Mar 01, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024

Sociology, M.A.

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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.

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 their 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.

An optional Concentration in Applied Social Research is available.  It is designed for students who want to further develop their skills for applied social research.  It is an ideal option for students who are interested in using their sociological training to analyze social issues and to solve practical problems. This concentration can be completed in one year of study.

Admission Requirements

  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Demonstrate undergraduate competence in research methods, theory and statistics for social research
  • 18 credit hours of social science undergraduate courses
  • Complete application submitted online through the Graduate School’s application system including: statement of purpose (essay); three letters of recommendation; transcript(s) of all academic work attempted beyond high school; official GRE scores (optional); and resume

Note: Standardized test scores (e.g., GRE, GMAT, MAT) are optional, but not required.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Degree Requirements

The program requires 35 credit hours of coursework.  To provide all students with a solid grounding in theory and methods of sociological inquiry, 15 credit hours of core courses are required.  In addition to the core, students take elective courses and may elect an optional concentration.  Finally, students must complete either a thesis or a research practicum (the research practicum is required for students in the concentration). 


* 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.

Concentration Requirements (12 credit hours)

Students may complete the M.A. in Sociology without a formal concentration or with an optional concentration. 

No Concentration

Students not electing an optional concentration must complete the following requirements for their degree program. 

Restricted Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

Select at least two SOCY courses.

Thesis or Research Practicum (6 credit hours)

Students select to do either a thesis or research practicum.  Students choosing the thesis 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.

Select one of the following:

Applied Social Research Concentration

Students in this concentration must complete the core curriculum for the M.A. in Sociology and choose the research practicum option in lieu of the thesis requirement. At least two additional courses in research methods must also be completed for a minimum of 6 credit hours.

Research Practicum (6 credit hours)

Students must complete 6 credit hours of Research Practicum. The last 3 credit hours must be taken in the final semester.

Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

Students must complete at least 2 elective courses in research methods for a minimum of 6 credit hours.  Electives are to be chosen, in consultation with committee members, from the following courses.  Students may petition to use appropriate courses not listed below as substitutes to fulfill their concentration requirement.

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.

Degree Total = 35 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

Students must earn a grade of B above in each course required for the program.  Two grades of C from courses taken inside or outside of the Department of Sociology will result in suspension from the program. Students wishing to re-enter the program must reapply.  Readmission is not guaranteed. The application must address causes of poor performance and an amelioration plan.  Readmitted students must retake any courses where a grade of C was earned.  Two additional grades of C will result in permanent expulsion from the program.

Admission to Candidacy

Completion of at least 24 credit hours of required coursework is required for admission to candidacy.


The Graduate Director advises all graduate students until they select a person to serve as their Committee Chair.


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.


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.

Financial Assistance

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.


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.

Research Opportunities/Experiences

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.

Transfer Credit

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.

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