Sociology, MA


Learn how patterns of social relationships and social interactions impact individuals, family members and workers.


Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Sociology

The MA program in sociology provides advanced training for those preparing for applied careers in sociology. Students gain knowledge and skills that can be used to promote healthy individuals and families. They develop an understanding of how social context influences well-being and an understanding of the factors that promote successful relationships and positive outcomes.

The online format provides easy access to rigorous and valuable information that informs best practices in improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. The program also includes a customizable culminating experience that allows students to focus their training in their areas of interest and work.



Curriculum

The Online Master's in Sociology requires a total of 30 credit hours. Each course in the Sociology MA program is designed and taught by experienced faculty who are trained in the area and have considerable expertise in delivering high-quality online education. Fall and Spring courses are 7.5 weeks long and summer courses are 6 weeks long.

A minimum of 30 hours is required.

Requirements and Electives Hours
Core courses 9
Research 3
Other Requirements 15
Culminating Experience 3
Total 30


Courses and electives

Learn more about the courses you must take within the Sanford School to complete the master's degree, including when those courses are offered. Note that most courses are offered just one time per year, making it important for students to carefully follow an approved course plan and work closely with the program's academic advisor.



At a Glance: program details

  • Location: online
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No




Degree Requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
SOC 585 Sociological Theory (3)
SOC 586 Capstone I or FAS 586 Capstone I (3)
SOC 587 Capstone II or FAS 587 Capstone II (3)

Electives (12 credit hours)

Other Requirements (6 credit hours)
SOC 500 Research Methods (3)
SOC 501 Social Statistics (3)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
SOC 588 Capstone III (3)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students should see the academic unit for a complete list of approved electives.

SOC 500 and SOC 501 may be replaced by equivalent courses with approval by the academic advisor.




Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. current resume or curriculum vitae
  4. a personal statement of goals relevant to the master's degree program
  5. two letters of recommendation from academic or professional backgrounds
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency; required is a TOEFL score of at least 600.

The personal statement must be four to five pages long, double-spaced, and it should address the applicant's professional goals, applicant's strengths for success in the program, and any relevant professional experience or responsibilities that have been completed.

Letters of recommendation must be from at least two individuals with a professional or academic background and connection to the applicant. Family members and friends do not meet this criterion. Letters of recommendation will be received electronically.

Applicants should see the program website for application deadlines and admission terms.



Additional Information

Financial Support

Financial Support

Through the generosity of special contributors, the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics is able to provide our students with funding. Sanford School Master’s students are encouraged to apply. The number of positions and scholarships vary from year to year depending upon the number of current and entering graduate students who are eligible for support, and the financial support available to the school.

In order to apply for a Sanford School scholarship, students must complete and submit the online Sanford School Scholarship Application for Master’s Students. Applications are not considered complete until the required recommendations are received. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required materials are submitted by the deadline.   

Application Deadline:  Scholarship applications for Fall are due by February 15.

Susan Coleman Scholarship

This award is for one academic year, distributed over 2 semesters (second semester distribution based on continued satisfactory academic performance). It is for students who show a strong commitment to a professional career that addresses needs of an aging population (evidenced in application and history of previous employment, internships, activities, and involvement in area).  Preference will be given to those students who indicate financial need. In order to apply, you must:

  • be an online graduate student enrolled either part-time or full-time in either the online Sociology or Family and Human Development master's program
  • show a strong commitment to professional career that addresses needs of an aging population (evidenced in application and history of previous employment, internships, activities, and involvement in area)
  • maintain 6 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters for the year in which they receive the scholarship.
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

Del Webb Scholarship

This award is for one academic year, distributed over 2 semesters (second semester distribution based on continued satisfactory academic performance). It is for students who indicate evidence of volunteer activities with older adults.  Financial need is not a factor in the selection process. In order to apply, you must:

  • be an online graduate student enrolled either part-time or full-time in either the online Sociology or Family and Human Development master's program
  • provide evidence of volunteer activities with older adults
  • provide a statement of interest on application that must outline career directions
  • maintain 6 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters for the year in which they receive the scholarship
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher

