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Sociology seeks to understand human behavior by studying how individuals connect to the groups and institutions in which they live. Sociologists analyze the interrelationship of social structures with political, economic, and cultural forces, from the micro to the macro level. As a discipline, sociology provides students with the conceptual and analytic tools to make sense of complex social structures in a rapidly changing global environment. Brown’s Sociology department brings together a dynamic group of scholars with international reputations for outstanding achievement in a range of important research areas -- social demography, health and medicine, environmental justice and environmental change, development, politics and democracy, urban and spatial analysis, and organizations and occupations. Concentrators passionate about social challenges may also choose to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program, which allows the opportunity to connect theory and practice and gain hands-on experience working with community partners.

Requirements: (10 course)  
One introductory level course to be selected from: 1

SOC 0010

Culture, Power and Social Change  

SOC 0020

Perspectives on Social Interaction: An Introduction to Social Psychology  

SOC 0130

American Heritage: Democracy, Inequality, and Public Policy  
SOC 1010 Classical Sociological Theory 1
SOC 1020 Methods of Social Research 1
SOC 1100 Introductory Statistics for Social Research 1

(or APMA 0650 or ECON 1620 or CLPS 0900)

Two semesters of SOC 1950 Senior Seminar (.500 credit course each semester in senior year) 1
Five additional courses 5

a. At least three of the optional courses have to be 1000 level and one of them must be a substantive seminar (1870/1871).


b. Students can choose to take up to two (showcase) lower level (0100 level) courses.


c. Students can petition to take two courses outside of the discipline (this will be allowed only when the proposed course makes sense given the insterests of the student, and there is no equivalent sociology course).

Total Credits 10

***See the Sociology website for detail regarding Honors and Independent Studies

The Senior Seminar

Sociology requires all concentrators to complete a thesis or project in their senior year as a capstone experience. The purpose of the thesis or  project is to allow students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they acquired on a topic of their own interests. This capstone experience provides a hands on experience through which students learn what can be done with Sociology. To fulfill the capstone requirement students enroll in SOC 1950 – Senior Seminar during the senior year. is a one credit course that students take across two successive semesters.  Students receive 0.5 credit in each semester.   The senior seminar is focused on finalizing a senior project or thesis and giving a presentation of the completed work.  Participation in this seminar allows each cohort of concentrators to discuss their diverse interests and expose them to the wide range of applications of Sociological knowledge.

The senior thesis is supervised by a faculty member who serves as the primary advisor, and one additional faculty member who serves as a reader.  The primary advisor and the reader are chosen by the student and approved by the Concentration Advisor.  The reader will receive a draft and a finished copy of the student's thesis, which the reader will be responsible to grade.  The reader may be involved in the earlier development of the thesis depending upon the arrangement made by the student with the reader.  The senior thesis will normally consist of a major research paper.  By the end of the sixth semester, students must submit a prospectus of the senior thesis to the Concentration Advisor.  At the start of the seventh semester students should submit to the Concentration Advisor a proposal (not more than four pages) accompanied by the signature of one faculty member indicating that he or she is willing to serve as primary advisor on the thesis.  Only a senior thesis qualifies the student for Honors.  A thesis typically includes one or two semesters of course credit through - Senior Thesis/Project (fall semester) and/or - Senior Thesis/Project (spring semester).  and do not count toward the 10 course requirement for the concentration. 

A senior project differs from a thesis in its scholarly content and form, and it depends only on the evaluation of the senior seminar instructor (although students may elect to have a faculty advisor for the project, in addition to the senior seminar instructor).  Whereas the senior thesis follows the form of a conventional research paper, the project allows a wider array of research and creative outputs, including but not limited to video documentaries, photographic exhibitions, and applied or policy related reports with an off-campus organization.  Projects should be complemented by an analytical paper that situates the central subject matter of the project within the context of sociological scholarship.

You should decide your senior project in consultation with the Concentration Advisor  and the instructor of the Senior Seminar.  You may also need to approach a specific faculty member within the department to advise you on your project.  At the beginning of your senior year you should file a written statement the Concentration Advisor describing your senior project (if you opt to have one outside of the instructor).  Students who have a faculty advisor on their senior project may register for - Senior Thesis/Project ( fall semester) and/or - Senior Thesis/Project (spring semester).  SOC 1980 and SOC 1990 do not count towards the 10 course requirement for the concentration. 

