In what must be a proud moment, UCSB ranked ahead of UC Berkeley and UCLA, earning the number one spot in College Factual‘s survey of sociology departments at four-year colleges offering the major as a bachelor’s degree.

The site, intended for students searching for a major, starts off its description with “Calling all social butterflies!” though its outline includes UCSB’s diverse program studies in gender, sexuality, race, globalization, and social movements. “This recognition is the result of a conscious effort over the past 50 years to develop a distinctive sociology department that engages students to not only understand the world but to also change it,” said Melvin Oliver, executive dean of UCSB’s College of Letters and Science, in a press release.

Maria Charles

Among the site’s ranking criteria are earnings after graduation, percentage of overall students in the major, accreditation, and how much other majors are linked into the department. The study found Sociology’s courses were supplemented with liberal arts courses and provided a well-rounded education; the average starting salary for graduates was $44,000, rising to $73,000 mid-career, according to

“The department is extremely proud of this recognition,” said Maria Charles, professor and chair of Sociology, which boasts 1,200 undergraduates and courses in feminist theory, the sociology of culture, race and ethnicity, Latina and Latino studies, conversation analysis, and social networks. “We have a long tradition of world-class research and world-class teaching,” she said. “Our success in both domains reflects the intellectual diversity of our faculty and graduate students and our shared commitment to scholarship and teaching that is publicly relevant and oriented toward major social problems of the day.”


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