Student Resources


Sociology Capstone
In this one-credit seminar, taken in conjunction with a companion course, Prerequisite: Senior status in the Sociology major, or permission of instructor.

  • What is a capstone?
    Capstones are required as part of USM’s Core Curriculum and are usually fulfilled in the majors. In general, a capstone is a summative experience in which students reflect on and integrate learning in their major, minor (if applicable), and general education. Sociology’s Capstone, SOC 410, emphasizes integrative learning at the individual level, as students explore connections among their courses, and collectively as students explore what they have in common as sociologists despite different academic trajectories.

  • When do I take it?
    SOC 410 is regularly offered in the Spring semester. You should plan to take it during your final (senior) year. If you aren’t sure when to take it, ask your Sociology advisor.

  • Is it really only a one-credit course?
    Yes and no. SOC 410, Sociology capstone is a one-credit course and thus meets 9-10 times during the semester. However, you must concurrently enroll in a “companion course”—i.e. a three-credit Sociology course designated by the department as appropriate for Capstone work. Companion courses generally require some significant writing and often involve original and extensive research.

  • Will faculty teaching companion courses require more of me if I am also in Capstone?
    Faculty teaching companion courses don’t alter their course for capstone students; rather, capstone students—in the context of the Capstone seminar—discuss and reflect on their work in the companion course.

  • What will we actually do in the Capstone course?
    The course is organized around a series of writing prompts (The Capstone Portfolio) designed to focus and organize reflection on and analysis of your undergraduate career. The Capstone Portfolio is the mechanism for and record of your learning in SOC 410. Some of the prompts are connected to the work you will do in the companion course. Weekly seminars use this writing as a catalyst for discussion and debate.



Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship Application
SOC 450, Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship, is a three-credit elective course intended to benefit both the TA and the students in the course in which the TA assists. Undergraduate TAs grow in confidence, skills, and substantive knowledge. Students in the course benefit from having a peer mentor and an additional resource for tutoring, feedback and advice.

For faculty, working with a TA is part of a mentoring process. Faculty provide instruction in pedagogy and learning, guidance, and constructive feedback. Working with an Undergraduate TA does not lighten faculty workload; indeed, such collaboration adds to faculty responsibilities.

Responsibilities of Undergraduate TAs vary as they are negotiated between the student and supervising faculty member and confirmed in a detailed written agreement. Undergraduate TAs generally assist faculty in course preparation and delivery including locating and reviewing materials for course use; assisting with the design of course schedule, exercises, assignments, and class presentations; lecturing; supervision of student groups; and providing feedback to students on their work. In addition, teaching assistants hold regular office hours. TAs may NOT grade or independently assess student work. While TAs may read and provide feedback on student work, faculty must review and oversee TA comments.

The considerable responsibilities of Undergraduate TAs mean that these are opportunities reserved for our most qualified majors. To be considered, the student must:

  • have successfully completed at least 60 credit hours overall, and at least 12 credit hours in the Sociology major, including SOC 100, SOC 210, and the course for which the TA is proposed;
  • have an overall GPA of at least 3.0; and
  • have met with and received written agreement from the supervising faculty member.

Students may apply for the Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship using this form. For applications to be reviewed by the Department before pre-registration, they must be submitted by March 15th for Fall assistantships or October 15th for Spring assistantships.



Learning Outcomes for the Sociology Major
Students graduating with a major in Sociology will be able to:

  1. Read critically and think independently about social issues and social policy.
  2. Communicate ideas clearly and effectively in writing and oral presentation.
  3. Design and execute an original research project, including:
    • the ability to define the problem;
    • the ability to review literature;
    • the ability to develop an appropriate research design;
    • the ability to gather data; and
    • the ability to analyze data and interpret results.
  4. Understand and use basic statistics and statistical software packages.
  5. Appreciate ethical issues involved in research.
  6. Read and comprehend primary sociology texts, including journal articles, and produce a useful literature review.
  7. Appreciate the epistemological groundings of various theories and critically assess and apply theory.
  8. Analyze a social problem, process, or organization from a distinctly sociological perspective.
  9. Effectively collaborate in the production and evaluation of knowledge.
  10. Exercise the “sociological imagination,” by applying sociological concepts in everyday settings and practical situations, including in internships, service learning, and other off-campus learning and community engagement activity.



Usual Scheduling of Required Sociology Courses

  • SOC 100: offered every semester; face-to-face in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston; usually also offered online and during Summer and Winter sessions
  • SOC 210: offered every semester; face-to-face only; usually offered in Portland and Gorham
  • SOC 300: offered every Spring
  • SOC 301: offered every Fall
    [Note: Because of a faculty sabbatical, SOC 301 will NOT be offered in Fall 2020.]
  • SOC 307: offered every Spring
    [Note: SOC 307 will be offered in Fall 2019.]
  • SOC 410: offered every Spring