Honors Program

I. Sociology Honors Courses for Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors

Every once in a while the Sociology Department offers an honors course within the department for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who desire an intensive, intellectually rich experience by working on a particularly stimulating topic (920:198 or 298 or 398). Sometimes, too, our faculty members teach courses with considerable sociological content under the auspices of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors program. You do not have to be a sociology major to take one of these courses, but you must obtain special permission from the instructor to register. Normally we like students to have taken Introduction to Sociology first, but this prerequisite is sometimes waived.

The honors course is organized as a seminar with a maximum enrollment of 20. This is a tremendous opportunity to develop your scholarly potential in a group of highly selected students, and to get to know a faculty member very well. Students are more likely to earn detailed letters of recommendation from the faculty member in such courses, good to know when contemplating future applications to graduate or professional school.

II. Sociology Honors for Seniors

The Sociology Honors Program involves an independent project developed over two semesters. Seniors in the Sociology Honors Program enroll in the Honors Seminar (920:497 in the fall, 498 in the spring), and, in consultation with the Honors Seminar instructor, they select an individual advisor from among all Sociology faculty. The Seminar, which meets weekly, covers topics that everyone faces when doing an independent sociological project, such as narrowing a topic, identifying researchable questions, carrying out a review of existing literature on the topic, getting approval for conducting research on human subjects, and organizing a long research paper. Students also present problems that they are trying to solve, and the class helps them find a solution.

Eligibility

Admission to the Sociology Honors Program requires completion of 18 or more credits in Sociology with a GPA of 3.6 or more. It also requires an overall GPA of 3.0 at the end of the junior year. To be considered, declare a Sociology major by February of your junior year. The Seminar (920:497, 498) meets the major requirement of a 400 level course, and it has the usual prerequisites for 400-level courses (2 courses selected from 311, 312, 313, and 314). We highly recommend that students have completed Introduction to Social Research (920:311) in particular, and at least one of our other core courses (312, 313, or 314) by Fall of the junior year if possible.

Invitations

The Department identifies eligible students in March of the junior year. Eligible students are sent a letter of invitation that describes the program. Included in the letter is an application form and an invitation to submit a one-page project proposal. The Seminar coordinator typically is available to meet with prospective participants in April and early May to discuss their proposals. Those accepted receive a special permission number for 920:497, typically by late May or June. Be sure your official University records indicate a Sociology major by February of your junior year and that they show the correct graduation year. (If these are wrong on your official record, you will not appear on our list of majors with a 3.0 or higher average.)

Getting the invitation does not guarantee acceptance. We work to ensure in advance that students have workable projects, and that the Seminar is not overly full, so that students get the attention and guidance they deserve. We want students to succeed, not have to drop their projects part way along because they are infeasible. Furthermore, please note that all acceptances to the Sociology Honors Seminar are subject to the student’s continued level of outstanding work.

The Project

Each Honors student selects a topic for their project and an individual advisor who helps them develop the topic. The Honors Seminar instructor must approve the topic. Most students collect original data. Students have carried out informal interviews, developed questionnaires, observed behavior, and analyzed both texts and images such as advertisements. Some students use data already collected by someone else. Still others develop theoretical or conceptual analyses of a sociological issue. The final papers range in length; most are between 40 and 60 pages.

The project is due by late March. Each student turns in a final written copy, and they also present their project at a Department's Colloquia in early April. Faculty members attend, and students invite parents and friends.

Projects that involve "human subjects" must be reviewed by the IRB (Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects). This means writing a brief protocol that describes the project and identifies any risk to subjects. If you want to collect information from minors or information on a topic that involves risk "out of the everyday," your proposal requires a full review. This takes time. If the protocol is not ready by October 12, you are likely to have trouble collecting data in time. [It is difficult to collect data during exams and during the holidays.]

Grades and Level of Honors

At the end of the fall semester, each student doing good work gets a temporary grade of H. [It is possible, at this time, to convert from Honors to Independent Study. This requires permission from the Undergraduate Chair.] In April, the Honors Seminar instructor and the student's advisor together assign letter grades for both Fall and Spring. Honors students can graduate with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors in Sociology. High or Highest Honors means the instructor, the advisor, and a small committee of other faculty members find the project exceptionally well done.

Anyone with questions regarding the Sociology Honors Program should contact:

Nathalia Gillespie

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or

Kristen Springer

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III. SAS Honors for Seniors

Students who meet additional eligibility requirements and are willing to do extra work may participate in both the Sociology Honors Program and the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. It is possible for the same research project to partially satisfy the requirements for both programs, although the project must then be more ambitious and of greater scope than is typically the case.  Note that there are two separate application processes, both of which must be undertaken.

