BA Project Guidelines


The BA project is optional. Students may write a 30-40 pp. academic paper to satisfy this requirement, and we expect that most students who opt in will do this. Alternatively, they may propose a different kind of project in consultation with their advisor and requiring the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. For example, the capstone project may involve service or work experience plus a set of sociologically minded reflection papers (e.g., 10 3-4 pp. memos).

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


To pursue a BA project, students will need to have (1) secured an advisor and (2) taken the relevant methods course (e.g., completed the Qualitative Methods requirement if conducting qualitative research).  

BA Seminar

The BA seminar will meet in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters of the student’s fourth year. It will meet 3-4 times a quarter and count for one course. The course grade will be given at the end of the Spring quarter. Students will receive progress reports at the end of the Autumn and Winter quarters. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will hold a meeting in the spring quarter for all sociology third years interested in pursuing a BA project. They will be encouraged to seek an advisor and consider beginning their research over the summer.


Students will receive two grades on their transcript for the BA project, one for the BA seminar (SOCI 29998) and another for the project itself (SOCI 29999).


To attain honors in the major students will need to meet all four conditions: (1) a GPA of 3.25 in the college, (2) a GPA of 3.5 in the major, (3) completing a BA project, and (4) their advisor’s determination that the project merits Honors.

Research Funding

We will make available ten small grants of $1,000 each to students conducting research associated with their BA project through a competitive process. Students will complete the following application in the Autumn quarter. Their preceptors will recommend a set of applications to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The DUS will review the applications and determine which merit funding. Students may also apply to the Dean’s Fund for research funding:

IRB Approval

If you aim to eventually publish results from your BA Thesis in a peer-reviewed academic journal, before commencing data collcetion you will need to obtain approval from the UChicago Institutional Review Board (IRB), a board that oversees research ethics. You can find our guide to submitting an IRB application and to completing the prerequisite CITI training Guide to IRB Applications.

Study Abroad 

We encourage and support all sociology students who wish to study abroad during their UChicago experience. If students are abroad during the BA Seminar, we ask that they participate remotely. This means keeping up with the readings via Canvas, completing assignments on time, participating in the discussion boards, and attending office hours with your assigned preceptor as needed. 

BA/MA Policy for the MA Thesis

Undergraduate sociology majors enrolled in the joint BA/MA program may write a single thesis that will meet both the BA and MA requirements for their degrees, subject to the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in their major and the Faculty Director of their MA program.

The MA thesis is an article-length contribution to contemporary scholarship, drawing on original research, well-situated against the most recent and influential literatures, employing graduate-level methods, and conducted to professional standards. Students in the joint BA/MA program must complete all requirements for the MA degree, including any thesis or proposal workshops that their MA program may stipulate. The faculty advisor for the MA thesis and the faculty advisor for the BA thesis may be the same person. The undergraduate major may stipulate additional requirements.

Students who wish to be candidates for June degrees and departmental honors must submit the thesis to the major by the department’s deadline. Departmental approval of the BA thesis is separate from MA program approval of the MA thesis. The MA thesis must be approved by a faculty advisor and preceptor. Students must complete all BA/MA requirements, including the MA thesis, in time to graduate by the August following their full-time BA/MA curriculum.

BA/MA students in Sociology will enroll in the BA Seminar course and begin work on the thesis in Spring of their third year, conducting original research over the summer with appropriate IRB permissions. BA/MA students will work with a BA preceptor during the spring quarter and will be assigned an MA preceptor in September; they may submit a faculty-approved proposal early in the Fall quarter.

Students in a five-year BA/MA program (MACSS and CMES) will write a BA thesis in their fourth year, meeting all departmental requirements, and then develop an MA thesis that satisfies all MA requirements in their fifth year.