Effective June 1, 2022


The Sociology Department Honors Program recognizes outstanding student achievement in undertaking and presenting independent inquiry in one or more subfields in sociology.


All Sociology majors who are enrolled in the Senior Seminar are eligible to apply to participate in the department’s honors program. To be admitted to the program, a student must submit a complete application to the chair of the sociology department no later than one week before the college deadline for notification (typically, the college deadline is September 30, so the department deadline would typically be September 23). The department faculty will review these applications to select students for admission to the program using the following criteria:

  1. Clarity and quality of the research question and plan; and
  2. Evidence of preparation to undertake the project

Every student who intends to complete an honors project in sociology must have a faculty advisor for the project chosen from among the department’s faculty.


To receive departmental honors, a student who is admitted to the department’s honors program must:

  1. Complete the Senior Seminar by making sufficient progress on their thesis to indicate the potential of successful completion of the honors project.
  2. Revise, refine, or develop the senior thesis in accordance with the recommendations of their honors advisor and other committee members. The goal in making these revisions is to produce a professional quality paper that clearly articulates an answer to a question of relevance in sociology.
  3. Successfully complete an oral defense of the honors project with the honors committee members. If the student has not previously made a public presentation of their thesis, the oral defense will begin with a public presentation and the opportunity for audience questions to be followed by the oral defense with the honors committee.

Procedures and Timetables

  1. Students who wish to apply to participate in the honors program must submit their application to the chair of the sociology department no later than one week before the college’s deadline. Successful applicants will be notified in sufficient time to complete any college deadlines for declaration of intent to pursue departmental honors.
  2. Selection of an honors project advisor. At the time of application, students may nominate a member of the department faculty to serve as honors project advisor. In some instances, the department faculty may need to suggest an alternate faculty member to serve as the honors project advisor to ensure that faculty members are able to offer sufficient time to honors advisees.
  3. Formation of honors committee. The honors committee is a three-member panel of faculty who evaluate the honors project. Two members of the committee shall be drawn from the faculty of the sociology department, one of whom will be the honors project advisor who will chair the honors committee. College regulations stipulate that one member of the honors committee must be drawn from the faculty of another department at Macalester or another university or college. In consultation with the honors project advisor, students will select the other members of the honors committee.
  4. Oral defense. In consultation with the honors committee, the student will schedule an oral defense of the honors project no later than the college’s deadline. The oral defense will include a short presentation and the opportunity for honors committee members to pose questions about the project with the student. After the questions and discussion, the honors committee will deliberate without the student present and may elect to (1) pass the honors project, (2) issue a conditional pass and defer approval of the honors project pending the completion of further revisions deemed appropriate by the committee and subject to the final approval of the honors committee, or, (3) withhold approval for lack of sufficient progress.
  5. Final editing. The Office of Academic Programs formats honors projects to add them to the holdings of the Wallace Library and the Digital Commons. Students are responsible for formatting their thesis in accordance with guidelines from Academic Programs and for submitting the final copy by the college deadline.

Honors Program Application (.doc)