Sociology is the scientific study of the development, structure, and processes of human society. It uses systematic methods to examine and explain the social world by careful and objective analysis of human behavior. Sociologists focus on the actions, beliefs, values, norms, organizations, institutions, and other social forces that characterize a society and shape people’s lives. To study all of these factors, sociologists use a variety of theoretical perspectives and scientific methods including surveys, interviews, and observation.
By carefully collecting and analyzing this information, sociologists produce explanations of how our social world works and how it influences our personal lives. This has turned sociology into a useful tool for solving social problems such as crime, discrimination, poverty, inequalities, etc. Sociological research often helps business and labor officials, community organizations, educators, policymakers, public and private administrators, and the general citizenry to understand and solve issues that confront society on local, national, and international levels.
Students who study sociology are generally interested in human behavior, the human condition, and social justice. They want to know more about the cultural dynamics, institutions, norms, organizations, roles, structures, values, and other social forces that define societies. They are curious about how societies work—and importantly, why they often do not.
The Honors Tutorial College program in sociology offers exceptional students the opportunity to study the many aspects of sociology in one-on-one relationships with faculty members. Maximum opportunities will be afforded for the student to progress well beyond the materials found in conventional courses. The primary purpose of the tutorial program is to serve as preparation for graduate study, law school, and a variety of professional opportunities. Students will receive a degree of Bachelor of Arts from the Honors Tutorial College.
Students are required to complete eight tutorials within sociology, including two devoted to the thesis. Core tutorials include an introduction to sociology, research methods, and a theory tutorial. Three topical tutorials devoted to subfields in sociology are standard. The senior year is devoted to a thesis project.
In addition to the tutorials, the student must complete the Tier I English requirement (freshman and junior composition), a required statistics course (PSY 2110), all core courses not covered by tutorials, and an appropriate number of approved electives. Internships and/or study abroad may be included within the program with special permission from the director of studies. Honors tutorial students take a minimum of 15 hours per semester.
Advising and Mentoring
Each student receives initial advice from the director of studies regarding selection and sequencing of courses, choice of a thesis advisor, and other procedural matters. A committee composed of the director of studies and the advisor will monitor the thesis work. A typical tutorial will meet on a weekly basis for a minimum of one hour. The student and the tutor will discuss the current reading and written assignments, discuss problems and solutions, debate and offer critical analysis, and the tutor continuously evaluates the progress of the student. A final grade is based on many facets of evaluation available to the tutor: written assignments, written exams, oral exams, discussions, presentations by the student, and field work.
The Honors Thesis
The honors thesis is a reflection of the student’s special interests, its acceptance, dependent upon an appropriate mixture of research and analysis, relies upon the judgment of the advisor and director of studies. It is expected that this major paper will constitute work of the highest quality in investigating a problem of concern to scholars or practitioners. Although an intensive study of relevant theoretical and research literatures is the underpinning of the thesis, students are encouraged to augment this scholarly based with field data whenever possible.
Students throughout the program earn letter grades consistent with the University grading system and are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students who earn less than a B (3.0) in any given semester, or who maintain less than a 3.5 GPA will need to confer with the director of studies and/or Dean of the College. In addition to letter grade assessments, tutors complete course descriptions and evaluations of each student’s work each semester. In these assessments both the student’s academic standing and academic attitude are evaluated.
Students are selected by the director of studies of the sociology tutorial program and the Honors Tutorial College on the basis of superior ability and sustained motivation. We look for good scores on standardized tests (30 composite score on the ACT or a combined score of 1300 on the SAT), but we also require a good high school record (class standing in the top 10%). An interview with the director of studies is required for acceptance into our program. Recommendations from two high school teachers are required. The personalized aspects of the tutorial system occasionally make it possible for us to accept students who have not performed well on standardized measure of ability but who demonstrate exceptional aptitude in other ways. The priority deadline for application for admission is December 1st, and admission interviews are held in January.
Change of Program Policy
Under normal circumstances, we do not accept students as transfers into this program. First-year students at another institution may also apply to transfer into the sociology tutorial program and the Honors Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirements as entering freshmen. The deadline for application is December 1st, and admission interviews are held in January.
External Transfer Admission
Students who meet the criteria for admission as first-year students may be accepted before the end of their freshman year. Our priority deadline is December 1st.
Opportunities Upon Graduation
Most students graduating from the program pursue graduate or professional education with many going on to Ph.D. programs in sociology or law school.
The academic catalog provides additional information about curriculum and courses for this major.
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Debra A. Henderson, director of studies/contact person
Please request application information regarding admission as a student using the form below.