University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Sociology is an exciting degree that allows its students to pursue a multiplicity of careers and interests. With access to world-renowned faculty and one of the best graduate programs in sociology, undergraduates have a unique opportunity to engage in a lively academic environment.

Students intending to major in sociology are advised to prepare themselves by taking background work in such other areas as history, philosophy, cultural anthropology, psychology, economics, and political science.

The Department of Sociology also offers a Sociological Research Methods Concentration within the major.  The Concentration focuses on the central importance of analytical and methodological tools to the sociological enterprise.

Declaring the Major

Students are eligible to declare if they have a 2.0 cumulative and major grade point average (GPA) with at least one course completed in the major, and they have completed (or are in progress to complete) the prerequisites. For information regarding the prerequisites, please see the Major Requirements tab on this page.

It is recommended that students officially declare as soon as they are ready to do so. They may declare any time.

Once the prerequisites are completed or are in progress, students should follow the instructions below. Please allow 5 business days for processing (or longer in some instances).

  1. Students should complete this Google Form to declare. Sociology undergraduate advisers will contact students directly if there are any questions. 
  2. If students completed coursework outside of UC Berkeley and the coursework is not posted on the Transfer Credit Report on Cal Central, they will be asked to upload an unofficial copy of their transcript(s) while completing the Google Form. If students are not able to upload copies of their transcripts, they can email copies to
  3. Once students have been declared, an email will be sent to confirm their declaration in the major.

Honors Program

Majors who enter their senior year with a 3.3 grade point average (GPA) overall and a 3.5 GPA in the major may apply to the honors program.  Students will be required to submit an acceptable thesis proposal as part of their application and are encouraged to take advanced methods courses, such as SOCIOL 105, SOCIOL 106, and SOCIOL 108 during their junior year in preparation for conducting research for their honors thesis. Students earn honors by maintaining the minimum GPA for honors and by successfully completing SOCIOL H190A-SOCIOL H190B, Senior Honors Thesis, and Seminar.  For more information about the application process, please consult with a major advisor by spring semester of junior year. 

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Sociology.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. Double majors can overlap two upper division courses between Sociology and their second major. Sociology majors who wish to complete a minor can overlap one upper division course between Sociology and the minor. Any exceptions to this policy will be made by the department offering the minor. 
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.
  4. Students may consult with a major advisor if interested in the Sociological Research Methods Concentration. Once in the Sociology major, students must earn at least a 3.3 GPA (B+ or better) in each of the courses required for the Concentration to be eligible to declare it.

For information regarding residency requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.


SOCIOL 1Introduction to Sociology 14
SOCIOL 5Evaluation of Evidence4
Select one of the following:
Introductory Statistics course (recommended) 2, 3
Logic course 2
The Power of Numbers: Quantitative Data in Social Sciences [4] 2
Introduction to Statistics [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Introduction to Probability and Statistics [4]
Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business [4]
Research and Data Analysis in Psychology [4]
Introduction to Logic [4]

If a student has taken two or more upper division sociology courses without completing SOCIOL 1 first, or has already taken SOCIOL 3AC, they should not take SOCIOL 1. Instead they are required to take an additional (third) survey course as a substitute for this prerequisite, to be completed sometime before graduation (see list of survey courses below).  The three surveys must be taken from three different substantive areas, distinguished by distinct second digits (e.g., SOCIOL 110, SOCIOL 180E, and SOCIOL 120, but not SOCIOL 110, SOCIOL 180C, and SOCIOL 180E). 


This course may be taken Pass/No Pass or for a letter grade.


A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics Exam will also satisfy this requirement. 

Upper Division Requirements

Sociology Theory
SOCIOL 101Sociological Theory I5
SOCIOL 102Sociological Theory II5
Sociology Survey
Select two courses from the following, in two different substantive areas (distinguished by different second digits in the course number)
Organizations and Social Institutions [4]
Economy and Society [4]
Social Inequalities [4]
Politics and Social Change [4]
Social Psychology [4]
Sociology of Culture [4]
Comparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies: Culture [4]
Comparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies: Inequality [4]
Comparative Perspectives on U.S. and European Societies: Political Economy [4]
Sociology Electives
Select three or four* upper division or graduate courses in Sociology, not already used to fulfill other major requirements. *Students who declared before June 1, 2016 are required to complete 4 Sociology Electives Students who declare June 1, 2016 or after, are required to complete 3 Sociology Electives 1
Capstone Experience/Seminar 2
Select one of the following:
Seminar and Research in Sociology [4] 3
Senior Honors Thesis and Seminar [5] 4

Additional survey courses and SOCIOL 190 seminars beyond those required can count as sociology electives. Independent study courses or courses outside of the department do not fulfill this requirement.


Students should not necessarily wait until their last semester to take a seminar. It is recommended that students take it whenever they find a topic that interests them.


Students cannot enroll in SOCIOL 190 in Cal Central during Phase I; there are special enrollment procedures for these courses. To enroll, students must complete the Sociology 190 Enrollment Form online. For instructions, visit our Special Enrollment Procedures page. Graduating sociology majors who have not completed their seminar requirement are given priority for enrollment.


