Research Methods Concentration



Created in Fall 2020, the Sociology Research Methods Concentration helps to train students to conduct rigorous, empirical research and apply these skills in a variety of professions - from law and business, to teaching and social work - as well as serving as meaningful preparation for graduate work. The Concentration requires a set of courses that allow majors to see the value of gaining a much higher level of expertise in data collection and/or analysis.  

The structure of the requirements will allow students to apply these specific research tools directly to their own research. Informed by the insights they have gained, a concentration will allow students to take advantage of coursework opportunities to deepen their understanding of sociological research methods, and broaden their engagement with their own empirical research projects.  

Information about "HOW TO APPLY" for the Research Methods Concentration is available at the bottom of this page.


Current Major Requirements in Sociology

There are 11 courses required in the sociology major, totaling between 43-47 units. The Sociology major includes 3 lower division prerequisite courses and 8 upper division Sociology courses: The Lower Division Prerequisite Courses include Sociology 1, 5, and 7 (or statistics or logic).  The Upper Division Courses include 2 Theory courses, 2 Survey Sociology courses, 3 Elective Sociology courses, and 1 Capstone Experience/Seminar.


MAJOR REQUIREMENTS: Concentration in Sociological Research Methods

No new courses are required for the Research Methods Concentration, however students must follow a specific pattern of courses. The Sociological Research Methods Concentration will still require a total of 11 courses -  3 lower division courses: (SOC 1, SOC 5, and Statistics), and 8 upper division courses: (SOC 101, SOC 102, SOC 190 or H190B, 2 SOC Surveys, and 3 SOC Electives).  However, to concentrate in sociological research methods, majors will be required to earn a letter grade of B+ or higher in at least five courses structured as follows:


LOWER DIVISION - Concentration Prerequisites (2 Courses):  TRANSFER LIMIT - Please note that in order to be eligible for the Research Methods Concentration, only Statistics may be completed at a California Community College.  Four year university transfer students should consult with a major advisor.  

● Sociology 5: Evaluation of Evidence (4 units)

● Sociology 7, or Statistics: (4 units - logic is not permitted in the Concentration)


 [Highly recommended but not required:

● Sociology 105: Research Design and Sociological Methods (5 units)]


UPPER DIVISION - Sociology Research Methods Electives (2 Courses):

Out of the 3 required Sociology Electives for the major, you must complete at least two from the list of research methods electives below for the Concentration:

● Sociology 106: Quantitative Methods (4 units)

● Sociology 107: Participant Observation (4 units)

● Sociology 108: In-depth Interviewing (4 units)

● Sociology 271B: Graduate Statistics 1 (4 units) (permission needed from instructor)


CAPSTONE - Capstone Seminar Experience (1 Course):

● *Sociology 190: Capstone Seminar Course (4 units) - students must receive faculty approval after enrolling in SOC 190 or H190B. Students must submit a SOC 190 Exception request to have their SOC 190 or H190B research topic and methodology evaluated by department faculty to request possible approval for use toward the Concentration. Be prepared to describe your intended research question and method on the form (see below for SOC 190 Exception Form link).

*Please Note: Students must have completed an advanced methods course PRIOR TO utilizing that specific method in Sociology 190. For example, if a student will make use of quantitative methods in their Sociology 190 research paper or project, the student must have completed Sociology 106, "Quantitative Sociological Methods" in a prior term.  Students must also meet the Capstone Seminar Paper/Project Criteria outlined below.




If a student is clear that they want to pursue the Sociology Research Methods Concentration, then they need to go into the SOC 190 Capstone Seminar attentive to the research method they would like to use, while also being mindful of the criteria that is expected for the concentration (see criteria below).  It will be important to discuss with your instructor whether doing original research will be allowed in the course.  Independent research projects (such as SOC 199) may not be used toward the Research Methods Concentration.  

SOC 106

"We expect you to pose a research question, and identify and analyze a large data set that can assist you in answering it.  We encourage the use of NORC, because it has SPSS ready data sets.  But, use of any of the large sets from a reputable research center is acceptable (NORC, Pew, Roper, etc...)."

SOC 107

"For research projects based upon ethnographic fieldwork, we expect you

to base your final paper on a minimum of 3-4 sets of field notes that

draw on around 4 hours of observation per set of field notes."

SOC 108

"For research projects based upon in depth interviewing, we expect you

to base your final paper on at least 5-6 interviews."



  1.  Complete the Application for Research Methods Concentration.

Once you have you earned a B+ or higher in Sociology 5, Sociology 7 (or Statistics), AND at least one upper division research methods course, please fill out the Sociology Research Methods Concentration Application

  1. Complete at least one upper division research methods course from the approved list above prior to taking the Sociology 190 Capstone Seminar.  Students must complete an advanced methods course prior to utilizing that specific method in their Capstone Seminar research paper or project.
  2.  Complete the SOC 190 Exception Form. Once you are enrolled in a Sociology 190 (or H190B) Capstone Seminar course, discuss your intended paper/project and methodology with your instructor and fill out the SOC 190 Exception Form.  Be sure to use the appropriate Capstone Seminar Paper Criteria outlined above.

Students will receive an email notification after the department faculty have reviewed their SOC 190 Exception Form.  Students with approved submissions will receive a confirmation email with additional instructions, and their SOC 190 or H190B professors will also receive a copy of their submission.  For questions, please email


 Sociology Methods Concentration FAQ for Students


Sociology Methods Concentration FAQ for Students