Academics

Honors Opportunities

Sociology, Social Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice majors can receive an honors distinction in the following ways:

  • Honors Awards for graduating seniors, issued at the time of Spring commencement
  • Honors Majors in Sociology, Social Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • The Sociology and Criminal Justice Honors Societies (requires a dues payment)
  • The University Honors College degree, an 18 credit minor that can be added to your major

This page provides more information about the first three options, which are awarded directly by the Sociology Department. Please visit the University Honors College website for more information about the Honors degree option: https://www.umb.edu/academics/honors.


Honors Awards

The Sociology Department, with support from the University administration, issues Honors Awards to graduating seniors with outstanding records of academic achievement. This includes The T. Scott Miyakawa Memorial Prize in Sociology which is awarded to undergraduate students with an outstanding record of academic achievement and community engagement. Students receive these awards based on their GPA and nominations by Sociology faculty, not through the completion of additional coursework. All of these awards are issued to students at the end of the Spring semester at the Sociology Department Honors Convocation. Students who receive these awards are also invited to attend the College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation and receive a special acknowledgement at the University Commencement ceremony. 


Honors Majors in Sociology, Social Psychology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

The Honors Majors recognize special achievement and provide a more integrated and in-depth academic program. Registration in the honors major requires a 3.5 GPA in sociology, social psychology, or criminal justice and a 3.0 GPA overall. Successful completion of the honors major is noted on the student's transcript and in the program for the College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation.

Honors Major distinctions are officially awarded to students at the Sociology Department’s Honors Convocation at the end of each Spring Semester. Students who want to receive these distinctions must register for the Honors Major at the beginning of the prior Fall Semester (for example, if you plan on receiving the award in Spring 2015, you should register in Fall 2014). To register, complete this Registration Form and submit it to Genevieve Morse in the Sociology Department main office. You may submit a hardcopy or send by email to Genevieve.Morse@umb.edu.

Honors Major requirements that are specific to each major are provided below.

The Sociology Honors Major

Sociology honors majors write an honors paper and complete an extra course. One faculty member directs the honors paper and a second faculty member reads the paper. The honors paper is then presented to interested students and faculty in an open meeting. The extra course may be:

  • SOCIOL 478/479 - Directed Study in Sociology
  • Any 400-level course in the Sociology Department (excluding internships)
  • SOCIOL 340 - Field Work Methods
  • SCOIOL 350 - Social Statistics (if not taken as part of the major)
  • Any course in the graduate program in applied sociology
  • Any 400-level course in anthropology, economics, history, political science, or psychology

The Criminal Justice Honors Major

Criminal Justice students wishing to complete the major with honors are required to take either Sociol 478 or Sociol 479, Directed Study in Sociology. During this course students develop and complete a lengthy independent research paper that will be presented to Criminal Justice faculty members and interested students in an open forum.

The Social Psychology Honors Major

Students may earn honors in one of two ways, as described below. The first option is offered by the Psychology Department and the second option is offered by the Sociology Department.

  1. Completing the year-long Honors Program for seniors offered by the Psychology Department. This program offers the opportunity to receive training and experience in conducting original research. To be eligible, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.20, a 3.50 GPA in the social psychology major, and must have completed PSYCH 270 (Psychological Statistics). Students arrange to be sponsored by a full-time faculty member in psychology whose research interests coincide with their own area of interest. Once students have arranged sponsorship with a faculty member and decided on a research project, they must apply for admission to the Honors program. Complete details can be found on the Psychology Department's website.
  2. Completing the Honors Program for seniors offered by the Sociology Department. Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a 3.50 GPA in social psychology. Students complete an extra course and write an honors paper. One faculty member directs the honors paper and a second faculty member reads the paper. The honors paper is then presented to interested students and faculty in an open meeting. The extra course may be:
  • SOCIOL 478/479 - Directed Study in Sociology
  • Any 400-level course in the Sociology Department (excluding internships)
  • SOCIOL 340 - Field Work Methods
  • SOCIOL 350 - Social Statistics (if not taken as part of the major)
  • Any course in the graduate program in applied sociology
  • Any 400-level course in anthropology, economics, history, political science, or psychology


Honor Societies: Sociology and Criminal Justice

Membership in a national honor society provides a wonderful springboard for professional growth. Honor society members have expanded opportunities for promoting their research, applying for conference funding, receiving national recognition, and interacting with leaders in their field. Active participation in an honor society enables students to develop stronger professional and social networks among the Sociology Department’s faculty, students, and alumni. Family and friends of new members are invited to the annual Honor Society Induction Ceremony, which is held at the end of the spring semester.

Alpha Kappa Delta - The Sociology Honor Society

Alpha Kappa Delta (AKD), the International Sociology Honor Society, was founded in 1920. The chapter at UMass Boston is one of 490 worldwide chapters. Eligible undergraduate students are sociology and social psychology majors and minors who rank in the top 35% of their class, have an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher, and have a GPA of 3.2 or higher in the major or minor. Eligible graduate students have completed 12 or more graduate credits with an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher. Sociology professors make announcements and send emails early in the spring semester to inform students of application procedures. Students may also request an application in the Sociology Office (W-04-12). A one-time fee of $40 pays for lifetime membership and a year’s subscription to the journal Sociological Inquiry.

For online information about the history, benefits and programs of Alpha Kappa Delta, please visit its home page. For further inquiries, contact the local AKD chapter faculty representative, Professor Philip Kretsedemas.

Alpha Phi Sigma - The Criminal Justice Honor Society

Alpha Phi Sigma, the national Criminal Justice Honor Society, was founded in Washington in 1942. It is proudly associated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The purposes of Alpha Phi Sigma are to promote critical thinking, rigorous scholarship and lifelong learning; to keep abreast of the advances in scientific research; to elevate the ethical standards of the criminal justice professions; and to sustain in the public mind the benefit and necessity of education and professional training. Members are required to maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA in both Criminal Justice courses and overall courses. Eligible juniors and seniors are contacted via mail and e-mail during the Fall and Spring semesters. A one-time fee of $50 pays for lifetime membership.

For online information about the history, benefits and programs of Alpha Phi Sigma, please visit its home page. For further inquiries, contact the local Alpha Phi Sigma faculty advisor, Professor Bianca Bersani.