The MA Program
The MA Program requires two years of graduate study and is expected to lead onward to the PhD. Appropriate background for entry to the master's program includes courses in sociological theory, research methods, and statistics plus nine additional hours of coursework in sociology. Exceptionally qualified candidates (as evaluated from their GRE scores and other components of their application packages) with less background in sociology may be accepted into the program.
Students may be permitted to transfer some coursework at the graduate level from another institution. The maximum number of transfer credits depends upon each student’s situation.
The student's MA Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members from sociology department. The student may substitute one of them for a graduate faculty member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or graduate advisor. At least one of the committee members has to be a full graduate faculty. If the student has a minor field, a representative from the minor department must also be on the committee.
Before the final semester (generally the spring semester of the second year), the student must decide whether s/he will write an empirical research paper or an MA thesis. If writing an empirical research paper, the student may elect to take SOCL 8900 (Research in Sociology), although taking these credits is not a requirement. If writing an MA thesis, the student must take six hours of SOCL 8000 (MA Thesis Research), supervised by a faculty member who will serve as the chair of the student's committee. The faculty member must agree to the content of the research paper or thesis before the student is permitted to enroll in the course. An oral examination is required in accordance with normal procedures of the Graduate School. MA degrees with empirical papers are considered “non-thesis degrees” by the Graduate School.
Final Exam for the MA Degree: Defense of Thesis or Empirical Paper
a. Application for Degree
(mid- to late January for Spring semester, mid- to late August for Fall semester, or early May and early June for Summer term). In addition, Request for Master's Examination form must be submitted three weeks prior to the date of the exam. The empirical paper or thesis must be submitted to the student's committee at least two weeks prior to its defense (Final Exam).
Graduate students, at the request of the graduate director, will submit an annual report summarizing their academic activities during the past year.