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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that hasn't’t been addressed? Check out these FAQs!

Advising Schedule & Office Hours

When is the main Sociology office open?

Our office hours can be found under Contact Us.

To find a specific staff member’s available hours, visit their staff profile, but please understand that times may fluctuate. Office hours are different then the Advising Schedule, advising is only available during our advising hours. Please see the tab immediately below for further information.

I want to speak with a Sociology Advisor, when are the advising hours?

Our Advising hours can be found under the Advising Page.

The academic advising staff are available to provide advice and answers to questions about the undergraduate program in sociology during walk-in advising, advising by appointment, and via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

When is my instructor’s office hours? How do I request a syllabus?

The Department of Sociology maintains a list of Quarterly Office Hours. If your instructor does not have office hours listed, you will need to contact them directly.

Generally syllabi become available to students once courses begin. As instructors may not have finalized syllabi prior to the start of classes you may need to wait till courses start for a quarter to request one. 

The department retains most syllabi from previous quarters, current students may contact Sociology Advising via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to request a previous syllabus. We will provide a copy of the syllabus if it is available, but please be aware that we may not have all syllabi from all past courses. Non-current students can request syllabi from socadvising@ucsd.edu.

Major Information

Which degree is best for me?

One degree is not better than the other – how you intend to use your degree as well as your overall interests are more important considerations. We encourage you to research the major options listed on our website and compare them to your graduate school and career goals. You should also look at classes that are of interest to you. Students may change major concentrations within Sociology at any time. For more help choosing a major and classes, please see our Career Guide and the Career Center.

Can I take a Sociology course P/NP for the major?

Reminder: The temporary Spring 2020 P/NP policy expires at the end of Spring quarter and the regular Sociology Department policy resumes from Summer 2020 onwards. Courses will need to be taken for a letter grade in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 to be able to be applied towards the major or minor. See below for our full regular policy.

Sociology’s Spring Quarter 2020 policy on P/NP classes is as follows:

  • Any Sociology class taken P/NP in Spring Quarter 2020 will count toward the major and/or the minor. If you do not see this automatic change, please send us a message in the Virtual Advising Center to adjust it. 
  • P/NP courses taken in Spring 2020 will not count towards the 25% cap on P/NP courses for the Bachelor’s degree (This is University Policy but helpful to note).
  • Students may change their selection of P/NP or Letter Grade through the end of Week 10.
  • P/NP courses are not included in calculations of GPA.  
  • This new policy is in effect for Spring Quarter 2020 only.

While it is possible to take a Sociology course P/NP in SP20 and apply it toward your major, you will want to consider if this is the best option for you. 

For example, if you need coursework for graduate/professional school admission requirements, you will likely need the course for a letter grade. If you think you will do well in the course, you will likely want to take it for a letter grade so it will impact your UC and major GPAs. Similarly, if you are trying to be eligible for Latin Honors, and you are attempting to increase your UC GPA to obtain a certain level of honors, you will need to take the course for a letter grade to impact the GPA. 

If you have any doubts on whether to take a course P/NP please contact a Sociology Advisor in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

After SP20 our regular policy will be in place:

All courses taken for the major and minor must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of Special Studies courses Sociology 199, 198, and SOCI 198RA which can only be taken P/NP. Only one such special studies course may be applied toward the major. No Special Studies courses can be applied towards the Minor.

If you have further questions or concerns, please touch base with a Sociology Advisor.

How do I petition a course from an outside university?

To petition to apply course work completed from an outside university (summer school, community college, study abroad, etc.) or another department at UCSD towards your upper division electives in a major or minor in sociology, students must submit a General Petition to the department once the coursework has appeared on their degree audit or prior to enrolling in the course. It is recommended to gain pre-approval for courses prior to enrollment. 

Students are strongly advised to retain the syllabi, course papers, examinations, and all other paperwork from courses taken outside of UC San Diego. These materials may be useful after you return to facilitate the admissions officer's decision about credit transfers, as well as departmental approval of courses toward the major/minor requirement. The same materials may help resolve any debates that might arise in the department over possible duplication in course content, or especially if there is any doubt about the difficulty of the course or its sociological content.

Submission/Notification of Petition

Petitions must be submitted onlinePetitions cannot be submitted through the VAC, as the web portal does not allow students to upload any documents.

Our general petition process can be found on the courses and scheduling page.

