The requirements below apply to those students with a 2023-2024 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.



Sociology is concerned primarily with the scientific study of social groups and social relations. Sociologists seek to understand how societies, institutions, organizations and other social forces shape and are shaped by individuals. One of the department's primary aims is to provide students with the analytical critical skills needed to understand and evaluate social institutions and social change more effectively.

The sociology faculty complement one another in a way that allows them to offer a varied range of courses. Courses reflect a growing interest and focus in the discipline on disadvantaged groups and classes of people and the ways they interact with social institutions. Occidental's proximity to Los Angeles, one of the most ethnically and economically diverse cities in the world, makes this focus all the more appropriate and provides students with the opportunity to observe many of these social phenomena firsthand.

Sociology majors will receive excellent preparation for graduate and professional study in sociology, law, social work, journalism, public health, business management, teaching, public administration, and other fields that require the ability to think critically, analytically, and ethically about a wide range of social issues in the search for viable solutions. While the department is committed to providing majors with the best possible preparation for careers in sociology and related fields, it is equally committed to providing non-majors with knowledge of social life as well as evaluative and analytical skills from which they will benefit in their chosen field of study and their careers in an increasingly diverse and complex world.



Eleven courses (44 units) are required to complete the major.

SOC 101Introduction to Sociology

4 units


SOC 102Introduction to Sociology: Global Perspectives

4 units


SOC 105Immigrant Youth and Youth Cultures

4 units



SOC 304Sociological Inquiry

4 units

SOC 490Senior Seminar in Sociology

4 units


Students must select one course from below:

SOC 200Classical Sociological Theory: Marx, Weber, Durkheim

4 units

SOC 205Contemporary Sociological Theory

4 units


Students must select one from the list below:

SOC 305Quantitative Research Methods

4 units

SOC 306Qualitative Research Methods

4 units


Choose six additional courses from within the department

The Sociology Department encourages students to declare the major by the end of their first year.

Second-Stage Writing

Students majoring in Sociology will satisfy the second-stage component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by completing any 300-level Sociology course by the end of the fall semester of the junior year with a grade of B- or higher. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.


Students will engage in a major research project that will culminate in a written senior thesis.

Honors in the Major

A distinctive ("PD") comprehensive senior thesis based on primary research along with a 3.5 grade point average in the department and 3.25 overall.


Five courses (20 units) in Sociology for which at most one of SOC 101 and SOC 102 may count. The remaining four courses are electives that students may select from all the other courses offered by the department.

Contact Sociology