Sociology concentrators are required to complete an original research project on a topic of their choice. This culminates in the BA thesis—a final paper ranging from twenty to forty pages in length.
Recent projects have included:
· conflict and safety in urban Chicago neighborhoods
· new forms of social interaction on the Internet
· immigration and national identity in Germany and Guatemala
· gender dynamics in the workplace
· homosexuality and AIDS in South Africa
· religion among Korean immigrants
· public housing policies
· role models among Mexican-American youth
· gender roles in families
· peer pressure and teenage pregnancy
· American attitudes about immigration
Students devise their project, conduct their research, and write up their thesis over the course of the BA senior seminar (SOCI 29998), which runs from the spring quarter of the third year to the winter quarter of their fourth year. The class meets on Thursdays from 5:00 - 6:20 pm for each of these quarters. Students complete and turn in their thesis during spring quarter of their fourth year.
Many sociology majors study abroad at some point during their time at UChicago, and their plans sometimes overlap with the BA Seminar course. All 3 quarters of the BA seminar are required, and the preceptors work with students to facilitate their virtual participation in the seminar (via Canvas and some occasional Skype sessions). Sociology majors who study abroad can still make timely progress on the BA thesis while they’re away if they work with an assigned preceptor, complete all required assignments, and submit them online and on time.
Students will work on their BA thesis under the guidance of a sociology preceptor and a faculty advisor. Students and their selected adviser must complete the advisor must complete and turn in the advisor consent form to the sociology department office. Students may register for additional reading courses (SOCI 29997). Please note: only two sociology reading/research courses will be counted toward courses required for the sociology major.
Faculty advisors may nominate students for honors if they meet the following criteria:
· a cumulative GPA at or above 3.25
· a sociology major GPA is at or above 3.5
· a grade of at least A- in the BA thesis seminar
Be sure to discuss the criteria for honors with your individual faculty advisor.
Thesis TIMELINE (during the BA seminar)
Spring of 3rd YearDuring this quarter, you will: - Identify a subfield of sociology that interests you - Formulate a research question - Conduct a pilot study - Decide on a faculty advisor to help guide your project
Fall of 4th YearDuring this quarter, you will: - Transcribe your data - Learn how to code and analyze your data - Develop an argument based on your analysis - Draft your data, methods, and results sections
Winter of 4th YearDuring this quarter, you will: - Read and review the literature relevant to your research question - Draft your theoretical framework - Submit a rough draft of your thesis to your preceptor and peers - Participate in a peer review process
FAQ: What if I plan to study abroad during one of the three quarters of the required BA Thesis Seminar?
We encourage and support all sociology students who wish to study abroad during their UChicago experience. If students are abroad during the required BA-Thesis Seminar, we ask that they participate remotely. This means: keeping up with the readings via Canvas, completing light assignments on-time, participating in the discussion boards, and attending office hours with your assigned preceptor as needed. For students who are abroad, participation in the BA seminar tends to be asynchronous, with the exception of meetings with their preceptor and faculty advisor. (Those meetings are occasional and, with advance notice, easy to schedule around time differences.) You may be prevented from registering for the BA Thesis Seminar during the quarter you are abroad; plan to participate while you’re away, but register for the seminar during one of the quarters you will be in residence.