Please contact SAS Honors  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions

IV. Recent Senior Honors Projects

2016

Perceptions of Multiracial Identities
Sarah Castro
Advisor: Dr. Catherine Lee  and Dr. Julie Phillips

Social Influences on Disaster Risk Communication
Azdren Coma
Advisor: Dr. Lee Clarke

Leadership Types and Group Development
Sean Miralles
Advisor: Dr. Paul McLean

Student Perception of the College Athlete Experience
John Curtis
Advisor: Dr. Steven Brechin

Tipping the Scales: An Examination of Weight Bias in Introduction to Psychology Textbooks
Brianna Florovito
Advisor: Dr. Patricia Roos

2015

Ability Threat and Choice of Academic Major
Tracy Ng
Advisor: Dr. Steven Brechin

Differences among Media Portrayals and Medical Definitions of OCD from 1980-2014
Nicholas Kiriakatos
Advisor: Dr. Allan Horwitz

How Class Background Conditions the Undergraduate Experience at Rutgers
Christopher Froberg
Advisor: Dr. Thomas Rudel

Cultural Representations of Gender in Literary Education
Kristen Ferris
Advisors: Dr. Hana Shepherd and Dr. Deborah Carr

Resistance to Social Change
Kathy Smith
Advisor: Dr. Paul McLean

Railroaded: The Examination of the Lives of the Innocent after Prison
Jacquelyn McFarland
Advisors: Dr. Patrick Carr and Dr. Julie Phillips

2014

Segregation and Inequality in Non-Residential Movement Patterns
Kevin Dahaghi
Advisor: Lauren Krivo

Human-Animal Relationships and Social Media
Gina Giacobbe
Advisor: Hana Shepherd

Potential Correlations Between Rap/Hip-Hop and Neighborhood
Peter Habib
Advisor: Zaire Dinzey-Flores

Perceptions of and Patterns Found in Sorority and Fraternity Hazing
Alexandra Henninger
Advisor: Sarah Rosenfield

Gentrification as Segregation in Asbury Park, NJ
Alyssa Maio
Advisor: Richard Williams

Fair Discipline in NJ Public High Schools
Conrad Stepien
Advisor: Paul Hirschfield

2013

The stigma of schizophrenia: Understanding the impact of race, gender, and labeling on stigmatizing attitudes toward people with schizophrenia
Megan Bolton
Advisor: Dr. Catherine Lee

Minority high school student preparation for four-year college acceptance
Laura Callejas
Advisor: Dr. D. Randall Smith

The impact of family structure and familial stability on problem behaviors among boys and girls
Kristen E. Hagemann
Advisors: Dr. Lauren Krivo and Dr. Sharon Bzostek

African-American women and the Leadership Scholars Program
Lizethe Martinez
Advisor: Dr. Kristen Springer

Growing up Druze: The role of religion in the construction and maintenance of identity among American-born Druze
Carol Sharrouf
Advisor: Dr. Judith Gerson

The impact of network topology and the navigation of norms on popularity on the social networking site, Reddit
Charles Tong
Advisor: Dr. Paul McLean

2012

The Popularity of NFL Players in Social Media
David Einhorn
Advisor: Dr. Allan V. Horwitz

Drawing the Line: Racial Delineation and the U.S. Census
Rachel Moseson
Advisor: Dr. Eviatar Zerubavel

Effects of Support On First Motherhood
Dina Lippey
Advisor: Dr. Judith Friedman

Attitudes Toward American Culture
Nadia Rahi
Advisor: Dr. Richard Williams

2011

Big Box Retailer: Harmless Chain or Community Pain?
Justine Abrams
Advisors: Dr. Robyn Rodriguez and Dr. Deborah Carr

From Corsets to Jumpers: School Uniform Policies and the Construction of Gender
Nicole Auffant
Advisor: Dr. Pat Roos

Measuring Food Access in New Brunswick
Rachel Kenselaar
Advisor: Dr. Julie Phillips

Green Dynamics and Decisions within Households
Victoria Nielsen
Advisor: Dr. Tom Rudel

2010

Identifying Perceptions of School Safety Through Demographic, School, and Community Characteristics
Carolyn Nicodemo
Advisor: Dr. Patrick Carr

The Identity of Anorexia
Lyndsi Silberman
Advisors: Dr. Allan Horwitz and Dr. Joanna Kempner

Sex Trafficking in Thailand
Nicole Bassi
Advisor: Dr. Zakia Salime

The Role of Weight History in the Construction of Weight Confidence
Christopher Hedges
Advisor: Dr. Deborah Carr

Media Representations of Missing Person Cases
Nicole O'Connor
Advisor: Dr. Arlene Stein

Racial and Ethnic Identity Motivators for Joining Culturally Based Greek Organizations
Nandita Ghosh
Advisor: Dr. Richard Williams

What's in a label? Determinants of Stigmatizing Attitudes toward Delinquents
Samantha Kerwin
Advisor: Dr. Paul Hirschfield

Just Plain White: Shifting from Ethno-Racial Markedness to Unmarkedness in Italian Immigrants
Albert Yin
Advisor: Dr. Eviatar Zerubavel

The Trials of War: Lt. Ehren Watada and the Asian American Movement
Kohshi Itagaki
Advisor: Dr. Robyn Rodriguez

Everything In Its Right Place: The Sociocognitive Categorization of Music
Joshua Baker
Advisor: Dr. Eviatar Zerubavel

2009

Gender in Elementary Education
Kate O'Malley
Advisor: Dr. Judith Gerson

Why Are Black Brides Less Happy?
Jennifer Vergeon
Advisor: Ellen Idler

Barriers to Healthcare: How the Lack of Insurance Damages General Health
Naomi Anacius
Advisor: Dr. Zaire Dinzey-Flores

How Does Hezbollah Use Rhetoric and Media to Gain Popular Support?
Derek Ludovici
Advisor: Dr. Paul McLean

Identity and Gender Depiction on Facebook
Grace Sang-Eun Hong
Advisor: Dr. Ethel Brooks

Contact Us

Department of Sociology
Davison Hall
26 Nichol Avenue,
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


P  848-932-4029
F  732-932-6067