For EAP coursework/ or Courses that have not yet been taken:

  • Please note that if you receive an approved petition for a course that you intend to take while at EAP (or similar study abroad program) or if you haven't taken the course yet, your petition is only a pre-approval.
  • Once the the transcripts from the university have been applied to UCSD please notify us in the VAC. At that time, the course will be reviewed for the following criteria: Upper Division course, transfers over as 4+ units, taken for a letter grade. If the course meets the criteria it will be applied towards your requirements.
  • As a reminder only 4 outside Upper Division courses (whether from a different department at UCSD, or from an outside institution) are allowed to apply towards the major.

      Transferring Courses after a Grade has been received:

Do I have to take all courses for the major? Can I substitute a Lower Division course for an Upper Division Course?

Yes, all courses are required for the major. If for example you completed most of your upper division courses prior to completing SOCI 1 or SOCI 2, you'll still be required to complete SOCI 1 and 2. The same is the case for all other lower division and upper division requirements for the major. You'll want to plan accordingly as certain courses like SOCI 1 and SOCI 2 are only offered during specific quarters.

For the Sociology major you cannot substitute an Upper Division Course for a Lower Division course and vice versa.

When are SOCI 1 & SOCI 2 offered?

SOCI 1 is offered each Fall quarter of an Academic Year. SOCI 2 is offered each Winter quarter of an academic year. Both courses may be offered over the summer at UCSD, but this is not guaranteed and will depend year to year.

You'll want to plan accordingly to ensure that you are taking the courses when they are offered during the academic year. 

 What do I need to send to a professor who has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation?

Please refer to the following link from the UCSD Career Center for helpful tips on requesting Letters of Recommendation:

After you've touched base with an instructor to establish a letter of recommendation, please provide the following statement to an instructor in our Department to authorize them to release information:

  • “I consent to the release of personal and educational information about me in the letter of recommendation that I have requested from you. This authorization allows you to release all information about me, within the university’s possession, to /[fill in details (e.g., any other educational institution, any centralized application processing services (list by name if possible), etc.]/. This authorization shall remain valid unless and until it is rescinded in writing.”

Letters of recommendation contain detailed information about the student who is the subject of the letter. This information may include such information as scores on specific exams, grades and in other class performances, grades earned from other faculty in the department, upper division GPA in the major, grades in related departments, and standardized test scores, among other things. As your personal information is protected information please grant your instructor consent to give our your information.

How can I get honors?

To receive Departmental Honors in your Sociology major, students must participate in the Honor's Program.  Information about the Honor's Program and eligibility requirements can be found on our Special Academic Programs page.

To receive College Honors, also known as Latin Honors, students must be within the top 14% of graduating seniors. More information can be found on the General Catalog.

There is also an International Sociology Honor Society called Alpha Kappa Delta. Students may apply for membership to this program through the UCSD Department of Sociology.  For more information, view our Opportunities & Involvement page.

How do I sign up for a SOCI 199 course?

Special studies courses give students the opportunity to explore in more detail what they have learned in the classroom. Students engage in field research in a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a faculty member. If a student wants to work individually with a professor, they enroll in SOCI 199, Independent Study. If several students want to work as a team on the same project, they take SOCI 198, Group Independent Study.

Please see our Special Academic Programs page for further information on requesting an independent studies course.

Minor Information

What courses count for the minor?

Sociology courses numbered from 1-189 are eligible to count for minor. See our Lower Division Information page and our Upper Division Information Page for course specifics. All other restrictions (below) and procedures will apply.

Can I take a Sociology course P/NP for the minor?

Reminder: The temporary Spring 2020 P/NP policy expires at the end of Spring quarter and the regular Sociology Department policy resumes from Summer 2020 onwards. Courses will need to be taken for a letter grade in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 to be able to be applied towards the major or minor. See below for our regular policy.

Sociology’s Spring Quarter 2020 policy on P/NP classes is as follows:

  • Any Sociology class taken P/NP in Spring Quarter 2020 will count toward the major and/or the minor. If you do not see this automatic change, please send us a message in the Virtual Advising Center to adjust it. 
  • P/NP courses taken in Spring 2020 will not count towards the 25% cap on P/NP courses for the Bachelor’s degree (This is University Policy but helpful to note).
  • Students may change their selection of P/NP or Letter Grade through the end of Week 10.
  • P/NP courses are not included in calculations of GPA.  
  • This new policy is in effect for Spring Quarter 2020 only.

