Sociology

Paul Chang, Director of Undergraduate Studies 
Hilary Holbrow, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies 
 
Sociology is the study of society, of the social frameworks within which we live our lives. It is a study of social life at every level, from two-person relationships to the rise and fall of nations and civilizations. It is a meeting place of the social sciences, combining its own ideas and methods with insights from history, anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology in an extended examination of the ways societies work—or fail to work. 
 
Sociology nurtures question formation and critical thinking through its mixed-methods approach, encompassing quantitative analysis, ethnography, interviews, historical and comparative studies, computer-based analysis, and theoretical explorations. Through their methodologically diverse coursework, students learn how to apply sociological theories and methods to real-world issues – whether from third world development to corporate capitalism, or from crime in the streets to crime on Capitol Hill. 
 
Students have many opportunities to gain research experience, through course projects, senior theses, and Research Assistantships with faculty.  This focus on data collection, analysis, and write-up offers a ‘hands on’ approach to learning, engages students with the production of sociological knowledge, and prepares students for a wide range of careers in law, medicine, education, business, consulting, finance, public health, journalism, non-profit organizations, and the public sector. 
 
 Our faculty includes the world’s foremost experts in race, ethnicity and immigration, inequality, economic sociology and organizations, urban poverty and the city, gender and family, crime and punishment, social movements and social change, politics, work, culture, social networks, and comparative and historical sociology. Deep engagement with central social issues in the American landscape is coupled with expertise in political, economic, social and cultural issues in other parts of the world such as Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Drawing on these broad areas of faculty expertise, students may take a variety of courses across multiple areas or put together a focused program of study in one or two areas. 
 
The concentration takes pride in its advising system, which allows for personal attention to students. It also affords substantial access to faculty and administrators and flexibility in meeting individual intellectual agendas, allowing students to benefit from Sociology’s broad perspective, which is particularly valuable in our increasingly interdependent world. 
 
REQUIREMENTS 
Basic Requirements: 12 courses (48 credits) 
  1. Required courses: 
    1. One course from the introductory series: (Sociology 1000-Sociology 1089). Normally taken during the first year. 
    2. Sociology 128: Methods of Social Science Research, a basic introduction to methods (course offered spring term). 
    3. Sociology 97: Tutorial in Social Theory, a basic introduction to sociological theory and the social construction of knowledge (course offered both terms). Normally taken sophomore year (see item 2.1). 
    4. One quantitative methods course: Stat 100, 101, 102, 104, or Soc 156.  Normally taken sophomore year. 
    5. Sociology 98: Junior tutorial (course offered both terms) (see item 2.2). 
    6. Two courses in related social science fields: African and African American studies; Anthropology; East Asian Studies; Economics; Government; History; History and Science; Psychology; Social Studies; Women, Gender, and Sexuality. (The related field requirement can also be met with Sociology courses.) 
    7. Five courses in Sociology. 
  2. Tutorials
    1. Sophomore year: Sociology 97 (one term) required. Small seminars made up of eight to twelve students. An intensive introduction to sociological theory and the social production of knowledge. 
    2. Junior year:  Sociology 98 (one term) required. Small seminars made up of eight to ten students who work on original research projects under the direction of a faculty member. The purpose of this tutorial is to give students experience with independent inquiry and in many cases to develop a senior thesis topic. 
  3. Thesis:  Optional. 
  4. General Examination:  None. 
  5. Other information: 
    1. Pass/Fail: Up to two of the required twelve courses may be taken Pass/Fail (but not one of the five specifically required courses: Introductory Series, Sociology 97, 98, 128, or Quantitative Methods). Joint concentrators may not take any courses Pass/Fail. 
    2. Course Credit:  Study abroad, Harvard Summer School, and courses offered by other Harvard faculties may count toward concentration credit in some cases. First-Year Seminars taught by department faculty may also count. Contact the Undergraduate Program and Advising Administrator with questions about the approval process. 
Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 12 courses (48 credits) 
  1. Required courses: 
    1. Same as 1.1-1.6 in  Basic Requirements
    2. Three elective courses in Sociology. 
    3. Sociology 99. Senior tutorial (see item 2.3 below). 
  2. Tutorials: 
    1. Sophomore year: Same as  Basic Requirements
    2. Junior year: Same as  Basic Requirements
    3. Senior year: Sociology 99 (two terms). Senior thesis workshop; close supervision of thesis. Graded SAT/UNS. 
  3. Thesis: Honors candidates must write a thesis and submit it to the Undergraduate Office in the spring of senior year. Students are urged to choose thesis topics and select an adviser by the end of junior year. Course credit for the thesis work is obtained through enrolling in Sociology 99 in the fall and spring of senior year. 
  4. General Examination:  None. 
  5. Other information: Same as  Basic Requirements
JOINT CONCENTRATIONS 
Joint concentrations are permitted with selected fields by application, and always require a thesis. Sociology can serve as either the primary or allied field. For more information, visit http://sociology.fas.harvard.edu/pages/joint-concentration-sociology
  1. Required courses when Sociology is the primary field: 9 courses 
    1. One Sociology course from the introductory series: (Sociology 1000-1089). 
    2. Sociology 97: Tutorial in Social Theory (course offered both fall and spring term). 
    3. Sociology 98: Junior Tutorial (course offered both fall and spring term). 
    4. Sociology 128: Models of Social Science Research (course offered spring term). 
    5. One quantitative methods course:  Stat 100, 101, 102, 104, or Soc 156. 
    6. Two courses in Sociology. 
    7. Sociology 99: Senior Tutorial (two terms). 
  2. Required courses when Sociology is the allied field: 6 courses 
    1. One Sociology course from the introductory series (Sociology 1000-1089). 
    2. Sociology 97: Tutorial in Social Theory (course offered both fall and spring term). 
    3. Sociology 128: Models of Social Science Research (course offered fall term). 
    4. One quantitative methods course: Stat 100, 101, 102, 104, or Soc 156.   
    5. Two courses in Sociology. 
ADVISING 
The Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, Hilary Holbrow (hholbrow@fas.harvard.edu), is responsible for advising Sociology concentrators, in cooperation with Peter Chang (paulchang@fas.harvard.edu), Director of Undergraduate Studies. Questions about program requirements and related administrative matters may be directed to Laura Thomas (lthomas@wjh.harvard.edu), the Undergraduate Program and Advising Administrator. Concentration Advisers, who are graduate students in the Sociology department, are available to students in the Houses. 
 
Students writing a thesis select a thesis adviser by the end of the junior year. Students may choose from among current Sociology faculty, department affiliates, and eligible graduate students. Peter Marsden (peter_marsden@harvard.edu) is available to meet with juniors thinking of writing a senior thesis. 
 
For up-to-date information on advising in Sociology and a current list of concentration advisers, please visit  http://sociology.fas.harvard.edu/pages/advising. You may also visit the  Advising Programs Office website
 
HOW TO FIND OUT MORE 
Further information may be obtained from the Undergraduate Advising and Program Administrator in William James Hall 650, (Laura Thomas, lthomas@wjh.harvard.edu, 617-495-3713). Additional information is also available on  department's website
 
ENROLLMENT STATISTICS
Number of Concentrators as of December
Concentrators
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Sociology
144
155
186
164
141
141
143
135
116
140
152
136
Sociology + another field
4
3
3
5
7
11
9
5
8
0
1
6
Another field + Sociology
2
3
6
5
7
2
3
3
4
3
2
3