Graduate Program

Requirements for a Master of Arts in Sociology

Click here for the NIU Graduate School Catalog Description of the Master of Arts in Sociology.

Applicants for admission to the NIU graduate program in sociology should have a background equivalent to 3 semester hours in sociological theory, sociological methods, and statistics. Students with deficiencies in these areas may be required to take appropriate course work to remove these deficiencies as soon as possible after enrollment. Students admitted to these programs with stipulated deficiencies will be informed by the graduate advisor of the courses that must be taken.

Graduate courses are classified into six fields: theory, research methods and statistics, social organization and institutions, social psychology, sociology of health and aging, and criminology. The specific classification of courses by field can be obtained from the sociology office.

Students must earn an overall GPA of 3.00 or better and a grade of A or B in SOCI 674 (The Reseach Process - replacing SOCI 676), SOCI 675 (Sociological Statistics), SOCI 677 (Qualitative Research Methodology), SOCI 670 (Classical Sociological Theory), and SOCI 671 (Contemporary Sociological Theory).

A minimum of 33 semester hours of credit is necessary (including 6 semester hours for the thesis itself).  Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.  No more than 12 semester hours in 500-level graduate courses may be included in the student's program for the master's degree.

General Sociology

SOCI 670 Classical Sociological Theory (3)
SOCI 671 Contemporary Sociological Theory (3)
SOCI 674 The Research Process (3)
SOCI 675 Sociological Statistics (3)
SOCI 677 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
SOCI 699 Master's Thesis (6)
Four elective courses in one or two of the following areas: theory, research methods and statistics, social organizations and institutions, social psychology, sociology of health & aging, criminology (12)

Specialization in Criminology

SOCI 670 Classical Sociological Theory (3)
SOCI 671 Contemporary Sociological Theory (3)
SOCI 674 The Research Process (3)
SOCI 675 Sociological Statistics (3)
SOCI 677 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
SOCI 681 Theories of Delinquency and Crime (3)
SOCI 689 Criminal Justice in Society (3)
SOCI 699 Master's Thesis (6)
Two electives in criminology selected from graduate offerings in consultation with the graduate advisor (6)

Comprehensive Examinations

All students are required to take a comprehensive examination. This exam will cover the core areas of sociological research methodologies. In order to measure mastery of the core, students will be tested on course material, as well as relevant material above and beyond routine course work. Students are encouraged to obtain a recommended reading list from core faculty and to become well versed in these readings before taking the exam.

Thesis

Evidence of mastery in the student's area of substantive specialization comes from their thesis, with close faculty supervision. A thesis is intended to provide the student with the opportunity to grapple with a significant sociological problem. The student attempts to pose meaningful questions and systematically marshal a body of evidence to address these questions.

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Contact Dr. Keri Burchfield, Director of Graduate Studies kburchfield@niu.edu