Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada

Program guidelines for the Masters Degree in Sociology
Plan B: Non-Thesis Plan

Students opting for the non-thesis plan should also complete their program requirements over a period of not more than two years and should adhere to the following schedule:

(1) Complete at least 15 credits of coursework by the beginning of the third semester in the program and sign up for the remaining 18 credit hours of coursework during the third and fourth semesters in the program;
(2) Schedule to take comprehensive exams at the end of the fourth semester in the program by signing up for 1 credit of comps during this fourth and final semester.


Students opting for the non-thesis plan will need to make arrangements to take the Master's comprehensive examinations two months prior to their anticipated graduation date. The M.A. comprehensive examinations consist of three parts:

(1) Theory;
(2) Methods;
(3) Substantive Area in Sociology.


The theory exam and the exam on a substantive area within sociology are to be taken in the department on two different days (4 hours each exam) within one week.

The methods exam is a take-home exam that must be completed over the course of the following week.

The exam on a substantive area in sociology may be based on a course the student has taken in the department or an area the student has studied under the supervision of a sociology faculty member through independent readings or research.

The substantive areas in sociology include: class structure/stratification; sociology of gender; race and ethnic relations; sociology of the family; the community; religion; collective behavior; conformity and deviance; social psychology; political sociology; bureaucracy and large-scale organizations; work and occupations; industrial sociology; social change; socio-economic development; sociology of law; political economy; Third World studies; and other areas within sociology, as determined by the department.

All three exams are comprehensive and can cover a wide range of topics and issues. They will be graded on the basis of the following scale: High Pass; Pass; Fail. Students who fail to pass a particular exam may schedule to re-take that exam one more time.

All exams will be administered by the department chair, graded by the faculty member(s) submitting the question(s), and reviewed by the entire department, as a committee of the whole, for a final decision.