Graduate degree programs in applied sociology typically prepare students for research-based positions in the field of sociology and usually allow students to specialize in a specific area of the field. Students in these programs may also have the opportunity for hands-on learning through practicum or internship experiences. Here we explore a few of the different graduate degree programs in applied sociology that are commonly available.
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Types of Graduate Programs in Applied Sociology
Master of Arts in Applied Sociology
Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Sociology degree programs may range from about 30 to 38 credits and typically require students to maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Several of these degree programs provide students with additional areas of concentration, such as teaching, community leadership, sociology of health, applied research, women, gender and race or environment, sustainability and globalization. It is fairly common for these program to offer a thesis and non-thesis option and/or an optional field or practicum experience, which may be included as a non-thesis requirement option. Students in these programs may take core courses in topics such as social research, social theory and data analysis.
Master of Science in Applied Sociology
Master of Science (MS) in Applied Sociology degree programs are a little less common than MA programs and typically require around 36 credits for completion. These programs may also offer additional areas of concentration, such as criminal justice or globalization and sustainability, although these options are typically fewer than the MA program. Students can usually choose from a thesis option or a non-thesis option, which generally requires additional coursework or an internship experience in place of a thesis. Coursework for MS programs are generally more research-focused than the MA program and may include topics in research design, program evaluation, research methods, statistics and social theory.
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Sociology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) specifically in applied sociology are rare and may require as little as 34 credits that can be completed in 2 to 3 years, but more commonly available are PhD programs in Sociology with a focus in applied research that may require around 60 to 72 credits for completion. However, most of these programs do require students to complete comprehensive examinations and a dissertation with a defense prior to graduation. Students in these programs can usually focus their studies in a major area of concentration, like families and communities, social inequalities, domestic violence, health or globalization. Courses for these programs vary based on these concentrations and research interests, but students may take courses in topics such as sociological theory, social policy, writing, research methods and program evaluation.
Common Entrance Requirements
Those wishing to apply to graduate degree programs in applied sociology must have at least a bachelor's degree and usually need a minimum GPA of a 3.0. The majority of these degree programs at both the master's and doctoral levels require GRE scores and some programs may expect students to have prior coursework in areas like sociology, statistics and research methods. Most of these programs require students to include letters of recommendation and a personal statement, letter of intent and/or essay with their application. Some doctoral programs may also require a writing sample, resume and/or have an interview process for candidates.
Students can earn an MA, MS or PhD in Applied Sociology and further specialize their studies to focus on a particular area of interest. These programs vary in length and typically provide a thesis option at the master's level and require a dissertation at the doctoral level.