2001 - 2003 Graduate Catalogue Home | Arts & Sciences | Sociology


[Course Descriptions]

The Department of Sociology is committed to high quality instruction and research in sociology. Students who enter the graduate program will receive advanced and updated instruction in classical and contemporary sociological theory, qualitative and quantitative techniques of sociological investigation, social statistics and major substantive areas in the field. The primary objective of the Department is to provide students with the scientific tools to study and analyze society and social issues and to enhance their professional skills to successfully enter the labor market.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the graduate program in Sociology must meet the basic requirements of Graduate Studies specified in the ADMISSION section of this catalogue. In addition, the following are required:

  1. A combined (V + Q) GRE score of 1000 or better
  2. Three letters of recommendation that discuss your suitability for graduate study

Program Requirements

A student majoring in Sociology may choose from: Master of Arts, Plan I or Master of Arts, Plan II.

Master of Arts, Plan I. Plan I requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit, 24 of which must be in Sociology and must be in courses numbered 500 or above. A thesis of 6 semester hours in Sociology is also required. This program is designed for students who wish to continue graduate education or whose professional interests require the enhancement of analytical skills.

Students majoring in Sociology who select the Master of Arts, Plan I are required to write a master's thesis. The thesis is an original research work which is designed to demonstrate the candidate's theoretical, methodological and substantive skills in the discipline. The student must select a thesis director. With guidance from the thesis director, the student will also select two additional thesis committee members. The thesis committee must be approved by the chair of the department and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In consultation with the thesis director, the student will select a subject of investigation and will proceed with the preparation of a thesis prospectus. The prospectus will specify the thesis topic, discuss relevant literature, identify the research design, and illustrate hypothesized conclusions. The prospectus should be approved by the thesis committee, the Chair of the department and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The student must submit the completed thesis to his/her committee for approval at least three weeks prior to the date he/she expects to graduate. The time and place of an oral defense of the thesis will be established by the thesis director. The defense is public but the scientific content of the thesis will be evaluated exclusively by the members of the thesis committee.

Master of Arts, Plan II. Plan II requires a minimum of 36 hours of graduate credit, 24 of which must be in Sociology and must be numbered 500 or above. This plan does not require a thesis and is designed for students who wish to concentrate on the development of their applied professional skills.

Students pursuing a Master's Degree in Sociology must take the following core courses:
SOC 585 Seminar in Sociological Theory (Credit 3)
SOC 567 Seminar in Sociological Research (Credit 3)
SOC 543 Social Statistics (Credit 3)


Students must also take at least one among the remaining core courses:
SOC 532 Applied Research Methods (Credit 3)
SOC 568 Techniques of Research Proposal Writing in the Social Sciences (Credit 3)

Students must also select at least one of the following specializations:

Specialization # 1 - Sociology of the Environment and Development
Students must select two among the following courses: Seminar in Social Change and Development (SOC 589); Seminar in Environmental Sociology (SOC 564); Sociology of Community (SOC 576).

Specialization # 2 - Sociology of Inequality
Students must select two among the following courses: Seminar in Social Inequality (SOC 582); Seminar in Social Change and Development (SOC 589); Seminar in Race and Ethnic Studies (SOC 565); Gender and Society (SOC 587).

Specialization # 3 - Sociology of Culture and Institutions
Students must select two among the following courses: Sociology of Religion (SOC 574); Sociology of the Family (SOC 572); Sociology of Community (SOC 576); Gender and Society (SOC 587).

Courses listed under two different specializations may be simultaneously employed to satisfy the requirements of each of these specializations.

Comprehensive Examinations

After completing course work and before completing the masters thesis, students are required to take their comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive exams for the Master's Degree in Sociology are divided into three parts.

The first exam consists of a written examination in theory and methods. This is a test of concepts in sociological theory and methodology. It is administered in an eight-hour session twice a year.

The second exam consists of a written examination in the specialty area(s) selected by the student. Students must select at least one of the specialties offered in the Sociology program. If the student elects to have more than one specialty area he/she will take one eight-hour exam for each of the selected specialties.

The third exam is an oral exam which is designed to address issues pertaining to sociological theory and method and the special area(s) selected by the student.

Exam Administration

The comprehensive exams will be written and administered by the Graduate Examination Committee. This is a committee which is appointed annually by the Department Chair and consists of four (4) members of the Graduate Faculty. The Committee's duties involve: preparing and grading the written exams and administering the oral exams. The oral exams are open to the other faculty members who, however, do not vote on the performance of the student.



SOC 532 APPLIED RESEARCH METHODS. This course studies specialized research methods including evaluation research and social needs assessments for sociology and related social sciences. These methods vary from the more common survey techniques by the nature of the unit of analysis (most often a case study), the types of data collection (interviews, focus groups, and existing data), and the analytical techniques used (more qualitative). Generally, these techniques are applied to the solution of community problems. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 543 SOCIAL STATISTICS. This course focuses upon various statistical techniques used to analyze survey data including descriptive and inferential statistics, cross tabulation, ANOVA, correlation and regression. Lectures, assigned readings and projects are used to describe and illustrate the logic, interpretation, and assumptions of each statistical model. Emphasis is placed upon understanding of the techniques and their assumptions as well as applications. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 4.

