The Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at San José State University offers a General MA Degree in Sociology. The program is designed to prepare students for entry into PhD programs and to provide skills and training necessary for employment as professional sociologists and other related occupations. We are looking for students who are curious about the social world, academically dedicated, and committed to the examination of society. Information about the program can be found on the department website: sjsu.edu/siss/academics/grad.
Applicants must meet all of the university admission requirements as established by the university catalog. The Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences sets criteria for admission into the Sociology Master of Arts Program that are higher than the base standards established by the university. The requirements of the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences are as follows:
- An earned baccalaureate at an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale).
- Completion of the following prerequisite coursework with a grade of “B” or better: sociological theory (SOCI 101 or equivalent), research methods (SOCI 104 or equivalent), and social science statistics (SOCI 15 or SOCI 102 or equivalent).
- An approximately 1,000-word statement of purpose discussing the applicant’s purpose for pursuing an MA degree in Sociology, the applicant’s areas of interest and previous academic/professional experience, and the applicant’s career goals.
- Two letters of recommendation from faculty members who can assess the applicant’s potential for graduate level work in Sociology. In certain cases, one letter may be from an employer who can attest to the applicant’s ability and potential for graduate work.
- A writing sample that consists of a 6- to 10-page paper (or portion of a paper) that highlights the applicant’s writing ability and analytical skills.
Depending on whether or not they have completed the prerequisite requirements, applicants can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing. Students admitted in conditionally classified standing will need to complete any missing prerequisite courses and pass them with a grade of “B” or better within 2 semesters of being admitted. Students who do not do meet this requirement will be disqualified from the program.
Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.
Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy
After completing a minimum of 9 units of letter-graded instruction at the graduate level (with at least a “B” average), students may apply to candidacy. Additionally, admission to candidacy requires:
- An approved program of study consisting of 30 units, developed in consultation with the graduate advisor and in conformity with university and departmental requirements; and
- Completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) . The university requires that all graduate students complete the GWAR as a condition for advancement to candidacy . For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website at www.sjsu.edu/gape.
Further requirements of the department for advancement to candidacy include submission of a declaration of a plan of study to the department’s Graduate Committee, detailing the student’s intent to complete either a special study project (SOCI 298 ) or a thesis (SOCI 299 ). If the plan is deemed satisfactory, the student will be advanced to candidacy.
Requirements for Graduation
University Graduation Requirements
Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures .
Department Graduation Requirements
Requirements for the MA in Sociology include 30 units of graduate level course work. All students are required to complete SOCI 200 , SOCI 201 , SOCI 204 , and SOCI 205 with a grade of “B” or better. With approval of the department’s graduate coordinator, up to 9 units of upper-division undergraduate course work in Sociology, graduate-level non-sociology course work, or a combination of the two, may count toward the total 30-unit requirement.
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) .
This requirement is satisfied by passing SOCI 201 .
Plan A (Thesis)
Students selecting the thesis option must demonstrate research and writing competency and show the ability to conduct independent research. Upon successful completion of the four required core courses and after receiving approval from the Graduate Committee for the declared program of study, the student selects a thesis committee consisting of at least three members, two of whom must be from the faculty in the Sociology Department. The chair of the committee must also be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the department. The student may enroll in up to 6 units of thesis/research hours (SOCI 299 ) with the professor designated as chair of the committee. The student must successfully pass a final oral defense of the thesis and the thesis must meet university requirements as stipulated in this catalog and in the SJSU Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines.
Plan B (Project)
After the successful completion of the four required core courses and after receiving approval from the graduate committee for the declared program of study, the student enrolls in 3 units of SOCI 298 with the professor who is selected as the student’s advisor. The Project option involves a written paper that investigates or analyzes some facet of a social problem; the exact nature and scope of the project is determined by the student in consultation with his or her advisor.