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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Master's Program

Sociology Department

Degree Requirements: Master of Arts in Sociology and Social Research

The Master's degree is particularly suitable for students planning to subsequently apply to Ph.D. programs in order to prepare for scholarly careers in teaching at colleges and research universities, although it can also be useful for students interested in practicing sociology in an applied setting (e.g., academic administration or policy research). The Master's degree is completed by passing ten courses (30 credit hours), including five required courses, and having Plans of Study approved by the Director of Graduate Studies for every semester spent in the program (Plans of Study are only required for those enrolled in the terminal M.A. program). Students also have an option to complete a Master's Examination, including a Master’s Thesis or Paper, but it is not required for degree completion.

Required Courses

The core required courses for the M.A. degree are:

  • One course in sociological theory (either SOCY 7715 or SOCY 7716).
  • Two graduate-level courses in statistics (some options include SOCY 7702, SOCY 7703, SOCY 7704, SOCY 7705, SOCY 7706, SOCY 7708, SOCY 7709).
  • A one-semester course, Social Inquiry Research Seminar (SOCY 7710): Students should take the Social Inquiry Research Seminar (SOCY 7710) the first semester of their first year; note that this seminar also requires students to attend the first-year proseminar which meets weekly in conjunction with the departmental seminar.
  • One additional methods course:
    • Those who do not plan to write a Master’s paper/thesis will select this additional methods course in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. This course can be on either qualitative or quantitative methods; with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, the student may use SOCY 5540 Internship in Sociology or an applied course aimed at building career skills (such as a course in writing grant proposals) to fulfill this requirement.
    • Those planning to write a Master’s paper/thesis (which should include all students obtaining their M.A. as part of their Ph.D. training) should meet this requirement by attending the Empirical Research Seminar (SOCY 7711) in the Spring semester of their first year; this seminar will help students develop and refine their M.A. paper/thesis projects. Note that this seminar also requires students to attend the first-year proseminar which meets weekly in conjunction with the departmental seminar.
      • Students who choose to write a Master’s Thesis or Paper and take a Master’s examination are required to take SOCY 7761: Second Year Graduate Writing Seminar (students officially register for this biweekly year-long three credit course in the Spring of their second year; in the Fall of their second year, students working on their Theses/Papers are expected to register for a Research and Readings (R&R) course with their thesis advisors).

For more details on the requirements for the M.A. in sociology, see the department's Guide to Graduate Study.


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