SOC 564 SEMINAR IN ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY. This course is designed to provide graduate students a thorough background in the major theoretical perspectives regarding environmental sociology. This background will enable students to view environmental issues from alternative positions and to formulate possible solutions to contemporary environmental problems. The course focuses on the social construction of the environment and on environmental problems and solutions. Credit 3.

SOC 565 SEMINAR IN RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES. In-depth examination and critique of important monographs and journal literature dealing with the social life of American minorities. Designed to promote mature scholarship in the study of literature drawing from influences, ideologies, structural forces and changes characteristic of the social life of comparative minority groups. Students will be responsible for identifying sociological propositions reflected in the discerned patterns of interaction occurring in selected institutions in contemporary American society. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 567 SEMINAR IN SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH. This course includes the advanced study of logic, principles, and procedures involving techniques of design data collection and organization, analyses and interpretation for qualitative and quantitative sociological research. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 568 TECHNIQUES OF RESEARCH PROPOSAL WRITING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of the principal technical and theoretical skills necessary for the development of research projects in the social sciences. Furthermore, it investigates the primary assumptions of qualitative and quantitative research stressing their scopes and limits. Through an examination of the epistemological characteristics of major paradigms in the social sciences, the course illustrates various analytical techniques necessary for the preparation of research proposals. This activity includes techniques for the identification of research questions, the development of justifications, the integration of theories and methods, and the development of analytic designs. This is a course specifically designed for students who would like to be involved in research grant writing and in conducting research. Credit 3.

SOC 572 SOCIOLOGY OF THE FAMILY. This course consists of the study of the family as a social institution. It begins with a traditional functional analysis of the institution and follows with critical and interactionist interpretations. Current changes in the institution using historical and global perspectives constitute the bulk of the course. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 574 SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION. This course is a study of religion as it operates in society. It examines religious beliefs, religious rituals, group religious experience, and the religious community. Using a cross-cultural perspective, the course investigates the roots of religion in non-industrial societies and follows with an analysis of religion in industrial societies. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 575 GRADUATE READINGS IN SOCIOLOGY. Independent study of subjects not covered in the regular graduate curricula, including independent study of particular value to students needing to pursue a special subject related to thesis. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 576 SOCIOLOGY OF COMMUNITY. Advanced study of the organization, structures, groups and interaction pertaining to communities. Attention is given to social forces within communities, patterns of change and the relationship with society. Alternative theoretical perspectives analyzing community are presented along with views on the current conditions and future perspectives of communities in the United States and in other regions of the world. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 582 SEMINAR IN SOCIAL INEQUALITY. This course studies contemporary class, status and power hierarchies with emphasis on empirical research pertaining to placement in these hierarchies on the basis of birth-achieved statuses such as sex, race, and class origin. Consideration is also given to contemporary and classical sociological theories of social inequality. Credit 3.

SOC 585 SEMINAR IN SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY. The course is a historical survey of the most significant 19th and 20th century developments in sociology with emphasis placed on the relevance of classic sociological theory in the formation and development of contemporary sociological theory. The characteristics and origins of major sociological schools are explored including the study of the works and ideas of Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber. Additionally, illustrations of the basic assumptions of Neo-Marxism, Critical Theory, Interactionism, Functionalism and Postmodernism are provided. Accounts of these paradigms are presented together with their theoretical ramifications. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 587 GENDER AND SOCIETY. The course focuses on the social construction of gender and provides students a framework for critical thinking concerning gender roles in contemporary U.S. society. The course uses a socio-historical approach to investigate the concept of gender and its relationship to sexuality. Credit 3.

SOC 589 SEMINAR IN SOCIAL CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT. A graduate seminar which investigates the origins and modern accounts of the major theories of social change and development. Beginning with the classic works of Marx, Weber and Durkheim, contemporary theories of economic and social development are investigated. Emphasis is placed on various understandings of the concept of development and analyses of the evolution of social change and relations under capitalism. The course will explore Neo-Marxist theories of Dependence, World System and Articulation of Modes of Production along with Neo-Weberian and Modernization theories. Additionally, a review of post-modern critiques of capitalist development is presented. The Seminar will conclude with some observations on the emerging globalization of society and its implications on social and economic institutions. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 660 SEMINAR IN SOCIOLOGY. This seminar is designed to provide an examination and study of substantive areas and/or sociological significant issues not covered in other departmental offerings. Particular attention is on current literature presented in the context of papers and discussion. May be repeated. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Credit 3.

SOC 698 THESIS PRACTICUM. Students are encouraged to initiate planning and formulation of approved problems in conjunction with course work in Methods and Theory. Credit 3.

SOC 699 THESIS. The completion and accepted defense of Thesis. The student must be registered in SOC 699 the semester in which the master's degree is to be completed. Credit 3.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]