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Master of Arts in Sociology

Major: SOCI
Degree Awarded: MA
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

Through its use of scientific methods and systematic theory, sociology is the study of diverse social groups as they emerge, persist, and change over time and of human behavior in social settings. Sociologists seek to identify and explain the underlying patterns of social relations. The substantive focus of sociology at the University of Louisville is the study of social dynamics particularly in reference to social diversity.

The faculty of the Department of Sociology at the University of Louisville is committed to being a vibrant, learning-centered faculty that enhances comprehension of social dynamics through creative and inventive research, graduate training, and applied opportunities. The graduate degree in sociology at the University of Louisville prepares students for continued advanced study and for careers in government, nonprofits, and the private sector.

Our mission is to provide master’s level graduate education at the highest standards. We will introduce students to the current state of sociological knowledge and methods through high-quality classroom instruction, faculty-student collaboration, and independent student research and practical learning opportunities.

This mission of graduate education in the Department of Sociology further encourages students to develop and apply a “sociological imagination” in the systematic analysis of all things social. The Department advances the use of the sociological approach in interpreting the causes and consequences of human social behavior, facilitating critical appraisal of social structures and cultures, and assessing public policy.

In addition, the Department pledges to conduct this mission in a climate of fairness, sensitivity to the merits of diverse lifestyles, and appreciation for all manners of social research.

The Department of Sociology, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers graduate training leading to the Master of Arts.

The MA program is designed to allow a student to pursue a degree either full-or part-time. Many courses are offered in the evening so that those employed full-time can also pursue graduate education. Full-time students can normally complete the program in two years; those who are employed full-time typically require three years to complete the program.

The program is designed to fill the needs of students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. in sociology as well as those who are planning careers in the public or nonprofit sectors. The program also provides skills for those seeking employment in private research firms or in the field of information technology and program evaluation.

This program offers both thesis and non-thesis options (practicum . Please contact the Department for specific information.

The areas of specialty of the graduate faculty include: quantitative and qualitative methodology, social theory, criminology/delinquency, education, medical sociology, and work and labor markets.


Program Admission Procedure

Applicants must submit to the Office of Graduate Admissions: a graduate application; official copies of transcripts from all colleges attended; two letters of recommendation, preferably from current or former instructors; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores; and TOEFL scores (for international students). Applicants must also submit to the Department of Sociology a “Sociology Department Graduate Admissions Questionnaire” available from the Department or online at

Those applying to the MA program must have: a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; a combined verbal/quantitative GRE score of 900; and previous course work in statistics, research methods, and social theory. (Students may be allowed to make up deficiencies in previous course work, but credit for such courses cannot be applied toward graduate degree requirements.) International students should have a quantitative GRE score of 450 and a score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 213 on the computer-based TOEFL.

Graduate Assistantships

The Sociology Department has available annually a limited number of graduate assistantships. Applicants wishing to compete for one of these must submit all materials for admission, including GRE scores, no later than February 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester. Announcement of awards is normally made about six weeks after the deadlines.

Enrollment and Program Guidance

The Graduate Program Coordinator serves in an advisory capacity to students for enrollment and program planning until such time as an advisor and/or committee chairperson has been formally designated. At this point the thesis advisor and/or committee chair assumes the primary responsibility for guidance of the student.

Academic Standards

In order to be retained in the program, graduate students must receive a grade of 3.0 or higher in each of the department’s core courses and must maintain an overall average of at least 3.0 in all course work taken for graduate credit. Any student whose cumulative quality point total falls to three fewer than three times the number of credits attempted will receive a warning in writing from the Graduate Program Coordinator. Any student whose quality point total falls to six fewer than three times the number of credits attempted shall not be retained in the program.


All students enrolled in the MA program in Sociology are required to complete the following core courses:

  • SOC 604 Graduate Professional Seminar 1 credit hour
  • SOC 609 Seminar in Statistics I 3 credit hours
  • SOC 610 Seminar in Statistics II 3 credit hours
  • SOC 615 Seminar in Research Methodology 3 credit hours
  • SOC 620 Seminar in Sociological Theory 3 credit hours

In addition to the required core courses, students take the appropriate number of electives corresponding to the completion option chosen. (For students who might want to pursue a Ph.D. or a career in a research-related field, the thesis option is strongly recommended.) The three options have different credit hour requirements.

Thesis Option (31 total credit hours)

  • 13 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours of elective courses, and 6 credit hours of thesis (SOC 600)

Practicum Option (37 total credit hours)

  • 13 credit hours of core courses, 18 credit hours of elective courses, and 6 credit hours of practicum (SOC 600)


No more than six credit hours of 500-level courses may be applied toward the master’s degree. Up to six credit hours of course work, with approval from the Sociology Department Graduate Coordinator, may be taken outside the Sociology Department. Students may also elect to take up to three credit hours of independent study (independent readings or research). Additional credits of course work outside the department or of independent study counting toward degree requirements require special permission from the Sociology Department Graduate Coordinator.

Accelerated Master's Program

The program offers motivated and academically superior students the opportunity to earn graduate credit hours during their senior year. As undergraduates, accelerated students may earn between 6-9 graduate credit hours, all of which are applied to the undergraduate degree, as well as the graduate degree, thus allowing students to begin the graduate program in sociology with credits already applied to the graduate degree. NOTE: Students in the accelerated program may only apply their graduate credits earned as an undergraduate toward the graduate degree in sociology at UofL.

Students apply for the program during their junior year and, if accepted, begin the program in their senior year. The graduate courses taken during the student's senior year will depend on what courses the student has remaining to complete his/her undergraduate degree in sociology. The undergraduate advisor works individually with accelerated students regarding their course schedule.

Admission Requirements: 3.35 overall undergraduate GPA at time of application and a combined total GRE score of 900 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections and a 3.5 GRE score on the Analytical Reasoning section. Applicants are also required to submit two letters of recommendation and a completed Graduate Admission Questionnaire. Students must be admitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

Departmental Faculty

L. Allen Furr
Professor and Chair

Jon H. Rieger

Wayne M. Usui

D. Mark Austin
Associate Professor

James K. Beggan
Associate Professor

John A. Busch
Associate Professor

Robert M. Carini
Associate Professor

Karen Christopher
Associate Professor

Melissa Evans-Andris
Associate Professor

Patricia Gagne'
Associate Professor
Coordinator of Graduate Program

Cynthia Negrey
Associate Professor

Clarence Talley
Associate Professor

Hiromi Taniguchi
Associate Professor

Gul Aldikacti Marshall
Assistant Professor

Deborah Potter
Assistant Professor

Ryan Schroeder
Assistant Professor

J. Allen Whitt

Contact Information

Sociology - MA

Dr. Jonetta Weber
Department of Sociology
103 Lutz Hall
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky 40292
(502)852-0099 fax

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