About the Program


Sociology is the study of society: its composition, organization, culture, and development. It combines scientific methods with humanistic perspectives, integrating the findings of economics, political science, psychology, and history.

Rather than viewing our world only through one lens, sociologists view the world though lenses that combine these diverse perspectives. In addition, in sociology one can study many of the substantive topics that the others social sciences examine. Thus, the fields of ethnic studies, gender, and cultural studies build on important sociological traditions and findings.

In sociology, you can learn:

  • How business works through the study of organizations, economic processes, human relations and institutions
  • How politics and law work through the study of sociology of law, politics, social movements, and revolutions
  • How science and medicine create truths and change the world -- sociology of science, sociology of knowledge, and technological change
  • How societies create opportunities and perpetuate inequalities in education, income, gender, ethnicity, and race relations
  • How communities of belief and kin are created -- sociology of culture, religion, and family

Sociology, then, provides a global perspective and rich picture of how the social world works. Courses cover a wide range of material, and they teach analytical skills and flexibility of mind to allow you to see your world in new ways. Sociology is a broad major for the intellectually curious, and it works well as a double major with other more narrow degree programs.

Entering students may declare a major in Sociology when they are admitted to UCSD. Continuing students may declare Sociology as their major at any time, by using the Major/Minor tool under Academic Links on MyTritonLink.

Also check out a list of common terms and their definitions to help you crack the code often used around campus.

The Sociology Major

Students may choose to major in General Sociology or one of seven concentrations in the following areas:

  • International Studies - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in international business, foreign service, or international law.
  • American Studies - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in American politics, education, and social work.
  • Culture and Communication - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in education, the media and marketing.
  • Social Inequalities - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in social services and education.
  • Law and Society - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in law and criminology.
  • Economy and Society - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in contemporary business.
  • Science and Medicine - This concentration is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in health professions.

All students must complete four lower-division and twelve upper-division courses in Sociology. The General Sociology major and concentrations share the same lower division, theory and method requirements.   Courses for each concentration are listed in our degree check.

A 2.0 GPA is required in the major and students must earn a C- or better in each course to be used for the sociology major. All courses taken for the major must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of Sociology 199 which can only be taken P/NP. Only one such special studies course may be applied toward the major.

The Sociology Minor

Below are general policies for a minor in sociology.

  • It must consists of seven four-unit courses, of which at least twenty units (five four-unit courses) must be upper-division.
  • A grade of "C-" or better is required in all courses.
  • A grade of P/NP is not acceptable; courses for the minor must be taken for a letter grade.
  • A maximum of two sociology courses from community college will be allowed.
  • One study abroad course will be accepted toward the minor. The course must be pre-approved by the sociology department prior to applying to the minor.
  • SOCI 199 (Independent Research) is not accepted toward the minor.
  • A GPA of at least 2.0 is required for graduation.

Guidelines for Minor Application

Courses can be taken in one of the following distributions:

  • 2 lower-division, 5 upper-division sociology courses
  • 1 lower-division, 6 upper-division sociology courses
  • 7 upper-division sociology courses

How to Declare a Minor Online

You can apply for a minor at any time by using the Major/Minor tool under Academic Links on MyTritonLink.

  • Log on to Tritonlink
  • Click "Advising and Grades"
  • Click "Major and Minor"
  • Next to "Declared Minor," click on "ADD"

When listing courses on the application, only list course numbers and titles for courses you have completed or are currently enrolled in.

To list courses not yet completed, use the following template:

Lower-division Courses

Subject code: SOCI, Course No: LD, Title: Sociology Elective, Institution: UCSD, Units: 4.00

Upper-division Courses

Subject code: SOCI, Course No: UD, Title: Sociology Elective, Institution: UCSD, Units: 4.00

Running into Minor Declaration Issues?

Please also keep the following in mind when completing the minor declaration

  • Declaring with over 135 units: The minor declaration system warns students with over 135 units to consult an advisor before declaring the minor to be sure you will not exceed maximum unit limitation. This unit warning message does not actually prevent a student from completing the online minor petition. Therefore, if you do see the unit warning, simply continue to complete the form. However, once you add the minor, I suggest that you inform your College that you have added it, since they oversee the total number of units a student incurs.
  • Declaring with 7 Upper Division courses: If you will not be taking any lower-division courses for the minor (meaning all 7 courses will be upper division), you will still be required to fill in one of the lower-division courses for the application. The Minor declaration system requires at least one lower-division course to be filled out (even though you may not be completing the minor in this format), it won't allow you to submit the declaration without it. Please use this exact formatting for the lower division course: "Subject code: SOCI, Course No: LD, Title: Sociology Elective, Institution: UCSD, Units: 4.00". After submission you will still be able to complete the minor with 7 upper-division courses.

Lower-Division Coursework

Four lower-division sociology courses are required for the major in sociology:

  • SOCI 1: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOCI 2: The Study of Society
  • One lower division elective (SOCI 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 70)
  • SOCI 60: The Practice of Social Research
    • SOCI 60 introduces students to fundamental principles of social research design: how to pose a sociological question, formulate an appropriate research design, and evaluate empirical evidence. SOCI 60 is a prerequisite for all upper-division methods courses (SOCI 102 - SOCI 110).

For each of these courses, students must attend a lecture and a weekly discussion section.

Upper-Division Coursework

Twelve upper-division sociology courses are required for the major in sociology:

  • Sociology 100: Classical Sociological Theory
  • One methods course from SOCI 102 - 110. (SOCI 60 is a prerequisite for these methods courses.)
  • Ten additional upper-division courses.
    • For students majoring with a concentration, five upper-division courses will be chosen from a list of courses from the specific concentration, as well as five upper-division sociology electives.
    • Students majoring in General Sociology can choose any ten upper-division sociology courses.

Students are encouraged to complete their theory and methods courses early in their program, since theoretical perspectives and skills in methods will enhance their subsequent course work.

One elective course can be satisfied with a four-unit Independent Study (SOCI 199) course. With department permission, we will also allow students to take a four-unit Internship (AIP 197). Because these courses are taken on a pass/no pass basis, only one can be used toward the Sociology major.

Degree Checks & Four Year Plans

Track you progress with the major requirements using our degree check!  

Please note: For the upper division requirement of "Ten Upper Division Courses in Sociology" you are either a General Sociology Major or a Specialized Sociology Major. 

All UC San Diego four year degree plans can be found online at http://plans.ucsd.edu.