Online Master’s Degree in Sociology

Sociology is the study of groups, organizations, and cultures operate and how they affect the individuals within them. Research conducted by sociologists is used in the formulation of legislative policy, including health care and education, for local, state, and federal government. To become a sociologist, an individual must have at least a master’s degree in sociology, which is offered at traditional universities and through online or distance-learning programs. Enrolling in an online master’s degree in sociology program gives busy professionals the flexibility to complete their coursework in their own time without being required upend their schedule to attend classes on campus. A master’s degree program in sociology may take 30 hours of coursework to complete, but that may vary by institution.

Classes for an Online Master’s Degree in Sociology

An online sociology master’s degree curriculum is designed to give students essential grant-writing, impact assessment, community-based research, and evaluation skills. Most sociology programs have only a few core courses, while the rest of the curriculum is either offered in specializations or designed by the student and an academic advisor to provide instruction that best suits the student’s eventual career field. Some examples of specializations include stratification, environment and social change and development, and culture and institutions. Regardless of the specialization students may be required to enroll in seminars in sociological theory and research, social statistics, and more. Common sociology courses include:

  • Social Change and Development
  • Gender and Society
  • Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Social Inequality and Education
  • Urban Sociology

In addition to their coursework, students may also be required to complete and defend a thesis. A thesis is a research paper that analyzes and provides solutions for issues within sociology. The objective is to make a student demonstrate their research, critical thinking, and analytical abilities, as well as show they can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom towards solving a real problem.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Master’s Degree in Sociology

A master’s degree in sociology may qualify an individual for employment as a sociologist. Sociologists study the social behavior of groups, cultures, institutions, and organizations; collect data through observations and surveys; draw conclusions; and report on their findings. Their work is used by lawmakers, educators, and social workers to create public policy related to health, education, crime, and racial relations. Approximately 36% of sociologists are employed by social science research and development firms, while 30% work for public and private colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary earned by sociologists in May 2010 was $72,360, and the top 10% earned at least $129,870, the BLS reports. Employment in this occupation is expected to grow 18% from 2010 to 2020, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. However, these projections are no guarantee of salary or job opportunity, which is determined by the condition of the economy, location, employer, and an applicant’s credentials.

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