• Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
 
Masters Program
 

Masters Program


M.A. Degree Entrance Requirements

THESE REQUIREMENTS WERE LAST REVISED IN WINTER 2010.  ALL NEW APPLICANTS ARE HELD TO THESE REQUIREMENTS.

1. Students should have a grade point average of at least 3.3 in upper division courses and in sociology courses. An undergraduate major in sociology is not an absolute requirement for admission, but an applicant must have substantial background in sociology, and an understanding of basic social science research methods, sociological theory, and basic statistics.

2. Students who do not have an undergraduate major in sociology are required to take the following three undergraduate courses as prerequisites prior to beginning graduate studies:  SOC 4050 (sociological theory), SOC 4200 (research methods), and SOC 4220 (statistics).  These courses are not for graduate credit. Students must earn a "B" or higher in these courses to be considered for regular admission to our Masters program.

3. Any student's application to our Masters program must include the following items:

  • Graduate Application (demographic and educational profile)
  • Application Fee (currently $50)
  • Official transcripts from past universities attended
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation (at least 2 letters should be from faculty members at Wayne State or another university)
  • Statement of Interest (this should describe applicants' reason fro graduate study in Sociology, proposed areas of study, and career goals)
  • Writing Sample (e.g. a term paper or report)
  • G.R.E. Scores*
  • TOEFL Scores (international students only)**

*G.R.E. scores will be considered, but will not be a binding criterion for admission.  The Department realizes that scores on standardized tests are greatly influenced by social and cultural factors, and may not be accurate indicators of performance ability.  A combined assessment of students' GPA, G.R.E. scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing sample, and statements of interest will be used to make admissions decisions.

**We are currently asking for paper-based TOEFL scores of 600 or above (or internet-based TOEFL scores of 100 or above) for entry into our PhD program.  Nonetheless, we will consider students who have a score of 550 or better on the paper version of the TOEFL (or 80 or better on the internet-based version of the TOEFL).  The Department realizes that scores on standardized tests are greatly influenced by social and cultural factors, and may not be accurate indicators of performance ability.

4. Students are accepted for admission for the fall semester only.  There are no exceptions.

5. The application deadline for our Masters program is January 15th of each year.  To start the application process, visit http://www.gradadmissions.wayne.edu/ (and then click on "How to Apply").

M.A. Degree Requirements

THESE REGULATIONS APPLY TO ALL STUDENTS BEGINNING GRADUATE COURSE WORK AS OF JANUARY 1, 2004. IF THEY SO DESIRE, STUDENTS BEGINNING COURSEWORK PRIOR TO THIS DATE WILL BE GRANDPARENTED INTO THE PREVIOUS REGULATIONS.

1. ALL ENTERING STUDENTS MUST HAVE SOCIOLOGY 4050 (SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY), 4200 (RESEARCH METHODS), AND 4220 (STATISTICS), OR THEIR EQUIVALENTS.  SOC 4220 MAY BE WAIVED BY PERMISSION OF THE INSTRUCTOR OF SOC 6280.

2. Students will choose one of three M.A. programs: Terminal M.A. degree, Applied M.A., or M.A. as stepping stone to the Ph.D. degree.

3. All students will take the following courses

  • SOC 6280 (Masters-level statistics) (4 cr)
  • SOC 7200 (Advanced Sociological Research Techniques) (4 cr)
  • SOC 7030 (Proseminar) (4 cr)

4. The terminal M.A. program also requires (in addition to the three courses listed in #3 above):

  • Either SOC 6050 (theory before 1920) or SOC 6060 (theory after 1920) (4 cr)
  • SOC 7999 (Masters essay course) (3 cr) 
  • At least 13 credits of Masters-level electives (at least 10 of the elective credits must be in sociology) 

A total of 32 credits are required for the terminal M.A. degree.

5. The Applied M.A. program also requires (in addition to the three courses listed in #3 above):

  • Either SOC 6050 (theory before 1920) or SOC 6060 (theory after 1920) (4 cr)
  • SOC 6580 (Applied Sociology I: Research Policy and Analysis) (3 cr)
  • SOC 6590 (Applied Sociology II: Strategies for Changing Social Behavior) (3 cr)
  • SOC 7000 (Internship) (3 cr)
  • SOC 7999 (Masters essay course) (3 cr)
  • At least one other 4-credit Masters-level elective in sociology

A total of 32 credits are required for the Applied M.A. degree.

The goal of the Applied M.A. program is to combine an intellectually stimulating academic experience with practical training for careers in public and private policy development, evaluation research, and administration.  Students receive instruction in sociological theory and methodology (quantitative and qualitative), in-depth training in specific urban issues, and first-hand experience in applied research and policy-related internships.  The program is designed as a flexible course of study suitable for both full-and part-time students, including those wishing to continue their education after some years of absence from the University, mid-career professionals seeking additional training and post-baccalaureate students.  Students interested in the Applied M.A. program should contact Dr. Mary Cay Sengstock, Director of the Applied Program.

6. The M.A. as a stepping stone to the Ph.D. program also requires (in addition to the three courses listed in #3 above):

  • SOC 6050 (theory before 1920) (4 cr)

OR

  • SOC 6060 (theory after 1920) (4 cr)
  • SOC 8999 (Masters thesis course) (8 cr)
  • 8-credits Masters-level elective in sociology

A total of at least 32 credits are required for the M.A. degree, if a student is using this degree as a stepping stone to the PhD degree.

7. An oral defense is required for both the M.A. thesis and M.A. essay. The Graduate Chair will approve the composition of the thesis or essay committee, which is composed of three members of the graduate faculty in sociology. (That is, the student's advisor becomes the chair of the thesis or essay committee, and then two other members of the sociology faculty are selected by the student to reach a committee of three.)  After the committee is formed, any proposed changes in the committee composition must receive prior approval from the student's advisor and the Graduate Director.  To find out more about a Masters essay versus a Masters thesis, students should talk to their advisors and/or the Graduate Director in addition to reading the information below..

8. All Masters students will file a "Plan of Work" within one year of entering the program.  The Plan of Work form can be downloaded from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) website at http://www.clas.wayne.edu/current-students (once on this website click on "Masters students").  When filing a Plan of Work form, students seeking a terminal M.A. degree will designate that they are choosing Plan B (Masters essay track).  Students eventually seeking a Ph.D. are advised to choose Plan A (Masters thesis track) when filing their Plan of Work.  PLAN C (WAIVER OF ESSAY OR THESIS REQUIREMENT) IS NOT ACCEPTED AS AN OPTION.

M.A. Thesis and Essay Requirements

1. Both the Masters essay and Masters thesis should be written so that they could eventually become a professional conference presentation or publication.

2. ESSAY guidelines. The essay should include an extended literature review, extended theoretical or methodological analysis of a certain body of research, or analysis of secondary data.  Masters essays in sociology can range from approximately 30 to 60 pages, depending on the amount of data reviewed and the type of project students are engaged in.  Typically students take one to two semesters to complete a Masters essay.  The purpose of the Masters essay is to show and articulate knowledge of a sub-area of sociology, and demonstrate one's ability to move past existing knowledge in some way, either by completing an analysis of the gaps in a body of literature, an expanded theoretical or methodological analysis of a body of literature, or a small empirical project using secondary data.  The essay is often seen as a review paper, however, and does not need to produce new empirical results.  The essay should demonstrate mastery of a body of literature, theory, and/or methods.  The essay must be sociological in nature and is much more limited in scope than the thesis.  The student will submit a brief proposal to his/her essay committee (after that proposal has been approved by the student's advisor).  Once the committee approves the essay proposal, the student will work with the advisor to finish a defendable draft of the essay.  Once the advisor believes that the student's draft is defendable, the student will orally defend the Masters essay in front of their 3-person committee.  The student and advisor should be meeting regularly throughout the essay process to insure that they are on the same page about the scope of the work and expectations for the final draft.

