Research Methods Concentration

Beginning in Fall 2020, the department will offer a Research Methods Concentration option for Sociology majors.

The Concentration will help students emerge from conducting rigorous, empirical research and apply these tools 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 will require a set of courses in a way that allows 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. Thus, a concentration will allow students to take advantage of these coursework opportunities to deepen their understanding of sociological research methods and to broaden their engagement with their own empirical research projects, informed by the insights they have gained.

Current Major Requirements in Sociology

There are 11 courses required in the sociology major, totaling between 43-47 units. The 11 sociology

major requirements are divided into the following categories:

● 3 Prerequisites - Sociology 1, 5, and 7, or statistics or logic

● 2 Theory courses - Sociology 101 and 102

● 2 Survey sociology courses

● 3 Elective sociology courses (or 4 Electives if declared prior to June 1, 2016)

● 1 Capstone Experience/Seminar


Requirements for a Concentration in Sociological Research Methods

No new courses for the concentration will be required. To concentrate in sociological research methods, majors will be required to earn a B+ or higher in at least five courses structured as follows:


Major prerequisites:

● Sociology 5: Evaluation of Evidence (4 units, already required for the major)

● Sociology 7, or statistics (4 units, already required for the major)


Highly recommended but not required:

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


Choose two among the list of electives from this list:

● 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)



● Sociology 190S*: Specialized 190 for those taking the concentration or equivalent (4


*students must have completed an advanced methods course prior to utilizing that specific method in Sociology 190S. For example, if a student will make use of quantitative methods in Sociology 190s, the student must have completed Sociology 106, "Quantitative Sociological Methods" in a prior term.

Until a Sociology 190S course is available, students may submit a request to have their SOC 190 or H190B course approved by exception for use toward the Concentration.  The SOC 190 Exception Form is available here.  Be prepared to describe your intended research question on the form.  


If the student is clear that they want to do the Sociology Research Methods Concentration, then they need to go into the SOC 190 Capstone Seminar attentive to the kind of final project that is expected for the concentration (see criteria below).  As a result, it will be important to discuss with your instructor whether doing original research will be allowed in the course.  Independent research projects may not be used toward the 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."


Application for Research Methods Concentration is here.


Sociology Methods Concentration FAQ for Students