Scholarship in Honor of Connie Thomas

This award is for one academic year, distributed over 2 semesters (second semester distribution based on continued satisfactory academic performance). It is for returning students who participate in community service. In order to apply, you must:

  • be an online graduate student enrolled either part-time or full-time in either the online Sociology or Family and Human Development master's program
  • have spent at least 24 consecutive months as a non-student during adult life
  • provide evidence of at least 12 months of community service
  • maintain 6 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters for the year in which they receive the scholarship
  • have cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher

Financial Aid

In addition to Sanford School scholarships, there are various sources of financial aid through the University.  Students should contact ASU’s student financial aid office or visit http://asuonline.asu.edu/what-it-costs/scholarship-opportunities for more information.

Graders

A limited number of paid student-hourly grader positions are also available as part of the Sanford School’s Undergraduate Online Program.  Students interested in applying for these positions should contact Dr. Amy Reesing (amy.reesing@asu.edu).

Specialization

If you are interested in aging and development across the lifespan, consider supplementing your Family and Human Development or Sociology masters degree by completing a Specialization in Life Course and Aging. Students can obtain this specialization through the completion of the following courses:

Typical 30 credit hours of masters coursework (FHD MS or SOC MA at ASU) plus
FAS/SOC 591 Infant/Toddler Development
FAS/SOC 591 Adolescent Development
FAS/SOC 591 Aging

In order to indicate your interest in completing the specialization and receive permission to register for one or more courses, please visit https://forms.gle/Q5Ga4JjFEAfNf27c7.

  • Specialization courses are typically offered each Fall B and Spring B; however, see course schedule to confirm course offerings.
  • Only students in the specialization can register for the specialization courses.

Questions? Email gradadvisingsanford@asu.edu

Financial Support: Through the generosity of special contributors, the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics is able to provide some students with funding to support their interests in the aging process and/or addressing the needs of an aging population. Students in this specialization are strongly encouraged to apply for these scholarships.

Curriculum

Curriculum

Each course in the Sociology MA program is designed and taught by experienced faculty who are trained in the area and have considerable expertise in delivering high-quality online education. 

The Online Master’s in Sociology requires a total of 30 credit hours, including 4 core courses (SOC 585, SOC 500, SOC 501, SOC 598 Diversity), 3 Structured Topic Courses, and 3 capstone courses.

Fall and Spring courses are 7.5 weeks long and summer courses are 6 weeks long.

The table below indicates when these SOC MA courses are offered (note that only capstone courses are offered more than one time per year):

Course Number/Name When Course is Offered
SOC 585 Sociological Theory (3 hours) Fall A
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Leadership and Social Justice, 3 hours) Fall A
SOC 500 Research Methods (3 hours) Fall B
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Marriage and Family Relationships, 3 hours) Spring A
SOC 501 Social Science Statistics (3 hours) Spring B
SOC 598 Diversity and Society (3 hours) Summer A
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Social Change, 3 hours) Summer B
Culminating Experience/Capstone Courses (9 hours)
          SOC 586 Capstone Project I (3 hours) Fall B, Spring B
          SOC 587 Capstone Project II (3 hours) Spring A, Summer B
          SOC 588 Capstone Project III (3 hours) Fall B, Spring B, Summer B

View brief descriptions of SOC MA courses.

Sample Course Plan

Below is an example of a course plan for a student beginning the program in Fall. Students can choose to follow an accelerated course plan (2-3 courses per semester) or an extended course plan (1 course per session). Course availability and financial aid requirements can influence a course plan; therefore, it is important that students work closely with the Sanford School program advisor to develop and follow an appropriate course plan. Structured course topics (courses for which topics may vary) are indicated by * in the course plan below. If you are a current student with course plan questions, please e-mail gradadvisingsanford@asu.edu. If you are a prospective student with course plan questions, please e-mail graduatesanford@asu.edu.

