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 allows students to gain a broad perspective of sociology by providing an introduction to the discipline and its central issues and concepts. While the general emphasis provides a breadth of knowledge of the field of sociology, it also allows students to choose an area to focus on more in depth. 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 interests in 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. 

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. 

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. 

Comparative Studies & World Development

The comparative studies & world development emphasis offers a sociological approach to the development of advanced industrial and developing societies. Designed for students with historical and international interests, the distinguishing feature of this emphasis is its focus on the social bases of change in economic, political, and cultural aspects of development. The coursework is interdisciplinary, and students can take classes in disciplines such as Economics, Anthropology, Political Science, History, Religious Studies, and Cultural Studies. 

Sociology – Organizational Studies

Organizational Studies

The sociology-organizational studies major 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.

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

II. 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.

III. 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.

IV. Student Initiated Track: Combination of five courses selected with an adviser.



Sociology 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, 194H, 197T, 198, and 199.   An upper division course at UC Davis are course numbered 100-199.

Before you declare 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 petition online through OASIS.  Click on the "Forms and Petitions" tab, "Submit a New Form", "Minor Declaration" 

Please note the following:

  • You can only use one course as overlap for a major and minor.
  • No course overlap is allowed between minors.
  • You must have an overall 2.00 GPA in the courses used for a 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.
  • Pass 1 registration is restricted to declared sociology majors. Classes for minors must be obtained during Pass 2.  There are usually still open seats in a variety of upper division SOC courses during Pass 2. 
  • SOC 195 (special topics courses) can be counted a minor course.


Suggested Courses

 Although you can choose any five upper division Sociology courses to complete your minor, you are welcome to meet with a staff or peer advisor to discuss course suggestions that fit your interests.  You can also review the list of planned 2018-2019 SOC courses for ideas.