UMKC Catalog


Master of Arts in Sociology

Students who earn a Master of Arts in Sociology should be able to:
  • Examine the role and relevance of the sociological perspective for graduate students who will have the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue either a Ph.D. in a related field or to engage in enhanced study, research, and/or application of sociological method and theory.
  • Reflect on contemporary issues and controversies in Sociology, and advance sociological research through their own creative engagement with social theories and methods.
  • Explore the theoretical and methodological perspectives in a chosen specialty area to elaborate the historical development and contemporary manifestation of social inequalities.
  • Advance critical research and writing skills for professional development and civic engagement such that graduate students will deepen their professional commitment to community.

Regular admission to the Sociology Master's program typically requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in Sociology (or related discipline such as Political Science, Anthropology, or History) with a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75, and a GPA of 3.0 in both (a) the junior and senior years and (b) Sociology coursework.

Students who do not meet these above requirements may be accepted conditionally to the program.  For students to gain full admission to the program, they must first demonstrate aptitude for coursework in Sociology by passing three critical undergraduate courses with at least a B- (80%): Introduction to Sociology, Social Theory, Research Methods, and Statistics (equivalent to SOCIOL 101, SOCIOL 361, SOCIOL 362 and SOCIOL 363).  We strongly advise applicants to have completed at least two(preferably all four) of these courses prior to applying to the program.

Applicants for the fall semester admission must have all materials submitted by March 1, or February 15 to be considered for any available graduate teaching or research assistantships.  Applicants for the spring semester must submit all materials by November 1.  A complete application packet includes the application fee, as required, and these materials submitted to the university's Office of Admissions:
  • •The UMKC general application form, available at
  • •All undergraduate transcripts;
  • •Three letters of recommendation, preferably from former instructors;
  • •One undergraduate written assignment that best illustrates your ability to think analytically; and
  • •A two to three page statement outlining your goals for graduate study, the nature of your interest in Sociology, and at least one current UMKC faculty member whose areas of expertise match your interests, any past experiences that are relevant, as well as your future plans. (This is in place of completing the statement of purpose section on the UMKC application.)

We strongly encourage the student to contact directly the principal graduate adviser or other appropriate faculty member prior to or during the admission process.

This program requires 30 credit hours of coursework.  The following core courses (15 credits) are required of all students and should be taken early in the program:
Required Courses:Hours
 SOCIOL 5501   Social Theory I                    3
 SOCIOL 5502   Social Theory II                   3
 SOCIOL 5510   Sociological Research Methods I    3 
 SOCIOL 5511   Sociological Research Methods II   3
 SOCIOL 5516   Intermediate Statistics            3

In addition to these required courses, students must complete an additional 15 credit hours, generally fulfilled by taking graduate-level courses from the Sociology curriculum.  Specifically, these 15 hours beyond the core courses may include up to 6 credit hours of thesis research, up to 3 credit hours of independent/directed studies, up to 6 credit hours of 400-level coursework in the department, and/or up to 6 credit hours of graduate coursework from other disciplines with the approval of the Sociology principal graduate advisor.  In no case can more than 3 one-credit courses be part of the program of study.

Students are expected to earn a GPA of 3.0 or above in the core courses and an overall GPA of 3.0. Those who do not meet this requirement will be subject to review by the departmental graduate standards committee. Students who do not perform at a satisfactory level during their time in the program may be reviewed by the Graduate Standards Committee and subsequently can be placed on probation and/or terminated from the program.

Students must complete at least 3 credit hours of graduate work each semester (fall and spring) for the first 2 years of the program and at least 1 credit hour each subsequent semester (fall and spring) to maintain their standing in the program.

By the midpoint of the program, a student should have selected at least 3 faculty members to serve on the master's committee and filed a program of study.

Students may complete the M.A. requirements in Sociology through either: (a) the thesis option, or (b) the comprehensive exam option. We strongly advise students to pursue the thesis option as this provides the greatest flexibility for future study and employment choices.

Thesis Option

For this option, 6 credits of the 30 required hours are used for the completion of the master's thesis. An oral defense of the thesis is required. Students who aspire to further study at the doctoral level should select the thesis option.

Comprehensive Exam Option

This option requires 30 hours of graduate coursework. Near completion of all coursework, students choosing this option must pass a comprehensive exam comprised of 3 parts: (1) sociological theory; (2) research methods and statistics; and (3) a substantive area of the student's choice in consultation with the principal graduate adviser or the student's committee chair. If a student is unable to pass any component of the comprehensive exam on a second try, the graduate standards committee will evaluate the situation and decide if circumstances warrant a third attempt. Under no circumstances, will a student be given more than three attempts at passing the comprehensive exam.