Degree Requirements

Credits and Courses

The MA in Sociology requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits.

Required
SOCIOL 701Professional Seminar1
SOCIOL 715Systematic Sociological Theory3
SOCIOL 750Research Methods in Sociology3
SOCIOL 760Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology3
Select a 900-level sociology seminar course 3
Electives
Select 17 elective credits in consultation with advisor17
Total Credits30

Up to five credits of SOCIOL 790, may be taken by students who elect the thesis/paper capstone option.

With permission of the student’s advisor, up to six graduate credits may be taken outside the department in courses related to the individual’s plan of study. No more than six credits of undergraduate/graduate courses (excluding those previously taken as an undergraduate), taken at the graduate level, may be applied toward meeting degree requirements. No more than six credits in SOCIOL 799 may count toward the degree.

Additional Requirements

Good Standing

To retain good standing in the Department of Sociology, an enrolled graduate student must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and demonstrate progress toward completion of the course and/or thesis requirements each semester.

Thesis, Master’s Paper, or the MA Examination Options

The student must write and defend an acceptable thesis, a master’s paper, or write an examination in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Sociology.

Thesis or Master’s Paper

The thesis or master’s paper is intended to be a relatively limited research exercise, focused on a manageable topic. It does not necessarily have to involve original research.  Acceptable thesis or master’s paper options include, but are not limited to, collection of data for hypothesis testing or exploratory research, secondary analysis of available data, theoretical critique, conceptual analysis and library research on a clearly defined problem. In general, students are encouraged to utilize existing data rather than collect new data unless they are confident that they have adequate resources (including time) to collect data sufficient for their purposes.

By the end of the third semester, students should complete a proposal for the MA thesis or paper. The proposal will reflect the formulation of a research problem and the development of a plan for its empirical investigation. Once a proposal is successfully defended, it constitutes an agreement between the student and the MA committee.

Students must prepare the thesis or master’s paper under the direction of their committee, receive approval that it meets professional standards, and defend it at an oral examination. The master’s paper is normally the length of a journal article (about 30 pp.). Students who choose to write a thesis should consult the Graduate School Thesis and Dissertation Formatting page. The thesis must be prepared according to these format requirements.

MA Examination

The Master of Arts examination option is based on a bibliography developed by the student in consultation with his/her committee. The bibliography will represent both classical statements and recent debates in at least one area of sociological specialization. Students are encouraged to develop the bibliography by the end of the third semester of residence.

The examination itself will be a set of three questions developed by the MA committee, from which the student must choose two. The student will have two weeks to write a take-home examination. The advisor and two other faculty members will grade the examination. Within two weeks of the completion of the written examination, there will be an oral examination on the same material.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Capstone Project: Thesis, Paper or Examination

The student must write and defend an acceptable thesis, paper or examination in fulfillment of the requirements for the MA degree in Sociology.

Thesis or Master’s Paper Option

The MA thesis or paper is a meaningful project that, while limited in scope and clearly manageable to complete within the two-year MA program, helps develop the student’s expertise as a sociologist and results in a final product that exhibits the student’s skills. Each student works closely with a MA thesis/paper committee, constructed by the student and composed of Department faculty. This committee guides the student’s development of a topic and execution of the resulting project. The MA thesis or paper is typically completed through enrollment in SOCIOL 790. There are many directions that an MA thesis or paper can take; for a sense of the great variety of projects that students pursue, please see our list of recent MA Theses/Papers.

Examination Option

The Master of Arts examination option is based on a bibliography developed by the student in consultation with his/her committee. The bibliography will represent both classical statements and recent debates in at least one area of sociological specialization.

The examination itself will be a set of three questions developed by the MA committee, from which the student must choose two. The student will have two weeks to write a take-home examination. Within two weeks of the completion of the written examination, there will be an oral examination on the same material.

Suggested Graduate Course Sequence

This is an ideal sequence which assumes full-time study and the absence of academic deficiencies on the part of the student.

FIRST YEAR: Fall Semester

Courses

  • Sociol 701 – Proseminar in Sociological Inquiry (1 credit hour)
  • Sociol 715 – Systematic Sociological Theory (3 credit hours)
  • Sociol 750 – Research Methods (3 credit hours)
  • Elective (3 credit hours)

Action

  • Meet with Director of Graduate Studies prior to registering for semester courses and near the end of the semester.

FIRST YEAR: Spring Semester

Courses

  • Sociol 760 – Advanced Statistical Methods in Sociology (3 credit hours)
  • Electives (6 credit hours)

Action

  • Meet with Interim Advisor/Director of Graduate Studies prior to registering for semester courses and near the end of the semester.
  • Select chair of MA Capstone committee by end of semester

SECOND YEAR: Fall Semester
Thesis or Paper Option

Courses

  • * Electives (3 credits)
  • 790 MA Thesis/Paper

Action

  • Select members of M.A. Committee
  • Complete proposal for thesis or MA paper and schedule proposal hearing; begin research and writing
  • Complete IRB protocol, if necessary

SECOND YEAR: Spring Semester
Thesis or Paper Option

Courses

  • 790 Thesis (2 credits)
  • *Electives (3 credits)

Action

  • Finish Research and Writing
  • Complete assessment of program
  • Oral defense of thesis or paper

SECOND YEAR: Fall Semester
Examination Option

Courses

  • * Electives (6 credit hours)

Action

  • Select members of MA Committee
  • Develop a bibliography in consultation with MA Committee

SECOND YEAR: Spring Semester
Examination Option

Courses

  • * Electives (6 credits)

Action

  • Write Examination
  • Complete assessment of program
  • Oral defense of examination

All enrolled MA students have access to a D2L site, Sociology MA Grad Students Site – UWM Sociology MA Program. Loaded on this site are sample MA Proposal and Papers from the last 10 years for your review. If you are unable to access this site, please contact the Sociology Department Office.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.