Graduate Program

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Why a Master's Degree in Sociology from NIU?

The NIU Department of Sociology Graduate Program takes pride in our comprehensive course offerings in sociological theory and research, unique opportunities for faculty - student collaboration, and rigorous preparation for careers in sociological research or advanced study in PhD programs.

A Sample of Courses Offered

Recent Faculty - Student Collaborations

From Professor Keri Burchfield:
Will Mingus assisted me in recruiting and interviewing sex offenders for a qualitative project examining the sex offenders’ experiences with reintegration after prison.  He also coded data and helped to develop a survey from the qualitative data.  With the survey data, he was able to complete his thesis, which has since been published in the Criminal Justice Studies.  He is currently a PhD student at UI Chicago.

From Professor Kristen Myers:
Laura Raymond, a graduate student, worked with me as a research apprentice on the Girl Project. She and two undergraduates helped me conduct 9 focus groups with elementary school girls. They helped log field notes and analyze data. And Laura and I eventually published an article published in the journal Gender & Society-- the #4 ranked journal in sociology. 

From Professor Kris Robison:
In recent semesters, I collaborated with graduate student Daniel Ridenour on a research project focused on explaining the widely reported observation that American’s participation in outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and national park attendance is declining. Mr. Ridenour was instrumental in tracking down and analyzing data from a variety of online and library resources. Our analysis found clear evidence that it is the turn toward certain kinds of electronic entertainment that explain the precipitous decline in interest in wildlife hunting in the United States. This research is scheduled to be published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife with Mr. Ridenour listed as second author on the study. 

Where are they now?

Former student Michael Barton:  
After graduating from NIU in 2006, I moved to Albany, New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University at Albany and I intend to complete my degree soon.  All of my NIU coursework transferred to U Albany, which allowed me greater flexibility when registering for classes here.  Since 2010, I have co-authored a paper on campus crime with fellow NIU alumni Bonnie Jensen published in the Journal of Criminal Justice and more recently a paper with Matt Vogel on the moderating impact of school context on the association of impulsivity and school misconduct, which was published in Youth & Society in 2011.  In addition to these research projects, I have been teaching undergraduate courses in Introduction to Sociology, Research Methods, and Criminology at the University at Albany.  At NIU, my experiences as a graduate assistant to David Luckenbill and Fred Markowitz helped me to learn how to balance all of the duties and tasks required of graduate students.

Former student Ilana Demantas:
I'm now a third year doctoral student at University of Kansas. I teach Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems at KU as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. I plan to complete my orals and disertation proposal this coming spring, after which I will be ABD. In my dissertation, I plan to explore the experiences of middle-class immigrant managers in the service work economy, focusing on the challenges they face as immigrant managers, how they negotiate these challenges, and how our current organizations exclude non-native born managers.  I credit much of my success at the University of Kansas to the excellent education I received at NIU, especially the outstanding teaching and mentoring by professors Kristen Myers and Diane Rodgers.

Former student Joan Marsden:
I've been working for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice since graduating in 2009. I'm working in a prison for juvenile females as a "juvenile justice specialist."

Former student Suzanne McCaskill:
I am a Juvenile Probation Officer and am the Program Coordinator for Juvenile Justice in Comal County, Texas.  I LOVE my job! My boss told me that it was my study abroad to Sierra Leone and the managing editors position for ACPR that peaked his interest and was the deciding factor in his hiring me.  He was thrilled at the diversity in my background, my passion for restorative justice programs, and my willingness to experience new opportunities.

Former student Tara Smith McDaniel:
Since graduating in 2005, I decided to take a different route in my career. I am currently a nursing technician and phlebotomist at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL. Sociology has really helped me in how I treat, communicate, and care for my patients. I am able to understand, relate, and empathize with my patients due to my understanding of our social institutions, how society views different groups, and how/why we interact with each other.