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College of Letters and Science


Requirements for the Major
Concentration in Analysis and Research ("CAR")
Criminal Justice Certificate
Honors Program
Honors in the Major
Prerequisites and Course Levels

8128 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3261; www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc

Professors Carlson, DeLamater, Elder, Emirbayer, Erlanger, Ermakoff, Ferree, Fujimura, Gamoran, Gerber, Goldberg, Hauser, Logan, Maynard, Montgomery, Oliver, Palloni, Raymo, Rogers, Sandefur, Schaeffer, Seidman, Wright; Associate Professors Elwert, Freeland, Grodsky, Herd, Loveman, Schwartz; Assistant Professors Conti, Goffman, Grant, Lim, Liu, Massoglila, Nobles, Vargas

Undergraduate advisor in the major: Ellen Jacobson, 8128 Social Science, 608-262-3572, ejacobso@ssc.wisc.edu

Faculty diversity liaison: Mustafa Emirbayer, emirbayer@ssc.wisc.edu

Sociology applies the methods of science to explain social behavior. The interactions of individuals in families, groups, or organizations, and the institutions, social class, or shared beliefs of a common culture are all subjects for sociological research. There are many career opportunities open to people who complete a major in sociology, including business, counseling and social service, public policy, law, and criminal justice.

Students interested in sociology should meet with the undergraduate advisor before they register for the second semester of the sophomore year. The undergraduate office's resource center holds detailed information about the major, the department, research interests of sociology faculty, career opportunities, and student work. Declaration of the major during the sophomore year will give students access to required sociology courses for fall of the junior year.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 30 is credits required for the basic major. A minimum of 36 credits is required for the elective option—Concentration in Analysis and Research (CAR). Only two of the following courses may count toward the minimum of 30 credits: 120, 125, 130, 131, 134, 138, 140, 160, 170.

The four basic courses should be completed as early as possible, preferably before the senior year.

(1) An Introduction (one course):

211 The Sociological Enterprise, or
210 Survey of Sociology, or
181 Honors Introductory Seminar

(2), (3) Research Methods and Statistics (two courses):

The research methods course will prepare students well for upper-level courses; students are encouraged to take it as early as possible. Although some students find it helpful to take methods and statistics in the same semester because the courses are complementary, no one is required to do so. Students choose one of three combinations of methods and statistics:

357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry, and
360 Statistics for Sociologists I
358 Design of Social Research, taken concurrently with 359 Statistical Analysis of Social Research
357 Methods of Sociological Inquiry and ONE equivalent statistics course from another department (Bus 303, Econ 310, Geog 360, Math 310, Poli Sci 551, Psych 210, 280, Stats 301). This course will not count as part of the 30-credit minimum in the major, or as part of the 15-credit upper-level minimum in residence. 

(4) Theory (one course):

Classical theory is the foundation for many upper-level courses.
475 Classical Sociological Theory

(5), (6) Additional courses from two different areas (two courses):
  1. An additional course in methods/stats: 361, 362, 365, 375, 376, 461, 544
  2. An additional course in theory: 462, 476, 477, 478
  3. Deviant behavior: 421, 422, 431, 441, 445, 446, 463
  4. Social psychology: 464, 515, 525, 530, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536, 537, 538, 539, 543, 545, 551, 573, 575, 577, 578
  5. Social organization: 311, 414, 415, 465, 470, 601, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 615, 616, 617, 620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625, 626, 627, 628, 629, 630, 631, 632, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 638, 640, 641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 650, 651, 652, 653, 670, 678 
  6. Demography and ecology: 380, 460, 663, 666, 674, 676, 677
  7. Community and environmental sociology 533, 540, 541, 551, 573, 578, 612, 617, 618, 619, 639, 650, 653, 666 (Note: Community and Environmental Sociology courses may appear in more than one area. Each course may fill only one area requirement.)
(7), (8), (9), (10) Additional sociology electives to bring total credits to 30 (three to five courses)

Topics courses (496), Internships (694), Practicums (693), Senior Seminar (690), Directed Study (698, 699), Senior or Honors Theses (691–692, 681–682) do not count as area courses; they do count toward the requirement of 15 upper-level credits in residence.

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. All sociology courses 300–699 count toward this requirement.

Concentration in Analysis and Research ("CAR")

What Is "CAR"?