Sample course plan for students beginning in Fall:

Fall A Fall B Spring A Spring B Summer A Summer B
Year 1 SOC 585 SOC 500
SOC 586
SOC 598* SOC 501 SOC 598 Diversity SOC 598*
SOC 587
Year 2 SOC 598* SOC 588

Capstone Courses and Culminating Experience

The Online Master's degree in Sociology includes three capstone courses that must be taken in sequence, ending with a non-thesis, applied culminating experience. Each part of the Capstone experience allows for some customization to fit individual students' professional and academic needs and interests. Ultimately, this culminating experience will provide students with a deeper understanding of sociological concepts, as well as professional competencies and insights.

The capstone experience consists of the following parts:

  • Capstone Project Part I: Professional Development. Capstone Project I allows students to explore and begin to specify their professional goals and means of obtaining those goals. This process of professional exploration and goal specification will help ensure that, together, the student and student's capstone instructor can craft personalized Capstone Projects and experiences that maximize the student's potential of obtaining their goals.
  • Capstone Project Part II: Exploration/Specialization. Capstone Project II allows students to delve into their area(s) of interest, developing a greater depth and understanding of topics that influence children, youth, and families, and that further the student's academic and professional goals. Students develop and enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills through various assignments.
  • Capstone Project Part III: Application. Capstone Project III is the culminating experience for the master's program and is taken in a student's last session of the program. This is the point at which students apply what they have learned through their coursework. Once again, the emphasis is on a personalized and useful experience for the students. In consultation with a capstone instructor, the student will fashion a field experience plan that allows the student to gain real-world experience related to sociology. Activities that fulfill the field experience requirement are vast and varied, often limited only by a student's creativity.

Program Faculty

How to Apply

How to Apply

The Sanford School application process is completed online through ASU Graduate Education. Prospective students must submit the admission application form along with supplemental materials, official transcript, and fee.

Application Deadlines:

Applications are accepted for entry Fall, Spring, or Summer. In order to be considered for a semester, all application materials must be received by the applicable deadline listed below. Incomplete and late applications will not be reviewed.

Apply by: To start the program in the:
July 30 Fall A session (begins mid-August)
December 15 Spring A session (begins mid-January)
May 1 Summer session (begins mid-May)

Admission Requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an institution with regional accreditation
  • Typically, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • GRE scores are NOT required

Application Process:

1. Carefully review the Master's Program Graduate Handbook and the FAQ page to ensure you understand the program, policies, and procedures.

2. Submit Graduate College Application

  • Complete the Graduate College at ASU application at https://webapp4.asu.edu/dgsadmissions/Index.jsp
  • Official Transcripts. Request your official collegiate transcripts to be sent to the Graduate College. ASU transcripts do not need to be sent. Send official materials to Graduate Admission Services. Learn more at https://admission.asu.edu/graduate/apply.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae. Your resume must summarize your academic and employment experiences, as well as applicable community involvement.
  • Personal Statement. Please submit a personal statement that is four to five pages long, double-spaced, and addresses the following:
    • State your professional goals and reasons for desiring to enroll in this program.
    • Describe your strengths that will help you succeed in the program and in reaching your professional goals.
    • Describe the relevant responsibilities you have held.
    • Include any additional information that you feel will help the committee evaluate your application.
  • Two letters of recommendation. These letters should be from people who know you as a student or in a professional capacity. Letters from family members or friends do not meet this criterion. You will submit the names and work e-mail addresses for these individuals as part of the online graduate application. Once your application is submitted, they will receive instructions on how to electronically submit their recommendation letters.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English (regardless of where they may now reside) must provide proof of English proficiency. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 600 is required of any applicant whose native language is not English.

3. International Students – Required additional materials

International applicants must also meet all of the requirements and supply all of the information requested by the Graduate College at https://admission.asu.edu/international/graduate-apply.

If you have any questions about the program, or are interested in the application process, please email graduatesanford@asu.edu.

FAQ

SOC Online Masters FAQ

Program fit and careers

Is this program for me?

What can I do with this degree?

Will I graduate from this program with any special licenses or certifications?

