Special Academic Programs
Outside of upper division Sociology courses, there are various academic programs that students can enroll/petition to have count towards their major requirements.
The Department of Sociology offers an honors program for students who have demonstrated excellence in the sociology major. Successful completion of the Honors Program enables you to graduate "With Highest Distinction," "With High Distinction," or "With Distinction," depending upon your performance in the program. This program runs fall quarter and winter quarter each year. Enrollment is limited, and the presiding faculty member will make the final decision of acceptance into the program.
Sociology majors may apply to the honors program if they meet the following requirements:
- Junior or senior standing (90 units completed)
- 3.5 GPA or better in the major, maintained until graduation
- Recommendation of a faculty member familiar with your work
- Must have completed at least four upper-division sociology courses
- Overall 3.2 GPA or better, maintained until graduation
- Must have completed SOCI 100 and one upper-division methods course prior to the fall quarter when the honors course begins; alternatively, the consent of the honors program director must be obtained
Interested students must fill out the Honors Program Application and return it to the undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Sociology. Completed applications must be in the department office no later than week five of the spring quarter prior to the start of the honors program in the fall. If a student will be traveling abroad during their junior year, the deadline for the application still applies, so please make arrangements accordingly.
The program requires students to take SOCI 196A: Advanced Studies in Sociology and SOCI 196B: Supervised Thesis Research. These two courses can be counted as two elective requirements toward the general sociology major or concentrations. Students choose a faculty adviser to help supervise their thesis research and writing. The honors program director will also assist students in this area and fellow students in the seminar will offer excellent feedback and suggestions. This is a wonderful program that provides participants the opportunity to improve their skills in research and writing. Students planning to go on to graduate school will possess a strong writing sample to submit with their application.
If a participant's GPA in the major falls below 3.5 or their overall GPA falls below 3.2 or if they do not earn at least an "A-" in the program, they will not graduate with honors. However, the two courses will still count as two electives required for the general sociology major or concentrations.
- Students earning an A+ will graduate "With Highest Distinction."
- Students earning an A will graduate "With High Distinction."
- Students earning an A- will graduate "With Distinction."
Special studies courses give students the opportunity to explore in more detail what they have learned in the classroom. Students engage in field research in a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a faculty member. If a student wants to work individually with a professor, they enroll in SOCI 199, Independent Study. If several students want to work as a team on the same project, they take SOCI 198, Group Independent Study.
To enroll, a special studies application must be submitted to the Registrar's Office before the end of the add/drop period. Read the step-by-step instruction sheet, then fill out the Special Studies Application.
Students should meet with a professor who has either performed research in an area they would like to pursue, or a professor whose course they have previously taken and enjoyed.
The student and professor will decide together on a project proposal, including the objective, the method by which it will be carried out, and the type of finished product (paper, artifact, etc.) that will be submitted. The instructor must provide a reading list.
Once both student and faculty sponsor have completed and signed the special studies form, it should be given to the undergraduate coordinator, who will obtain the necessary approvals in the department. When this is completed the form will be ready to be picked up by the student and taken to the Registrar's Office for official enrollment in either SOCI 198 or SOCI 199.
Plan early, allowing time for the proposal to be developed, signatures to be obtained, etc. Applications must be submitted by the end of week 1 or they will not be accepted.
Special study courses are highly recommended by the department. A special studies course may be used to satisfy an upper-division electives. While students may enroll in more than one SOCI 198/199 in their undergraduate career, special studies courses are taken P/NP, so only one may be used towards the major.
Students interested in sociology should consider the possibility of an internship sometime during the course of their undergraduate years. The benefits of an internship are considerable: career sampling, resume enhancement, and personal growth.
Most undergraduates consider several career options before making a final--or not so final--choice. An internship can be used as a device to test a field as part of the process of making a rational decision about one's future. Although internships do not, as a general rule, offer students all the responsibilities associated with full-time jobs, they do not usually involve all of the pressures of a full-time assignment either. What they do offer, however, is an opportunity to get some substantive experience, while observing firsthand the relationship between the content of a career and the lifestyle choices associated with it.
An internship in any field improves the perceived qualifications of a job applicant. It is seen as an indicator of serious interest; it represents an attempt at careful career preparation. If the internship is in the field in which an application for employment is being proffered, the applicant appears to have reached his or her career choice on the basis of a real and positive experience.
Finally, an internship can be a great experience. It is a change from the lifestyle of the university. It usually puts one in contact with persons of more varied age and experience levels than those found in the context of undergraduate life. It offers a taste of "real life." It may serve to confirm a suspected interest. If it does not, it may be of even greater value: it can save a student from seeking a job in an area that he or she might not enjoy.
Most internships need to be set up in advance, so be sure to plan ahead by one or two quarters. For more information on internships, visit the UCSD Academic Internship Program or go to the Academic Internship Office located in the literature building. You can also look into other internships offered through the Career Services Center.
An Academic Internship, taken under the course number AIP 197, may be used to satisfy an upper-division elective as long as a student is supervised by a sociology faculty member.
An AIP 197 is taken P/NP so only one may be used toward the major. The course needs to be petitioned to the undergraduate coordinator along with the AIP learning agreement, in order to count toward the major.
The UCDC Program is an academic internship program providing UC San Diego students with the opportunity to intern for a quarter in Washington DC while enrolling in UC courses and living in the UC Washington Center. This program gives students the opportunity to receive internship credit/experience (POLI 197I) and research seminar credit (SOCE 194) by developing and completing of an independent and significant research project under the supervision of UC faculty, and guided by a teaching assistant.
The Sociology department encourages students to study abroad, either for a quarter or for a full year. UCSD provides three options for studying abroad: EAP, OAP, and Global Seminars.
All courses taken through EAP are considered UC courses for which UC credit is earned and grades are directly recorded on the transcript and are factored into your UCSD overall GPA. However, the Department of Sociology independently determines which courses may be applied to the major. This decision is made in response to a general petition submitted after students return.
In the case of course work completed through OAP, the UCSD Admissions Office is responsible for decisions on the transfer of credits into UCSD and onto the UCSD academic record (transcripts). Credits transferred through the Opportunities Abroad Program appear on UCSD transcripts with course titles and units transferred. Grades from OAP courses will appear on the transcript from the institution where the work was completed, but these grades are not recorded on the UCSD transcript, nor are they factored into the cumulative UCSD grade-point average (GPA). After the admissions office's acceptance of course units, the Department of Sociology independently determines which courses may be applied to the major.
All courses taken on a Global Seminar (GS) program are accredited UC San Diego courses, and grades are factored into your cumulative UCSD GPA. GS courses may also fulfill major, minor or College/GE requirements. The Department of Sociology independently determines which courses may be applied to the major. This decision is made in response to a general petition submitted after student returns.
In order to study abroad, students need to consult with the advisors in the Study Abroad Office. Visit Sociology's Study Abroad Information page on the Study Abroad website for details and step-by-step instructions.
Sociology majors may, with permission obtained through student petitions, take up to four required courses for the major while abroad. There is considerable flexibility on the sociology courses that the department will accept. Students are encouraged to take courses that have a sociological approach, not simply those that are just about sociology.
Please Note: The department does not make the decision on a simple "four units earned equal one course" formula. In general, most yearlong courses are more closely equivalent to two 'four-unit' courses than to three 'four-unit' courses (even when year-long courses appear on transcripts as twelve quarter units). Semester courses, which transfer onto the transcript as six-unit courses, do not necessarily become the equivalent of one and a half UCSD sociology courses. More typically, it's one course equivalent per semester course taken.