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Department of Sociology
Degree Programs - M.A.


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Master of Arts in Sociology

The Master of Arts program is designed to produce skilled social analysts and researchers. In a society awash in information and opinion based on low quality data, our MA students are trained to design and produce socially relevant research of the highest caliber. Intensive seminars focusing on social theory and selected specialty areas (e.g., Environmental Sociology, Sociology of Immigration, Social Movements) will sharpen your thinking and allow you to become a more effective communicator. In addition, we offer advanced methodological training that provides the opportunity to learn how to collect, analyze, and interpret a range of different kinds of data including in-depth interviews and surveys from representative samples.

MA program requirements build in a number of options so that you can design your course of study to best fit your own career aspirations. In general, the MA in Sociology requires the following:

1. Four required courses (i.e., Modern Sociological Theory, Research Methods and Design, Statistics, and Multivariate Techniques and Analysis).

2. Four elective courses (e.g., Environment and Society, Social Movements, Immigration, Aging and Health, Gender Roles, Social Inequality and Diversity, Family, Population, Social Issues in Regional Development, Qualitative Methods, Society and Coastal Policy).

3. Thesis, Practicum, or four additional courses.

Item 3 above includes three options for completing the degree. The thesis is an original scholarly work that demonstrates your ability to conceive and execute a research project. The practicum offers the opportunity to gain invaluable professional experience and may focus on applied social research or best practices in teaching, as described below. The extended coursework option is an alternative to the Thesis/Practicum route and provides students the opportunity to explore specific areas of interest.

Within this framework students may choose to follow one of three suggested tracks: Applied Social Research, Preparation for Doctoral Studies, or Community College Teaching.

Applied Social Research
Completion of the MA program will help you to develop the kinds of skills required for research-based positions in government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Our graduates work in social research positions in business, government and non-profit sectors like Pharmaceutical Product Development, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Research Triangle Institute to name a just a few.

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Preparation for Doctoral Studies
The MA program also offers excellent preparation for doctoral study. We have placed our graduates with funding in some of the Nation’s top PhD programs including The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, North Carolina State University, Emory, University of Pittsburgh, Michigan State University, and Ohio State University.

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Community College Teaching
Students pursuing a career in higher education as community college faculty are trained in the art of teaching and enter the job market with valuable skills and experience. The Sociology Department proudly maintains a tradition of teaching excellence and our Graduate faculty model active, engaging instruction enriched by their own scholarly research. Moreover, selected students complete a teaching mentorship program and are given the chance to teach their own class. Graduates have secured full-time positions throughout North Carolina’s Community College system.

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Departmental faculty members are highly research active, with publications in well respected Sociology and specialty journals and grants from numerous state and federal organizations. Though faculty research and teaching interests are varied, the department has an emerging focus on issues related to social inequality, stratification, and diversity. The newly established Center for Diversity and Inequality Research, housed within the department, offers opportunities to engage structurally perpetuated inequalities.

Members of the faculty are also affiliated with the Center for Health Services Research and Development, Center for Health Disparities Research, the Natural Hazards Research Center, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Coastal Science and Policy, the Center for Sustainable Tourism, the Regional Development Institute, the Women's Studies Program, the Religious Studies Program, the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center, and the Brody School of Medicine.

The department's Graduate Handbook provides information about graduate faculty and their areas of interest, coursework requirements, areas of concentration, the comprehensive exam, thesis and practicum requirements, assistantship support, and other matters related to the M.A. in Sociology. If you would like further information regarding the M.A. program please e-mail the Graduate Director.