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Program at a Glance

College of Sciences
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The Department of Sociology offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology. This Applied Sociology MA program provides training in the skills necessary to secure careers in both academic and non-academic professions and emphasizes applied research in community-based settings. The program is organized around a curriculum that provides grounding in the theoretical perspectives and methodological skills of the discipline with advanced study in one or more of the department’s five primary areas of specialization: Crime and Deviance; Domestic Violence; Medical Sociology; Social Inequalities; Spatial Sociology and Geographic Information Systems.

A primary focus of the program is the examination and analysis of a variety of social problems in society. Toward this objective, the program promotes the application of sociological knowledge, principles, and research skills that can be used in a variety of organizational, community, and institutional settings. Examples of competencies in applied sociology include effective skills in program design and evaluation research; planning, feasibility and needs assessment studies; data management, analysis and presentation; and the application of structural, social conflict and interactionist theories to organizational problems, community development and planned change.

The five primary areas of specialization are organized around the themes mentioned below. Students are not required to identify a Primary Area of Specialization in the Applied MA program and are able to take courses across areas. All courses in these areas count toward the 12 required program electives.

Crime and Deviance: The Crime and Deviance area of specialization comprises a broad analysis of criminal and deviant behavior including the locations of crime, fluctuations in crime rates, and the experiences of crime victims. This research promotes a deeper understanding of the power dynamics involved in the labeling and definition of crime and the social factors that make some people more likely than others to commit different crimes, experience victimization, and have differential experiences with the criminal justice/legal system. The study of crime and deviance is multidisciplinary, and the department's contribution includes a focus on the profound impact social location has on criminal behavior and victimization. Faculty in this area emphasize critical approaches and applied research that contribute to policy and practice.

Domestic Violence: The Domestic Violence area of specialization encompasses a social-ecological approach to the understanding of the patterns, sources, and consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV). In addition, faculty in this area consider the reactions of social institutions – including the criminal justice and health care systems – to the associated consequences of IPV. This includes a focus on critically examining prevention and intervention efforts meant to reduce the amount and impact of intimate partner violence, as well as contributing to policy and practice in this field.

Medical Sociology: The Medical Sociology area of specialization examines the ways connecting social statuses relate to health, illness, and medical care. This area includes analysis of social, political, economic, and environmental factors that impact health and illness; societal structures and forces that constrain medical care; people’s subjective experiences of health, illness, and healthcare; and social movements related to health and healthcare. Areas of emphasis include reproductive health, environment, substance use, and health and healthcare among minoritized populations.

Social Inequalities: The Social Inequalities area of specialization examines how power, social, and spatial inequalities are manifested, reinforced, and contested in contemporary society. It seeks to understand how inequalities are structured within social institutions; how and why power relationships have shifted over time; how they manifest in contemporary institutions, groups, and interactions; how social inequalities vary across space and place; and how social forces perpetuate and challenge social inequalities. While all major systems of inequality are explored, particular focus is placed on how race, gender, and social class converged within institutions, and the resulting consequences of such inequalities for individuals, groups, and communities.

Spatial Sociology and Geographic Information Systems: The Spatial Sociology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) area of specialization examines the convergence of GIS and related geospatial technologies and society. The area considers how such technologies: interact with social groups and society; create space and place; and can be applied to examine social and environmental disparities, public health issues, and crime patterns. The area emphasizes theoretical, critical, community-based, and applied foundations of spatial sociology, GIS, and related geospatial technologies.

Degree seeking students in the Applied Sociology MA Program complete an MA Final Product (6 Credits) including SYA 6507 Academic Writing in Sociology and SYA6909 Research Report. Students must complete a final research report and enroll in the two research credit courses listed above.

The degree of Master of Arts is conferred when students have fulfilled the requirements of 30 credits for the program.

Total Credit Hours Required: 30 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Application Deadlines

April 1
July 1
November 1
July 1
November 1
January 15

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