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Graduate Program of Sociology: Program of Study

Course Requirements  | Frequently Asked Questions  |  Course Descriptions

Course Requirements

Students must complete 33 semester hours of graduate credit distributed as follows:

  • Five required courses (15 hours):
  • Pro-seminar in Sociology (SOC 500)
  • Seminar in Social Theory (SOC 501)
  • Research Methods and Study Design (SOC 515)
  • Advanced Data Analysis (SOC 518)
  • Research Practicum (SOC 592)

The department offers Theory, Methods, Pro-Seminar and the Research Practicum only in the fall semester, and we offer Data Analysis only in the spring. While we allow spring and summer admissions to the program,  students who wish to begin in the spring should speak with the Graduate Program Director on how to proceed with courses.  Furthermore, students may complete no more than six elective hours prior to registering for theory and methods. Graduate students take Research Practicum in the second year. 

We strongly recommend that in the Fall semester of the first year, students take 9 hours: Theory, Methods and the Pro-Seminar. The Pro-Seminar helps students acclimate to the rigors of graduate school and educates students about the program, exit requirements and possible career choices.  Spring semester of the first year, students will enroll in Statistics and two electives.  When available, students may take a graduate class in the summer and then only register for 6 hours in the Fall of the second year.  However, if students do not take any summer classes, students should take 9-hours of classes Fall of the second year, with Research Practicum being one of those classes.

During the Second year, first semester, students who will be completing the thesis or internship exit requirements should choose a committee and sign up for 6-hours of thesis/internship their Spring semester. Students pursuing the comprehensive exam option should enroll in two electives the Spring of their second year, choose a committee for the exam and start developing a substantive area reading list.

  • Four or Six elective courses (12-18 hours) (depending on the exit requirement):

For those completing a thesis or internship, at least 3 courses (9 hours) must be 500-level sociology, graduate seminar courses.  For those choosing the comprehensive exam option, 5 courses (15 hours) must be 500-level graduate sociology seminar courses.  We strongly recommended that the elective courses include the Seminar in Applied Sociology.  The remaining elective can be comprised of the following: 1) 500-level graduate seminar from another department; 2) Independent sociology readings at the 500-level or 3) 400- level class in the sociology department. However, if you choose any option other than 500-level graduate seminar or Independent readings at the 500 level, you must receive approval from the Graduate Program Director.

Normally, students will not begin thesis or internship hours until they have completed at least 24 semester hours of course work.

Students who choose to write a thesis must enroll in a total of 6 thesis hours (SOC 599).  They must defend their completed thesis in a final oral examination before their thesis committee. 

The internship consists of two parts:

  • At least 140 hours of a supervised work experience in either a research or public service setting (Graduate Internship—Experience, SOC 593A); and
  • A substantial, original written report concerning a sociological issue related to the internship (Graduate Internship—Report, SOC 593B).

Students pursuing the internship option must successfully complete an oral examination administered by their selected advisory committee.  You can find more information on the internship option here.

For the Comprehensive Exam option, students choose a three-person committee to grade both a written and oral exam. The student will be given a reading list in the areas of theory and methods by the department. Students will then choose, with their committee, a reading list in a subject area of the student's choice. The student will be given two weeks to complete the written exam after the reading is complete and then, within thirty days, the student will be given an oral exam of the material with her/his committee.

  • University 500—Continuing Enrollment

Classified, master’s level students, who are not otherwise enrolled during an academic term, for a minimal fee, can maintain access to University resources only by enrolling in UNIV 500.  Prerequisite: classified, master’s level student.

You can find a complete list of course offerings in the Graduate Catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does this program take?

Obviously the length of time it takes you to complete the program depends on the load you carry each semester.  A reasonable full-time load is 9 credit hours (3 courses) per semester.  At that rate, 3 semesters will complete your course requirements.  A student who starts in the fall, and stays close to a full load each semester should be finished—including the exit requirement—by the end of the spring semester of her or his second year.  January of that second year is a reasonable target if you are able to take courses or do thesis or internship work in the summer, and you start early on your thesis of internship project.

