Sc.B. Concentration Requirements

The Concentration in Social Analysis and Research (SAR)

The Sc.B. concentration in Social Analysis and Research provides both a conceptual and a working knowledge of the varieties of techniques for data collection and analysis used for social research in academic and non-academic environments. The centerpiece of the concentration is a rigorous and comprehensive collection of courses: (1) that develop an understanding of the principles underlying the processes of data collection and analysis; and (2) that train students in the application of advanced statistical techniques for data description and analysis. The concepts and skills learned in these course are reinforced through engagement in applied research with Sociology faculty and/or internships with local organizations in the for profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Through this concentration, students will develop the pragmatic and logical skills that will prepare them for a career in social research, whether basic research (such as found in academia or research institutions) or applied (such as found in policy and marketing research). Students will put these newly developed skills to work, as they apply the techniques they learn to the analysis of actual data from the social sciences. Concentrators will also take a variety of substantive courses that will provide them solid grounding in the theoretical approaches to social phenomena that are foundational to social research. Graduating seniors will have a useful and necessary balance between an understanding of the concepts and processes that underlie the issues studied by sociologists and the analytic techniques that allow sociologists to understand social relations and individual behavior.

The Sc.B concentration in Social Analysis and Research consists of a total of 12-13 courses, including a capstone project.

Five required courses:

  • Introduction to Calculus, Part I (MATH 0090)
  • Introductory Statistics for Social Research (SOC 1100 or APMA 0650 or ECON 1620)
  • Methods of Social Research (SOC 1020)
  • Multivariate Statistical Methods I (SOC 2010)
  • Sociological Theory (SOC 1010)

Three substantive or theory courses (non-methodological courses) in Sociology, two of which must be at the 1000 level or above.

Three of any of the following advanced analysis courses:

  • Market and Social Surveys (SOC 1120)
  • Focus Groups for Market and Social Research (SOC 1117)
  • Market Research (SOC 1260)
  • Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems (SOC 1871F)
  • Spatial Thinking in the Social Sciences (SOC 2610)
  • Spatial Data Analysis in the Social Sciences (SOC 2960G)
  • Techniques of Demographic Analysis (SOC 2230)
  • Qualitative Methods (SOC 2210)
  • Multivariate Statistical Methods II (SOC 2020)
  • Event History Analysis (SOC 2240)

Capstone Experience (1-2 courses)

  • A one-semester research internship (not for credit or for credit as SOC 1970 – Individual Research Project), or a summer research internship (not for credit)
  • Sociology Senior Seminar (SOC 1950): requires a senior project or thesis.

Course Substitutions

Students may petition the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor to use one advanced analysis course taken in another department to count toward the three required advanced analysis courses.

Research Internship

A one semester or a summer research internship is required. The research internship is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in social research. Students will typically complete the research internship in their junior year or during the summer between their junior and senior years. Students need to submit an Internship Proposal Form to the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor for approval prior to starting the internship. Upon completion of the internship, students are required to submit to the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor a brief summary report of their experience, which must be signed by the supervisor of the student’s internship.

Academic research internships involve work on a faculty member’s research project. Activities may range from data collection, data entry, data file management, descriptive analyses, and more advanced model estimation. Students are encouraged to approach faculty about opportunities for working on their research projects. Off-campus research internships are arranged through the Sociology Department Student Affairs Coordinator or the Undergraduate Concentration Advisor. Academic and off-campus research internships will typically entail 5-10 hours of work per week and may or may not involve compensation.

Students may receive academic credit for academic research internships and off-campus internships completed during the academic year if they combine the internship experience with an academic component under the direction of a faculty advisor. Students taking an internship for credit should register for an Individual Research Project (SOC 1970).

Senior Seminar

The senior seminar is required of all concentrators and is focused on finalizing a senior project or thesis and giving a presentation of the completed work. A project or thesis typically includes one or two semesters of course credit for a reading and research course (SOC 1980, SOC 1990). The senior thesis or project is supervised by a faculty member who serves as the primary advisor, and one additional faculty member who serves as a reader. The primary advisor and reader are chosen by the student and approved by the Concentration Advisor. The reader will receive a draft and a finished copy of the student’s thesis or project, which the reader will be responsible to grade. The reader may be involved in the earlier development of the thesis or project depending upon the arrangement made by the student with the reader. The senior thesis will normally consist of a major research paper.  A project has a more applied focus and less scholarly content. Examples of projects are evaluation studies or reports for an outside organization, survey reports, and market studies.  Only a senior thesis qualifies the student for Honors.  By the end of the sixth semester, students must submit a prospectus of the senior thesis or project to the Concentration Advisor. At the start of the seventh semester students should submit to the Concentration Advisor a proposal (not more than four pages) accompanied by the signature of one faculty member indicating that he or she is willing to serve as primary advisor on the thesis or project.

Due Dates for Senior Thesis or Project: During the second week of March, a complete draft of the senior thesis or project must be given to the faculty advisor and the reader for comments, and the final version of the senior thesis or project is due during the second week of April (the exact dates vary from year to year and are announced at the start of the academic year). These deadlines are essential to allow the faculty time to evaluate theses for awards, and to notify the Registrar with recommendations for honors.  No extensions will be granted. 

Honors

Students who qualify may elect to write an honors thesis during their senior year. In order to be considered for honors, students must receive a grade point average of at least 3.5 (A=4, B=3, C=2) on all concentration courses taken, and can take no more than one (1) of the concentration courses with the “S/NC” option. Honors also requires a senior thesis, with a recommendation of Honors by the advisor and reader, that demonstrates an understanding of empirical research. The thesis will be directed by a faculty member in Sociology. A second reader will be chosen by the thesis director and the student. Students writing a thesis will enroll in SOC 1950 and will also enroll in SOC 1980 and SOC 1990 during their senior year (SOC 1980 and SOC 1990 do not count toward the 12-13 course requirement for the concentration).