Due Dates

During the second week of March, a complete draft of the senior thesis must be given to the faculty advisor and the reader for comments, and the final version of the senior thesis is due during the second week of April ( the exact dates vary from year to year and are announced at the start of the academic year).

During the second week of March, a complete draft of the senior project must be given to the instructor of the senior seminar and the faculty advisor (if the student has one) for comments, and the final version of the senior project is due during the second week of April (the exact dates vary from year to year and are announced at the beginning of the academic year). 

These deadlines are essential to allow faculty time to evaluate theses for awards, and to notify the Registrar with recommendations for honors.  NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE GRANTED


In order to be considered for honors, students must receive a grade point average of at least 3.5 (A=4, B=3, C=2) on all concentration courses taken, and can take no more than one (1) of the concentration courses with the "S/NC" option.  Honors also requires a senior thesis, with a recommendation of Honors by the advisor and reader, that demonstrates an understanding of empirical research. 

Independent Study

Students can use no more than one (1) Independent Study course to meet the concentration course requirements.  This course counts  only towards a 1000 level substantive requirement and will not serve as a s substitute for any of the core concentration requirements. 


  • Test Requirements: Applicants can satisfy our testing requirement in one of two ways: (1) Either the SAT and any two SAT Subject Tests, or (2) the ACT.  Applicants who take the redesigned SAT are not required to take the optional writing section.  For applicants who take the ACT, we strongly encourage, but do not require, the writing component.  Brown will accept test results for either the old or the new SAT.
  • Official test results must be sent directly to Brown from either the College Board, which administers the SAT, or from the American College Testing Program, which administers the ACT.
  • To have scores sent to Brown, you will need to provide our institutional code numbers:
    • For the SAT, Brown's code number is 3094
    • For the ACT, Brown's code number is 3800
  • You are welcome to take advantage of the College Board's Score Choice option, but this may delay your scores being received by Brown---a delay may mean we will not read your application until we receive a full set of official test scores.
  • Please note: we encourage students to have at least one set of scores in our office by the appropriate application deadline.
  • An official transcript of your complete high school academic record must be sent to the Office of College Admission directly from each secondary school you have attended.
  • We will accept transcripts submitted by your school(s) through online services, such as Docufide, Naviance, and the Common Application. If you are unable to submit through one of these online services arrange to have your materials sent directly to Brown University, Office of College Admission, Box 1876, Providence, RI 02912 or fax to 401.863.9300.
  • Your midyear school report including final grades for fall courses and a list of your spring courses can be submitted online through the Common Application.
  • Through the Common Application applicants can request school forms and recommendations via email from their guidance counselor and from two teachers who have taught them in major academic subjects (science, social studies, mathematics, foreign language, English).
  • If you are considering a Bachelor of Science degree or the Program in Liberal Medical Education, at least one of your recommendations should come from a math or science teacher. In addition, we highly recommend that applicants to the PLME program submit results for at least one science SAT Subject Test.
  • Please note: secondary school personnel do not need to wait until you have submitted your application before making their contributions. The online system will lead you through the process of supplying the name and email address of your counselor and teachers so that a user account can be created for them. They will then be able to submit forms on your behalf either electronically or via regular mail.
  • Please note: applicants are neither required nor expected to provide additional materials, but the opportunity to do so is available to any candidate. Applicants are not expected to provide additional materials as part of the admission process.
  • We prefer that you upload supplementary materials to your file after you receive your Brown account username. 
  • We recommend that you do not send a collection of award certificates or similar materials.
  • If you are accomplished in music or visual art, you may include additional supplements along with your application in the Common Application, through SlideRoom. You do not need to wait for your Brown account username to upload music or visual art materials to SlideRoom.
  • Please note: SlideRoom only accepts one submission, if submitting two you will need to sign up with a second email account.
  • Auditions and portfolio reviews are neither required nor reviewed for students interested in Theatre Arts & Performance Studies.
  • If you have a YouTube video we recommend uploading the link via our self-service site once you receive your Brown account username.  
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