The Master of Arts in Sociology

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Master of Arts in Sociology

A Master's degree in Sociology can be earned en route as part of on-going work for the sociology PhD at any point beyond the first year of residency.

To fulfill program requirements for the MA, students must complete eight courses. At least five of these courses must be taken in the Sociology Department at Brandeis. One course must be a full year of SOC 300a. At least two other courses must be Sociology graduate seminars (courses numbered 200 or higher) or joint undergraduate/graduate seminars. One of the eight required courses must be in research methods and one must be in social theory. For upper-division courses (numbered 100 to 199) to be given graduate level credit, they should be supplemented by additional meetings, readings, and/or written work; the form that this enhancement will take should be worked out with the course instructor in the first two weeks of the course.

In addition to coursework, students will complete either a Master's project or the MA exam. The MA exam is a take-home examination given in the last week of classes of the spring semester. Two Sociology Department faculty members, either from the Graduate Committee or selected by the Graduate Committee, will draft the exam. These same faculty members will read the exam, which will be graded on a pass/fail basis. The exam will include two questions that draw on the coursework students have taken in theory or research methods as well as on their substantive interests. The exam will be given to the students at noon on the day following the last day of class and will be due 72 hours later to the faculty who are administering it. The completed exam can be no longer than 15 pages double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point type, 1 inch margins. Students will be notified of their grade on the exam within two weeks of handing in the paper. Any student who fails the exam will be given the option to retake it once – the following spring.

The MA project may be a research paper of professional quality and length or a project that students develop in consultation with their adviser and the Graduate Committee. Students completing a Master's project will choose two faculty members of the Sociology Department, one of whom is designated as chair, to guide and review the project. Both faculty members must approve the completed project. Students who complete a Master's paper have the option of depositing it in the University's Institutional Repository. Students who wish to do so should discuss this option with their MA project chair, after which the chair will need to inform LTS that the paper will be deposited.

Once the paper or exam has been completed and approved, students must submit the signed Sociology Master's Degree Completion Form to the Sociology Graduate Administrator before the University deadline for certifying degree requirements.

Information on Applying to Graduate

Complete the Graduate Degree Application Form available from the Registrar's Office.

Application for Degree Deadlines:

  • November 1, 2017 to graduate in February 2018

  • March 1, 2018 to graduate in May 2018

  • June 22, 2018 to graduate in August 2018

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Master of Arts in Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Department of Sociology cooperates with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in a joint MA. The program is designed for completion in one-year (12 months), with the degree awarded at the next official University degree conferral after completion of residence and requirements. The joint SOC-WGS MA can be earned either as a stand-alone degree or en route as part of on-going work for the sociology PhD (at any point beyond the first year). Each MA degree candidate will devise a specialized program with a faculty adviser. At the start of the first semester, stand-alone MA students should submit a proposed course schedule for approval to her or his adviser no later than the end of the first full week of classes. That proposal should also be submitted to the Graduate Committee to be considered at their first meeting of the semester. For each following semester, students are required to submit their plan of study (agreed on with their adviser) to the Graduate Committee for approval. That plan, including details on the subject of and readers for the MA paper, should be submitted to the Graduate Committee before the end of the add-drop period.

Requirements: Completion of eight courses to be distributed as follows:

  • The foundational course in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WMGS 205a);
  • One course in feminist research methodologies (WMGS 208b, the Feminist Inquiry course offered through the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies, or an alternative);
  • One graduate course outside Sociology listed as an elective in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies;
  • One graduate Sociology course listed as an elective in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies;
  • Three other regular graduate Sociology courses: one in theory, one outside the area of gender, and one elective that could be a directed reading course.
  • One other graduate elective of the student's choice.

Also required is submission of a research paper of professional quality and length (normally 25-40 pages) on a topic related to the joint degree. The paper will be read by two faculty members, at least one of whom is a member of the Department of Sociology and at least one of whom is a member of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies core or affiliate faculty. Once the paper has been completed, students must submit the signed Sociology Master's Degree Completion Form to the Sociology Graduate Administrator, and the signed WGS Master's Paper Approval Form to the WGS Program Administrator. Students have the option of depositing the completed Master's paper in the University's Institutional Repository. Students who wish to do so should discuss this option with their MA paper advisor, after which the advisor will need to inform LTS that the paper will be deposited.

Information on Applying to Graduate

Complete the Graduate Degree Application Form

Application for Degree Deadlines

  • November 1, 2017 to graduate in February 2018

  • March 1, 2018 to graduate in May 2018

  • June 22, 2018 to graduate in August 2018