Founded in the mid-1890s, the Department of Sociology is one of the oldest sociology schools in the United States. The MA program in Sociology offers students tools and knowledge to think systematically about society, and develops their analytical, research, and writing skills.

Our MA offers students opportunities to develop analytical and research competencies that are valuable for careers in public policy, business, criminal justice, government, or various other organizations and industries that rely on social research. Students interested in research and analysis can enhance their understanding with courses in statistics, programming, and advanced research methods.

The MA program is 30 credits and its curriculum is organized along five tracks or principal fields: (1) Crime and Justice Studies; (2) Global and Comparative Processes; (3) Public Policy Analysis; (4) Health, Society and Policy; and (5) Global Migration and Refugee Studies. Students may work with the faculty in their area of interest if it does not fit neatly into one of the standard tracks. In addition to core courses, students take 18 credits of elective courses, 3 of which can be satisfied by the thesis option. To fulfill the requirements for one of the tracks, students must take at least three courses within the track and pass these courses with a minimum grade of "B" or better. Majors who complete the course requirements for one or more tracks will be awarded a certificate of completion upon graduation.

Program Requirements

  • Four required courses
    • SOC 501 Research Design and Methods
    • SOC 503 Social Statistics
    • SOC 512 Theories of Comparative Societies
    • SOC 604 Intermediate Social Statistics
  • Six elective courses from the list below
  • Thesis OR two research papers

Elective Courses

Students should meet with the departmental advisor to discuss their academic and professional interest and tailor a program of study that they should pursue as graduate students. Please note that the lists below are not exhaustive and that electives intended to satisfy a track requirement must be confirmed with the advisor. For more information about courses and to determine course offerings by semester, please consult Cardinal Station.

Crime and Justice Studies

The Crime and Justice Studies track is ideal for students interested in careers in the field of criminal justice, crime investigation, law enforcement, national security and transnational crime. At least one of the courses taken in this track must have an international component.

  • SOC 505 Sociology of Crime
  • SOC 510 Policing and Social Control
  • SOC 530 Families, Incarceration, and Inequality
  • SOC 515 Crimes in Urban Society
  • SOC 517 Crime and Its Control: a Survey of Crime and Delinquency
  • SOC 518 Current Issues in Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOC 520 Analysis of Terrorism Here and Abroad
  • SOC 532 Popular Culture and Crime in American Society
  • SOC 565 Keeping America's Borders Safe
  • SOC 607 Survey of Violent Crime
  • SOC 608 Terrorism and Religion
  • SOC 650 Race in Films

Global and Comparative Processes

The Global and Comparative Processes track serves students with an interest in international affairs, non-profit organizations, and public service.

  • SOC 519 State and Society in China and East Asia
  • SOC 520 Analysis of Terrorism Here and Abroad
  • SOC 524 Minority Relations
  • SOC 541 Religion and Society
  • SOC 543 Religion and Mental Health in Global Context
  • SOC 561 Migration and Development
  • SOC 563 Modern Social Movements
  • SOC 681 Population and Demographic Analysis

Public Policy Analysis

The Public Policy Analysis track is ideal for students interested in policy research and evaluation, social trend analysis and public administration and service.

  • SOC 525 Public Policy and Healthcare
  • SOC 543 Religion and Mental Health in Global Context
  • SOC 551 Social Inequalities
  • SOC 553 Social Inequalities in Health
  • SOC 561 Migration and Development
  • SOC 565 Keeping America's Borders Safe 
  • SOC 681 Population and Demographic Analysis

 Health, Society and Policy

The Health, Society and Policy track is ideal for students interested in healthcare systems, public health policy development and implementation.

  • SOC 525 Public Policy and Healthcare
  • SOC 543 Religion and Mental Health in Global Context
  • SOC 551 Social Inequalities 
  • SOC 553 Social Inequalities of Health
  • SOC 681 Population and Demographic Analysis

Global Migration and Refugee Studies

The Global Migration and Refugee Studies track is ideal for students interested in migration policy implementation, national development and transnational cultures. Students engaging in this track can consult with their advisor to have courses in other departments (e.g., Anthropology, Chinese, History, Irish Studies, Spanish, Politics, Theology and Religious Studies) approved as electives.

  • SOC 520 Analysis of Terrorism Here and Abroad  
  • SOC 524 Minority Relations
  • SOC 561 Migration and Development
  • SOC 565 Keeping America's Borders Safe 
  • SOC 681 Population and Demographic Analysis

General Electives

  • SOC 592/692 Directed Readings
  • SOC 593/693 Directed Research
  • SOC 594/694 Independent Study
  • SOC 595/695 Internship
  • SOC 696 Thesis Guidance
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