M.S. in Sociology
Our graduate program recognizes that many sociologists seek to both understand social problems and identify viable solutions for responsible social change.
Building on this philosophy, our program seeks to bridge theoretical and applied research in an intellectual environment that fosters critical thinking about topics such as racism, health care, the environment, economic inequality, gender and family issues. Our goal is to develop well-trained sociologists capable of initiating changes in settings including social service agencies, nonprofits, the military or businesses.
The thesis, internship, and practicum options are all designed to provide students with a strong core of theory, research methods and social statistics courses. The thesis option prepares students for further academic research, while the internship and practicum options equip students with research skills they can use to survey clients, assess programs and carry out evidence-based work. Students are encouraged to discuss the options with sociology faculty members, who offer a wide spectrum of expertise and are dedicated mentors.
The goals of both degree options are to provide students with:
- a sophisticated understanding of sociological concepts and theories,
- facility in the use of sociological research methods and,
- the ability to apply sociological methods and theory to their current or desired areas of professional interest.
All students must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours, as approved, with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above.
Pathways to Degree
Thesis, Practicum and Internship
During the second year of the program, students who choose to complete a thesis will develop and publicly defend their M.S. thesis under the guidance of a thesis committee including three faculty members: (1) the thesis adviser, who must be a member of the Sociology Department, and (2) two committee members, one of whom must be from outside the department.
A practicum in sociology is a learning experience through practice. That is, you will train to use relevant data analysis skills combined with academic inquiry to construct a product that is useful to the student in their chosen field. The successful completion of a practicum in sociology may also enhance the student's employment credentials as the student will be able to concretely demonstrate that they possess skills that employers in the knowledge economy find valuable.
The internship is intended as a professional experience in a field of interest to the student. For most students, it will be a first professional experience. A student currently employed in an appropriate organization may propose to intern in that position, provided the appropriate opportunities are available for integrating sociological theories and/or methodologies with ongoing professional activities.
For more information on the curriculum for the Thesis Option in the Master of Science in Sociology, please visit the VCU Graduate Bulletin.
All M.S. in Sociology students complete a core curriculum of theory and methods based coursework, as well as 6 credit hours of a seminar course paralleled with student's capstone project work. Beyond the core curriculum, students take 18 credit hours of approved graduate electives to develop their skills and expertise:
- SOCY 502 Sociological Theory
- SOCY 601 Methods of Sociological Research
- SOCY 602 Applications of Methods of Social Research
- SOCY 508 Introduction to Social Statistics
- SOCY 699 Seminar in Sociological Practice (6 credit hours)
- 18 credit hours of approved graduate elective for on-campus students OR 18 hours of Digital Sociology Concentration online credits
Ready to apply to the sociology master’s program? Follow the instructions on the VCU Graduate Admissions website. In addition to the materials required by graduate admissions (transcripts, application, and application fee), the Department of Sociology also requires a personal statement, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants interested in enrolling in the digital sociology concentration should use te application specific to that program; the application materials are the same as those required for the traditional program.
Tara M. Stamm, Ph.D.
Graduate program director
Phone: (804) 828-9432