MA in sociology degree requirements

The Department of Sociology offers the master of arts degree in sociology, which provides training for students entering or returning to the workforce or pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology.


A full slate of coursework in the first year and the start of the second year establishes the foundation for development of the thesis, a roughly 30-page article-length paper, which offers an opportunity to work through the manuscript process.  Students in the program must take a total of 34 credit hours, 12 hours of which are spent focused on the thesis.

Fall Spring
Year 1

SOC 604 Proseminar in Sociology-MA
SOC 609 Statistics I
SOC 615 Research Methods

SOC 691 Topical Seminar (topic will focus on a social institution and vary; for Fall, 2024: The Cost of Poverty)

SOC 618 Qualitative Research Methods
SOC 622 Survey Research and Design
SOC 655 Social Problems

*By semester’s end, the student secures their thesis chair, methodologist, and third committee member.  With the chair’s assistance, the student seeks IRB approval, as needed, over the summer to be able to conduct/analyze their research with their methodologist in SOC 693 during the fall semester.

Year 2

SOC 665 Sociology of GenderSOC 685 Race and Ethnicityor SOC 675 Social Inequality & Stratification (courses will rotate each year; for Fall, 2024:  SOC 665; for Fall, 2025: SOC 685)
SOC 692 Thesis Administration (during which the student writes their thesis under the supervision of their chair)
SOC 693 Thesis Analysis (an independent study during which the student conducts/analyzes their thesis research under the supervision of their methodologist)

SOC 695 Thesis Research (during which the student completes remaining work on the thesis under the supervision of their chair/committee)

*By semester's end, student defends thesis.

Note:  Students also pursuing the PhD in applied sociology at UofL will, ultimately, take individual courses in race, gender, and class such that, by the end of their PhD program, they will have taken all three courses, allowing for greater focus on intersectionality.

Thesis Defense

The thesis is defended in the student's final semester before their three-member committee, during which time they present their findings and field questions from their committee and any other members of the audience.  Ultimately, a final copy of the student’s thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School for publication in the UofL’s institutional repository, ThinkIR.


Students must earn a minimum grade of B+ in all courses (with the exception of two courses in which they may earn a B) to remain in the program.  A third course in which a grade of B or below is earned must be repeated and may be repeated only once.  Any student failing to earn a B+ or higher in the repeated course and/or needing to repeat a second course, as mandated by the guidelines above, will be dismissed from the program.  (Per the Graduate School’s policy, when a student repeats a course, their GPA will be calculated on the basis of the last grade earned, although the original grade will remain on the transcript.)