  • How often are courses in the catalog offered?

We regularly offer the required courses in specific semesters.  Graduate students are required to take Pro-Seminar in Sociology (SOC 500) Seminar in Social Theory (SOC 501) and Research Methods and Study Design (SOC 515) during their first year of graduate study.  We offer those seminars every fall semester.  Students must take Advanced Data Analysis (SOC 518) after successful completion of SOC 515; we offer this course every spring semester.  The department offers Research Practicum (SOC 592) every fall; graduate students must take this course in the fall of their second year of study.

  • What about evening courses?

500-level seminar courses are usually offered in one 3-hour evening session per week.  The 400-level courses are usually offered during the day, to accommodate undergraduate majors.

  • What if I took courses as an unclassified graduate student prior to entering the program?

Although the credits are in this University, you must specifically request that the credits be transferred into the Degree Program.  You can complete a Graduate Student Request Form, which is the standard petition form for all requests that require a decision by the Registrar's Office.  Submit a completed form to the Graduate Program Director.  The same principle applies if you were permitted to take a graduate 500-level course as an undergraduate student.

  • What if I need to petition for something else later?

The forms originate in the Registrar's Office in the Rendelman Hall.  Copies of the form are available there and we try to maintain a supply of them in the Department office as well.  Many of the forms you may need may also be available online.

  • How do I know if my request requires a Graduate School decision?

Ask the Graduate Program Director.  If you are planning some non-routine request and you are getting close to graduation or some other deadline, make sure to leave enough time to go through this petition process.  It may take three or four weeks.

  • What if I took courses at another University?

The Registrar's Office may have already accepted the course(s) for transfer credit.  This does not mean that the credits have automatically been accepted to apply toward your MA degree.  The Registrar's Office cannot do that without departmental approval.  You will need to fill out a Graduate Student Request Form and provide documentation concerning the content and level of the course.

  • What Grade Point Average do I have to maintain in my Graduate courses?

The Graduate School requires that you maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher on the 4-point scale.  Thus, in order to complete the program, you must have at least one course of Grade A to offset any grade of C that you receive.  If your GPA is lower than 3.00, you cannot graduate.  Also, you must get a grade of B or higher in all of your core courses, and any courses at all in which you receive a grade of less than B in the first 12 hours of graduate study cannot be counted toward your degree.  You can, however, repeat them to attempt to get a higher grade.

Course Descriptions (for updated course descriptions, check out the graduate school site)


420-3 LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP. Leadership as vision, competence, community, and fun. Applied to self, family, school, workplace, city, country, and world. Readings, presentations, self-evaluation, discussions, exams, and a portfolio.

421-3 INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY. Integration of individual and society, role structure and orientation to society, habits, communication channels, emergence, presentation, and defense of self.

422-3 WHITE-COLLAR CRIME.  An examination of the nature, extent, and distribution of white-collar crime as well as its causes, correlates, and control. Prerequisites: SOC/CJ 272 and junior/senior standing or consent of instructor.

431-3 EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE CHANGE. Practical application and critical analysis of theories, approaches, and strategies of organizational and workplace change. Organizations as mechanistic, organic, cultural, political systems; arenas of conflict.

440-3 SOCIOLOGY OF POPULAR CULTURE. Relevant theories, methodologies, and works of original research. Students apply knowledge gained by analyzing examples from contemporary popular culture.

441-3 HEALTH, ILLNESS, AND SOCIETY. Social determinants of sickness and death, illness as social behavior, patient-practitioner relationships, hospitals, issues in organization and delivery of health care.

444-3 GENDER, ETHNICITY, AND CLASS IN THE WORKPLACE. Traces the evolution of work for women of different races and classes, and studies what issues women now face in the public and private spheres.

470-3 SOCIOLOGY OF DEVIANCE. Behaviors such as prostitution, drug use, murder, robbery, sexual variance, rape, insanity examined theoretically and empirically.

472-3 EXPLAINING CRIME. Examination of the relationship between classical and contemporary criminological theory, research and policy. Prerequisite: SOC/CJ 272 or consent of instructor.

