Our graduate program

| Thesis/Non-Thesis Plan | Graduate Courses |

The Department of Sociology offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts degree in Sociology, and participates in a graduate program leading to the Ph.D.degree in social psychology. The program of graduate studies in Sociology is designed to prepare sociologists for careers in the academic world and in areas of policy-related research. The foundations of both theory and research are emphasized as valuable tools in the study of modern society and social relations in comparative and historical perspective.

M.A. Degree in Sociology Requirements

Candidates for the Master of Arts degree in sociology must satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School and specific departmental requirements. The program consists of two plans:

Plan A (the thesis plan) requires 30 semester credits, of which 21 credits must be completed while in residence; Plan B (the non-thesis plan) requires 33 semester credits, of which 24 credits must be completed while in residence. Under both plans, candidates must complete at least 18 credits in 700-level courses.

Plan A and Plan B both require the satisfactory completion of the following graduate-level courses: SOC 710 History of Social Thought, SOC 711 Contemporary Social Theory, a course in research methods, and a course in statistics, with departmental approval.

Under Plan A, the thesis plan, students must also meet the following requirements: satisfactory completion of an additional 18 credits in graduate-level courses (including 6 thesis credits) with departmental approval, for a total of 30 semester credits; a thesis written under the supervision of three faculty members; and an oral examination on the thesis.

Under Plan B, the non-thesis plan, students must meet the following additional requirements: satisfactory completion of 21 credits in graduate-level courses with departmental approval, for a total of 33 semester credits; and pass a series of written comprehensive examinations. Please see more information about the Thesis and Non-Thesis Plans here and about the graduate courses here.

Admissions Information

The requirements for acceptance as a graduate student in Sociology is a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. To be accepted in full standing, a minimum of 18 credits of undergraduate work in sociology is required. The student must also meet the following requirements:

(1) Credit in a theory course in sociology and a course in statistics;
(2) A grade-point average of 3.0 or higher for four years of undergraduate work;
(3) Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions;
(4) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores;
(5) Three letters of recommendation from former instructors indicating the student's capability of doing graduate work;
(6) Sample of research or writing;
(7) A statement of purpose.

In some instances in which a student is deficient in the above requirements, the student may correct such deficiencies before entering the degree program. The department advises students with deficiencies whether they are likely to be considered as graduate students in full standing after such deficiencies have been corrected.


Applicants must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and must file an application for admission with the Graduate School. International applicants must also satisfy the medical examination and financial responsibility requirements and submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must apply through the Office of International Students. Applications for graduate standing are subject to approval by the Sociology Department and the dean of the Graduate School. Applications are accepted at any time; however, the admission application and all credentials must be received in the Graduate School at least three weeks before registration day of any instructional period.

Please send the following materials to the appropriate office as part of your application to the Master's program in Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Materials to be sent to the Graduate School

  • UNR Graduate Application Form
  • $60.00 New Student or $40.00 Alumni or Returning Student application fee
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions
  • Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service
  • Immunization documents

Materials to be sent to the Sociology Department

  • Departmental application form
  • Copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Copies of GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A statement of purpose
  • Sample of research or writing (e.g., a term paper)

Cost of Study

In 2010 – 2011, Nevada residents pay $246.50 per graduate credit per semester.  Nonresidents pay $6645 per semester plus $246.50 per graduate credit.  On-campus housing is available in the residence halls.  In 2010 – 2011, costs are about $4,750 - $6,610 per year, depending on the living arrangement.  In addition, a variety of meal plans are available for about $3,539 - $4,768 per year.  Students living off campus can expect to pay about $6,000 per semester for room and board and other living expenses.

Financial Assistance

A variety of graduate assistantships, fellowships and traineeships are available to qualified students. Stipends begin at $14,000 including partial exemption of tuition and registration fees. A number of tuition waivers and other small grants are also available. If the student is applying for financial assistance, the application should be completed prior to February 1. Normally the candidate receives notification by April 1 and has until April 15 to accept or decline the offer. In some instance financial awards become available after this date and late applications are considered.

Ph.D. Degree in Social Psychology

The Department of Sociology also participates in a graduate program leading to the Ph.D. degree in social psychology. This is an interdisciplinary program administered by a social psychology committee. Students interested in this program must have a minimum of 18 credits in either sociology or psychology. Students must meet all the requirements for admission to graduate school and the general requirements for obtaining a doctoral degree at the university. A full year in teaching or research is also required, which students may satisfy by spending a suitable amount of time in teaching or research concurrently with graduate study. For more information please see their webpage at

The University

The University of Nevada, Reno, is a land-grant institution, established in 1874, and is fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. It has 11 schools and colleges and offers more than 70 majors for an undergraduate degree; 62 master's degree programs; and 30 doctoral programs including a four-year medical school. Over 95 percent of the faculty members hold the highest degree attainable in their field.

UNR's 17,000 students come from all fifty states and more than fifty other countries, and the average age of the student population is 26. Approximately 3,000 UNR students are engaged in graduate study. Although many of the students in post baccalaureate work are recent graduates, a large percentage are mature students with significant professional or practical experience.


The 200-acre main campus is located only minutes from downtown Reno and is within an hour's drive of Lake Tahoe and many of the West's finest ski resorts. It features both contemporary and historical architecture and Manzanita Lake. The tree-lined Quadrangle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A rich cultural climate linking the University and the community provides unique opportunities for students.

Department of Sociology/MailStop 300, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557
ph: 775-784-6647 email: sociology@unr.edu