Sociology, M.A.

Admission Requirements

Interested students may seek admission to the program for full-time or part-time studies, with preferred entrance in the fall semester of each year. To receive full consideration all application materials must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by April 15 for the Fall semester and by November 15 for the Spring semester. Please note that while the GRE is not required for admission into the program, students are strongly encouraged to take the exam.

Applicants should follow the admission process outlined in the Graduate Catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at

In addition to the materials described in the catalog and on the website, applicants for regular admission to the Master of Arts in Sociology must submit to the Graduate Admissions Office:

  • a personal statement describing interests in the program and future plans;
  • international students must provide evidence of English language proficiency such as the TOEFL;
  • evidence of a minimum of 12 credit hours of undergraduate sociology coursework;
  • undergraduate grade point average (GPA), overall and in sociology;
  • a writing sample: a copy of one paper (10-25 pages) from an undergraduate course, preferably a sociology or anthropology course; and
  • two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or professional competence.

Admission to the program is offered to a limited number of qualified students demonstrating academic excellence and professional promise. Applicants who have submitted a complete application and fulfill the requirements stated above will be considered for full admission. The Sociology program may admit applicants provisionally, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program. The Sociology program may admit applicants on a conditional basis.

Program Requirements

In addition to regular courses and seminars, students are expected to contribute to their professional growth through interaction with the faculty and other graduate students as well as from independent study and reading. A student must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in all Sociology and Anthropology classes as a requirement for graduation. A student who receives a second grade of C or below while pursuing the M.A. in Sociology must review her/his academic plans with the department’s graduate program director; this review may result in the student being dismissed from the program.

The Sociology Master of Arts degree requires the completion of 33 hours of coursework plus SOC 681 Thesis for the Thesis Option, or completion of 36 hours of coursework plus SOC 679 Problem Report for the Non-Thesis Option. The curriculum is structured around a set of core requirements and a set of disciplinary focus areas that together provide a strong foundation in sociological theory, research methods and data analysis. At least half of the minimum required hours for the student’s master’s degree must be earned in classes numbered 600 or above. Students, in consultation with their advisor, must complete an official “Plan of Study” during their first semester or before completion of 12 credit hours. The Plan of Study must be approved by the graduate program director in the department before submission for approval to the college.

All students must successfully pass comprehensive exams to demonstrate broad comprehension and synthesis of sociology. The comprehensive exam will be scheduled twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. On the first attempt at an exam, if a student fails any one question, he or she will be asked to consult readings, re-write, and re-submit a new answer to the graduate program director within 7 days of receiving the committee’s evaluation. If the student fails a second attempt on this question, he or she must wait until the following semester to retake that portion. If a student fails two or more questions of the comprehensive exam on the first attempt, he or she will re-take the exam the following semester. Students who fail all or any one portion of the comprehensive exam in the second semester will not be permitted to continue in the program.

Plan of Study

Core Requirements

All students are required to complete 15 hours of core courses:

Core Courses
SOC 600Classical Sociological Theory3
SOC 601Contemp Sociological Theory3
SOC 605Qual Res Methods and Analysis 13
SOC 606Quantitative Res Meth Analysis 13
SOC 609Professional Development3
Total Credit Hours15

SOC 605 Qual Res Methods and Analysis and SOC 606 Quantitative Res Meth Analysis is a two-course research methods sequence that should be completed by all students during the first academic year in the graduate program if possible (or within the first 12 graduate credit hours for part-time students). Exceptions are made for students who must take prerequisite courses before enrolling in this sequence.


(18 hours for thesis option and 21 hours for non-thesis option)

The department offers a variety of electives which are bundled in four disciplinary focus areas. Graduate level courses from other departments may be taken with approval from the Graduate Program Director and the course instructor.

To guarantee breadth of education, all students must take courses from more than one focus area. Note that some classes contribute to more than one focus area; a student can count such classes in more than one focus area for this requirement, but must of course still meet the requirement for the total number of credit hours.

To guarantee depth, students also have to take more courses of a particular focus area or declare a minor.

Thesis option: Thesis related to one focus, one course from each of the three remaining focus areas (9 hrs.).

Non-thesis option: One course from each focus area 1 through 4 (12 hours) and additional courses from one primary area, or declare a minor (9 hrs.).

Focus Area 1: Organizations and Institutions
SOC 508The Family3
SOC 530Women In Sports3
SOC 533Sociology of Work3
SOC 550Sociology of Religion3
SOC 580Special Topics (dependent on content)1-4
SOC 668Seminar (dependent on content)1-3
Focus Area 2: Stratification and Diversity
SOC 523Social Class, Power & Conflict3
SOC 525Race and Ethnicity3
SOC 530Women In Sports3
SOC 532Sociology of Applachia3
SOC 555Sociology of Sex and Gender3
SOC 655Feminist Social Theory3
SOC 580Special Topics (dependent on content)1-4
SOC 668Seminar (dependent on content)1-3
Focus Area 3: Demography, Health, and Human Environments
SOC 501Population and Human Ecology3
SOC 528Medical Sociology3
SOC 532Sociology of Applachia3
SOC 540Intro to the Soc of Aging3
SOC 542Urban Sociology3
SOC 552Soc Of Death & Dying3
SOC 565Environment and Society3
SOC 640Problems Aging Society3
SOC 580Special Topics (dependent on content)1-4
SOC 668Seminar (dependent on content)1-3
Focus Area 4: Social Problems and Collective Behavior
SOC 513Social Movements & Soc Change3
SOC 520Criminology3
SOC 560The Holocaust and Genocide3
SOC 565Environment and Society3
SOC 602Contemp Social Change3
SOC 620Criminology3
SOC 640Problems Aging Society3
SOC 580Special Topics (dependent on content)1-4
SOC 668Seminar (dependent on content)1-3