Sociology Major

In consultation with an advisor, each student plans a major program that nurtures an understanding of society and the human condition, demonstrates how social and cultural knowledge are acquired through research, and enriches their general education. On the practical level, a major program prepares the student for graduate study in sociology and contributes to preprofessional programs such as law and medicine. It also provides background preparation for careers in education, nonprofit work, humanitarian and international development, the civil service, research development, law enforcement and criminal justice, journalism, medicine, public health and allied health professions, business, public policy, social work, and urban planning, among others.

The major in sociology consists of ten courses.

Required Courses
Core Courses
SOC 1101Introduction to Sociology1
SOC 2010Introduction to Social Research (which should be taken sophomore year)1
SOC 2030Classics of Sociological Theory1
SOC 3010Advanced Seminar: Current Controversies in Sociology1
In consultation with your major advisor, select a course, offered at Bowdoin, that contains a significant methods component, such as:1
SOC 2020
Quantitative Analysis in Sociology
SOC 2208
Race and Ethnicity
SOC 2250
Social Epidemiology
SOC 2430
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
SOC 3310
Urban Ethnography
SOC 3320
Diversity in Higher Education
Select five additional courses: 1000–1049, 2000, and above.5
  • Up to two semesters of independent study or honors work may count toward the major.
  • Seven of the ten courses required for the major, including SOC 1101 Introduction to SociologySOC 2010 Introduction to Social Research, SOC 2030 Classics of Sociological Theory, and SOC 3010 Advanced Seminar: Current Controversies in Sociology, must be Bowdoin sociology courses.
  • With department approval, the remaining three of the ten required courses for the major may include two from any department or program on campus and one off-campus study course, or two off-campus study courses and one from any department or program on campus. 

Sociology Minor

The minor in sociology consists of five courses.

Required Courses
SOC 1101Introduction to Sociology1
Select four additional courses: 1000–1049, 2000, and above. a4
  • One semester of independent study may count toward the minor.

Additional Information and Department Policies

  • In order for a course to fulfill the major or minor requirements in sociology, a grade of C- or above must be earned in that course.
  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • One first-year writing seminar can count toward the major or minor in sociology.
  • Majors and minors may double-count an unlimited number of courses with another department or program.

Independent Study

For the sociology major program, two semesters of independent study may be counted, while for the minor program one semester may be counted.

Departmental Honors

Students distinguishing themselves in the major program may apply for departmental honors.

Awarding of the degree with honors is ordinarily based on grades attained in major courses; a recognition of the ability to work creatively and independently and to synthesize diverse theoretical, methodological, and substantive materials; and a written project based on independent research.

Off-Campus Study

Study away in a demanding academic program can contribute substantially to a major in sociology. Students are advised to plan study away for their junior year. Students should complete the research methods course, SOC 2010 Introduction to Social Research, before studying away. Students must obtain provisional approval for their study away courses in writing by department faculty before they leave for study away, and then seek final approval upon their return to Bowdoin.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

For information on credit for International Baccalaureate tests, please see the department. No credit is given for Advanced Placement. In order to receive credit for International Baccalaureate work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin. 

This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue