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Grad Program: Sociology

Basic Information

Like most social sciences, sociology--the discipline which addresses all aspects of human interaction, from the most universal employer-employee interactions to studying urban growth and inner-city population shifts--is entering a new era of applied research. A degree demonstrates a clear understanding of the field’s methods and viewpoints, but modern-day sociologists take this experience further to develop practical applications based on what they have observed or studied. Research follows teaching as the most common career path for sociologists and often is used to evaluate the success of public programs and policies. Contemporary social scientists have responded to the realization that even the most seemingly insignificant changes in social interaction can have major consequences, and positions have been created in state and federal government agencies to examine the impact their policies have on their constituents.

Societies reflect their members, and some sociologists choose to work on an individual or family basis to make improvements one step at a time. Training and certification is available to students interested in becoming counselors, therapists, or social workers within government agencies.

Degree Information

Most schools with a department of sociology offer M.S. and Ph.D. programs, in addition to Master of Sociology (M.Soc.) M.S. programs typically require 30 hours of course work and a research thesis, while M.Soc. programs require 30 hours of course work and supervised credit hours in the field. Most importantly, M.Soc. credits are typically not transferable to a Ph.D. program. Doctoral students can expect to spend five to six years working on course work, dissertation research, and oral exams.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Are you an independent thinker who enjoys solving problems?
  • Does the faculty of the school you are considering share your research interests?
  • Does the program you are considering focus on the degree you want to obtain (M.S. versus Ph.D.)?
  • Does the program you are considering encourage collaboration between faculty and students?
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