Clinical Sociology Graduate Programs

Jan 15, 2019

Clinical and applied sociologists use their knowledge of sociology to help solve problems at the individual, community, or societal level. Sociological practitioners could focus upon medical sociology, criminal sociology, or other substantive disciplines. Read on to consider some degree options in this field, as well as the courses that those studying in this field might take.

Graduate Study in Clinical Sociology

Those who wish to become certified as sociological practitioners must pursue education at the master's or doctoral level in sociology.

M.A. in Applied Sociology

One option for those considering graduate study is to earn the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Sociology which often take two years of study to complete. Students will learn to recognize substantive societal problems, and the development of policies and interventions to solve them. They often begin the program with a series of core courses, and then focus on particular areas of interest and may be required to complete coursework and/or a thesis/applied project/internship/comprehensive examination. To apply, students will typically submit undergraduate transcripts, GRE scores, a resume, recommendations, and a statement of interest.

Ph.D. in Sociology

Students holding a closely related master's degree can expect to complete the Ph.D. in three years of full-time study; while those entering the program with a bachelor's degree can expect to spend five years until graduation. Depending on the school, program completion may require coursework, comprehensive examinations or field exams, and a research dissertation. Applicants should expect to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, a personal statement, and examples of a thesis or other scholarly research. Prerequisite coursework in statistics and sociological theory is expected and an interview may also be a component of the admissions process.

Core Courses

In either the M.A. or Ph.D. program, graduate students in sociology can expect to encounter a variety of courses designed to acquaint them with approaches to societal concerns. Some of these courses are described here.

Social Research

Within this course, students may be instructed in the major research methods utilized by sociologists, such as interviewing, survey research, and observation. The collection of data, and evaluation within various settings may be considered. Students may prepare a research proposal as a final project.

Medical Sociology

Within this course, students will undertake an overview of important sociological issues in the field of health and medicine. They may encounter information regarding the relationship between economic disparities and health concerns and illnesses. Students may also study the interactions between health care practitioners with other professionals, clients, and researchers.

Crime and the Law

A course in this field may focus on the sociological impact of the increases in penal imprisonment in America, particularly with those who are in marginalized social groups. Theorists who have written about order and criminal punishment may also be studied. The impact of incarceration on family life, health, and labor may be considered.

The Family and Domestic Violence

This course will provide students information regarding the role of the family as it relates to race, class, and gender. Topics on fertility, birth rates, and marriage may be considered. Theories and policies related to domestic violence may also be considered in context.


Students enrolled in this course will consider the research and theories of old age, including demographic and structural concerns associated with aging. Age stratification and inequality may also be analyzed. Interdisciplinary considerations from the fields of epidemiology and demography may be a component of the course.

Clinical sociologists can play an important role to individuals, groups, or communities dealing with a range of social issues. Graduate study at the master's or doctoral level allows students to take various courses in this field and become eligible for certification upon completing the graduate degree.

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