The M.A. Degree

The M.A. Degree in Sociology

The M.A. program requires a sequence of 7 required courses in research methods and statistics, theory, and professional development, plus 3 seminars and 6 credits in research hours to complete the required 36 hours for the degree. Students, in consultation with their supervisory committee, elect to complete either a thesis or nonthesis paper. The hours taken to complete the M.A. at UF will count toward the total of 90 hours required for the Ph.D. at UF, if admitted to that program.

The Supervisory Committee. . During the first or second semester, the student asks a member of the department faculty to serve as chair of the supervisory committee. This faculty member will become the student’s primary academic advisor. In consultation with the supervisory committee chair, the student selects at least one other faculty member from the department to serve on the committee. After obtaining the consent of all proposed members, the student proposes the committee to the Graduate Coordinator for approval, who then submits the committee to the Graduate School for approval. The chair must hold Graduate Faculty status in the department. [ file: ma-committee-approval-soc ]

Thesis or Nonthesis. After consultation with the supervisory committee, the student must decide whether to complete a thesis or nonthesis paper for the terminal M.A. project.

Each master’s thesis candidate must prepare and present a thesis that shows independent investigation. It must be acceptable, in form and content, to the supervisory committee and to the Graduate School. The work must be of publishable quality and must be in a form suitable for publication, guided by the Graduate School’s format requirements. The academic unit is responsible for quality and scholarship.

Each candidate opting for the non-thesis paper must prepare and present a research paper that shows independent investigation. The paper should be prepared according to the quality, length, and style suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed social science journal.

The following apply to students choosing either option:

  • Proposal. A proposal for the thesis or non-thesis paper must be approved by the supervisory committee before research is actively undertaken. The supervisory committee determines the scope and length of the thesis proposal. A final copy of the proposal must be placed in the mailroom for public inspection 10 business days in advance of the proposal defense. The supervisory committee chair must announce to faculty, students, and staff in the department, via email, the date, time and place of the proposal defense. The email must identify the student, the title of the project, and an abstract of the proposed research. [ file: ma-proposal-approval-soc ]
  • Final Examination. Each master’s candidate must defend the thesis or non-thesis paper before all members of the supervisory committee. A final copy of the thesis or non-thesis paper must be placed in the mailroom for public inspection 10 business days in advance of the defense. The supervisory committee chair must announce to faculty, students, and staff in the department, via email, the date, time and place of the defense. The email must identify the student, the title of the project, and an abstract of the thesis or non-thesis paper.

Plan of Study. The student should consult with the supervisory committee chair to develop a detailed plan of courses and timing for completion of the M.A. degree. The supervisory committee chair will transmit an approved copy of the plan to the Graduate Coordinator within one month of the supervisory committee’s appointment. [ma plan soc.pdf]

Credit Hour Requirements. The M.A. requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of courses, with additional guidelines noted below. The Department guidelines are designed to ensure that graduate students are exposed to the core ideas in methods, statistics, theory, and professional development while receiving substantive training in some key areas of sociology. Students will benefit from participating in dynamic exchanges found in seminars as well as doing independent or collaborative research with faculty and other graduate students. So long as the basic guidelines are followed, students can craft their program in various ways to incorporate individual studies hours (3 credits maximum), thesis research (6 credits maximum), courses outside the Department (6 credits maximum), and transfer credits (9 credits maximum) .

  • 21 hours of required courses in methods, theory, and professional development (see below)
  • At least 6 credit hours must be taken in department elective seminars. (Individual work and individual research courses are not considered seminars)
  • Ordinarily no more than a total of 3 credit hours in individual work (courses numbered 5905, 6905, or 6910) may be counted toward the M.A.
  • Students completing the Masters Thesis option for the M.A. should enroll in Masters Thesis (SYA 6971). No more than 6 credit hours of this course can be applied to the M.A.
  • Students completing the paper option for the M.A. should enroll in Applied Social Research Project (SYA 6942). No more than 6 credit hours of this course can be applied to the M.A. AND the Ph.D.
  • A total of 6 credit hours of courses may be taken outside the department and applied to the MA degree provided they are part of an approved plan of study (or are approved in writing by the Graduate Coordinator and supervisory committee chair).
  • Students completing the joint JD/MA program are permitted to count 12 hours from law toward the MA.
  • Ordinarily courses in other departments must be at the graduate level, though very limited exceptions are possible if approved in advance.
  • A maximum of 9 hours of MA work from other universities can be applied toward the U.F. M.A. with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator
  • Only courses with a grade of B or higher can be applied toward the MA
  • The Graduate Coordinator may approve the substitution of similar graduate courses taken at other universities for no more than 6 hours of the required courses.

Required Courses. Students are required to take the 7 courses listed below (21 total hours).

Methods of Social Research

  • SYA 6305: Introduction to Qualitative Methods
  • SYA 7933: Introduction to Quantitative Methods
  • SYA 6407: Quantitative Research Methods
  • SYA 7933: Research Design

Sociological Theory

  • SYA 6018 Classical Sociological Theory
  • SYA 6126 Contemporary Sociological Theory

Professional Development

  • SYA 7933 Introduction to Professional Development

Rule Waivers. Students may petition the Graduate Coordinator to waive departmental rules. Such petitions must include full justification and must have the approval of the student’s supervisory committee if it has been formed.

Theory Substitutions. Students who will not continue beyond the M.A. degree may, with permission of the Graduate Coordinator, substitute an area theory course (such as Criminological Theory or Family Theory) for either the Classical or Contemporary Theory courses.

Courses in Other Departments. With permission of the supervisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator, students may take graduate courses in other departments and apply the semester hours taken toward the total required for the M.A. degree. These courses may be part of a certificate or minor in another department or interdisciplinary program such as Latin American Studies.

Joint M.A. and J.D. Program. The department offers a joint M.A. and J.D. program in conjunction with the Law School. The student must be admitted to both the Law School and Graduate School and specify that the application is for the joint degree program. Further information is available from the Graduate Coordinator.

Admission to the Ph.D. Program. Students receiving a University of Florida M.A. in Sociology who wish to pursue the Ph.D. here must notify the Graduate Coordinator of his or her intention. The student must receive approval from his or her supervisory committee at the completion of the M.A. final examination. The supervisory committee chair completes a recommendation that is forwarded to the Graduate Coordinator and the Graduate Committee. This is an internal departmental procedure, and the student does not have to re-apply to the Graduate School or Graduate Admissions Office.