3. THESIS guidelines. The thesis track is chosen by students who are thinking about going on for a PhD degree in sociology or a related field, or who aspire to another type of research career.  Whereas the essay is a demonstration of knowledge in a particular area, the thesis is a demonstration of knowledge as well as a demonstration of a student's ability to carry out their own research project.  The Masters thesis is practice for a PhD dissertation, and often takes students 2-4 semesters to complete.  The Masters thesis should be empirical include a comprehensive analysis of data (primary or secondary), demonstrate the relationship between theory and methods, and make a solid contribution to sociological knowledge.  The thesis is longer than an essay, often 80-120 pages in length.  The real purpose of a thesis is to demonstrate one's development as a researcher and scholar.  The thesis must be sociological in nature.  The student will submit a proposal to his/her thesis committee, after that proposal has been approved by the student's advisor.  (Thesis proposals often include a short introductory chapter, a chapter of literature review, and a methods chapter that proposes how they will engage in their research.)  Once the committee approves the thesis proposal, the student will work with the advisor to submit a Thesis Outline form to the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and gain IRB approval (if necessary) for the research project.  After IRB approval is secured, the student will engage in data collection and analysis for their thesis, overseen by their advisor.  Once data collection and analysis are complete, students will work with their advisor to finish a defendable draft of the thesis.  When the advisor believes that the student's draft is defendable, the student will orally defend the Masters thesis in front of their 3-person committee.  The student and advisor should be meeting regularly throughout the thesis process to insure that they are on the same page about the scope of the work and expectations for the final draft.  Before they are submitted in final draft, theses have to go through the same format checks as PhD dissertations do, so students who are completing a thesis might want to read through the formatting guidelines for theses and dissertations at Wayne State at www.phd.wayne.edu.

 

SUMMARY OF M.A. PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

_____ Must include a minimum of 32 credit hours
Plan A (thesis): Includes the following required courses:
_____ SOC 6050 or SOC 6060
_____ SOC 6280
_____ SOC 7200
_____ SOC 7030
SOC 8999 (thesis) [8 hrs.]
_____ At least 4 elective credits to total 32 credit hours
 
Plan B (essay): Includes the following required courses:
_____ SOC 6050 or SOC 6060
_____ SOC 6280
_____ SOC 7200
_____ SOC 7030
_____ SOC 7999 (essay) [3 hrs.]
_____ At least 13 elective credits to total 32 credit hours
 
For Applied M.A. Program (also Plan B, essay):
_____ SOC 6050 or SOC 6060
_____ SOC 6280
_____ SOC 6580
_____ SOC 6590
_____ SOC 7000 (internship)
_____ SOC 7200
_____ SOC 7030
_____ SOC 7999 (essay) [3 hrs.]
_____ At least 4 elective credits to total 32 credit hours

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines

THESE GUIDELINES WERE REVISED IN NOVEMBER 2010, AND ARE EFFECTIVE AS OF THE BEGINNING OF THE WINTER 2011 SEMESTER.  ALL STUDENTS ARE HELD TO THESE GUIDELINES.

All graduate students in our Masters and PhD programs are expected to make satisfactory academic progress.  Making satisfactory academic progress means that you are maintaining "good academic standing."  Maintaining good academic standing will mean that you are eligible for jobs after graduation as well as entry into PhD programs and potential funding opportunities later on, so it is important to remain in good academic standing in our graduate programs.  While you can sometimes make it through and graduate from our Masters and PhD programs without maintaining good academic standing, it is expected that students will make every effort to abide by these guidelines. 

To maintain good academic standing in our Masters and PhD programs, graduate students must:

  1. Maintain a minimum of a 3.3 average GPA (a B+ average) for the Masters program or a minimum of a 3.5 average GPA (an A- average) for the PhD program.  While students can graduate with a Masters or PhD if they have a 3.0 GPA (a B average) or above, maintaining good academic standing means doing "better than a B".  (While you can graduate with a GPA of 3.0 in your Masters coursework, we believe that students in sociology can do better than this.)
  2. Receive a B or better final grade in all Masters and PhD coursework.  (If a B- grade or lower is received in a course, a student may ask for permission to repeat the course.  If this is the case, a student should repeat this course within one year's time.)
  3. Resolve all "Y" or "I" grades in regular coursework within 12 months.  (At the time that the "Y" or "I" grade is given, students should work out a written plan with the instructor of these courses for how these grades will be resolved.  A copy of this plan should be in the student's departmental file.)
  4. Have no more than one unfinished regular course (with a grade of "Y" or "I") on their records at any given time.
  5. Fill out an Annual Progress Report with their advisors once a year (preferably in April or May of each year).  The Annual Progress Report forms for both Masters and PhD students can be found on the department website.
  6. Make regular and consistent progress through required coursework so that they are making steady progress towards their Masters or PhD degrees.  For instance, students should not leave the university and remain unregistered for courses (i.e., "stop out") for more than one academic year (two semesters) while they are completing their required coursework, if they wish to maintain good academic standing.  There should also be no more than two academic years (four semesters) between the completion of required coursework and the completion of a Masters thesis, Masters essay or PhD preliminary exams.  For PhD students, there should be no more than one academic year (two semesters) between completion of preliminary exams and the defense of a dissertation proposal.  Students who are taking courses part-time (i.e., one course per semester) should remember that they are given the same time clock as full-time students, and must finish within 6 years' time if they are a Masters student and 7 years' time if they are a PhD student.
  7. Have a Masters or PhD Plan of Work on file after 12-16 credits.  For full-time students, a Plan of Work should be filed by the end of the first academic year.
  8. Pass PhD preliminary exams on the first try.  PhD students are given a second and final chance to pass their PhD preliminary exams if necessary.  If student fail their preliminary exams a second time, they are dismissed from the PhD program.  Only in extremely rare circumstances are students granted a third chance at the exam.
  9. Pass oral defenses (of a Masters essay, Masters thesis, dissertation proposal, or final dissertation) on the first try.  Students should work with their advisors to insure that they are prepared for their first oral defense.  If students cannot pass an oral defense they are dismissed from their Masters or PhD program.  Only in rare circumstances are students given a second chance to pass an oral defense.
  10. Complete all prerequisite courses required for their Masters or PhD programs within one academic year.   If students cannot complete their prerequisite courses within two academic years (four semesters), they may be dismissed from their graduate programs. 
  11. Meet once a semester with their advisors to insure that they are making satisfactory academic progress.

Unsatisfactory Progress

If graduate students in sociology do not maintain good academic standing as specified by the above criteria, they will be making "unsatisfactory progress" in their Masters or PhD program.  Masters students who are making unsatisfactory progress will not be admitted to our PhD program if they apply.  PhD students who are making unsatisfactory progress will not be considered for departmental funding opportunities.  Students who are making unsatisfactory progress are also in danger of not being able to finish their degree programs within their allotted times (6 years for a Masters program and 7 years for a PhD program); extensions on these time clocks are difficult to acquire.  Students who are making unsatisfactory progress may even risk dismissal from our Masters or PhD program in some cases as outlined above.  While we understand that there are many reasons why students might make unsatisfactory progress, we expect that students will take responsibility for their academic progress and resolve any reasons for unsatisfactory progress within one academic year (two semesters).  If students make unsatisfactory progress for two years in a row they will be given a deadline for resolving problematic aspects of their academic records.  If they do not resolve the specified problems by the deadline, they may be dismissed from their Masters or PhD program.

 

Policy on Student Dismissal from Program Due to Poor Performance

Students have 18 months to resolve academic issues related to poor academic performance. The 18 month clock begins upon students’ first unsatisfactory evaluation following the annual review conducted in May of each academic year. In May, students will receive notification of their risk for dismissal from the program outlining the steps needed to resolve the issues. If the student resolves the issues by their review the following year, then the risk of dismissal is retracted and students will receive notification that they are in good standing. If the issues indicated in the previous year’s annual review go unresolved resulting in a second unsatisfactory evaluation, students remain at risk for dismissal from the program. If the student resolves the academic issues between the second unsatisfactory review and December of the same year, the advisor must notify the graduate committee that the student is now in good standing. Otherwise, students will receive a dismissal letter in December (18 months after the first unsatisfactory evaluation). The appeal process requires students to submit their appeal in writing to the graduate committee within 60 days of receiving their dismissal letter. The appeal requires the endorsement of their faculty advisor and will be decided by vote of the graduate committee. Given that students will not be dismissed from the program until they have failed to make satisfactory progress towards their degree for 30 consecutive months, appeals will only be granted if extraordinary extenuating circumstances can be demonstrated.

In defining these guidelines for satisfactory academic progress, we hope that graduate students will take responsibility for their academic work and set high standards for themselves.  We believe that graduate students who maintain good academic standing will be more likely to complete their degrees in a timely fashion and maximize their time within our program.

If students have any questions about these guidelines for satisfactory academic progress or about the Masters program as a whole, they should contact the Graduate Director in the Department of Sociology.

Sociology
2228 F/AB, 656 W. Kirby St.
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 577-2930
Fax: (313) 577-2735
Website: clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/Sociology
Email: ad4388@wayne.edu