The Concentration in Analysis and Research—an elective option within the undergraduate sociology major—is designed for students who do well and are interested in research methods and statistics. CAR prepares students for entry-level jobs in applied social research and/or for graduate study. Key features of the concentration include advanced statistics courses, training in social science computing, and research. By selecting appropriate electives and internships, students may focus their training on demography, survey research, marketing and communications, criminal justice, health care, education, social services, natural resources, organizations, or personnel and human resources.

Requirements for the CAR Option

Concentration in Analysis and Research (CAR)—Option noted on transcript.

Faculty advisor: Professor James Raymo, 2446 Social Science; 608-262-2783; jraymo@ssc.wisc.edu

To enter the CAR program, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) in Methods and Statistics. To complete the CAR program, students must complete the following credit requirements and earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those courses unique to the CAR option. This option requires 36 credits:

(1), (2), (3), (4) The 12 credits of required courses in Introduction to the Major, Methods, Statistics, Theory listed above
(5) Level II Statistics

Soc 361 (or equivalent course outside sociology)

(6) Level III Statistics

Soc 362 (or equivalent course outside sociology)

(7), (8) Research Electives (2 courses)

365, 375, 376, 535, 536, 544, 674, 676, 751, 752, 753, 755, 758, 952, 964, 974 (courses 700 and above for students who qualify), or one approved research elective from outside sociology (see CAR director or undergraduate advisor for the current list).

(9) Introductory Computing

Soc 365 or Comp Sci 302

(10) Research Practicum

Soc 693. This course is offered in spring semester only, and must be preceded by a research internship arranged by Professor Thomson. Students who have completed this option will have completed graduate-level statistics, and if they enter the graduate program here, may apply 6 credits toward the M.A. requirements.

(11) Additional sociology electives to bring total credits to 36 and cover two Sociology areas.

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. All Sociology courses 300–699 count toward this requirement.

Criminal Justice Certificate

Sociology majors wishing to earn a certificate in criminal justice may do so with a minimum of additional course requirements and permission of the Criminal Justice advisor. See Criminal Justice section in this catalog.


Required courses for the sociology major and for the CAR option may have temporary course controls that send nondeclared students "Course Requisites Not Met" enrollment error messages. Certain 100-numbered courses each semester are restricted to freshmen and sophomores until freshmen have enrolled. Check the Course Guide for notes each semester.

Honors Program

A variety of courses in sociology offer honors credit, and may be used toward Honors in the Liberal Arts in the College of Letters and Science. These include the special honors introductory seminar, Sociology 181, Sociology 380 Contemporary Population Problems, other special honors sections of 100- and 200-level courses, and courses that provide honors by arrangement with the instructor. Sociology also has courses that award automatic honors, including 361, 362 and 693, and certain other upper-division courses designated by semester in the Course Guide. Sociology also makes special offerings of upper-level courses available to sophomores in the honors program for one semester at a time.

Honors in the Major

Students wishing to earn Honors in the Major must apply to the department undergraduate advisor. Honors in the Major for the B.A. or B.S. requires the following:

Of the 30 credits required for a major in sociology, 21 must be credits for honors and include 357 or 358, 475, and 681–682 (the two-semester honors thesis). The remaining 9 honors credits must be in courses at or above the 300 level. Students who carry a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher may, with instructor's permission substitute two graduate seminars for the thesis. They must enroll in each seminar for 3 graded credits. Honors credits are available, with consent of instructor, in most courses numbered 300 through 679. A minimum GPA of 3.3 in sociology courses and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison are required for graduation with Honors in the Major. Thesis of Distinction may be granted on merit to sociology majors who write a thesis but who do not earn Honors in the Major.

Students should check with the department honors advisor at least once a year for guidance in planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.

Prerequisites and Course Levels

Course numbers in the sociology department indicate subject matter rather than level of difficulty. Courses numbered 300–699 are all "upper-level." Unless indicated otherwise, prerequisites at the upper level are junior standing and an introductory course in sociology or consent of instructor.

Most courses in sociology count toward the social studies breadth requirement. Courses 200 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, & Transgender Studies, 244 Introduction to Southeast Asia, 252 Civilizations of India, and 277 Africa: An Introductory Survey count toward breadth requirements in either humanities or social studies. The following do not count toward any breadth requirement: 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362, 496, 693, 694.