 Students must apply (in the prior academic year) and be accepted into the Senior Honors Program. Honors students participate in the year-long Senior Honors Seminar, Sociology H190A (4 units; can be used as a Sociology Elective) in the fall and H190B (5 units) in the spring

Requirements for the Sociological Research Methods Concentration

To declare the Sociological Research Methods Concentration, majors will be required to take at least five courses within a range of options for the Concentration, which also fulfill requirements for the Sociology major. All courses for the Concentration must be completed with a letter grade of B+ or better:


Lower Division Requirements (2 courses):

● Sociology 5: Evaluation of Evidence (4 units)

● Sociology 7, or Statistics (4 units - please see major advisor for approved list; students may not use AP Exam scores nor Introduction to Logic toward the research methods concentration)

Upper Division Requirements (3 courses):

RESEARCH METHOD ELECTIVES: Choose two out of three required electives from among this list:

● Sociology 106: Quantitative Methods (4 units)

● Sociology 107: Participant Observation (4 units)

● Sociology 108: In-depth Interviewing (4 units)

● Sociology 271B: Graduate Statistics 1 (4 units - requires instructor approval)


● Sociology 190: Seminar and Research in Sociology (4 units)  A specialized version for those taking the concentration to be approved by a major advisor. 

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For a detailed lists of L&S requirements, please see Overview tab to the right in this guide or visit the L&S Degree Requirements webpage. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley and must be taken for a letter grade. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and American Institutions requirements are based on the principle that all U.S. residents who have graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this campus requirement course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses are plentiful and offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer/data science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course taken for a letter grade.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work taken for a letter grade.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College of Letters and Science requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses in sequential order by the end of their fourth semester for a letter grade.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes at Cal for four years, or two years for transfer students. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you graduate early, go abroad for a semester or year, or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an L&S College adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your B.A. degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Plan of Study

Each student’s plan will vary, depending on interests and class offerings. Plan on consulting your Letters & Science adviser and your major adviser on a regular basis or at least once a semester, especially if you are interested in applying for graduate school, studying abroad, attending summer school, pursuing a minor or second major, or have any concerns or questions about your major classes or your degree progress. 

Note: students must complete a minimum of 13 units per term to be considered full-time, with a total of 120 units needed to graduate. 

For more detailed information regarding the courses listed below (e.g., elective information, GPA requirements, etc.), please see the Major Requirements tab.

Students who declare June 1, 2016, or after, are required to complete 3 Sociology Electives.  Students who declared prior to June 1, 2016 should speak with a major advisor. 

First Year
SOCIOL 1 (Social & Behavioral Sciences Breadth)4SOCIOL 54
Reading & Composition A4Reading & Composition B4
L&S Breadth4L&S Breadth4
Lower Division Elective3Lower Division Elective3
 15 15
Second Year
Statistics/Logic Requirement4Lower Division Elective4
L&S Breadth3L&S Breadth3
Lower Division Elective4SOCIOL Survey 1 of 214
Lower Division Elective3Lower Division Elective3
 14 14
Third Year
SOCIOL 101 (Philosophy & Values Breadth)5SOCIOL 1025
Upper Division SOCIOL Survey 2 of 214Upper Division SOCIOL Elective 1 of 34
L&S Breadth4Lower or Upper Division Elective4
Lower or Upper Division Elective3Upper Division Elective Outside of Major Department3
 16 16
Fourth Year
Upper Division SOCIOL Elective 2 of 3 (American Cultures)4SOCIOL 1904
Upper Division SOCIOL Elective 3 of 34Lower or Upper Division Elective4
Lower or Upper Division Elective4Lower or Upper Division Elective4
Lower or Upper Division Elective3Upper Division Elective Outside of Major Department3
 15 15
Total Units: 120

Sociology majors are required to take two courses in two different substantive areas from the following list of sociology "Survey" courses. The two survey courses must be taken from two different substantive areas, distinguished by distinct second digits -- e.g. Soc 110 and Soc 180E, but not Soc 180C and Soc 180E.

Accelerated Program Plans

For students considering graduating in less than four years, it's important to acknowledge the reasons to undertake such a plan of study. While there are advantages to pursuing a three-year degree plan such as reducing financial burdens, they are not for everyone and do involve sacrifices; especially with respect to participating in co-curricular activities, depth of study,  and summer internships, which typically lead to jobs upon graduation. All things considered, please see the tables for three and three and a half year degree options.

3.5 Year Plan

3 Year Plan

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Understand and apply key sociological concepts and social theories
  2. Understand and be able to employ key research methods and data used by social scientists
  3. Be prepared to use a sociological lens and skills in future endeavors, in the workplace, or community
  4. Formulate a well-organized argument supported by evidence
  5. Develop effective written communication skills
  6. Develop the ability to use critical thinking and research skills to evaluate and understand complex situations
  7. Achieve an understanding of professional, civic, and ethical responsibility

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Sociology Major Map PDF.



Contact Information

Department of Sociology

410 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-4766

Fax: 510-642-0659

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

David Harding

410 Social Sciences Building

Director of Student Services

Anne Meyers

428 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-643-4630

Undergraduate Advisor

Cristina Rojas

424 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-3330

Undergraduate Advisor

Seng Saelee

426 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-643-5815

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