Master's Level

We offer a Master of Arts (MA) degree as a step on the way to a PhD in Sociology. Study for the MA degree includes a sequence of required core courses, elective courses, and a master's thesis. Graduate study for the MA degree is expected to take two years of full-time or full-time -equivalent study (or less for a student transferring credit for prior graduate study).


For the MA degree, a student must earn 36 credits in approved graduate studies (or less if credit is transferred from graduate study completed at another institution). Graduate study for the MA requires ten courses (three credits each) and an MA thesis (six credits).

The Master’s Thesis

The master's thesis is expected to demonstrate ability to develop and execute a sociological-research project. The completion and defense of the thesis is expected by the end of the second year of graduate study and required by the middle of the third year.

During the second term of the first year, the student chooses a topic for the master's thesis and selects a thesis advisor. The student's MA thesis committee should consist of the thesis advisor and two other faculty members, approved by the director of graduate studies. Next, the student should submit and gain committee approval for a thesis proposal.

During the summer after the first year and throughout the second year, the student conducts the research to produce a thesis manuscript suitable for submission to an academic journal. The student defends the thesis in an oral examination conducted by the thesis committee.

This course of graduate study earns the MA degree and is also the basis for further study leading to the PhD degree.