Undergraduate Program

The sociology major at UC Santa Cruz is a rigorous program of study that retains enough flexibility to accommodate students with diverse career goals and plans. It ensures that all students are trained in the main theoretical and methodological traditions of sociology, yet permits considerable variation in students’ own areas of specialization. The major provides the necessary intellectual foundation for students who are considering graduate studies in sociology and related social sciences. It also can be used as preparation for careers in fields as diverse as law, social work, management, environmental planning, public service, education, health services, journalism, and counseling. Finally, the sociology major can provide a general liberal education for undergraduates interested in the study of contemporary society and social problems.

Because of the interdisciplinary emphasis among sociology faculty, undergraduates find the department amenable for double majors and minors, and non-majors find many sociology courses of interest. In recent years, students have conducted independent studies and written senior theses on a variety of subjects including undocumented immigrants, cultural diversity and inclusion in education, low-wage workers in Santa Cruz County, housing shortage, social inequality and immunology, economic inequality and mental health, surveillance state and national security, feminism, music and race, homeless shelter services, domestic violence, inclusive education, the Pelican Bay Prison hunger strike, participatory culture in the 2016 presidential campaign, social media, the school-to-prison pipeline, mental illness, and community empowerment.

The Sociology Department offers two undergraduate majors: 1) a general sociology major; 2) a sociology with a concentration in global information and social enterprise studies (GISES) intensive major. Students also have the option of a combined major in Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) and sociology, which can be found through the LALS Department. Additionally, there is a minor in GISES that is open to students in any major.

Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies

Sponsored by the Sociology Department at UC Santa Cruz is Global Information and Social Enterprise Studies (GISES), a rigorous and innovative program developed in collaboration with the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change. It aspires to create a new generation of well-trained advocates for social justice and sustainable development, who use the tools of information technology and social enterprise to solve global problems. Practically, students develop projects in solidarity with local and global organizations to democratize globalization, deepen social justice, reduce poverty, support digital education, and advance the transition to a sustainable world. The Everett Program combines social entrepreneurship with peer-to-peer and near-to-peer trainings in information technologies with the aim that students learn how to be innovative and creative problem-solvers in order to increase the informational, communication and organizational capacity of community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The GISES program provides an excellent foundation for students pursuing careers in non-profit management, social advocacy, sustainable businesses, and technology. Depending on a student’s major, there are two ways to enter the GISES program. If a student is a sociology major and wishes to participate in GISES, they should declare the sociology with concentration in GISES intensive major. A student who majors in any field other than sociology should declare GISES as a minor.

Further Information on Sociology Majors

All major qualification courses must be taken for letter grades. Students may petition for admission to the major by attending a major declaration workshop, filling out the campus’s Declaration of Major/Minor Form and Academic Planning Form, and by supplying evidence of their performance in the required lower-division courses. For specific details, refer to the Sociology Department website or the department’s undergraduate adviser.