Sociology (M.A.) Program Details

Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Thesis
    ❱   Final oral examination/Thesis defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Social Inequality
    ❱   Medical Sociology

Research Areas & Interests 

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Effect of racial bias and interracial anxiety on medical judgment
  • Investigations of how social, commercial, and political institutions interface with new technology and shape properties of technological affordance 
  • The historical relationship between forms of penal confinement and the accumulation of profits under economic systems
  • Africana/black feminist theory and intersectionality
  • Implications of violence (structural, spatial, and interpersonal) on reproductive and sexual health injustice for Black women
  • Social impacts of severe weather and protective action and evacuation responses of disaster victims
  • Public outreach in archaeology
  • Lived experiences of children of incarcerated parents
  • Coloniality and resistance concerning counter-memory and decolonial knowledge

Research Subfields

Social Inequality

This concentration focuses on the forces that produce and reproduce the various aspects of social inequality in the U.S. and global society. It analyses historical systems and structures of global capitalism and economic exploitation, political oppression, and domination, including white supremacy and patriarchy, and ideological and cultural hegemony and their contemporary expressions in the 21st-century globalized electronic-based society. It also examines agencies of transformation and social movements, the theory-practice nexus, and public sociology that seek to change policy and/or eliminate the systemic roots of social inequality. Students apply theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical skills to study various issues and problems related to social inequality and social change.

Medical Sociology

Medical Sociology focuses on the social contexts of physical and mental health. It examines the subjective aspects of illness, the interplay of social inequality and health and health behaviors, and physician-patient relationships, focusing on gender and race. In addition, it presents a discussion on the organization and structure of the healthcare system and the social forces that influence that system. Core courses also stress the dynamics of health populations, the etiology of diseases, the distribution of health conditions resulting from socio-demographic and related disorders, and health services research. Students apply their theoretical and analytical skills to investigate topics relevant to health, illness, and healthcare.

Program of Study* 


SOCI 300   Sociological Theory I

SOCI 301   Sociological Theory II

SOCI 310   Sociological Research I

SOCI 311   Sociological Research II

SOCI 219   Advanced Statistics I

Any two of SOCI 250, 302, and 303: Race, Inequality, and the Black Experience

**Students admitted into the program who have not completed undergraduate coursework in Sociological Theory, Sociological Research Methods, or Statistics must complete departmental prerequisite course requirements (SOCI 200, 210 and/or 211).

All students must earn a grade of B or better in each course designated as a core requirement.


A sampling of elective courses

SOCI 201  History of Social Thought

SOCI 265  Intergroup Relations

SOCI 441  Urban Policy Formation

SOCI 215  Medical Traditions Across Cultures

SOCI 230  Principles of Demography

SOCI 227  Sociology of Environmental Health

SOCI 284  Sociology of Mental Health

SOCI 622  Attitude Scale Construction

SOCI 233  Women in Development

SOCI 240  Urban Sociology

SOCI 250   Social Stratification

SOCI 251  Sociology of Poverty

SOCI 255  Sociology of Power

SOCI 525  Social Psychology of Organizations

SOCI 510  Experimental Research

SOCI 270  Principles of Criminal Justice

SOCI 643  Current Issues in Metropolitan Growth

SOCI 982  Readings in Medical Sociology I

SOCI 750  Issues in Stratification and Political Sociology

SOCI 487  Social Psychology of Aging and Health

SOCI 601  Contemporary Issues in Sociological Theory

SOCI 643  Current Issues in Metropolitan Growth


A student must research, write, and defend a Master’s Thesis that demonstrates the student's ability to integrate theoretical insights and methodological skills in the formulation and investigation of a sociological problem.

*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants).