Undergraduate Program

The major in Sociology provides students with a rigorous understanding of the ways in which social relations and settings shape individual and group experiences and outcomes, with an emphasis on how various forms of inequality are created and propagated through time. Reflecting the diversity of social settings that motivate sociological inquiry, students will enroll in multiple introductory-level courses. We intend that these first courses will help students develop a sociological lens through which they can better understand the baseline determinants of inequality, social order, and change.

Because the discipline draws on diverse theoretical and methodological tools to engage with these core issues, required coursework ensures that students develop expertise in classical and contemporary theoretical concepts as well as both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Upper-level seminars provide majors and minors with an opportunity to apply these substantive, theoretical, and methodological perspectives to a focused and deep study of specific sociological topics. The major additionally features a capstone experience, enabling students to deploy sociological tools to undertake original work connected with a research project, internship, or honors thesis.

The sections that follow provide a detailed overview of both the Sociology major and minor, with an emphasis on providing answers to many of the questions likely to arise at each stage, as well as a guide to related opportunities available to our majors and minors. 

The Road Ahead

Major & Minor Requirements

What requirements do you need to fulfill to obtain your degree?

Learn More About the Requirements

Have questions?

Visit our Major/Minor FAQ!

Browse our FAQ

Go Beyond the Classroom

Teaching and Research Experience

We are currently compiling databases of students who would like to be considered for available Course Assistantships in a range of departmental class offerings and Research Assistantships on faculty-led projects. These positions are compensated either through course credit or an hourly wage. To join either or both databases, just fill out the brief survey available via our Course Assistantship and Research Assistantship portals.

Honorary Society

Washington University’s Sociology Department has reactivated its membership – first established in 1933 – as Missouri’s Beta chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society. Founded in 1920 to “acknowledge and promote excellence in scholarship in the study of sociology, the research of social problems, and such other social and intellectual activities as will lead to improvement in the human condition,” AKD provides a great outlet to recognize and further the accomplishments of our Sociology majors, and serves as a hub for students to propose and organize a range of department-sponsored activities. We look forward to working with our AKD members to build a strong, engaged, and collaborative community around the Department of Sociology! Keep an eye out for more details on how to join.

Study Abroad

Over time, the Sociology department will develop a list of specific programs that we recommend for students with particular interests in the discipline. More generally, however, we would advise you to select an abroad program primarily based on broader considerations, such as program location and format. Regarding the latter, you may find School for International Training (SIT)-sponsored programs to be especially strong options if you value immersion in local communities and experiential research opportunities above a more conventional campus-based experience. You can find a range of university study abroad resources through the Overseas Programs office.

In general, we are willing to consider a wide range of study abroad program and course options for major and minor credit. For a more definite sense of possibilities along these lines, we recommend that you schedule a meeting with your Sociology advisor and/or Director of Undergraduate Studies David Cunningham to discuss whether particular programs and courses meet baseline requirements for major/minor credit. While obtaining departmental approval for your Study Plan is a required step in the University’s study abroad application process, we recommend that you initiate conversations along these lines with your advisor much earlier, as you consider different location and program options.

Take your research to the next level.

Want to earn honors in sociology? 

Learn More on our Policy Page

The Sociology department feels like a home for me on campus. There are so many different activities that might be going on when I visit the department; maybe there is a renowned author speaking, or a collaborative planning meeting between professors and students, or it is late-night study hours with dozens of SOC students spread across the carpet, studying together and snacking! I am proud learn in a department that is very conscientious of its impact on campus, on students, in St. Louis, and within the research community.

―Mariel EhrlichClass of 2019

Contact

Still have questions? Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Hedwig (Hedy) Lee. 

Contact Hedwig Lee