Although only a few programs offer fully online formats, online master's degree programs in sociology provide students with a thorough understanding of the interaction between individuals and the various social and cultural groups to which they belong. Curricula examine numerous groups that are both prevalent in contemporary American society and relevant to most individuals' daily lives. Social groups discussed could include employers, schools, government, religion and family. Students participating in online programs may need to purchase software programs.
Prior to entering an online master's program in sociology, students must obtain a bachelor's degree in sociology or a related field, or take a certain number of relevant credits in sociology or psychology.
Once in an online sociology master's program, students participate in online lectures and discussions that examine demographic groupings by gender, age, race and economic status. Participants are taught to examine the similarities and differences between these groups and understand how belonging to them affects an individual's identity, beliefs and culture. Students must generally complete 36 credit hours to earn their degrees.
The analysis of academic sociological research studies and the design and execution of original scholarly research projects may be a requirement for program completion. While some online programs offer a thesis component, which often prepare students for doctoral studies, others may call for a final comprehensive examination or capstone project instead. Below is a sampling of some of the courses required to complete an online master's degree program in sociology:
- Sociological research methods
- Theories of social stratification
- Organizational sociology
- Advanced educational sociology
- Sociology of developing nations
- Social inequalities
- Sociology of gender
- Sociological theories of family
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Though not widespread, a few universities throughout the U.S. offer online Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees in sociology. Refer to the table below for school information.
|University||Institution Type||Graduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016, In-state)||School Size|
|New Mexico State University||4-year, Public||$4,941||15,490|
|Sam Houston State University||4-year, Public||$7,213||20,031|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||4-year, Public||$7,340||18,333|
|The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley||4-year, Public||$6,498||28,584|
Requirements for admissions to a distance learning program vary by school. However, applicants may need to have a bachelor's degree in sociology or a related field. Other schools may only require a certain number of undergraduate credits in sociology, statistics or research. Prospective students may need to submit two separate applications, one to the graduate school and the other to the university's sociology department.
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Letters of reference
- Purpose statement
- Official transcripts
- Graduate Record Examination scores (may be required)
About Online Learning
Distance learning programs often use the interactive Blackboard teaching and learning system. Blackboard allows professors to post course materials and students to turn in assignments, take tests and participate in mandatory message board-based discussions. Its use does not require any additional computer software or technological equipment other than an Internet connection, a supported browser and Java capability. However, some course content or assignments may require the download, use or purchase of multimedia add-ons or programs.
Online master's programs in sociology are rare; however, there are schools that offer fully online programs that require either completion of a thesis, a capstone project or an exam. Admission into online sociology master's programs requires either a bachelor's degree in sociology or a similar field, or a set amount of undergraduate sociology or psychology credits.