Master of Arts in Sociology

The Master of Arts degree normally requires two years of full-time work for completion. The master's degree is offered under three different options: (1) the thesis option, which is designed primarily for students continuing on for a Ph.D. in sociology, or seeking a career in sociology; (2) the non-thesis option, which is designed to provide general sociological knowledge for students seeking careers in government, business, or non-profit organizations; and (3) the Master's in Social Analysis option, which is designed to provide advanced research and analytical skills for students already employed, or those seeking careers in government, business, or non-profit organizations. Each of these options requires a minimum of 30 credit hours. M.A. students must decide by the end of their second semester which option they will pursue.

The Thesis Option (30 hours)

Students pursuing the thesis option must meet the following requirements:

1. Theory Requirement (6 hrs.):

SOCIO 809 Classical Social Theory
SOCIO 810 Contemporary Sociological Theory.

2. Methods Requirement (6 hrs.):

SOCIO 822 Introduction to Social Analysis
SOCIO 823 Intermediate Methods of Social Research.

3. Substantive Requirement (12hrs.)

Students must complete 12 hours of substantive course work. This must include:

(a) one 900-level sociology seminar (3hrs.)
(b) three other sociology courses at the 700 level or above (9 hrs.)

With the permission of a student's advisor, one 600 level sociology course (3 hrs.) may be substituted for one of the three required sociology courses at the 700 level or above. One 500 level course (3 hrs.) may be taken in a supporting field with permission of the advisor.

4. Thesis (6 hrs)

Students must enroll for a minimum of 6 hours of SOCIO 899 and successfully complete a Master's thesis under the direction of a major professor.

The Non-Thesis Option (30 hours)

M.A. students pursuing the non-thesis option must meet the following requirements:

1. Theory Requirement (6 hrs.):

SOCIO 809 Classical Social Theory
SOCIO 810 Contemporary Sociological Theory.

2. Methods Requirement (6 hrs.):

SOCIO 822 Introduction to Methods of Social Analysis
SOCIO 823 Intermediate Methods of Social Research.

3. Substantive Requirement (15hrs.)

Students must complete 15 hours of substantive course work. This must include:

(a) one 900-level sociology seminar (3hrs.); and
(b) four other sociology courses at the 700 level or above (12 hrs.)

With the permission of a student's advisor, one 600 level sociology course (3 hrs.) may be substituted for one of the four required sociology courses at the 700 level or above. One 500 level course (3 hrs.) may be taken in a supporting field with permission of the advisor.

4. Directed Study (3 hrs.): This requirement may be met through:

(a) a directed study (SOCIO 901) (3 hrs.); or
(b) a second 900 level sociology seminar (3 hrs.)

5. Successful Completion of the M.A. Comprehensive Exam

The M.A. Comprehensive Examination

Once required course work has been completed, M.A. students pursuing the non-thesis option must successfully pass the M.A. comprehensive examination. The M.A. Comprehensive Examination consists of three parts: (1) Theory; (2) Methods; and (3) one additional area of the student's choice. The area examination may be taken in one of the following specialty areas: International and Regional Development, Rural Development, The Sociology of Work and Labor Markets, The Sociology of Gender, Criminology, Politics, States and Social Movements, or some other area approved by the student's major professor and supervisory committee. Exams are designed to be broadly integrative.

The Master's in Social Analysis (MSA) Option (30-33 hrs.)

The Master's in Social Analysis option is designed to enhance career opportunities for M.A. students who are employed, or wish to go into applied professional fields. The MSA option differs from the thesis and non-thesis options in two key ways: (a) the MSA option requires a greater number of credit hours in research methods (12 hours compared to 6); and (b) offers the option of a field practicum in social analysis which will allow students to earn credit hours while employed, or placed in an internship at an approved agency, organization, or firm. The objectives of the MSA option are to help the career advancement of employed professionals and to provide field experience to traditional M.A. students. The requirements for the MSA option are as follows:

1. Theory Requirement (6 hrs.)

SOCIO 809 Classical Theory
SOCIO 810 Contemporary Sociological Theory

2. Methods Requirement (12 hrs.)

SOCIO 822 Introduction to Social Analysis
SOCIO 823 Intermediate Methods of Social Research
SOCIO 825 Quantitative Methods
SOCIO 923 Methods of Social Policy Research

3. Substantive Requirement (6-12 hrs.)

Students must complete 6-12 hrs. of substantive course work. This must include two sociology courses (6 hrs.) at the 700 level or above. One 600 level sociology course (3hrs.) may be substituted for one sociology course at the 700 level or above with the permission of a student's advisor. In meeting the substantive requirement, students can select one of four options:

A) 12 hours of substantive courses plus the M.A. comprehensive exam. The 12 hours of substantive courses could include: (a) 9 hours of course work corresponding to an area of concentration and a 3 hour elective course (see areas of concentration listed under Ph.D. program below); or (b) 12 hours of elective courses.

A student taking this option will take the M.A. comprehensive examination according to the guidelines described above under the non-thesis option.

B) 6 hours of elective courses plus an M.A. thesis (which requires a minimum of 6 hours of SOCIO 899 )

Students following this option will write an M.A. thesis according to the guidelines described above under the thesis option.

C) 6 hours of elective courses plus 6 hours of SOCIO 897 Practicum in Social Analysis

D) 9 hours of course work corresponding to an area of concentration (see areas of concentration listed under Ph.D. program below), plus 6 hours of SOCIO 897 Practicum in Social Analysis

The Practicum in Social Analysis

Students enrolled in the MSA option who do not wish to fulfill the substantive requirement by writing an M.A. thesis, or taking the M.A. comprehensive examination (options A & B above), may complete the M.A. degree requirements by taking the Practicum in Social Analysis (option C or D). Students selecting either of these options must take 6 credit hours of SOCIO 897 Practicum in Social Analysis and must complete the Social Analysis Research Project.

In taking the practicum, students must complete an on-site, learning experience in a professional organizational environment consisting of a minimum of 200 service hours. Students who are employed may substitute their work experience for the 200 hour practicum. The practicum includes a quarterly seminar on-campus where students can discuss their work experiences and gain an understanding of the application of research to practice. Students enrolled in the practicum are required to attend the seminars and to produce a practicum evaluation report.

Students taking the practicum in lieu of the M.A. thesis or M.A. comprehensive exam must also complete a Social Analysis Research Project.

Typical M.A. Program of Study

The recommended program of study for M.A. students is as follows:

First Semester (10 hrs.):

1. SOCIO 809 Classical Theory
2. SOCIO 822 Introduction to Methods of Social Analysis
3. A 3 hour elective course
4. SOCIO 801 Graduate Pro seminar (1 hr.)

Second Semester (9 hours):

1. SOCIO 810 Contemporary Sociological Theory
2. SOCIO 823 Intermediate Methods of Social Research
3. (a) A 3 hr. elective course; or (b) SOCIO 825 Quantitative Methods if taking MSA option.

Third Semester (6-9 hrs.):

1. (a) A 3 hr. elective course; or (b) SOCIO 923 Methods of Social Policy Research if taking MSA option
2. A 3 hr. elective course optional
3. A 3 hr. elective course if taking the non-thesis option

Fourth Semester (3-6 hrs.):

1. (a) 6 hours of SOCIO 899 Master's Thesis Research if taking thesis option; (b) One or two 3 hr. elective courses if taking non-thesis option; or (c) 6 hours of SOCIO 897 Practicum in Social Analysis if taking MSA option with practicum.