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

Students 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. Review archive of senior seminars

Enrollment is by application and permission code

STEP 1: Review the Fall 2024 Senior Seminar Topics, Descriptions, and Prerequisites

  • SOCY 196S-01 Banana Slugs and Black Panthers: Revolutionary Political Activism at UCSC and Beyond - with Professor Hiroshi Fukurai
  • SOCY 196S-02 Work, Inequality and Resistance in the Gig Economy - with Professor Steve McKay
  • FULL - SOCY 196S-03 Sociology of Sex Work - with Professor Ron Weitzer

STEP 2: Submit the Fall 2024 Senior Seminar Application

  • Priority deadline to apply: May 14. To be considered for the first round of seminar permission codes, students must apply by this date. 
  • Applications will still be accepted on a rolling basis after the priority deadline. Seats may be limited the longer you wait to apply. 
  • Graduating seniors who apply will be given priority.
  • Once Fall quarter nears, the application will close and all enrollment inquiries must be sent directly to the instructor.

STEP 3: Check your email for an update

Expect an email from
  • Students who apply by the May 14 priority deadline will have their applications reviewed and responded to between May 16-20.
  • Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed and responded to on a rolling basis, typically within 4-5 business days.


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. Students considering a senior thesis should start the process in Spring of their Junior year. If you're at that point now, or if you're considering a thesis in the future, review the following:

Sociology Department Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis

Sociology Senior Thesis: Getting Started Workshop - Presentation and Recording:

Recorded on May 6th, 2024, presented by Professor Amy Argenal, Undergrad Advisor Tina Cossaboom, and Alum Valerie Garcia. Presentation Slides