Writing an honors thesis offers students the opportunity to execute a substantial independent research project and to be considered for a bachelor's degree with honors by the Department of Sociology. The following guidelines have been established to govern the process of applying for honors and its assessment by the department faculty.
Admission to the Sociology honors program requires:
- A minimum 3.5 GPA in sociology and any other courses that fulfill the concentration by the end of junior year or a minimum overall GPA of 3.2. To figure out both your sociology GPA and overall GPA, check your transcript on Sage.
- Agreement by a member of the Sociology faculty to be the principal supervisor of the thesis, preferably by the end of junior year. This should be reported to the Undergraduate Advising Head (UAH) Professor Sara Shostak by you or your thesis advisor.
- Enrollment in SOC 99 in both semesters of senior year. Important: this course will not be counted toward the requirements for the concentration, unless the student is part of the Research Track.
- Attendance at Senior Thesis Information Meeting at start of semester.
Tip: Start early! A conversation with a potential faculty supervisor in junior year will help you think through feasible topics and develop a working relationship.
For any further clarification of information contact UAH, Sara Shostak .
If you're having difficulty pairing up with a thesis advisor, consult with UAH, Sara Shostak or Department Chair, Laura Miller
Continuation in the honors program in the second semester of senior year requires:
- A recommendation by your faculty thesis advisor to continue based on successful progress from fall term.
If you or your advisor determines not to continue with the thesis in spring term, you must withdraw from the SOC 99 course bureaucratically with the Registrar. Failure to do so by the posted deadlines will create complications for you as you approach graduation. Also, you must ask your thesis advisor to provide the Registrar with a letter grade for fall term if s/he has not already done so. (Most professors report mid‐year thesis grades as "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" to the Registrar.)
Research Involving Human Subjects
- Very Important: If you are going to write a thesis based on data from human subjects — through interviews, participant observation, databases with identifiable information, etc. — you need to go through an approval process with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Brandeis. The IRB's purpose is to make sure that you do not take advantage of your research subjects and that the research benefits outweigh the risks. IRB approval takes time, and you need approval before beginning your study. So, it is critical that you submit your protocol as soon as you and your advisor have agreed on your study design, so as to avoid significant delays in your research. An explanation of the process and the forms you need to submit can be found on the IRB website.
- You will also need to work with your advisor on a research protocol that describes in detail the exact procedures that you will undertake in doing the research. Once completed, it should be hand carried to the Office of Research Administration in Bernstein Marcus 117. You can view the IRB meeting schedule. To be reviewed, your protocol must be received by that office 10 business days in advance since all the committee members must read a very large volume of applications. Take care of this by September 15 if at all possible or you may lose valuable time in your research.
- Students must also participate in an online training session through the IRB. This CITI training is located on the IRB website.
Tip: Sometimes the IRB makes a decision, but no notification goes out to you. Be sure you follow up on the status of your protocol after the meeting in case you have more work to do.
To encourage timely progress, the following set of deadlines is strongly recommended in the research and writing of your thesis: