woman standing with research poster

Our master of arts in sociology program is designed to prepare you for professional employment or for further graduate education.

The strong training you will receive in theory, research methods, and statistics provides excellent preparation to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology or to begin work in a variety of professional fields.

What You Will Learn

As a student, you will learn how to collect, code, and clean data, enabling you to become a producer—not just a consumer—of knowledge.

Through our MA program in sociology, you will learn and practice research methods and analytical skills that will equip you to find employment in government, nonprofits, corporate organizations, educational institutions, and more.

You will also learn:

  • how to make research findings understandable and accessible not only to colleagues and scientists, but to community members, business constituents, media outlets, and more
  • basic and advanced statistical analysis skills, which will allow you to interpret quantitative data – a valuable skill in the job market
  • how to effectively construct and administer surveys that provide useful information to the professionals who rely on them

What It’s Like to Major in Sociology at Ball State

As a result of the program’s emphasis on methods and statistics training, job placement rates after graduation are quite high. This training allows you to transition to advanced scientific study or to jobs where you’ll assist with information gathering, interpretation, and presentation.

Our MA can serve as a springboard for you if you desire advanced study (PhD, JD, MD, etc.) but wish to strengthen your research skills and application portfolio before pursuing an advanced degree.

Our program’s graduates routinely succeed in being placed into competitive programs thanks to the rigorous training we offer in methods and statistics. This prepares you for the extensive research associated with more advanced degrees, which programs consider when reviewing admission applications.

Student-to-faculty ratios are low in the MA program in sociology. This promotes high levels of one-on-one training and interaction with faculty. We purposely keep our cohorts relatively small in order to provide a personal, high contact, and engaging educational experience.

Program Requirements

The master of arts in sociology requires a total of 33 credits. Most students complete the degree in two years, with the average course load being nine credits per semester.

This program provides five tracks you can choose from. While one is required, more than one may be completed simultaneously.

Credits

Total: 33

  • Core Courses: 18
  • Electives: 15

Core Courses

  • SOC 600 Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative (3 credits)
  • SOC 603 Readings in Sociological Theory (3 credits)
  • SOC 681 Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
  • SOC 682 Social Statistics (3 credits)
  • SOC 684 Advanced Sociological Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • SOC 699 Selected Substantive Topics in Sociology (3 credits)
Thesis Track

The department encourages you to write a master's thesis. This requires you to work closely with a faculty member on a project of original research, letting you earn up to six credits for thesis work. Most students write a thesis during the second year of graduate work.

For this track, students complete a master’s thesis under the direction of a faculty advisor and a three-person committee. Students may either collect their own data or use existing, secondary data to explore a question of interest, test hypotheses, interpret findings, and present results in accordance with scientific standards.

This is a common track for students who intend to go on for further graduate study, but it can also lead to research-based jobs in a number of private, governmental, and nonprofit institutions.

Courses

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our course catalog.

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For this track, you will complete the Institutional Research Certificate alongside the MA in sociology.

This certificate requires you to complete 15 credits of coursework, some of which overlaps with our core courses and others which count toward elective hours in our MA degree. This certificate offers you practical, hands-on experience within the field of institutional research.

Students with this track often find employment in colleges, universities, and other organizations that need to collect and analyze data about their own institutions.

Courses

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our course catalog.

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For this track, you will complete the Certificate in College and University Teaching alongside the MA in sociology.

This certificate requires you to complete 15 credits of coursework, all of which counts toward elective hours in our MA degree.

Students with this track often find employment as part- or full-time instructors at community colleges, online institutions, and occasionally at four-year institutions. They may also become program coordinators within a community or nonprofit organization.

Courses

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our course catalog.

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For this track, you will complete the Certificate in Interpretive Ethnography alongside the MA in sociology.

This certificate requires you to complete 15 credits of coursework, all of which counts toward elective credits in our MA degree.

This certificate focuses on qualitative research methodologies, rather than quantitative methodologies (which are the focus of both our MA program and the Institutional Research certificate).

his track can be useful both for students who intend to go on for further graduate study or for students who would like research-based jobs that focus on qualitative methods (e.g., interviews, focus groups, ethnographic fieldwork, etc.).

Courses

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our course catalog.

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For this track, you will complete 15 credits of coursework specifically focused on research methods and statistics. All of the courses count toward elective hours in our MA degree.

This track is optimal for students who want a research focus but who do not want to complete a thesis or the Institutional Research certificate.

Students in this track are qualified for a number of research-based jobs in private, governmental, and nonprofit institutions.

Courses

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our course catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Master of Arts in Sociology?

An MA in sociology can prepare you for career entry, or for further graduate study in a PhD, JD, or MD program. By earning a graduate-level degree, you have a wide range of sociology-related career options, although they may not carry the specific title of "sociologist."

Some of the possibilities include:

  • High School Teacher
  • Postsecondary Teacher
  • Director of Research
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Research Analyst
  • Urban Planner
  • Criminologist
  • Counselor

Although teaching and conducting research are the dominant responsibilities of professional sociologists, trained sociologists also embark upon hundreds of other career paths. Their impact on other fields is increasing in significance and scope; for instance, in many organizations, sociologists work closely with economists, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, and social workers, to name a few, reflecting a growing appreciation of sociology's valuable contributions to many different disciplines.
Explore More Career Options

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Review our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about The Graduate School at Ball State University, please complete our online form to request more information. Or, if you’d like to speak directly with someone in our department by phone or email, please contact us.

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