Comprehensive Senior Exit Requirement

Every major at UCSC includes a senior exit requirement (also known as the comprehensive requirement) designed to integrate the knowledge and skills learned throughout the curriculum. Students majoring in the Sociology BA or Sociology with GISES concentration, must complete one of the comprehensive requirements outlined below. Students majoring in the Combined LALS/SOCY major should refer to the LALS department for the comprehensive requirements.

Select ONE of the following options:

  1. SOCY 196S Senior Seminar
  2. SOCY Graduate Level Course
  3. Senior Thesis



SOCY 196S Senior Seminar

Sociology majors who select this option must pass (C or better or Pass grade) one SOCY 196S seminar course in Fall, Winter, or Spring of their senior year. Topics will vary annually. These seminars focus on advanced topics in sociology. The pedagogical aims vary but these seminars often emphasize at least one of the following: close textual analysis, critical and analytical thinking, active learning, field research, advanced research methods, or advanced theory. Enrollment is by application and permission code.

STEP 1: Click Here to Review the Fall 2023 Senior Seminar Topics, Descriptions, and Prerequisites

  • SOCY 196S-01 Immigration Enforcement and Deportations - with Professor Juan Pedroza (In-Person)
  • SOCY 196S-02 Black Geographies - with Professor Camilla Hawthorne (In-Person)
A third Senior Seminar, SOCY 196S-03, may be added for Fall quarter at a later date, but for the time being we have only the two senior seminars listed above. If a third seminar becomes available, applicants will be notified and have an opportunity to switch their seminar choice.

STEP 2: Submit the Fall 2023 Senior Seminar Application

Initial review date: May 17th, 2023
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the limited availability of senior seminars in Fall quarter, students graduating in Fall 2023 will be given priority. Students with an expected graduation term past Fall 2023 are welcome to apply, but admission into a seminar may not be determined until later in the Summer.

STEP 3: Review timeline & check your email for an update

  • Students who apply by the initial review date listed in Step 2, and have an expected graduation term of Fall 2023, will be prioritized and receive a response by May 23rd.
  • Students who apply after the initial review date, and have an expected graduation term of Fall 2023, will have their applications reviewed and responded to on a rolling basis. Allow 3-5 business days.
  • Students who apply and have an expected graduation term past Fall 2023, should plan on enrolling into an alternate class for now as admission into a seminar may not be determined until later in the Summer.
Please expect an email from


Archive of Senior Seminars:



SOCY Graduate Level Course

Sociology majors may be invited or approved to join a sociology graduate level course. A five-unit sociology graduate course, numbered between SOCY 200-290, can be used to satisfy the comprehensive senior exit requirement in the Sociology BA or Sociology BA w/ GISES concentration. In many cases, this option is for students who excelled in an upper-division undergraduate course with the same instructor. Topics vary annually

Admission into a graduate level course must be discussed with the course instructor. Students may reach out to the instructor and include the the following information:

  • Whether you have previously taken a course with the instructor
  • Relevant courses you have taken
  • Why you are interested in the topic
  • Why it would be beneficial for you to take this graduate course
  • Readiness for a graduate level course - include a statement of your interest, willingness or ability to do graduate level work on the order of reading 4-5 scholarly articles a week and providing written commentary
  • Recommended: include/attach a writing sample, especially if you have not taken a course with the professor in the past
  • Any other relevant information you may want to provide

If an instructor approves, they will provide you a permission code for enrollment. Alternatively, they may have their own waitlist and will let you know if they will be able to admit you at a later time.


Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is a large, independent research project that students may choose to complete in order to fulfill the comprehensive requirement in the major. The thesis should be a project that can be feasibly completed in 7-10 months. If you are considering writing a senior thesis or are ready to start the process, review the:

  Sociology Department Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis

Sociology Senior Thesis Information Session (Zoom Recording, 4/12/21)