HSOC 420

HSOC 420 is the required class for all students who are considering writing a senior honors thesis.  The objective of the class is to prepare you to write your thesis by systematically guiding you through the  research process.  It is a collaborative class that depends on critical and thoughtful participation and engagement, both with your own topic and with one another’s projects. By the end of the course you will:

1.  Understand how the thesis embodies the goals of the HSOC major
2.  Articulate research questions and objectives
3. Conduct independent research, engaging with primary and secondary sources
4. Analyze primary sources and contextualize them with scholarly conversations within: 


  • The core disciplines of history, sociology, and/or anthropology as relevant to your research problem, 
  • Supplemental disciplines, such as public health, bioethics, environmental studies, political science, business/economics, and law, as relevant to your research problem. 

5.  Determine an appropriate methodology, based in one of the 3 core disciplines
6.  Understand and engage with scholarly audiences
7.  Write a summary of your research problem, review of literature, and methodology in a clear way that targets an HSOC audience, as well as other audiences interested in your research problem
8. Write a 20-page original research paper based on your area of research
9. Write a 3-4 page thesis proposal, to be reviewed by the HSOC faculty committee


Applying for HSOC 420

•    Overall Penn GPA of 3.3 or better and HSOC GPA of 3.6 or better
•    HSOC 100 or 111 completed (or be registered for one of them in the spring, to be taken concurrently with HSOC 420)
•    A viable topic or topics
          - A scholarly project that uses the methodologies of the HSOC core disciplines of history, anthropology, and/or sociology
          - Not suitable: Efficacy studies and policy/intervention projects 
•    A passion for independent, scholarly research
•    A sense of potential advisors


Application Requirements – DUE NOVEMBER 19, 2018 - Send your materials to Dr. Crnic

  • Completed Application Form (download)  

HSOC 420.Application.2018.docx


NOTE: You cannot register yourself for HSOC 420. The department will register you for HSOC 420 when you are approved, after evaluating applications.