Sociology Major and Minor

The Sociology program at Haverford College engages students in a rigorous study of societies and social institutions. Here you will find a program known for its emphasis on sociology’s theoretical and methodological foundations.

Active researchers as well as dedicated teachers, our faculty move easily from grounding our students in sociological analysis and methods to collaborating with them as they cultivate their own points of view within the discipline and conduct their own original research. Students emerge from our program empowered to “do sociology” with integrity and impact.

Curriculum & Courses

All majors and minors receive a comprehensive introduction to the field through our required 2-semester course, Foundations in Social Theory. In addition to familiarizing students with some of the central ideas of sociology, this class—which presents various theoretical frameworks then evaluates them using the discipline’s analytical and methodological tools—introduces students to the approach many of our classes take.

Having completed the Foundations courses, majors and minors can pursue our more specialized courses, including those that examine a variety of sociological perspectives on the arts, immigration, labor markets, organizations, and religion.

Also required of students is a class in quantitative methods essential to sociological research. Students interested in exploring statistical methods in greater depth have the option of pursuing advanced courses in this area.

Minors pursue a course of study similar to majors; minors, however, must complete a total of six courses as opposed to majors, who must complete 11.

  • Major

    A total of at least eleven courses, including:

    • SOCL 155A and 155B (two semesters of Foundations in Social Theory)
    • SOCL 215A, ECON 203, or the equivalent (Quantitative Methods, statistics)
    • SOCL 450A and 450B (senior thesis)
    • Six additional courses in sociology.

    Students should consult their advisor about the possibility of receiving major credit for sociology courses taken at other campuses, including Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. Normally, the department will grant such credit if the courses enhance the integrity of a program grounded in the Haverford curriculum.

  • Minor

    A total of at least six courses, including:

    • SOCL 155A and 155B (Foundations in Social Theory)
    • SOCL 215A (Quantitative Methods, or the equivalent)
    • At least three 200- and/or 300-level courses in the department.

    Students may take no more than four courses with a single professor. 

Research & Outreach

Our major culminates in a thesis—a work of original research that addresses a theoretical problem. In it, students craft an argument and evaluate it through empirical investigations. The theses our majors produce are consistently impressive, propelled by a compelling point of view and underpinned by theoretical and methodological sophistication. Work on the thesis occurs throughout the senior year and is tied to a two-semester research seminar. Students also meet one-on-one with their thesis advisors throughout the year.

 

After Graduation

Our majors graduate exceptionally well-prepared for graduate work in sociology, and we have an excellent record of placing students in the nation’s top graduate programs in sociology. The strong analytic, statistical, and methodological skills honed in our program, however, open doors to a wide range of related fields and equip our majors to thrive in a variety of sectors—from government, to service, to education, to business, to journalism.

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You can find detailed instructions and information on the Application Instructions page. If you need to contact us directly, please send an email to admission@haverford.edu.

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