The Master of Arts in Sociology provides students with theoretical and methodological skills necessary to undertake analysis of contemporary social issues and problems. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students seeking master’s level research skills for occupations requiring such expertise: in government, marketing, program planning and evaluation, business, the media, and in the nonprofit sector. The curriculum also prepares students who wish to pursue the Ph.D., whether in sociology or a related discipline. The Department of Sociology is a core part of the Ph.D. programs in Public Policy and Organizational Science at UNC Charlotte.
Program of Study
Coursework concentrates on building skills in research design, sampling, data analysis, interpretation and sociological theory. Students complete either a thesis, with oral defense, or a research practicum. Either option entails the student applying sociological knowledge to a problem/topic of his/her interest. In addition to traditional classroom courses, students can tailor their coursework to specific areas of interest through individualized tutorials. A variety of research interests are represented among the Sociology faculty. Among these are Education, Healthcare, Group Processes (Social Psychology), Social Movements, Stratification, Organizations, and Mathematical Sociology. Through coursework and tutorials students can gain a substantive knowledge base that complements their social research skills.
Additional Admission Requirements
- An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above
- Acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Demonstrated undergraduate competence in research methods, theory and statistics for social research.
- Eighteen credit hours of social science undergraduate courses.
The program requires 35 credit hours of coursework. To provide all students with a solid grounding in theory and methods of sociological inquiry, 12 credit hours of core courses are required (Pro-Seminar, Social Theory, Statistics, and Research Methods). In addition to the core, students must take one additional course in research methods and at least two elective courses in the department. Students must complete either a thesis (6 credit hours) or a research practicum (6 credit hours). The remaining 8 credit hours are electives.
Core Courses (15 credit hours)
Students must earn at least a B in each Core Course. Students earning a C in one of these courses must repeat the course and earn at least a B the next time it is offered. Students earning a C in two of these courses will be suspended from the program. The Graduate Program Director may waive the requirement for GRAD 6100 if the student presents evidence of quantitative skills comparable to what is learned in the course. This would not alter the number of credit hours required for the major.
Restricted Elective Courses (6 credit hours)
Select at least two SOCY courses.
Thesis or Research Practicum (6 credit hours)
Select one of the following:
Unrestricted Elective Courses (8 credit hours)
Subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director, students may take elective courses (up to 6 credit hours) from other departments as long as courses are at the graduate level (5000 or above) and the student’s areas of interest overlap with other programs (e.g., psychology, education, organizational science, public policy, history, geography). Courses taught in other programs (e.g., Public Policy, Organizational Science) by Sociology faculty do not count as coursework outside of the department.
Admission to Candidacy
Completion of at least 24 credit hours of required coursework is required for admission to candidacy.
The Department of Sociology offers both teaching assistantships and research assistantships; the latter are dependent upon faculty research funding. Teaching assistants assist faculty with coursework, or teach the undergraduate lab sections in research methods and statistics. They are paid approximately $10,000 for nine months of twenty hours per week work during the academic year. The workload and pay for research assistants varies. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of merit and experience.
While there is no formal system of ongoing internships, agencies do contact the department to find students who would be interested in an internship. Consequently, internships are optional and dependent upon a match between an agency’s needs and a student’s skills and interests.
The Graduate Director advises all graduate students until they select a person to serve as their Committee Chair.
With departmental approval, students may transfer in up to six credit hours of graduate work for which the applicant received a grade of B or above from another institution, related UNC Charlotte degree program or related post-baccalaureate work.
The student’s committee shall consist of three faculty members: the Chair and two other individuals who assist with completion of the thesis or research practicum. One member of the committee, not the chair, may be from outside the department.
Students formulate a theoretically motivated or applied research question or argument and collect or analyze existing empirical data to answer that question.
As an alternative to the traditional thesis, students have the option of a research practicum. This may be combined with an internship. The student works with an organization or agency to complete a research evaluation project for the agency.
Faculty members are actively engaged in research and students are strongly recommended to work with faculty to develop research expertise. In addition, a number of faculty members have funded research projects or internships on which qualified graduate students are able to work.
Other than the assistantships and waivers described above, the Department offers the Pearson Fellowship, which is awarded annually to a graduate or undergraduate student who has interests and goals in improving race relations, expanding social justice, and establishing a more peaceful world. The award is made every spring and consists of $1,000 to be applied to tuition at UNC Charlotte.