The M.A. in Applied Sociology consists of 10 courses totaling 30 credits. Required courses include one methods course (SOCY 600), one statistics course (SOCY 604), and another approved methods or statistics course (either SOCY 618 – SAS for Social Scientists or SOCY 619 – Qualitative Methods in Social Research). The remaining courses are a combination of electives and the capstone requirement (Master’s Thesis or Master’s Paper). A total of two courses may be taken outside the department, but they must be approved by the Graduate Director prior to enrollment. Students may also enroll in one graduate-level three credit Independent Study course as part of their elective course requirements.
A normal full-time load is 9 credits (3 courses) per semester. Most full-time students can complete the program in 3 semesters plus a summer course. Full-time students who begin the program in the Fall semester will take SOCY 600 and proceed to SOCY 604 in the Spring. Students who begin in the Spring semester will take elective courses their first semester, SOCY 600 in the Fall semester, and SOCY 604 in the next Spring semester. Part-time students usually complete the program in 2 to 2.5 years. Part-time students who are employed full-time are strongly urged to take only one course their first semester at UMBC. All students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better order to graduate.
Degree-seeking students in the Applied Sociology program are required to complete a capstone project. Students may choose either the Master’s Thesis option (15 course credits and 6 Thesis credits) or the Master’s Paper option (18 course credits and 3 Master’s Paper credits). Both courses of study require 30 hours of course work. The Master’s Thesis option is designed for students who plan to enter doctoral programs and is recommended for students interested in community college teaching. The Master’s Thesis option requires a committee chair and two faculty members. The Master’s Paper option is more appropriate for students entering or continuing professional careers following the M.A. degree. The Master’s Paper option requires two faculty readers.
Students must decide whether to pursue the Master’s Thesis or Master’s Paper option and identify a Thesis Committee Chair or First Reader as well as a tentative area of research. It is the student’s responsibility to select potential topics of interest for the Master’s Paper or Master’s Thesis. Students should then meet with faculty members who are interested in those topics. The student and the First Reader or Thesis Committee Chair will jointly develop the specific topic and time line for completion of the Master’s Paper or Master’s Thesis. The student should complete and submit the Capstone Declaration Form to the Graduate Coordinator. The Coordinator will process the form, assign the First Reader or Committee Chair as the student’s academic advisor, and issue permission to enroll in the respective credits (SOCY 711 for Master’s Paper Research or SOCY 799 for Master’s Thesis Research).
Students should maintain close contact with their faculty advisor in order to develop a viable program of study and avoid graduation delays. Students should become familiar with the University’s requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the capstone project.
Please consult the Capstone Requirement Document for detailed information about the capstone project options, guidelines, tasks, timelines, and FAQs.
Course of Study
1. Required Courses (9 Credits)
- SOCY 600 Research Methodology (3.00): This course is offered only in the fall semester. It should be taken as early as possible in the program.
- SOCY 604 Statistical Analysis (3.00): Prerequisite: SOCY 600 – This course is offered only in the spring semester. It should be taken immediately after SOCY 600.
- A third graduate level methods or statistics course from an approved list (3.00). The courses include SOCY 618 (SAS for the Social Sciences) and SOCY 619 (Qualitative Methods in Social Research).
2a. Master’s Thesis Option (21 credits)
- 5 Elective Courses (15.00)
- SOCY 799 Master’s Thesis Research (6.00)
A committee consisting of a chair and two other faculty members will approve the thesis proposal and the thesis.
2b. Master’s Paper Option (21 credits)
- 6 Elective Courses (18.00)
- SOCY 711 Master’s Paper Research (3.00)
A first and second reader will approve the Master’s Paper.
Regularly offered elective courses are listed below. Most of these courses are offered annually while others are offered periodically.
Nonprofit Certificate require course = NPSC
Social Dimensions of Health Certificate required course = SDOH
Applied Social Research Methods Certificate required course = ASRM
- Social Inequality and Social Policy (SOCY 606) – SDOH option
- Constructing Race, Class, and Gender (SOCY 611) – SDOH option
- Advanced Statistics (SOCY 608)
- SAS for Social Scientists (SOCY 618)
- Qualitative Methods in Social Research (SOCY 619)
- Applied Sociology (SOCY 680) – ASRM
- Sociology of Aging (SOCY 630)
- Gender, Work and Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective (SOCY 633)
- Gender and the Life Course (SOCY/GWST 634 hosted by GWST department)
- Social Dimensions of Health (SOCY 651) – SDOH
- Sociology of Mental Health and Illness (SOCY 658) – SDOH
- Neighborhoods and Health Inequality (SOCY 661) – SDOH option
- Social Ties across the Life Course (SOCY 670)
- The Social and Institutional Roles of Nonprofit Organizations in American Society (SOCY 681) – NPSC
- Structure and Functions of Nonprofit Organizations (SOCY 685) – NPSC
- Advanced Selected Topics in Sociology (e.g. Social Networks, Crime, and Health; Politics of Crime and Punishment) (SOCY 698)
- Directed Independent Study (SOCY 701)
Track Your Progress
Courses in and outside the Department
Students may take up to 2 courses outside of the department. Permission must be obtained from the GPD before registering for a course outside of the department. The program has a list of approved courses offered by other departments that Applied Sociology MA students may take. In case there is a not approved non-SOCY course of interest on the schedule, please send the information to the graduate director to see whether it may be approved.
Students typically take course in affiliated departments, such as Gerontology (GERO), Public Policy (PUBL), and Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC). Some examples are below:
- Sociocultural Gerontology – GERO 700
- Policy Analysis of Aging Issues – GERO 703
- Social Science Approaches to Policy Analysis – PUBL 609
- Quantitative Methods for Management – PUBL 614
- Language, Gender and Sexuality – GWST/LLC/MLL 613
- Qualitative Research Methods in Schools and Communities – LLC 684
Academic Probation and Dismissal from the Graduate School
- Students who do not maintain a ‘B’ (3.0) average will be placed on academic probation. To avoid dismissal from the Graduate School, students must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 by the end of the semester following being placed on probation.
- Students who earn a D or F grade in any course will be placed on academic probation. If students earn an F or D grade while on probation, the program will recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.
- Students who withdraw (W grade) from more than two courses during their time in the program will be placed on academic probation after withdrawing from the second course. If students earn a W grade while on probation, the program will recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.
- The Graduate Program in Applied Sociology converts Incompletes (I grades) to F’s after one year unless students (with the support of the course professor and their advisor) petition the Graduate Program Director for more time. The petition form is available from the Graduate Program Coordinator.
- Students can repeat a course for which they receive a W, D, or F only once. A student must receive a passing grade of C or better on the second attempt.
- Students may appeal the program’s recommendation of dismissal with a formal letter within one month of dismissal.