Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Graduate Study

The MSU graduate sociology program seeks to develop professionals who will be creative researchers, teachers, and practitioners in knowledge production. The department has five areas of concentration and a number of specialties:
  1. Community and Urban.  Areas of study include community development, decline and environmental justice; community health; creative communities and fostering creativity; urban and regional economic and transportation networks; expressive cultural behaviors of U.S. African American communities; international development and community change; international urban transformations; social stratification and  race in communities; gangs, violence, criminal justice in urban communities; urban food systems and food security.
  2. Environment. Areas of study include food and energy production; land use; our interactions with other species; climate change, pollution, and changes in ecosystem structure and function; and human environment intersections.
  3. Family. Areas of study include  cultural production and maintenance among minority families; domestic violence; family formation and dissolution; gender; health and aging; impact of social change on the family structure, dynamics, and effectiveness; intergenerational transfer; intersectionality and social inequality; LGBT families; marriage and cohabitation; divorce and widowhood; migration and family; religion and family; work-family conflict.
  4. Health and Medicine. Areas of study include the social context of health, illness, and health care, with a central focus on health disparities by race/ethnicity, social class, gender, and marital status;  political, economic, and environmental circumstances that threaten health; and societal forces that impact the health care system.
  5. Migration. Areas of study include  the African diaspora; the demography of migration;  development and migration; the environment and migration; gender and migration; health and migration; migrant ethnic entrepreneurship, communities, and conflict; migrant integration; migration, race, and refugees; migration research methods.
Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the Department of Sociology may elect a Specialization in Food Safety. For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Sociology may elect specializations in Infancy and Early Childhood. For additional information, refer to the statement on
Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Infancy and Early Childhood.

For further information about graduate study in sociology, consult the department's Graduate Manual or visit www.sociology.msu.edu.

Sociology - Master of Arts

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Sociology 

The program is available only under Plan A (with thesis).  The student must meet the requirements specified below:

               
1. Complete 30 credits including:  
  a. All of the following courses (12 credits):  
    SOC 801 Global Transformations 3
    SOC 815 Classical Sociological Theory 3
    SOC 881 Analysis of Social Data I 3
    SOC 885 Methods of Sociological Inquiry 3
  b. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
    SOC 954 Techniques of Population Analysis 3
    SOC 985 Qualitative Field Research 3
    SOC 986 Survey Research Principles 3
    SOC 989 Topics in Sociological Methodology 3
  c. At least three courses in one of the department's major research theme areas of concentration.  
  d. Complete 4 to 8 credits of Sociology 899 Master's Thesis Research.  
2. Present the thesis at a colloquium of the faculty who are associated with the student's major research theme area of concentration.  The presentation must be acceptable to the faculty and be suitable for presentation at a professional meeting or publication in a professional journal.  
3. Participate in the teaching assistant workshop offered by the department.  
4. Participate in the Sociology Graduate Seminar for First–Year Students.  

Sociology - Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral degree program in sociology is designed to give the student a general background in sociological theory and methodology, as well as training in a major substantive area of the discipline.

While there is no language requirement, where acquaintance with a foreign language is necessary for advancing the special interest of the student, the student, in consultation with the guidance committee, may decide upon the study of a foreign language appropriate to their research and career development.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Sociology

In addition to completing the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Sociology noted above, the student must meet the requirements specified below:

               
1. Complete both of the following courses (6 credits):  
  SOC 816 Contemporary Sociological Theory 3
  SOC 995 Professional Training Seminar 3
2. Complete one of the following, either a. or b. (3 credits):  
  a. SOC 882 Analysis of Social Data II 3
  b. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
    SOC 954 Techniques of Population Analysis 3
    SOC 985 Qualitative Field Research 3
    SOC 986 Survey Research Principles 3
    SOC 989 Topics in Sociological Methodology 3
    Students must select one of the courses that was not used to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Sociology.  
3. Two additional courses selected from the department's major research theme areas of concentration that were not used to satisfy the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Sociology. The courses must be approved by the student's guidance committee.  
4. Complete 24 credits of Sociology 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research.  
5. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination.  
6. Successful defense of the dissertation.  

Graduate Specialization in Animal Studies: Social Science and Humanities Perspective

The Graduate Specialization in Animal Studies: Social Science and Humanities Perspective, which is administered by the Department of Sociology, provides graduate students with basic knowledge in relationships between humans and animals and how they are linked together in a fragile biosphere.

The graduate specialization is available as an elective for students who are enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs at Michigan State University.  With the approval of the department and college that administers the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the master’s or doctoral degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements for the graduate specialization should consult the graduate advisor for the specialization in the Department of Sociology.

Requirements for the Graduate Specialization in Animal Studies: Social Science and Humanities Perspective

Complete a total of 12 credits from the following:

  1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):
    SOC    989       Topics in Sociological Methodology  (3)
    SOC    840       Animals and Social Transformations  (3)
  2. One of the following courses (3 credits):
    ACR    823        Contemporary Issues in Animal-Human Relationships  (3)
    ANS    805         Animal Welfare Assessment  (3)
    LAW    565A      Animal Law  (3) 
  3. Complete 3 credits of additional course work that focuses on any aspect of the human-animal relationship that meets the interests of the student. A list of available courses can be found on the specialization Web site. The course must be approved by the student's academic advisor for the specialization.