Program: M.A., Sociology

Program Description

The M.A. graduate program in Sociology is intended for students who are interested in pursuing doctoral degrees and careers in teaching and research after the completion of the M.A. degree; the degree as preparation for various occupations; or pursuing their liberal arts education further in the field of Sociology.

Program Requirements

A. For Admission to Classified Graduate Status in the Program

  1. University requirements for classified status. Department evaluation and approval are required for admission to either classified or unclassified graduate standing.
  2. Bachelor’s degree, including all Sociology undergraduate Core requirements or the equivalent.

B. Sociology Department Requirements for Graduate Admission

  1. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 will be considered, but are required to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and score in the upper 50th percentile in at least one of the three portions of the test.
  2. A bachelor’s degree with a major in Sociology that includes undergraduate core requirements (or the equivalent) in classical sociological theory, contemporary sociological theory, statistics and research methods.
    Applicants without a major in Sociology (or applicants with a sociology major who have not completed undergraduate core requirements) need to fulfill certain prerequisites in sociology for classified status. These may be determined in consultation with the Sociology department graduate coordinator.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members who know the applicant’s potential for success in graduate studies.
  4. Transcripts of undergraduate work.
  5. A 10-12 page (double spaced) writing sample (term or research paper).
  6. Written statement of purpose.

The department’s standards for admission are higher than those required by the University. The department will determine whether a student meets the additional requirements needed for admittance into the Sociology graduate program. All material must be submitted to the Sociology department by the department’s deadline to be considered. See the Graduate Programs section in this Catalog for additional information regarding classification. For further information, contact the Sociology department graduate advisor.

C. Program Requirements

1. Required Courses (12 units)

SOC 601 Sociological Theory in Historical Perspective (3)
SOC 670 Studies in Contemporary Sociology (3)
SOC 690 Social Research (3)
SOC 691 Advanced Social Research Techniques (3)

2. Approved Graduate Courses (12 units)

Most of these units should be targeted toward the student’s area of specialization. One of these courses should be SOC 680—Advanced Quantitative Methods, which is considered a prerequisite course for SOC 690. Students also are strongly encouraged to enroll in SOC 695C—Graduate Proseminar during their first year of study.

3. Electives (6 units)

Selected from Sociology or related fields with advisor approval.

4. Culminating Experience (1-3 units)

a. Comprehensive Examinations (3 units)

Three areas, including sociological theory, sociological research methodology and one of the following: sociology of aging, social psychology, ethnic relations, sociology of family, organizational analysis, medical sociology, sociology of gender and sex, sociology of work, and criminology and criminal justice.

Students must enroll in SOC 697—Directed Comprehensive Studies, on a Credit/No Credit basis in the semester in which they plan to take the comprehensive exam.

b. Master’s Thesis (1-3 units)

After having completed 15 units (but no more than 24 units) of graduate work, of which at least 9 units are in 500- to 600-level courses with a 3.50 GPA in graduate core courses and with no grades below a “B,” a student is required to:

  1. Pass a qualifying examination in Sociological Theory and Methodology.
  2. Name a thesis advisor and satisfactorily complete an 8-10 page thesis proposal. At a thesis proposal hearing, the student will be orally examined on the proposal and on sociological theory and research methods. The advisor, in consultation with the graduate committee and the department chair, will recommend whether the student proceeds to the full thesis. Students enroll in SOC 698—Thesis Project on a Credit/No Credit basis in the semester in which they plan to complete the thesis.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 31-33


Chair: Karen Morgaine
Santa Susana Hall (SN) 321
(818) 677-3591

Graduate Coordinator: Lauren McDonald
(818) 677-4267