About the Graduate Program

Master of Science in Sociology

The M.S. in Sociology program prepares students for positions in teaching, research and applied fields. It serves primarily two types of students: those aiming for Ph.D. programs or research-intensive professional positions (who typically complete a masters thesis option), and those who wish to use a sociological analysis to inform their professional work in a wide variety of settings (who typically complete the applied program).  The applied program route is also available as an online option, requiring students to enroll in the online program separately.

The faculty of the program spans a broad spectrum of expertise.  (See faculty list for interest areas.) Students seeking a general background in the rudiments of sociological analysis will be exposed to a systematic course of study including basic research methods, social statistics, and the foundations of sociological theory.  Other courses are offered, reflecting substantive areas of departmental strength such as gender, medical sociology, social stratification, environmental sociology, labor, and violence.

Our program emphasizes that many sociologists not only seek to understand social problems, but also work to identify viable alternatives to existing conditions and contribute toward responsible social change. Building on this philosophy, our program focus seeks to bridge basic and applied research. This general approach to social problems and social change accommodates a wide array of specific interest areas, such as race, health care, crime, economic inequality, gender, family, education, and others.

The goal of the master’s program is to develop well-trained sociologists who may choose a variety of career options and who are capable of initiating, evaluating and adapting to changes in the field.

The curriculum of the M.S. Sociology Program includes two academic tracks: the applied track and the thesis track. Students who are interested in pursuing a PhD are encouraged to consider the thesis track. Students who are interested in pursuing a professional position should consider the applied track. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their options with sociology faculty members. In addition to the two tracks, the program offers two different instructional modalities: on-campus and online. The applied track is available to both on-campus and online students. The thesis track must be taken as an on-campus student. Both academic tracks are intended to provide students with a strong background in sociological theory, methods, and a variety of substantive topical areas.

The curriculum requirements and academic regulations for the Applied Track are identical, whether completed in the online or on-campus modality. Students who desire to take their courses online must enroll as online applied track students at the beginning of their program and continue in that program until graduation. 

All students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours, as approved, with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above. A student who does not maintain a 3.0 average may be dropped from the master’s program at any time.

Students interested in applying to the VCU Sociology M.S. program should follow the instructions on the VCU Graduate Admissions website. Prospective online applied option students should indicate their interest in “distance education” on the application form.

For further information, please contact:

Julie Honnold, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director
Phone: (804) 828-6680
Email: jhonn@vcu.edu