Senior Thesis, Honors, and Awards

Information on Writing a Senior Thesis in Sociology

Information on WCAS Honors, Awards and Fellowships

Preparing to start your senior thesis?

Graduate Student Mentors


The Value of the Senior Thesis:

Department Honors

The Department of Sociology recognizes the work of its outstanding seniors with departmental honor awards which are presented at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) Convocation. Departmental honor awards are given to those students who show outstanding scholarship in their major course of study.

Nominations are submitted to the College Committee on Superior Students and Honors, which has final authority to grant the honors degree. The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Superior Students and Honors reviews students' grade point average, senior research thesis, and faculty recommendations to determine which students receive Departmental Honors.


Senior Thesis with Distinction Award

The Department has established an award program for sociology majors, which recognizes outstanding thesis in the Senior Research Seminar. Senior thesis completed in other departments that satisfy the Department's thesis requirements, such as a senior thesis in Urban Studies, may also be submitted to the Department for consideration. This award is based on each student's creative ability, persuasiveness and systematic way of doing research. Recipients are determined by the Departmental Honors committee, and are announced each spring quarter (usually end of May).


Best Senior Thesis in Sociology Award

The Department has established an award for the Best Senior Thesis in sociology. Recipients are determined by the Departmental Honors committee, and are announced each spring quarter (usually end of May).


William Henry Exum Award

The intent of this prize is to honor the memory of William Henry Exum, a member of the Department of Sociology and the African American Studies Department, who died in 1986 at the age of 37. Exum was concerned with the quality of writing and research analysis in student papers. He was also interested in racial problems facing minority youths in higher education. This award was established as a means of continuing his goals of breaking barriers for all minorities.

The award submission deadline is 5:00 p.m., April 24, 2015. All interested students should submit a 15- to 25-page paper, typed and double-spaced, on a topic dealing with race and ethnicity. Course papers must be from at least a 300-level class. Students are not limited to a sociological approach in preparing their submissions, nor is the award limited to sociology or social science majors. The paper should include a cover sheet with the student's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, year in school, major, and the title of your paper. The paper must be submitted by the announced deadline via email to Please put "Exum Award - [your last name]" in the subject line. Limit to one entry per student per year.

This award is open to all undergraduate students from all disciplines.


Sociology 2015 Senior Theses

Elis Acosta-Torres*
"Is the Hospital in my Plan's Network?" How Insurance Status Influences Quality of Care

Natalie Berkeley Bess*
Come Together, Right Now, Over Schools: How Chicagoans with Two Distinct Forms of Social Capital Can Unite to Improve Community Action Councils' Impact on Local Education

Yujin Maeng*
The Asian American Political Incongruity: Disillusioned with the Vote

Stephanie Shapiro**
Rethinking the Studio: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Social Networks' Role in Creative Development

*Thesis with Distinction

**Best Senior Thesis in Sociology Award

2015 Exum Award Winners

Claire Kissinger
Race and Representation: Revising the Discourse on the Guerrilla Girls' Met. Museum Poster

Emily Park (Honorable Mention)
Politics of Student Activism in Ethnic Studies Movements

To see 2014 thesis titles click here.










Our faculty advisers can help you select Sociology courses, even if Sociology isn't your major or minor.

Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching provides a variety of programs and workshops for graduate students and faculty interested in developing their teaching practices. In addition, the Searle Center offers a variety of programs for graduate students seeking to develop their skills as Teaching Assistant (TA) and instructor , such as, a yearly conference for new TA's, a teaching certificate program and fellowship opportunities.


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June 22, 2015