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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.