Honors Opportunities

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


Department Honors Awards

Honors Awards are issued to graduating seniors with outstanding records of academic achievement. These awards are presented at the Sociology Department Honors Convocation, which is held at the end of Spring semester. Awardees are invited to attend the College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation and are acknowledged in the University Commencement program.

The T. Scott Miyakawa Memorial Prize, named after a founding member of the department, is awarded to a Sociology major with an outstanding record of academic achievement and community engagement.

Departmental Distinction is conferred upon students majoring in Sociology, Criminology & Criminal Justice, and Social Psychology. The faculty selects recipients based on academic merit. The number of awards varies according to enrollment, but is usually 10-15.


Honors Major Distinction

The Honors Major provides a more integrated and in-depth academic program. Registration requires a 3.5 GPA in sociology, social psychology, or criminal justice and a 3.0 GPA overall. Students must register for the Honors Major at the beginning of the Fall Semester prior to Commencement. To register, complete this Registration Form and submit it via email to Genevieve Morse in the Sociology Department.

Completion of an Honors Major is noted on the student's official transcript. Students are recognized at the Sociology Department Honors Convocation, which is held at the end of Spring semester. Students also are invited to attend the College of Liberal Arts Honors Convocation and are acknowledged in the University Commencement program.

The Criminology & Criminal Justice Honors Major

Students are required to take 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 Criminology & Criminal Justice faculty members and interested students in an open forum.

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 paper is presented to interested students and faculty in an open meeting. The extra course may be:

The Social Psychology Honors Major

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

  1. The Psychology Department Honors 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 370 (Psychological Statistics). Students arrange to be sponsored by a full-time faculty member in psychology whose research interests coincide with their own. Complete details can be found on the Psychology Department's website.
  2. To participate in the Sociology Department's Honors Program, 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 paper and a second faculty member reads the paper. The paper is then presented to interested students and faculty in an open meeting. The extra course may be:


Honor Societies: Sociology and Criminal Justice

Membership in an 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 enables students to develop stronger professional and social networks among the Sociology Department’s faculty, students, and alumni. An annual Honor Society induction ceremony is held at the end of each spring semester.

Alpha Kappa Delta - The Sociology Honor Society

Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society, was founded in 1920. The chapter at UMass Boston is one of 490 worldwide chapters. Eligible undergraduates 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 credits with an overall GPA of 3.2 or higher. The $40 fee pays for lifetime membership and a year’s subscription to the journal Sociological Inquiry. For information about the history, benefits and programs of AKD, please visit its home page. For recruitment questions, contact the AKD faculty advisor, Professor Philip Kretsedemas.

Alpha Phi Sigma - The Criminal Justice Honor Society

Alpha Phi Sigma, the national Criminal Justice Honor Society, was founded in 1942. It is proudly associated with the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The purposes of APS 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 must maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA in Criminal Justice courses and overall. The $50 fee pays for lifetime membership. For information about the history, benefits and programs of APS, please visit its home page. For recruitment questions, contact the APS faculty advisor, Professor Heather Zaykowski.