Aug 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Applied Sociology, MA

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Degree Requirements


Candidates for the MA degree in applied sociology must earn a minimum of 36 semester credits, at least 30 of which must be in courses offered in the program. To graduate, students must have an overall grade point average of 3.0.

Each student’s course work includes the following:

1. Foundations of Applied Sociology

4. Electives

Students take 9-15 credits of electives, depending on internship and capstone options.

5. Area of concentration

At least two courses related to an area of concentration such as criminology, medical sociology, social policy, immigration, or research methodologies.

6. A field work course

The required field work/internship component may be waived if the student has had substantial experience in an appropriate field work setting—for example, a social or human service agency. If a waiver is approved, students must do additional course work to reach the minimum 36 credits required.


All graduate students who receive a teaching assistantship (TA I) from the Graduate Program in Applied Sociology are required to complete SOCIOL 610  no later than one year from the time they are first appointed as a TA. Students who have not completed SOCIOL 610  will not be considered for a TA II position (involving teaching a section of a course). This requirement can be waived only by the graduate program director, or by the program’s graduate committee in response to a petition by the student.

The requirement of a fieldwork course (SOCIOL 698 ) is waived for students who complete SOCIOL 610  with a grade of B or better.

Enrollment in SOCIOL 610  is open to graduate students in other programs on a space available basis, at the discretion of the graduate program director and the course instructor.

Thesis, Master's Paper, or Comprehensive Examination

Each student must complete one of the following capstone requirements for the MA degree: a master’s thesis, a master’s (research) paper, or a comprehensive examination. The most appropriate capstone option varies with the goals, current situation, and background of each student, so the decision to choose a particular option should be made in consultation with the MA program director or another faculty advisor. Most students complete either the master’s paper or the thesis.  The decision should be made no later than the end of the student’s third semester in the program (upon completing 27 credits) unless they choose the thesis option, which begins in the third semester.

Students are eligible to take the comprehensive examination after completing a minimum of 30 credits. Independent study (SOCIOL 696 ) may be taken in preparation for the examination.

Accelerated Combined BA/MA Program

An accelerated BA/MA program is also available for eligible UMass Boston undergraduate students interested in applied sociology. By entering this program, students can earn both a bachelor’s degree in their field of interest and a master’s degree in applied sociology in less time than required to do this separately. Students are accepted into the full-time master’s degree program in their junior year, begin taking graduate courses in their senior year, and then complete the MA requirements. On completion of all requirements, students will be awarded both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Students who do not complete the entire program, or do not have the required GPA to be awarded an MA degree, may choose to apply appropriate earned credits toward the bachelor’s degree. This program consists of a minimum of 140 credits (104 undergraduate and 36 graduate-level credits or their equivalents) which can be completed in as few as five years.

Admission Requirements

Students should apply to this program when they have taken at least three courses in sociology but no later than the second semester of their junior year. Applicants must have a minimum 3.2 overall grade point average, with a B or higher in methods (SOCIOL 351), statistics (SOCIOL 350), and theory (SOCIOL 341). Conditional admission may be granted to students with a lower GPA upon the recommendation of the graduate program director.


A range of computational and research resources is available to students in the program. Major statistical packages and other software are available in computer labs and graduate student offices. The Healey Library offers an extensive online journal collection, as well as books, journals, and government documents on-site.

These resources are complemented by extensive social science data archives and ongoing social science research projects. Through the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), students have access to data obtained from major national and international surveys, Gallup polls, surveys of prison inmates, observations of plea bargaining, records of Massachusetts court cases, and hundreds of other studies of national and local populations. Through the Center for Survey Research at UMass Boston, the program maintains close ties to survey research projects. Ongoing faculty research provides additional opportunities for student projects. University membership in the Boston Library Consortium permits students and faculty access to periodicals, books, and a variety of technical material not available in the university’s Healey Library.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication.

Candidates for admission to the MA program in applied sociology must provide evidence of ability to perform successfully at the graduate level. Such evidence includes:

  1. A strong undergraduate record in sociology and related subjects, with at least a 3.0 GPA in sociology and related course work and, normally, an overall GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants who do not hold a BA in sociology should have at least 18 semester credits or the equivalent in undergraduate sociology or another behavioral or social science field related to program objectives.
  2. Successful completion of one or more undergraduate courses in sociological theory, research methodology, and statistics. Candidates admitted to the program who are deficient in any of these areas may be admitted provisionally and required to complete additional undergraduate courses, no later than the end of the second semester of residence, to gain full admission to the program.
  3. A statement of 1,200 words by the applicant on his or her academic and career interests in applied sociology. The statement should indicate the candidate’s current specialization interests (see “Additional Instructions for All Applicants” in the Graduate Admissions Application Instructions section of the graduate application).
  4. A strong score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals acquainted with the applicant’s interests who are qualified to evaluate his or her potential for sustained graduate study in applied sociology. When possible, at least one of the letters should be from a faculty member with whom the applicant is studying or has studied.
  6. An academic writing sample from coursework in sociology or a related field.

Candidates for admission interested in applying for a graduate assistantship should write to the director of the MA Program in Applied Sociology. Awards are made by the graduate program committee to qualified students who will be enrolling in six or more credits each semester. For complete information, see the “Assistantships and Financial Aid ” section of this publication.

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