474-3 VICTIMS AND SOCIETY. Sociological analysis of war, crime, inequality, racism, sexism, and other victim-generating conditions and processes. A non-lecture, active-learning course. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

490-3 SPECIAL TOPICS IN SOCIOLOGY. Topics not included in regular course offerings. May be repeated or taken in multiple 3-credit sections without limit on the total number of credit hours taken, provided no topic is repeated.

500-3 PRO-SEMINAR IN SOCIOLOGY.  Class time will focus on practical skills that can be used while enrolled and over the life of students' careers.  

501-3 SURVEY OF THEORY. Classical and contemporary theory connecting to historical context, vision, research, application, and to other seminars in the sociology graduate program. Prerequisite: graduate standing.

502-3 SEMINAR IN INTERGROUP RELATIONS. Cross-cultural study of racial, ethnic, and inter-faith relations. Causes of conflict, accommodation, inequality, domination, acculturation, assimilation, pluralism.

503-3 SEMINAR IN APPLIED SOCIOLOGY. Applied sociology: its history, the application of sociology in its varied forms and contexts, and the roles, skills, and methods that sociological practice involves.

515-3 RESEARCH METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN IN SOCIOLOGY. Basic research methods and designs, analysis of social science data, logic of scientific inquiry. Includes preparation of thesis/internship research proposal.

518-3 ADVANCED DATA ANALYSIS. Data analysis methods used in quantitative social research including statistical analysis with SPSS and demographic techniques. Descriptive and inferential statistics including multivariate techniques. Prerequisite: one course in statistics.

521-3 SEMINAR IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. Theoretical systems, progress toward integrated body of behavioral theory.

536-3 ALTERNATIVES TO BUREAUCRACY. Why bureaucracy? What are the characteristics, problems, strengths, and weaknesses of bureaucratic organizations? Under what conditions do such organizations arise? What are the alternatives to bureaucratic forms of organization.

538-3 SEMINAR IN INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY. Analysis of theoretical, research, and policy issues: technological change and the organization of production, deindustrialization, industrial relations, and industrial policies in the global economy.

540-3 ALTERNATIVES TO CAPITALISM(S). A historical and contemporary examination of the various types of capitalisms internationally and the many social and theoretical movements challenging them.

542-3 SEMINAR IN GENDER AND GENDER INEQUALITY. Theoretical perspectives on the creation, reproduction, and maintenance of gender and gender inequality.

574-3 SEMINAR IN DEVIANCE. Theoretical approaches to such phenomena as drug addiction, mental illness, sexual variances, suicide, and criminal behaviors; emphasis on cross-cultural, historical, and empirical data.

578-3 SEMINAR IN CRIMINOLOGY. Classical and contemporary criminological research and theory. Class performs original research, replicates a significant existing study, theoretical interpretation and/or critique of important criminological work.

590-3 SPECIAL TOPICS. Seminar on topic not included in regular course offerings. May be repeated provided no topic is repeated.

592-3 RESEARCH PRACTICUM. Experience in carrying out and reporting a research project, includes hypothesis generation, data collection and analysis, and oral presentation and written report. Prerequisite: 18 hours of graduate course work including SOC 515 or permission of graduate adviser.

593a-3 GRADUATE INTERNSHIP-EXPERIENCE. Supervised work experience in research or public service organization; requires 140 hours of work time. May be counted toward completion of MA exit requirement. Prerequisite: consent of graduate coordinator.

593b-3 GRADUATE INTERNSHIP-REPORT. Written report relating sociological concepts to internship experience. Counts toward completion of MA exit requirements in combination with successful completion of SOC 593a. Prerequisite: SOC 593a.

595-1 to 6 INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH. Supervised research projects. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and graduate coordinator.

596-1 to 6 READINGS IN SOCIOLOGY. Supervised readings in selected subjects. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisites: consent of instructor and graduate coordinator.

599-3 to 6 THESIS. Supervised research in approved topic. Written proposal and oral defense required. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisite: consent of graduate coordinator.

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