MA Degree Requirements

The requirements listed below are for information purposes only.  Official requirements for the Sociology M.A. are available in the most recent University Catalog of Studies online.

The Department of Sociology and Criminology offers two concentrations


Prior undergraduate work in social theory, research methods, statistics, and writing is considered necessary for successful performance at the graduate level.  The courses required to eliminate deficiencies:

  • SOCI 3303, Social Data and Analysis (or an approved equivalent)
    • Introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics, with special emphasis on common techniques in social research. Course focuses on the practical usage of data and application to real-world issues.
  • SOCI 3313, Social Research
    • Study and experience in implementing a methodological "toolbox," including theorizing, designing, measuring, sampling, collecting, interpreting, and reporting empirical results for real-world social research applications.
  • SOCI 3423, Social Theory (or an approved equivalent)
    • Examines the philosophical underpinnings of sociology; introduces notable classical and contemporary social theorists; develops an appreciation for the ways classical works continue to form the basis for contemporary social thought.

In addition, students interested in the criminology concentration just eliminate the following deficiency:

  • CRIM/SOCI 3023, Criminological Theory (for those in the criminology concentration)
    • Advanced survey of theories of crime causation. Examines broad sociological paradigms, as well as both individual and aggregate-level explanations of crime causation. Applies criminological theories to contemporary issues associated with crime and criminal justice.

Undergraduate deficiencies must be removed by taking the appropriate undergraduate courses during the first twelve hours of graduate work or the first time the courses are offered.

Core Requirements for Both Concentrations

SOCI 5001, Proseminar

  • An informal forum for graduate students and faculty to present and discuss ongoing research interests as well as the current state of the discipline.

SOCI 5013, Advanced Social Research

  • An examination of experimental and quasi-experimental designs used in the analysis of sociological data with focus upon appropriate units of analysis and design selection, sampling, interview techniques, and questionnaire construction.

SOCI 5253, Classical Social Theory

  • A survey of social theory up to the late 20th century. An introduction to the classical sociological themes that continue to inform research, analysis, and policy formation. Major issues will include the relationship between the individual and the community, and the sources of stability, conflict, and change.

SOCI 5313, Applied Data Analysis with SOCI 5311L, Applied Data Analysis Laboratory

  • Covers basic concepts and applications of the general linear model to a variety of sociological research issues and problems. Also provides an introduction to binary dependent and multivariate categorical data analysis for sociological research.
  • Provides instruction for data transformations required for the advanced statistical procedures used in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Sociology Concentration Requirements

SOCI 5083, Applied Qualitative Methods

  • An introduction to research strategies including intensive interviewing, participant observational fieldwork, content analysis, historical analysis, and comparative research. Emphasis on the practical aspects of designing and executive research involving multiple methods of data gathering and analysis.

SOCI 5263, Contemporary Social Theory

  • Analysis of contemporary social theories & major theoretical debates. Emphasis is on critical evaluation & application of theoretical perspectives to current social issues affecting families and communities.

SOCI 503V, Special Topics: Organizations in Society

  • Designed to cover specialized topics not usually presented in depth in regular courses.

SOCI 5043, Public Policy Children and Families

  • The study of the impact of public policy on children and families, and the ways in which policies are created, modified, and changed. Includes the history of public policy concerning children and families.

SOCI 5113, Seminar in Social Inequality

  • Major theories of stratification; types of stratification systems, comparisons of modern and traditional systems; emergent trends.

SOCI 5133, Community

  • A sociological analysis of the theory, methods and materials used in the study of the community.

SOCI 5153, Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology

  • Principles, concepts and methods used in analyzing effects of social structures and processes on the self and interaction. Topics include exchange theory, role analysis, symbolic interactionism, social construction of reality, socialization, interpersonal competence, organizational and leadership development, social dislocation, and stress.

SOCI 5233, Theories of Deviance

  • A survey of major theories-classical, developmental, ecological, functionalist, conflict, subcultural, control, and phenomenological-explaining morally condemned differences in society. Particular emphasis is on practical implications of each perspective for policy and social control.

 Criminology Concentration Requirements

SOCI 5413, Seminar in Criminological Theory

  • An examination of the causation of crime, focusing primarily on sociological theories.

SOCI 5423, Research in Criminology

  • Examination of empirical research in criminology, focusing on methodological problems, strategies, and findings.

SOCI 5433, Victimization

  • Study of the causes, correlates, and consequences of victimization, focusing on theories of victimization and the role of victims in the criminal justice system.

SOCI 5443, Seminar in Terrorism

  • Examination of the causes and consequences of terrorism.

SOCI 5453, Social Control

  • Study of sociological theories and research on formal social control, primarily institutional responses to criminal behavior.

SOCI 5463, White Collar Crime

  • Study of the nature of white collar, professional, and corporate crime.

SOCI 5473, Crime and Community

  • Examination of how neighborhood structural characteristics and social organization affect crime, as well as how the presence of crime and disorder in a community can affect neighborhood social organization.

Other Requirements

  • In addition to the common core courses, the courses required in a specific concentration, and the six hours of concentration-specific restricted electives, the students must take sufficient hours of electives to reach 32 semester hours total.
  • The Department retains the right to make exceptions to the list of concentration-specific electives. Such exceptions must be approved by the Graduate Committee and authorized in writing by the Graduate Director.
  • A maximum of three elective credit hours may be taken at the 4000 level without prior approval by the Graduate Committee. Students may apply three hours of independent study toward the degree provided that a research proposal is approved by the instructor prior to enrollment in the course. The student’s advisor must authorize courses outside of the department. Except in rare circumstances, no more than three hours of credit outside of the department will count for the degree.
  • The Department of Sociology and Criminology offers a thesis and non-thesis option. Completion of the program for all students is contingent upon passing a comprehensive examination covering major course work.