Online format and coursework

How does an online class work? Do I need to "attend" class online on specific days and times?

How long is each class?

Do I need to come to campus to complete this degree?

Do you accept transfer courses/credits?

What does a sample schedule for this program look like?

Applying

How do I apply?

When are applications due?

Are GREs required?

If I am completing (or completed) a major unrelated to Sociology, can I still be admitted into this program?

Program cost

How much does the program cost?

Does the program offer any special scholarships, grants, or teaching/research assistant positions to help cover program costs?

Can I work while going to school?

General program information

Is this program accredited?

When can I begin the program?

How long does it take to complete the program?

Do you accept transfer courses/credits?

If this program does not require a thesis, what does it require?

Will I graduate from this program with any special licenses or certifications?

Will my diploma or transcripts specify that this is an online program or that courses were taken online?

For more information

If I still have questions, who should I contact?

Description of SOC MA Courses

SOC MA Course Descriptions

SOC 585 Sociological Theory

This course will focus on sociological theories from classical to contemporary where students will read ideas from the foremost thinkers in sociology. Theory is used in everyday life – on an anecdotal level, we may formulate a theory as to why we're friends with certain people. Sociological theories, however, are much more encompassing and inform of us about broad social issues and phenomenon. For example, why do people commit crimes, why is there poverty, why do some families have more conflict than others? This course will help students understand social thought in human culture.

SOC 500 Research Methods

This course is designed to strengthen your ability to evaluate and conduct social research. We will first focus on the fundamentals of social research, including: the scientific method, developing testable theoretical propositions, causal inference, sampling, and measurement. We will also explore the diverse methods available to social scientists, including surveys, social experiments, observation and ethnography, and content analysis, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

SOC 598 Leadership and Social Justice

This course will expose you to current literature on leadership, especially as related to social justice. It will allow you to practice leadership in a "safe place," where failure can be seen as personal growth as well as success. This course also is designed to provide you with new knowledge about yourself, others, and social justice. It will prepare you for real world leadership and strategic planning.

SOC 598 Marriage and Family Relationships

The purpose of this course is to contribute to students' understanding of family theory and the use of theory to understand family interactions in society. Major theoretical perspectives on family relationships will be introduced from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, history, and economics. Emphasis will be placed on enhancing students' ability to critique, compare/contrast, and integrate family theories. Each week there will be scholarly discussions and analyses of the ideas contained in the reading material and the implications of the theories for our understanding and study of families.

SOC 501 Social Science Statistics

This class is designed to introduce you to the statistical concepts necessary for understanding research in the social sciences and the application of that research in real world settings. This class will help you to (a) analyze, organize, and interpret data using common statistical tests conducted with SPSS, (b) understand the logic of common data analysis techniques, (c) choose appropriate statistical procedures, and (d) critically assess statistics encountered in both the popular media and academic settings. The primary focus of this course will be on applied statistics and does not require an advanced mathematical background. If you are someone who plans on working in settings outside academia but desires to be a wise consumer of information, this class is an excellent choice. If, on the other hand, you are someone who wants to conduct research and analyze data in an applied setting, this class will start you on the path to understanding and selecting appropriate statistical techniques.

SOC 598 Social Change and Innovation

This SOC 598: Social Change and Innovation course takes a theoretical and research-based approach to the study of social change and how we adapt to those changes. The readings we will study largely focus on macro-level sociological perspectives that look at social systems, social mobility, development, and social change. We will use and critique historical theoretical contributions from sociologists and social theorists to analyze and explain historical and contemporary social change issues, such as technological innovations, social movements, state and corporate interests, and large-scale global concerns such as climate change, demographic shifts, and population growth.

