Graduate Program

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. For additional resources, graduate students should review the American Sociological Association for professional and academic development tools.

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 (Thesis Plan)

  • Requires 30-semester credits; 21 credits must be completed while in residence
  • Students opting for the thesis plan should complete their Master's degree program requirements over a period of four semesters or less, (the program is designed to be completed in two years) and should adhere to the following schedule:
    • Complete at least 12 credits of coursework by the end of the second semester in the program and sign up for the remaining 18 credit hours (including six hours of thesis credit) during the third and fourth semesters in the program
    • Form a thesis committee by the beginning of the third semester in the program and complete and obtain approval of the thesis proposal by the end of the third semester in the program
    • Write the thesis during the fourth semester and schedule an oral exam over the thesis and obtain its approval at the end of the fourth semester in the program

Plan B (Non-Thesis Plan)

  • Requires 33-semester credits; 24 credits must be completed while in residence
  • Students opting for the thesis plan should complete their Master's degree program requirements over a period of four semesters or less, (the program is designed to be completed in two years) and should adhere to the following schedule:
    • 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
    • Schedule to take comprehensive exams at the end of the fourth semester in the program by signing up for one credit of comps during the fourth and final semester. Master's Comprehensive Examinations will consist of three parts:
      • Theory
      • Methods
      • 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 (four 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.

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.

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 visit the social psychology graduate program.