Writing a Master's Thesis in Sociology

A thesis represents your mastery of a particular subject area in sociology. It can take many forms, from a book length manuscript to (more typically) a journal-article length/style paper. Your thesis should be ready to submit to peer-reviewed journal when you finish this program However, the actual nature of your thesis must be negotiated through your thesis committee

Basic Steps

You'll need to be very familiar with the literature on that topic and you need to be able to argue that your project contributes something to the study of this topic. Also, the topic must be sociological There are some subjects that interest students which simply will not work (i.e., serial killers are a popular subject on television and movies, but not very sociological).

This person must have a Ph.D. in sociology and be a member of the graduate faculty in our department.

This person will only agree to be your chair if your topic is sociological and your approach is sound.

The chair will only work with you if you show yourself to be a strong, independent scholar.

Faculty may also refuse to be your chair due to their own time constraints and work demands--it's not always personal.

Your proposal should be around 20 pages in length, including a rationale for your project, a review of the literature and a proposed research method/analysis.

You may take an independent study (SOCI 690) with your chair to review literature related to your topic and to prepare a written product that may become the basis for the proposal for 3 credit hours, or you can write it on your own time (not for credit).

Plan to write several drafts of this before it is complete Your project is a negotiation between you, your chair and your committee.

These should be selected with the help of your chair.

A majority of your committee members and your chair must be members of the graduate Faculty.

You can have extra readers of your thesis, in addition to these members. These people need not be members of the graduate Faculty.

The graduate school approves the composition of your thesis committee via this form.

You will need to make any edits that they recommend.

This could include substantial re-working of the thesis proposal and the project itself Avoid this by communicating with your committee members early and often as you prepare your proposal.

This is an oral presentation of your proposal in front of your committee.

The exact specifications of your project will be further negotiated in this defense.

You and your committee will need to complete a Thesis Proposal Defense Form (available here or in the department office) at the defense meeting.

The director of graduate studies will not allow you to register for thesis hours until you have defended your proposal.

You cannot collect data until you have IRB approval.

The graduate school also requires an additional IRB form to complete.

You will deal directly with your committee regarding drafts and revisions.

Your committee must agree that you are ready.

You must complete the Request for Oral Defense of Thesis form from the graduate school in order to schedule the defense meeting.

Defenses are public and they are advertised You will present your project again and answer every question asked by your committee to their satisfaction.

Your committee will complete the Results of Oral Defense of Thesis form and a department Assessment of Thesis form

Upon successfully defending your thesis, you will make any last edits and consult the graduate school regarding the file format that they require for thesis.

You may also find these resources helpful in formatting your thesis.

Related Links


Additional resources