Senior Exit Requirement (Comprehensive 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. For the sociology major, students may select one from three options outlined below.

Please note: Prior to the 2020-21 academic year, the options were different. Instead of the current three options outlined below, there were two options: SOCY 196A Capstone or Senior Thesis. Read the announcement of this change here. If you have already passed SOCY 196A Capstone, you have already met the comprehensive requirement and do not need to take one of the options outlined below. The Senior Thesis option remained the same.


Options as of 2020-2021

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.

  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 yearly. 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. It is highly recommended that students apply early in their senior year. 

Fall 2021 Application Process:

UPDATE: All seminars are either near capacity or have already reached full capacity. Students who are graduating Fall 2021 should still apply. All others should start planning for a Winter or Spring seminar. Any additional applications received will be reviewed, with Fall 2021 graduates having priority, but we may not be able to accommodate any others.

  • SOCY 196S-01 Capitalism and Its Critics - with Professor Debbie Gould (In-Person)
  • SOCY 196S-02 Black Geographies - with Professor Camilla Hawthorne (In-Person)
  • SOCY 196S-03 Immigration Enforcement and Deportations - with Professor Juan Pedroza (Remote)
The priority deadline is: Friday, May 14th. After this initial deadline, applications will still be accepted on a rolling basis, but seats may be limited the longer you wait to apply.
Step 3: Check your email for an update
Students who apply by the May 14th priority deadline will have their applications reviewed and responded to by May 18th. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed and responded to on a rolling basis. Please expect an email from or

Once Fall instruction begins, all enrollment inquiries should be sent directly to the instructor.


Future Senior Seminars

Winter and Spring 2022 tentative senior seminar plans can be viewed on our course offerings.


Archive of Senior Seminars:



SOCY Graduate Level Course

Sociology majors may be invited or approved to join a sociology graduate level course to satify their comprehensive requirement. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor. In most cases, this option is for students who excelled in an upper-division undergraduate course with the same instructor. 

Sociology graduate courses are numbered SOCY 200-299 and topics vary yearly.

Students may contact the sociology graduate course instructor to discuss if admission to their course is possible. It is recommended that students provide the following information when contacting the instructor:

  • Whether you have previously taken a course with the instructor
  • Relevant courses you have taken
  • Why you are interested in the topic
  • Any other relevant information you may want to provide
  • If you have not previously taken a course with the instructor it is also recommend that you provide writing samples.


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)