Sociology Major Requirements

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)

A major in sociology offers undergraduates a variety of post-graduation opportunities. Graduates from the department have found positions in financial institutions, education, non-governmental organizations focusing on international development, research departments of major corporations, and local government social service agencies. Others continue to graduate school in sociology, public health, law, urban planning, and education. A major in sociology can also be combined with the pre-medical course sequence, resulting in a medical school candidate who is well versed in the hard science of the human body and the social science of the human experience. For more details, please visit     

The required courses for a major in sociology provide students with a fundamental understanding of sociological theory, methods, and social statistics. Beyond these core requirements, elective courses are offered on a range of important sociological themes, including gender and family, social structure and personality, education, race and ethnicity, immigration, political sociology, international development, and the evolution of a world social system. All courses must be taken for a letter grade and a  grade of C or better is required. At least nine of the eleven required Sociology classes must be taken at JHU. Foreign language study is not required, but it is strongly encouraged, especially for students considering graduate or professional study.

Core Courses
AS.230.101Introduction to Sociology3
AS.230.202Research Methods for the Social Sciences3
AS.230.205Introduction to Social Statistics (or alternate statistics course and additional Sociology course at least 3 credits) 14
AS.230.213Social Theory3
AS.230.322Quantitative Research Practicum3
or AS.230.323 Qualitative Research Practicum
or AS.230.325 Global Social Change and Development Practicum
Sociology Electives 2
Six elective courses in sociology, at least four must be non-introductory courses (at the 200-level or above).18
Additional Social Science Electives
Three non-sociology courses at any level carrying an "S" area designator in at least two other departments or programs. They must be at least 3 credits each. 39
Total Credits43

Alternative statistics courses typically offered include: EN.553.111 Statistical Analysis I, EN.553.211 Probability and Statistics for the Life Sciences, EN.553.310 Probability & Statistics for the Physical Sciences & EngineeringEN.553.311 Intermediate Probability and Statistics, and AS.280.345 Public Health Biostatistics.  If a student completes one of these alternate statistics courses, then an additional Sociology elective course (AS.230.1xx-AS.230.4xx) at least 3 credits is required.


Six elective courses within the department (includes cross-listed) and three elective social science courses in other departments enable students to customize their program of study. Depending on a student’s interests and objectives, these courses may focus on a single theme, concentrate on a small set of themes, or sample the specific interests of the department’s faculty. Whichever approach is taken, the goal is to craft an individualized program of study that will be a fulfilling intellectual experience. Constructing a personally satisfying roadmap through the major is ultimately the student’s responsibility, but the student’s faculty advisor stands ready to assist as a willing and eager partner in the process. Students wishing to propose an independent study or research experience to fulfill an elective should refer to the department handbook for guidelines to receive an exception.


Different departments are identified by having a different department number (

Sample Program of Study

A typical program might include the following sequence of courses:

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
AS.230.1013Lower-level sociology elective3
 Lower-level sociology elective3
 3 6
Second Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Upper-level sociology elective3"S" credit from non-sociology elective3
 7 6
Third Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Upper-level sociology elective3"S" credit from non-sociology elective3
 6 6
Fourth Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Upper-level sociology elective3Upper-level sociology elective3
"S" credit from non-sociology elective3Upper-level sociology elective3
 6 6
Total Credits 46

Senior Honors Program

Eligibility for the Sociology Honors Program requires completion of at least four of the five sociology core curriculum courses and at least two 300-level elective courses in sociology by the end of the junior year, with a Sociology GPA of 3.5 or higher. Additionally, by the time of graduation, all students must complete all remaining core curriculum and elective course requirements. Students interested in pursuing the Senior Honors Program must spend a total of TWO SEMESTERS registered for the Program. The Honors Program involves securing a faculty thesis advisor from the Sociology Department prior to the start of those two semesters, completing 1 semester of the Honors Research Seminar (230.511) in their first semester of the Honors program, enrolling in 1 semester of the Honors Independent Study (230.512) with their thesis advisor in their second semester of the Honors Program, and submitting a sole-authored Honors thesis. Students will earn a total of 6 credits for the Honors program.  The Honors Research Seminar (230.511) is required in the first semester of the Honors program, because it is designed to assist students in the early phase of their Thesis and to provide a community of peers in the Honors Program. Note that the Honors Research Seminar is graded only S/U.  The Honor Independent Study is taken for a letter grade.  Both honors courses,  AS.230.511 Honors Research Seminar or AS.230.512 Honors Independent Study, may not count towards the required Sociology elective courses.  The thesis paper submitted for Honors in Sociology may not be used fulfill an honors thesis requirement in another major.    

 In order to enroll in the Sociology Honors Program, a student must complete an application: [Honors-Thesis-Application] BEFORE registration for the two semester program begins. Therefore, those graduating in the spring of their senior year, must submit their application during the spring of their junior year. Those graduating earlier, must submit their application earlier (for example, by the end of the fall semester of their junior year, for those graduating in the fall of senior year). This application includes a provisional thesis title, 3-5-page description of the project, and a calendar of deadlines agreed upon between the thesis advisor and student (these deadlines are also important because they allow the DUS to submit honors candidates to the university for the graduation program in April). Students must email their completed Honors application (signed by their faculty advisor) to

 For more information on the Senior Honors Program, contact your faculty advisor.

Global Social Change and Development Track

The Global Social Change and Development (GSCD) Track is geared towards students interested in understanding critical issues surrounding contemporary processes of globalization and international development. The track provides students with a sophisticated set of research and critical-thinking skills, prepares students for twenty-first century professions and helps them to become thoughtful global citizens. Ultimately, students pursuing the Global Social Change and Development track will receive a double major in both International Studies and Sociology.