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Sociology and Criminology

The Department of Sociology and Criminology is a vibrant and diverse department offering both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology.

In the Department, the Master of Arts (M.A.) program serves primarily as the first graduate degree for students seeking academic careers and high level social science positions in the public and private sectors. Such students usually undertake a course of study that leads to the Ph.D. degree. Students seeking careers in middle level social science positions in the government or private sectors may pursue the M.A. program as a terminal degree.

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Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the Sociology Graduate Program, applicants must complete the Graduate School application, meet all the Graduate School requirements and be admitted by the Graduate School. Completed applications are reviewed by the department. 

Students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 3.0 or B. In addition, students must meet the University requirement to take the Graduate Record Examination (and the TOEFL if applicable), have submitted letters of recommendation from persons in position to evaluate their academic work, and forwarded a sample of their analytic writing (preferably a graded critical paper).

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of interest, official transcript(s) delivered and/or mailed in a sealed envelope by the Registrar of the college/university attended, and the most recent Graduate Record Examination scores.

In addition, limited graduate/teaching assistantships are available in the Department. To be considered for a graduate/teaching assistantship, complete the Graduate Assistantship application along with a letter of recommendation and a student copy of your transcript and return it to the Director of Graduate Studies

Degree Requirements

The Masters of Arts Program

Credit Hours and G.P.A
The M.A. in Sociology requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate course work in sociology beyond the B.A. degree exclusive of the thesis (which carries a minimum of 3 credit hours and a maximum of 6) with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 (B).

Academic Requirements
Core Course Requirements: 
All students must complete 18 credit hours of required core courses as follows:

Six (6) credit hours in Sociological Theory: Courses used to fulfill this requirement are SOCI-300 (Sociological Theory I ) and SOCI-301 (Sociological Theory II).

Six (6) credit hours in Sociological Research Methods and Skills: Courses used to fulfill this requirement are SOCI-310 (Sociological Research I ) and SOCI-311 (Sociological Research II).

Three (3) credit hours of Statistics: The course used to fulfill this requirement is 220-219 (Advanced Statistics I). 

Three (3) credit hours of General Sociology: The course used to satisfy this requirement is SOCI-392 (Perspectives in Sociology).

All students must earn a grade of B or better in each course designated as a core requirement. Failure to do so will mean that a grade of C or below in any of the core requirements must be considered an unsatisfactory grade and the course must be repeated.
Only grades earned at Howard University are used for computing the G.P.A..

* Students who are admitted into the program without either a Theory Course or a Statistic Course are required to take the departmental course requirements: SOCI-100 (Sociological Theory and Society) and SOCI- 110 (Elementary Statistics)

Sociology Electives:
All students must take twelve at least 12 graduate credit hours in electives in sociology.
All requirements for the degree, including the successful Final Oral Defense of the M.A. thesis must be satisfied within the time requirements for the M.A. degree.

M.A. Thesis
A student must write a thesis for the Master's degree. This demonstrates the student's ability to integrate theoretical insights and methodological skills in the formulation and investigation of a sociological problem. 

M.A. Thesis Advisory /Examination Committee 
The M.A. Thesis Committee consists of at least three graduate faculty members, one of which is the thesis advisor. The committee guides and reviews the student's thesis work (from the proposal stage through the final oral examination), verifies the completion of course work requirements, certifies to the department completion of the student's thesis research, and arranges for the final oral examination. 

Final Oral Examination for the MA Degree 
All M.A. students in Sociology must take and pass the Final Oral Examination. The examination covers the student's completed M.A. thesis and demonstrates the student's ability to discuss broad theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues in sociology. 
The Final Oral Examination is conducted by the student's M.A. Thesis Advisory/ Examination Committee. 
For further information and details on the policies for the Masters Program, please consult the Graduate Handbook for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.


Ph.D. Program

The focus of the Ph.D. program is on developing professional skills within specialized areas of sociology. These areas of study and examination for doctoral students represent distinct substantive concentrations that contain their own bodies of literature, reflect different theoretical perspectives, and may require different substantive and methodological knowledge. Students in the Ph.D. program must identify two (2) areas in which they will pursue course work and take the appropriate written Comprehensive Examinations. Listed below are the four specialized areas of study:

• Social Inequality: Race/Ethnicity/Nationality, Class and Gender/Sexuality
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 historic 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 a broad range of issues and problems related to social inequality and social change.d

• 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 with a focus 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 as a result of socio-demographic and related conditions and health services research. Students apply their theoretical and analytical skills to investigate topics relevant to health, illness, and healthcare.

• Criminology

Admission to Candidacy

Candidacy for the Master of Arts Degree

Please consult the Graduate Handbook for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology for information on admission to candidacy.

Candidacy for the Ph.D. Degree

The student will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in sociology after satisfying the following requirements: 1) Completing the dissertation proposal 2) completion of Graduate School and Department of Sociology and Anthropology requirements. Admission to candidacy must be received at least one semester prior to receiving the degree.

Residence Requirements

Master of Arts Program

M.A. students must spend at least one year or two semesters in full-time residence, and must enroll for a minimum of nine (9) credits each of these semesters The residency requirement need not, however, be fulfilled in consecutive semesters in full-time study. 

Ph.D. Program

At least four (4) semesters of full-time residence are required for the doctorate in sociology. To qualify for full-time residency, a student must enroll for at least nine (9) graduate course credits each semester.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School 
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
2400 Sixth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20059

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