While it is possible to take a Sociology course P/NP in SP20 and apply it toward your major, you will want to consider if this is the best option for you. 

For example, if you need coursework for graduate/professional school admission requirements, you will likely need the course for a letter grade. If you think you will do well in the course, you will likely want to take it for a letter grade so it will impact your UC and major GPAs. Similarly, if you are trying to be eligible for Latin Honors, and you are attempting to increase your UC GPA to obtain a certain level of honors, you will need to take the course for a letter grade to impact the GPA. 

If you have any doubts on whether to take a course P/NP please contact a Sociology Advisor in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

After SP20, our regular policy will be in place:

All courses taken for the minor must be taken for a letter grade. No Special Studies courses can be applied towards the Minor.

If you have further questions or concerns, please touch base with a Sociology Advisor.

Can I participate in the Sociology Honors program as a Sociology Minor?

Unfortunately you cannot participate in the Honors program as a Sociology minor. Only Sociology majors may participate in the program due to the requirements of the program.

Can I take lower division courses at a Community College

Yes, you can petition to take a maximum of two courses from a Community College to count for the minor. Refer to Assist for specific information on transferability.

Courses, Enrollments, Grades, & Incompletes

How do I enroll in a course I don't meet the pre-requisite requirements for? / Why can’t I enroll in a Sociology Course? I should meet the requirements.

There are circumstances in which a student will be unable to enroll in courses that they are eligible for. Examples include:

  • Freshmen with sophomore standing
  • Student who will obtain junior standing at the end of a quarter, but unable to enroll in upper division courses during their enrollment period mid-quarter.
  • Student participating in Study Abroad at UCSD

If the class you wish to enroll in has prerequisites or restrictions, submit your preauthorization request via the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy). We require a minimum of 2 business days to approve of the request. Learn more about the EASy system here.

I'm on a wait list for a class or I intend to wait list. What are my chances of getting enrolled?

Wait lists at UC San Diego are automated. When a seat becomes available in a course, the next eligible student on the waitlist will be automatically enrolled. If you do not meet the class requirements/prerequisites or have other enrollment holds the waitlist system will not add you to the class.

Classes can be Waitlisted until 10pm on the Thursday of the second week of a quarter. Until that date, students are only able to gain enrollment in a full course though the waitlist. Departments unfortunately cannot gauge whether a student may be able to get into a course from a waitlist as it is dependant on how many students add/ drop the course.

After the Thursday of the second week of a quarter, waitlists are no longer in effect and are void. If you see an available seat in a course on the Friday of the second week of classes you will be required to enroll yourself automatically via WebReg.

Resource: How to Wait-List a Class

It's after week 2 of a quarter, can I late add a class?

After the end of the second week of classes, students may request late enrollment in courses through the Enrollment Authorization System (EASy) by selecting "Late Add" as the request. Late Add requests are not guaranteed and are subject to approval at the discretion of the instructor. Late add requests will not be approved if there is not an available seat in the course that is being requested. As a student may have missed multiple lectures and assignments it is recommended to touch base with the instructor to see what they may have missed prior to requesting late enrollment.

Can I transfer upper division courses for credit?

Any upper division course taken at another UC, CSU, or other 4-year institution offering a bachelor’s degree must be petitioned before it can be used in place of a UCSD Sociology course. Please note that any course taken at a Community College is considered Lower Division and cannot be used for Upper Division Credit.

The course syllabus must be submitted with the petition form. Please see our general petition process page for more information and step-by-step instructions.

My coursework (exams, final papers, etc) is due at the Sociology Department, where do I drop it off?

There is an exam drop box located on the 4th floor of the Social Sciences Building just outside room 460. Be sure to include the name of your Instructor.

There is also a date/time stamp available for students to indicate when their materials were submitted. Please note that the time stamp is only available during the weeks of Midterm and Finals if a Instructor has specified that they would like the drop box used.

This is a locked box which only the Sociology Administration can access. Materials in the drop box will be delivered to the mail box of your instructor by a staff member.

I think my grade may be incorrect, what should I do?

Problems with grades should be discussed first with the instructor of the class or TA of the section. If you are having a serious conflict with an instructor, please bring your situation to the attention of the undergraduate coordinator. You must speak with the undergraduate coordinator before you make an appointment with the department chair.

How do I request an Incomplete? / It’s finals week and I’m in a situation where I can’t take my exams. What should I do?

Students who are experiencing circumstances beyond their control may be eligible to take their course as an Incomplete. 

Eligibility for an Incomplete:

  • Undergraduate student whose work is of non-failing quality but is incomplete for good cause, such as illness for example, may file a Request to Receive Grade “Incomplete” with the instructor.
  • If you're not passing a class because you've simply fallen behind, you're not eligible for an Incomplete.

Overview of Incompletes:

Incompletes are subject to instructor approval, the filing deadline to be approved for an incomplete is the first working day following finals week (though it is recommended to have incomplete paperwork completed in advance of this deadline).

Instructors may require the submission of an Incomplete Form. This form is NOT required by the University anymore; the incomplete agreement is solely between the student and the instructor of the class. Please contact your instructor to request an Incomplete.

It is at the instructor's discretion whether to grant an Incomplete, what steps they require, and the deadline that coursework must be completed by. We have found that the incomplete form has been useful in having documentation of the incomplete, so we do recommend it's usage, but again this is up to the instructor.

If the form is required, students should complete their portion of the request form, including the reason they are requesting the Incomplete, and provide appropriate documentation to support their request (e.g., doctor’s note).

The instructor has the option to approve or disapprove the request and should state clearly how and when the Incomplete is to be completed. If an incomplete is approved, the instructor will assign an "I" grade to the student.

Deadlines for Incompletes:

  • The University deadline for filing a request for an incomplete shall be no later than the first working day after final examination week
  • Students must complete the remaining course work to remove the Incomplete on or before the date agreed upon with the instructor and in time for the instructor to assign a grade before the end of finals week the following quarter.
    • (For example, if you receive an incomplete in FA19, you must complete the coursework for the course by the end of finals week of WI20) 
  • You must complete your work by the date given by your instructor.
    • This date can be no later than the last day of the next quarter's finals, excluding Summer Session.
    • Incompletes will lapse to a F, NP or U grade at the end of week 10 of the next quarter's finals, excluding Summer Session. However, so as long as coursework for an incomplete is completed before the end of finals week of the following quarter, the instructor will be able to assign the student their correct grade.
    • If you don't complete your work by the date given by your instructor, the lapsed failing grade becomes permanent. 

If you feel that you may require an Incomplete please view the General Catalog for more information and get in touch with your instructor and/or the Undergraduate Advisor.

Where can I pick up my final exam from the previous quarter?

Due to privacy laws, our department can only place your exam in a public access final exam cabinet for the Sociology Department ONLY if you:

  • Sign the waiver printed on your Blue Book or;
  • Write "Buckley Waiver" on the outside of your Blue Book/ final paper, and sign your name.

The Buckley Waiver acknowledges that you consent to allow your exams/ papers to be returned to you in a public access final exam cabinet that may result in the disclosure of personally identifiable information.  

If you've signed the Buckley Waiver, your exam will be placed in the Sociology final exam cabinet, located on the 4th floor of the Social Sciences Building just outside room 460 (look for signs directing to the Exam Bins; the bins are located to the right of the Sociology Administrative Office- SSB 401). Exams from the previous quarter may be retrieved 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, beginning the Friday after finals week and continuing until the end of the following quarter. 

Exams without a Buckley Waiver will be available for pick up after the first week of the following quarter from either the instructor of your course or inside the main office of the Sociology Department, SSB 401 during business hours. If the Sociology Department does not have your exam, please check in with your instructor.

Exams/ Final Papers are retained for one quarter only. Exams that are not picked up are confidentially shredded.

OSD Accommodations

I am an OSD Student, who is the departmental liaison and how do I schedule my OSD Exam?

Our Instructional Support Assistant is the departmental OSD liaison. AFA letters must be received by the OSD Office to establish accommodation arrangements. Please see the Sociology Department's OSD Information and Procedures page for detailed instruction on how to request your OSD Accommodations.

Students must contact the Sociology liaison at least a week in advance, (excluding holidays and weekends) to confirm accommodation arrangements (i.e., where you will take the exam/quiz, how you will obtain accommodations, etc.)

Students are responsible for starting the exam/quiz ON TIME. If students are eligible for extended time for exams/quizzes and students show up late, the exam/quiz time will not be extended to excuse tardiness.

What if I am not registered with OSD?

You must register in person before you begin receiving academic support.

Resource: Instructions to obtain OSD services & Accommodations