Additional Information for Majors

Study Abroad

The department welcomes students with international interests and encourages them to study abroad for one or two semesters. We accommodate such students by permitting them to take required courses out of sequence and allowing them to use transfer credits from overseas institutions to fulfill some requirements of the major. Typically, Sociology majors are allowed to satisfy up to 2 courses toward the major during each semester abroad. Interested students should consult with their faculty advisor and should also contact the Cornell Study Abroad Program for further information.

IMPORTANT: It is not hard to find courses at overseas institutions that will satisfy elective requirements for the major; the department routinely counts non-sociology courses from these institutions as sufficiently “sociological” to merit transfer credit. However, sociology majors should bear in mind that it can be difficult to find substitutes for the required course Sociology 3010. This can create some scheduling complications. Students who wish to go abroad in their junior year and return to write an honors thesis in their senior year should take Sociology 3010 before they go abroad.

Research Opportunities

Qualified sociology majors are invited to participate with faculty members in conducting research. Such projects are usually initiated in one of two ways: the student may offer to assist the faculty member in an ongoing project, or the student may request that the faculty member supervise the execution of a project conceived by the student. In either case, the student should enroll in Sociology 4910 (Independent Study). Interested students may direct inquiries to member of the Sociology faculty.

Up to two independent study courses (including SOC 4910 and SOC 4950/4960 for the honors thesis), taken for at least 3 credits, may be counted as elective courses toward the fulfillment of the Sociology major.

Research Funding

There are a number of sources of financial support for undergraduate research. These sources can support both independent study as well as honors research. Although there are no guarantees that a particular project will receive financial support, experience suggests that students with a reasonable topic and a well-documented proposal can obtain funds to cover their research expenses. Below are listed different funds that have, in past years, been available to undergraduate students. In all cases, please apply as early as possible in order to increase your chances of receiving funds.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences through its Undergraduate Research Program has long encouraged its students to gain first-hand experience in research, or whatever form discovery takes in the discipline that interests them. For more information, contact David DeVries, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and the contact person for the Undergraduate Research Program.
  • Special programs, such as the Presidential Research Scholar Program and the Mellon Mays Fellows Program, also provide support to carry out an approved project that a student has designed with the help of faculty experts in the field.
  • Students interested in international studies should contact the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies for funding opportunities. The various areas studies programs within the center, such as the Institute for European Studies provide some undergraduate research support.
  • Cornell Career Services supports undergraduates who wish to apply for prestigious fellowships. These fellowships typically provide support for research and study in the year following receipt of a bachelor’s degree, although some, such as the Truman Scholarships, are awarded to juniors who then receive awards in their senior years.

Transfer Credits

If you wish to take a Sociology course at a university other than Cornell, you may be able to transfer those course credits to Cornell and count them toward your degree.

The College of Arts and Science maintains strict regulations on what is permissible. Courses must meet the College’s criteria in order to be considered for credit in Sociology. These stipulations include:

  • The College will accept transfer credits from other regionally-accredited institutions upon recommendation of the relevant academic department.
  • College courses taken during high school may be available for transfer credit if you attended the course on a college or university campus and the course was not used to fulfill high school requirements or Cornell admission requirements.
  • A “C” or better is required for a course to transfer, but some departments insist on a higher grade for some courses.
  • The Knight Writing Institute determines whether transfer course work can be applied toward the College’s writing requirement.
  • Credits and courses transferred from other institutions count as part of the 120 credits and 34 courses required for graduation; they do not count toward the 100 credits required in Arts & Sciences and do not factor into the Cornell grade point average.
  • Courses taken at other institutions during the summer may be applied to meeting the criteria for accelerated graduation.
  • Courses taken at other institutions while on leave of absence may not be used to reduce the terms of residence. In other words, students planning on accelerating their graduations to fewer than eight semesters must be able to complete all graduation requirements and meet the criteria for acceleration without credits earned while on leave of absence.
  • Students may not apply transfer credit to any distribution requirements.
  • Transferred courses, with the approval of the department, may count toward the major.

The College outlines procedures to follow to attempt to transfer credit, which requires approval of both the department in question and the College.

Students interested in transferring credit for a Sociology course taken elsewhere should bear in mind the following:

  • The Department of Sociology does not approve transfer credits from all four-year colleges that offer sociology courses.
  • A list of approximately 65 four-year research universities whose course credits are routinely approved for transfer is available from Susan Meyer, the undergraduate program coordinator.
  • Requests for transfers of credit from four-year colleges not on the list of routinely approved research universities will be considered for approval by the Director of Undergraduate Study. Any such requests should be accompanied by substantial detail on the course, its assignments, and its instructor.
  • Except in very rare circumstances, the Department of Sociology does not approve transfer credits from (a) junior colleges or community colleges or (b) from courses at any institution taken on-line or by correspondence, or (c) courses taken in social work programs.