Master's Degree in Sociology: Program Overview

Essential Information

Master's degree programs in sociology offer concentrations that allow students to narrow their focus towards eventual career goals, such as urban studies, social psychology or global studies. Programs can be completed in two years and both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. It is possible to earn a sociology master's degree online; however, some online programs require an internship or other practical work experience. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree, potentially in sociology or a related major, letters of recommendation, and minimum GPA requirements.

Master of Arts in Sociology

All master's degree programs feature core training in classical and contemporary social theory, statistics and sociological research methods. This training prepares students to examine sociological questions in education, medicine and law. Due to the scope of sociology, many master's degree programs feature concentrations in subareas such as social inequality, businesses and organizations, social psychology, social movements, globalization, urban sociology and politics. Other topics include social stratification, family structure, race and gender. Some programs require a research-based master's thesis; others may offer a non-thesis track. Sociology curricula vary but generally synthesize training in quantitative analysis and research with topics such as traits of specific societies. Common topics include:

  • Class structures and strata
  • Classical and contemporary social theory
  • Community and economic sociology
  • Education in urban contexts
  • Inequality and the underclass
  • Social movements

Popular Career Options

An M.A. in sociology may lead to careers in business, nonprofit management, education and law enforcement. Possible job titles include:

  • Customs agent
  • Federal investigator
  • Probation officer
  • Public relations specialist
  • Research associate

Continuing Education Info

Some M.A. programs are designed to help students transition to a doctoral program in sociology or a graduate program in social work. Ph.D. programs train students to be scholars and college instructors. Though a master's degree isn't necessary for medical or law school, some graduates do go on to apply to M.D. or J.D. programs; knowledge of sociology is useful for those working within the people-focused fields of healthcare and criminal justice.

A master's degree program in sociology helps students prepare for careers in fields such as business and education. Students learn about social theory, statistics, and sociological research methods.

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