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Graduate Catalog 2015-16


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Contact: Graduate Program Director

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Application Deadlines:
(Fall - July 10th, Spring - Nov 15th, Summer - April 1st); If you want to be eligible to apply for a Graduate Assistantship (GA), then the application deadline for having all of your application materials turned in moves up to February 15; a separate GA application is required.


The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice offers studies leading to the Master of Arts degree in sociology. Graduate work in sociology involves the advanced study of human social life, its processes, problems, and possible future forms. Areas of study include social problems and policies, deviance and crime, gender, race and ethnic relations, employment relations and complex organizations, social inequality, social change, theory, research, and data analysis.

Career objectives are furthered with an advanced degree in sociology. The study of sociology at the master's level strengthens students' analytical, research, and writing skills. These skills are useful in positions involving problem analysis, research and data management, effective communication, and leadership. Graduates of the master's program in sociology have used their degree as a stepping stone to a Ph.D. or law degree, a credential for a teaching position at a community college, preparation for doing research for private business or public service agencies, or for acquiring decision-making positions in diverse occupational settings. The program also accommodates persons who already hold positions in the public or private sector and for whom the graduate degree improves career benefits and opportunities.


For prospective students who meet the Graduate School admissions requirements, admission is usually routine for those who also meet the following requirements and standards: 30 or more semester hours in the social sciences (anthropology, political science, economics, psychology, history) including 21 hours in sociology, six of those hours being sociological theory and sociological statistics or methods, with grades of B or better. A final requirement is an overall grade point average of at least 2.7 (A= 4.0).

Together with the application for admission, all applicants must submit a writing sample and a written personal statement of 1-2 pages indicating their motivations and objectives for graduate study in sociology. The writing sample, which should be between four and fifteen pages in length, may consist of a paper turned in for a course or other written work prepared by the applicant. It should address some social scientific and preferably sociological issue.

Students may be admitted to the program at the beginning of any semester, but we encourage applications for admission in the fall semester because of course sequencing. Persons seeking admission for fall semester should apply no later than July 10 of the year in which they wish to begin their studies. Although all applicants are encouraged to apply to begin their studies in the fall semester, applications for other semesters will be considered up to the following deadlines: for spring semester -November 15; for summer term - April 1.


Requirements for the Master of Arts degree in sociology include 33 semester hours of graduate credit, distributed as follows:

Required courses (12 hours): SOC 501, 515, 518, 592. SOC 501, 515, and 518 are taken in the first year to ensure a basic knowledge of sociological theory, methods, and data analysis. SOC 592 is taken after completion of 18 hours, including 515, or with consent of the graduate program director. Students must receive a grade of B or higher in all required courses. Also, during the first 12 semester hours of graduate study, only courses with a grade of B or higher can be counted toward the degree.

Electives (15 hours): For those completing the Thesis or Internship exit requirements, students must complete 15 hours of electives, at least 9 hours of which must be sociology seminar courses at the 500-level.  For students completing the Comprehensive Exam exit requirement, students must complete 21 hours of electives, fifteen of which must be sociology seminar courses at the 500-level.  For all options, up to 6 semester hours of 500-level electives may be taken in related fields outside sociology when approved by the graduate program director.

Thesis, Internship, or Comprehensive Exam: By the completion of 18 semester hours and in consultation with the graduate program director, the student must select either to compete a: (1) Thesis: Six hours of SOC 599 (Thesis); (2) Internship: Threehours of SOC 593a (Graduate Internship-Experience) and 3 hours of SOC 593b (Graduate Internship-Report). The internship comprises two parts: (a) at least 140 hours of a supervised work experience in either a research or public service setting (SOC 593a), and (b) a substantial, original written report concerning a sociological issue related to the internship (SOC 593b). Guidelines for the internship report are included in the department's Graduate Student Handbook. Normally, the thesis or internship options will not be taken until the student has completed at least 24 semester hours of course work. 3) Comprehensive Exam: Successful completion of three written exams and one oral exam.  Normally, the comprehensive exam option will not be taken until the student has completed at least 33 semester hours of course work.


The completed thesis, internship report or written comprehensive exam must be defended in a final oral examination administered by the student's committee. Students pursuing the internship option must successfully complete an oral examination administered by the advisory committee. This examination will cover both the internship experience and the written internship report.

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