MA Program

grad students in classThe objective of the MA program is to help students develop their theoretical perspectives and research skills. The program provides solid training for those who plan to work in positions requiring research skills in the public and private sectors. It also provides a strong foundation in sociological training for those who plan to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology. Students achieve the objectives of the MA program by taking a well designed sequence of courses, working as research assistants to professors, and attending seminars organized in the Department.


We admit about ten students into the MA program each year and typically have about 150 applications. To be admitted, you should have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Most students that we admit achieved an A average in their undergraduate studies and have some research experience. Many, but not all of them, have BAs in Sociology. We prefer students who have taken at least 5 full year courses (or 10 half-year courses) in Sociology at the undergraduate level. We like to see a good background in statistics and some sociology coursework, especially Sociological Theory.

The online admissions application opens on October 1st annually. The deadline for beginning the application process (with payment) is December 1st. The deadline to complete your application (upload all supporting documents) is December 15th. We do not make any exceptions for missing either deadline. Note that there is a $120 application fee.  See more detailed application information.

Students can choose to take the program on a part-time or full-time basis. Part-time students are required to complete all course requirements within five years from date of entry. Part-time students must be able to take courses offered during normal working hours, as this is when course are offered. Full-time MA students have twelve (12) months to complete the program. The program begins in September; we do not admit new students to the January term.

Students may apply to do a collaborative MA by applying to Sociology and to one of our collaborative programs.

Program Requirements

All master’s students are required to take the following three courses as part of their course requirements:
SOC 6001H Classical Sociological Theory
SOC 6302H Statistics for Sociologists
SOC 6712H Qualitative Methods I

In addition to these courses, students have two options for completing the MA program. The first option requires students to take five more half-year courses (eight total). The second option requires students to take three more half-year courses (six total) and write a research paper.

Students may request to enroll in one non-departmental elective course by completing an Add/Drop form and submitting it for departmental approval.

Students must maintain a B average throughout their coursework to be recommended to receive their M.A. degree.

M.A. Research Paper Guidelines

Students who would like experience doing their own research project should choose the Major Research Paper (MRP) option. To pursue this option, students need to find a Sociology faculty member who will supervise the project and work with them through all phases of the paper. Students may develop their own projects, write a paper that is part of a faculty members’ research or develop one based on their work as a Research Assistant. Given the short time frame, it is best to line up a Sociology faculty supervisor in the first semester of the program.

MA students have the option to fulfill 1.0 FCE of their program requirement by writing a M.A.Research Paper (MRP). The M.A. Research Paper (MRP) is meant to be a paper of publishable quality. The scope of the paper is an article for a peer-reviewed sociology journal. In practical terms, this means a paper between approximately 8000 and 10,000 words, inclusive of references and tables and figures. (Of course, supervisors can accept longer or shorter papers if they choose to do so, but this should be communicated to the student during the process.) The paper can involve data analysis or be a theoretical paper without an analysis of primary data. Please note that it is not meant to be a literature review alone.
The paper is assessed by the supervisor alone, rather than by a committee. The supervisor should work with the student in the conceptualization, planning, and execution of the paper through regular meetings and readings of drafts of the paper. Students should plan to write their MRP during the summer term of their MA year (May -August).
Students wishing to pursue this option should submit  an Add/Drop Course form indicating the MRP course code SOC6215Y1Y by the first Friday of May. Please remember to print the supervisor’s name on the form and secure their signature before submitting.

Collaborative Specializations

Some students choose to broaden their Master’s program by participating in a collaborative program. Students wishing to do so must apply to both Sociology and the collaborative program for admissions. In order to participate in any collaborative program, students must first be admitted to the Sociology Department.  We offer collaborative programs at the MA level with: