While our emphases and tracks allow students to concentrate their coursework in particular subfields, any emphasis chosen will be applicable to all career paths related to sociology.

Completing the Major

Most students can fit the sociology major requirements into two years, so it is possible to change into the sociology or organizational studies majors in your sophomore or junior year at UC Davis if you have the majority of the GE, college, and University requirements already fulfilled. 

We also have many undergraduates in our department who choose to double major.  This is usually possible when students are interested in other majors that require less than 80 units.  Please schedule an appointment with a sociology advisor if you are interested in pursuing this option.

It is possible for some students to complete their degree requirements in three years rather than the typical four years. See example of a three-year academic plan for the General Emphasis.  Schedule an appointment with a sociology advisor to learn more.

Questions about our Major or Minor?

Visit our FAQ page or consult a sociology advisor for additional guidance. 


Sociology Major
  • General
  • The general sociology emphasis allows students to gain a broad perspective of sociology by providing an introduction to the discipline and its central issues and concepts. This emphasis offers the most flexibility in allowing students to choose which upper division courses to take.  It is often a good option for students who have multiple interests or are drawn to more than one sociology emphasis.

    Students who complete the general emphasis are able to use it as a stepping stone to graduate-level programs in multiple fields. They will also attain the skills that will make them marketable to many employers in a wide variety of occupations.  

    General Emphasis Advising Sheet

  • Law and Society
  • The law and society emphasis is designed for students interested in the study of law, politics, and research.  It offers a structured program of courses in law, criminology, deviance, and their relation to issues of societal order and change.  Focusing on law in action, students will study how legal and criminal systems operate and theories of legal/criminal behavior.  Students can expect to take courses in violence and inequality, delinquency, deviance, the criminal justice system, criminology, and social problems. 

    Law and Society Advising Sheet

  • Social Services

  • The social services emphasis focuses on the interactive perspective of family, community, social problems, and social services. The core of the curriculum addresses the fields of social welfare, the family, and social stratification. Students round out their program with courses chosen from areas of social issues, social interaction, gender, and organizational behavior.  Students will also take multiple courses within the areas of psychology and race and ethnicity. The program provides a strong liberal arts education and adequately prepares students to work in the “diverse” social environment of the 21st century. 

    Social Services Advising Sheet

  • Global and International Sociology

  • The Global and International Sociology emphasis is designed for students interested in developing an interdisciplinary, historically-informed understanding of global issues as well as regional challenges and characteristics. Students will study the social bases of political and economic life, culture and communities, inequalities, ethnic relations, migration, environmental changes, and other issues. Besides sociology courses, students choose classes across diverse disciplines, for example, economics, anthropology, political science, history, religious studies, and international agriculture.  

    Global and International Sociology Advising Sheet

  • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

  • The Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration emphasis brings together two sociological subfields by allowing students to take common core of lower division courses that provide them with foundational knowledge of race & ethnicity and immigration. Students will build on this foundation by choosing from an array of Sociology courses that provide in-depth instruction in specific areas related to Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration, and from electives offered by the departments of African American and African Studies, Chicana/Chicano Studies, Native American Studies, Asian American Studies and other Social Science and Humanities departments offering relevant courses.

    Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Advising Sheet

Sociology - organizational studies
  • Organizational Studies
  • The sociology-organizational studies major provides a broad understanding of the political, social, and economic organizations that make up modern society. Whether thinking about the structure of government bureaucracies, legal systems, economic markets, educational systems, or workplaces, organizational studies offers an interdisciplinary view from which to understand the contemporary world of complex and formal organizations.

    At the upper-division level, you can chose one of four specialized tracks, any one of which will help you better identify and inform your career goals—whether that be in postgraduate education or a specific type of job.

    Business and Society: Critical analysis of businesses, firms, corporations, and markets—nationally and globally—and their place in society.

    Public Policy and Social Welfare: Emphasis on how formal organizations and institutions emerge to address key social problems and the policies they generate and utilize to solve them.

    Nonprofit and Social Movement Organizations: Focuses on the unique capacity of organizations to change the world through understanding the role that informal and formal organizations play in responding to and affecting social change.

    Student Initiated Track: Combination of five courses selected with a sociology advisor.

    Sociology Organizational Studies Advising Sheet 

Sociology Minor
  • Minor

The sociology minor requirements are satisfied by completing any five upper-division sociology courses for a total of 20 units with the exception of 192, 193, 194, 197T, 198, and 199.  An upper division course at UC Davis are courses numbered 100-199.

Declaring your minor
In order to declare the SOC minor, students need to submit a minor declaration petition through OASIS.  Before declaring the minor, students must complete an upper division SOC course at UC Davis and receive a "C" or better. 

Please note the following:

  • You can only use one course as overlap between a major and a minor
  • No course overlap is allowed between two minors
  • You must have an overall 2.00 GPA in the courses used for a minor
  • SOC 195 special topics courses can be counted toward the sociology minor
  • Students are allowed to take up to two courses as pass/no pass for the sociology minor
  • Although taking a lower division SOC course may be suggested prior to taking an upper division SOC course, they are not required to complete the minor
  • For most upper division SOC courses, Pass 1 registration is restricted to declared sociology majors. Students minoring in sociology typically need to wait until Pass 2 to register for upper division SOC courses - exceptions are listed on on 2023-2024 Course Planning Sheet.  There are usually still open seats in a variety of upper division SOC courses during Pass 2
Learning Outcomes
  • 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.