Frequently Asked Questions


Common Topics & Questions:



Where should students not yet admitted to UCSC go for advising?

Departmental questions can be answered by the Undergraduate Advisor even if the student has not yet applied or been admitted. General information and admissions questions should be referred to the Admissions Office. Transfer students can talk to the STARS advisors for transfer-specific questions.


How many sociology requirements can students take Pass/No Pass?

Students must take the major qualification courses as a letter grade. Depending on the major selected, these courses must be taken as a letter grade: SOCY 1, SOCY 10, SOCY 15, and SOCY 30A. Please note: due to the pandemic and remote learning, the department granted exceptions to this policy for the 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 academic years, as well as the Fall 2023 quarter due to the UAW strike. Grades of C or better OR pass were accepted in those quarters/years. In all other cases, students must take these courses as letter grades and meet the grade requirement in the major selected.

Beyond these major qualification courses, the sociology department has no other restrictions on P/NP grading. All other requirements in the major must be passed with a C or better OR Pass grade.

Student should note however, that UCSC has limits on P/NP. Please review UCSC's policy here.


Can students enroll in a class if it’s full or they don’t meet the prerequisites?

If a student has met the prerequisites and restrictions on a course, they may waitlist for the course starting on their second enrollment appointment. If a student does not meet the prerequisites/restrictions, then they may crash the course on the first day. It is always recommended that students enroll in a backup course in the event they are not able to get into their first choice through the waitlist or by crashing. Waitlist and course information for the upcoming quarter can be found on the Quarterly Enrollment page. If you are a senior, graduating at the end of the academic year, and are having trouble enrolling into core requirements (SOCY 3A, 3B, 105A, 105B, 196S), please contact the Undergraduate Advisor for assistance.


What do students do if they are required to declare a major in the current quarter but have not yet met the major qualification (MQ) requirements? 

Students must petition to declare a major by their declaration deadline quarter even if they have not met the major qualification requirements. Students petitioning when the campus declaration deadline is imminent (i.e. in their sixth quarter, for students admitted as frosh; in their second quarter, for students admitted as transfer), will either be approved, denied, or provided with conditions (e.g. completion of some courses with certain grades) that will be resolved within at most one more enrolled quarter, even if they have not completed MQ courses. Students who are in this situation should complete the declaration eform in MyUCSC in order to start this process.


What can students do if they did not meet the grade requirement in the courses needed to qualify to declare the major?

Please note the following exception for the 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 academic years: Though the department normally requires a C+ or better in the two qualifying courses (from SOCY 1, 10, or 15), due to the many difficulties in recent years, grades of C or better or Pass will be accepted for declaration of the major if the course was taken in the 2019-20, 2020-21, or 2021-22 academic years. Review the Sociology Department P/NP Policy and Major Qualification Policy by Academic Year


Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, please review our standard policy: Students who do not meet the C+ or better grade requirement for the Sociology BA, or the B- grade requirement for the Sociology w/ GISES concentration, must submit an appeal.

Declaration of Major Appeal Directions:

First, do not retake the course(s) if you earned at least a C or better. The University policy regarding repeating courses states that only courses in which a grade of C- or below or No Pass may be repeated. Instead, the department allows students to appeal to the department’s Undergraduate Education Committee (UEC) Chair.

Students must include the following in their appeal letter:

  • Address the letter to the Undergraduate Education Committee (UEC) Chair.
  • Explain why you were not able to meet the requirements for declaration. If you received a low grade in a particular class, explain what may have happened in that particular course that prevented you from receiving the grade needed. 
  • Explain why you believe your grades will improve in future sociology requirements. What will be different the next time you take a sociology requirement?
  • Explain why you want to be a sociology major. If you are interested in the sociology with GISES concentration major, explain your interest in pursuing the GISES concentration. 
  • At the bottom of the letter include your name, student ID number, list the sociology courses taken and the grades you received for each.
  • Email your letter, and any other documentation you may have, as an attachment to the Undergraduate Advisor:
Please note that the information you share in your appeal or with your advisers will be kept private and shared only with campus officials as required to serve you in an advising capacity or process your appeal. However, in limited circumstances, including those related to potential harm to yourself or others, sexual assault, and abuse, we may be required by law to report incidents you disclose to other need-to-know offices on campus such as the Title IX Office and/or University of California Police Department. If you are in need of support for any issues, please see the list of confidential and/or support resources

Do students need to do a thesis if they want to get into graduate school?

Not necessarily. Students should research and contact the graduate schools they are interested in and ask about this. Many students are accepted into graduate school without having completed a thesis. However, a thesis might give students an advantage, since they will have already learned how to conduct research, and will have a substantial body of work to provide as a writing sample. In addition, the faculty member will get to know the student fairly well in the course of working on the thesis, which would make them an excellent resource for a letter of recommendation.


What classes do students need to take in order to get into graduate school?

Students should research and contact schools they are thinking of applying to. If the program is offered at UCSC they can contact the graduate program here to get a general idea. Students should research GRE requirements, deadlines (typically earlier than students would anticipate), and obtaining letters of recommendation. Additional resources can be found on the post-graduation page. 


What can students do with a degree in Sociology?

The department has a few handouts for students– the Careers in Sociology booklet available in the advising office, and the Career Options for Sociology Majors handout found on the post-graduation page. The answer to this question is somewhat challenging due to the nature of Sociology. It can be applied to almost any field, which allows for great flexibility and also great uncertainty when it comes time to go out into the workforce. One common theme seems to be that most students want to go into a career where they will be helping people, though applications of this range from social work, to politics, to medicine, to teaching, to give a few examples. Some students choose to go on to graduate school, which is necessary for many careers, and some choose to get a job.  Students should go to the Career Center for more information and can find additional information on the post-graduation page.

See Also