Developmental Sociology Graduate Programs

Jan 16, 2019

Students who would like to pursue a graduate degree in developmental sociology can do so at either the master's or doctoral degree level. While these degree programs vary to some extent depending on the university that offers it, there are some commonalities among these programs. Find out some general information about graduate programs in developmental sociology to find out which program may be right for you.

Information About Developmental Sociology Graduate Programs

Programs in developmental sociology are generally focused on using sociology theory to tackle problems in community development, inequality, and various policy areas, among other issues. Some of these programs may allow students to further specialize their studies by selecting a track within the program or pursuing their interests through elective selection. In addition to coursework, master's degree programs typically require students to complete a master's thesis, capstone project, or additional elective courses, while Ph.D. programs require a doctoral dissertation. These research projects are generally undertaken during the second half of the program, while the first half is comprised of coursework. Five courses that are commonly found in these programs are discussed below.

Sociological Theory

Students in graduate programs in developmental sociology will likely take a course in sociological theory towards the beginning of the program to provide them with a foundation in the major tenets and philosophies of sociological thinking. In this course, students learn about some of the classical theories of sociology, including those of Marx and Weber, as well as more contemporary sociological theories. Additionally, the course focuses on the application of theory to real-world problems so that students are able to see how theories can be used when attempting to understand various social phenomena.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Design

These programs also likely include courses in both quantitative and qualitative research design methods, which provide students with the skills to conduct high-quality sociological research and collect and analyze data. A course that focuses on quantitative methods covers topics like variance, non-linear and linear regression, data cleaning, data estimation, and the use of different statistical programs like SPSS and SAS. A course with a qualitative focus discusses other forms of collecting data through the use of surveys, interviews, and observation. In addition, students learn how to devise appropriate research questions and plans.

Community Development

A course in community development is another common part of the curriculum of these graduate programs. In this course, students gain a broad understanding of the theory of community development, as well as how these theories have been practically applied. The course may also focus on the relationship between community development and community organizing; the role that other organizations likes governments and NGOs play in this field; and community development on a local, national, and international scale.

Natural Resource Management

Students may also be required to take a course that focuses on natural resource management, as this area is often crucial to the success of communities. This course provides students with a greater awareness of the relationship between natural resources and the communities in which they exist, and how natural resources affect the lives of people and societies. Students will likely discuss issues like public policy, economics, environmental awareness, and community development as they relate to natural resources.

Organizing for Community Change

Finally, a course that is focused on organizing as a catalyst for change is also commonly found in the curriculum of graduate programs in this field. In such a course, students gain an in-depth understanding of the roles played by various members of society, from individual citizens to large companies and government bodies, in community change, planning, and development. The course will likely include discussions on different approaches to community organizing and planning, the relationship between people and the governments that represent them, and topics like inclusiveness and social capital.

Admission Standards for Developmental Sociology Graduate Programs

When applying for a graduate program in developmental sociology, students need to submit a number of documents as part of a complete application file. These include a completed application form, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a CV or resume, a personal statement, an academic writing sample, and results from the GRE examination. Some programs may require that students have taken some sociology-related coursework during their undergraduate career, though it may be possible to gain conditional admittance to the program as long as students agree to complete prerequisite coursework before beginning the core curriculum of the program.

In review, graduate programs in developmental sociology are available to students and provide them with an advanced understanding in issues related to sociology and community development, preparing them for a wide number of jobs in a number of related fields.

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