Undergraduate Handbook

See full Undergraduate Handbook here.



Dear Sociology Students,

As a professor and the Vice Chair for Undergraduate Studies in UCLA’s Sociology department, it is       my absolute pleasure to welcome you to UCLA Sociology. You are attending one of the best sociology departments in the world. Scholars at UCLA Sociology study everything from the dynamics of conversation to immigration to culture and cognition to death as a social process. Faculty in this department use a wide variety of methods, ranging from survey data analysis to social networks to ethnography. And, lucky for our students, we offer courses on all of that!

Both UCLA and the Sociology Department are large and the quarter system moves quickly, so I want to give you some advice on how to engage with the department in ways that you might otherwise overlook. My first big piece of advice is to seek out interpersonal interaction with faculty. Go to their office hours and, while there, make sure you discuss not only problems but also things you are curious about. It’s fine to ask for clarification in office hours, that’s a big part of what they’re for, but I assure you that you’ll see your professor light up if and when the conversation turns to “I thought that part of the lecture was really interesting, can you tell me what else to read” or “I noticed in yesterday’s lecture you said X but last quarter Professor Z said Y, how does that fit?” And do not feel as though you need to stick to course content. You might ask about your professor’s decision to study sociology or advice they have for undergraduate students. There are other opportunities to engage faculty as well, including taking a fiat lux class to engage in a small group discussion with faculty on issues close to their interests and research or enrolling in a course’s honors section (these are open to all students). These things may seem like “extra” work, and they are, but they are also unique opportunities to build  relationships with faculty and other students and those investments pay off.

I also encourage you to embrace research methods. The substantive and theoretical knowledge available here is valuable, but research methods provide unique tools to investigate your social world. Aside from the intrinsic satisfaction of learning how to write fieldnotes, perform a multinomial logistic regression, or plot a social network visualization, doing so has two big practical advantages: 1) you will understand your substantive readings better if you understand the methods used to write them and 2) employers tend to be impressed by technical skills like these.

In our department, you have the opportunity not just to complete your degree requirements but to thrive and learn new approaches for systematic inquiry into the most important and interesting issues in social life.  In this handbook you will find various resources and advice on how to make the most of your time      earning your Sociology BA at UCLA and how to deal with problems that may occur. I urge you to read this handbook and consult your professors and the department staff throughout your time here. We are here to help and it’s easiest for us to do so if you act sooner rather than later. We want to see you make the most of your time at UCLA.


Jessica L Collett

Professor and ViceChair for Undergraduate Studies