SOC 598 Diversity

This course examines issues of diversity in families within the United States and around the world. It explores the context of individual family units with a focus on family systems theory and larger systemic issues affecting diverse families utilizing critical race theory. Today, families in the United States are more diverse, in terms of structure, culture, and ethnicity, than at any other point in history. At the same time, common family experiences are shared across groups, across cultures, and across borders. The course explores risk and protective factors associated with ethnoracial, physical, religious, and sexual diversity, as well as resilience, prevention strategies, and future directions. This class is atypical in its approach to family diversity issues in that it does not examine families by categorizing them into groups that are viewed as monolithic and unchanging. Thus, do not expect to learn about "Asian families" or "Hispanic families" or "African families;" rather, expect to learn about families/family dynamics and the reciprocal influence of culture, ethnicity, economics, and politics.

Capstone Courses and Culminating Experience

The Online Master's degree in Sociology includes three capstone courses that must be taken in sequence, ending with a non-thesis, applied culminating experience. Each part of the Capstone experience allows for some customization to fit individual students' professional and academic needs and interests. Ultimately, this culminating experience will provide students with a deeper understanding of sociological concepts, as well as professional competencies and insights.

The capstone experience consists of the following parts:

  • Capstone Project Part I: Professional Development. Capstone Project I allows students to explore and begin to specify their professional goals and means of obtaining those goals. This process of professional exploration and goal specification will help ensure that, together, the student and student's capstone instructor can craft personalized Capstone Projects and experiences that maximize the student's potential of obtaining their goals.
  • Capstone Project Part II: Exploration/Specialization. Capstone Project II allows students to delve into their area(s) of interest, developing a greater depth and understanding of topics that influence children, youth, families, and communities, and that further the student's academic and professional goals. Students develop and enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills through various assignments.
  • Capstone Project Part III: Application. Capstone Project III is the culminating experience for the master's program and is taken in a student's last session of the program. This is the point at which students apply what they have learned through their coursework. Once again, the emphasis is on a personalized and useful experience for the students.  In consultation with a capstone instructor, the student will fashion a field experience plan that allows the student to gain real-world experience related to sociology. Activities that fulfill the field experience requirement are vast and varied, often limited only by a student's creativity.

Courses and Electives

Core Courses (9 hours)

  • SOC 585 Sociological Theory (Fall A)
  • SOC 586 Capstone 1 (Fall B, Spring B)
  • SOC 587 Capstone 2 (Spring A, Summer B)

Research (3 hours)

  • SOC 500 Research Methods (Fall B)

Other Requirements (15 hours)

  • SOC 501 Social Statistics (Spring B)
  • SOC 598 Diversity and Society (Summer A)
  • SOC 598 Leadership and Social Justice (Fall A)
  • SOC 598 Marriage and Family Relationships (Spring A)
  • SOC 598 Social Change and Innovation (Summer B)

Culminating Experience (3 hours)

  • SOC 588 Capstone 3 (Fall B, Spring B, Summer B)

Capstone courses

The Online Master's degree in Sociology includes three capstone courses that must be taken in sequence, ending with a non-thesis, applied culminating experience. Each part of the Capstone experience allows for some customization to fit individual students' professional and academic needs and interests. Ultimately, this culminating experience will provide students with a deeper understanding of sociological concepts, as well as professional competencies and insights.

The capstone experience consists of the following parts:

  • Capstone Project Part I: Professional Development. Capstone Project I allows students to explore and begin to specify their professional goals and means of obtaining those goals. This process of professional exploration and goal specification will help ensure that, together, the student and student's capstone instructor can craft personalized Capstone Projects and experiences that maximize the student's potential of obtaining their goals.
  • Capstone Project Part II: Exploration/Specialization. Capstone Project II allows students to delve into their area(s) of interest, developing a greater depth and understanding of topics that influence children, youth, and families, and that further the student's academic and professional goals. Students develop and enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills through various assignments.
  • Capstone Project Part III: Application. Capstone Project III is the culminating experience for the master's program and is taken in a student's last session of the program. This is the point at which students apply what they have learned through their coursework. Once again, the emphasis is on a personalized and useful experience for the students. In consultation with a capstone instructor, the student will fashion a field experience plan that allows the student to gain real-world experience related to sociology. Activities that fulfill the field experience requirement are vast and varied, often limited only by a student's creativity.

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