UVM sociology students are encouraged to build on their coursework by taking advantage of additional opportunities tailored to their specific skills, interests, and goals.

Students in our department also have a variety of opportunities to do independent research. These include an upper-level research seminar in which students design and implement their own study, a senior honors thesis in which a student works with a faculty advisor on a project chosen by the student, and readings and research courses in which a student and a faculty member explore a specific topic of mutual interest. In addition, students occasionally serve as research assistants on ongoing faculty research projects.

  • Catherine Burgess

    Classroom and real-world research leads to PhD program

    As a high school student at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, Vt., Catherine Burgess ’20 discovered the best match for exploring her interests in criminal justice was in her home state.

    “I read that UVM’s sociology department offered a concentration in crime and criminal justice. It seemed like an ideal route to explore the mechanisms of change in the prison system,” she recalls.

    Her passion for public policy and social justice deepened at UVM, and she was recently accepted to a University of Arizona sociology Ph.D. program which begins in the fall. Burgess credits her success at UVM to the mix of classroom theory, independent research, and on-the-ground experience.

    “I learned a lot about justice and ethics generally, but removing myself from the classroom and getting into the field to explore first-hand how prisons operate—that gave me a much deeper understanding of the criminal justice system,” she said.

    A highlight of her UVM career was participating in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty’s Summer Internship Program after her sophomore year. It was a fully-funded eight-week internship at a public defender’s office in West Virginia. 

    Read more of Catherine's story

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Can I do an internship for sociology credit?

The internship coordinator for the department is Professor Alice Fothergill. Presently, the only way for students to get sociology credit for an internship is through Professor Fothergill's spring semester course, SOC 3991. Internship Seminar in SOC. The course allows students to participate in internships in local organizations for the spring semester. Generally, internships require ten hours a week of service in the agency site for three hours of course credit. Sociology requires a rigorous scholarly component as well, including bi-weekly meetings, a sociological literature review, and a final paper. Students who want an internship experience but do not need sociology credit might consider registering for CAS 2920 Communities of Practice or CAS 2991 Internship. For more information on sociology internships, contact Alice Fothergill at alice.fothergill@uvm.edu.

Does UVM offer a criminal justice degree?

No, but the sociology department offers a concentration in Crime and Criminal Justice. We offer courses on Deviance & Social Control, Global Deviance, Criminal Justice, Crime, Sociology of Law, and Corrections. One can certainly explore that interest and gain expertise within the sociology major. There is also a minor in Law and Society which is describe here: https://catalogue.uvm.edu/undergraduate/artsandsciences/sociology/lawandsocietyminor/

Advanced Scholars

International Sociology Honors Society

UVM Sociology is a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honors Society. Our advanced majors and minors who excel are inducted into the Society in an awards ceremony every spring semester. This distinct honor can be helpful to students’ future career advancement, and gives them a way to stay connected to the field of sociology.

Teaching Assistants/Aids

Many sociology faculty members offer teaching assistant (TA) opportunities. Teaching assistants are generally students who have taken at least 12 hours of sociology and assist a faculty member in weekly discussion groups, helping with grading, preparing lecture materials or other responsibilities. Students should email the instructor of the course to be considered as a TA. They typically have already taken the course they will be TAing for. Once chosen as a TA, students register for Soc. 2991, giving them up to three credits at the 2000-level. 


Sociology students at UVM have completed internships at a number of non-profit, for-profit and government organizations. Here are just a few:

COTS (homeless shelters)
King Street Center
Boys and Girls Club
Vermont Department of Corrections
Planned Parenthood
Public Defender's Office
Steps to End Domestic Violence
HOPE Works: Ending Sexual Violence
Vermont Department of Health
Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program 
Sara Holbrook Community Center
Burlington Community Justice Center
Vermont State's Attorney Office
Pride Center of Vermont
Outright Vermont
Howard Center
Spectrum Youth Services
Vermont Respite House (Hospice)
The Youth Restorative Justice Panel
DREAM mentoring program