Honors in Sociology

How does a Senior Thesis earn Honors?

Honors in Sociology is a distinction given by the Sociology Department to senior theses with extraordinary merit. Such theses tend to be theoretically nuanced, analytically sophisticated, well researched, and finely crafted. The Sociology Department awards Honors upon recommendation of an Honors Committee that is tasked with reviewing nominated senior theses.

An Honors Committee is convened for each nominated project. Typically an Honors Committee consists of three members, selected from among the Dickinson College faculty. One Honors Committee member is the instructor of SOC 405. Two additional members of the Honors Committee are selected by the student whose project is nominated.

During the spring semester, the instructor of SOC 405 nominates any senior thesis project that deserves consideration for Honors. Each member of the Honors Committee reviews the nominated senior thesis independently. During the final weeks of the spring semester, an oral defense is held. During this oral defense, the student who wrote the thesis makes a brief presentation of their work and answers questions from the members of the Honors Committee. The Honors Committee then meets privately (without the student present) to deliberate the merits of the thesis. The Honors Committee determines whether to recommend the thesis for the Honors distinction.

Finally, the instructor of SOC 405 communicates the recommendations of each Honors Committee to the Sociology Department faculty. The Sociology Department faculty then grants the Honors in Sociology distinction to those senior theses it deems as worthy, based upon the recommendations of the Honors Committees. A copy of each senior thesis granted Honors in Sociology is published by the Sociology Department and made available in the Dickinson College library.