UWG’s M.A. in Sociology fuses advanced training in research methods with a focus on social justice. Our degree equips you with the tools you need to advocate for vulnerable populations.  Our students want to change the world, and we equip them with the research capabilities to diagnose and confront social problems that exist in our communities.

For more information, please see the Academic Catalog.

  • Overview

    Social advocacy is not commonly associated with survey research, participant observation, or statistics, but these are building blocks for investigating and later confronting the race-, gender-, and class-related injustices that exist in our communities. Developing competence in a variety of research methods can help you advance your career in a wide range of fields, including child advocacy, health advocacy, social justice education, community organizing, environmental justice, and non-profit organizations. Alumni from the program have gone on to careers in fields such as victim advocacy, patient advocacy, community support, and research analysis.

    The M.A. program features two tracks for students to pursue. In the Thesis Track, students develop and conduct their own-in depth research project. Students have gone on to present their thesis research at conferences such as the Southern Sociological Society and the Mid-South Sociological Association. In the Applied Track, students take additional methods coursework and do an internship with a local organization where they can apply sociological methods and concepts. Several students have used the Applied Track as a stepping stone to seek a promotion in their current workplace or start a new career that their degree has made possible.

    Program Location

    Carrollton Campus

    Method of Delivery

    Courses are 100% face-to-face.  Most courses are offered in the evenings.


    The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    Credit and transfer

    Total semester hours required: 36
    Maximum Hours Transferable into program: 6
    A transfer credit evaluation will be completed by the UWG Transfer Team (transfer@westga.edu). Course application to a program is subject to review by the department.

  • Cost

    This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.

    Save money

    UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.


    • Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
    • The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
    • Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
    • Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
    • Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
    • One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
    • For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Student Accounts and Billing Services website

    There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.

  • Courses


    The core courses for the Master’s program consist of nine hours in theory, research methodology, and statistics. To satisfy the theory requirement, students must take SOCI 6305 or another 6000-level theory course approved by the department’s director of graduate studies. To satisfy the research methodology requirement, students must take SOCI 6013 or SOCI 6613. To satisfy the statistics requirement, students must take SOCI 6003 or another graduate level statistics course approved by the department’s director of graduate studies. Students who have not taken an undergraduate theory course in sociology must enroll in SOCI 5053 prior to enrolling in SOCI 6003 

    Students accepted into the program may choose either Plan I (Thesis) or Plan II (Applied Track). Under Plans I and II students must complete 21 hours of elective course work beyond the core requirements. Under Plan I students must also take three hours of Thesis Preparation (SOCI 6882), and three hours of thesis work (SOCI 6999). A thesis is required under Plan I. Under Plan II students must register for 3 credit hours of additional research methods coursework and 3 credit hours of Internship (SOCI 6286). Courses that will satisfy the methods requirement include: SOCI 6660SOCI 6613, and SOCI 6275. Graduate research methods courses in other departments can be taken to fulfill this requirement with approval from the graduate advisor. Students opting for the Applied Track must constitute a three-member committee to approve and oversee the completion of a major initiative associated with their internship. Under either plan, students must complete a minimum of 36 hours, one-half of which must be at the 6000-level. A total of six hours may be selected from courses outside the Master’s program in Sociology.

    Requirements Plan I Plan II Core Courses 9 hours 9 hours Elective Courses 21 hours 21 hours Thesis Preparation 3 hours N/A Thesis 3 hours N/A Internship N/A 3 hours Additional Research Methods N/A 3 hours Total Hours 36 hours 36 hours Final Project Thesis Internship Project



    • SOCI-5000 - Research Methodology

      An introduction to the logic and the procedures of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Focuses on research design, use of computer and statistical packages, data interpretation, the relation of research and theory, and the writing of scientific research reports.

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    • SOCI-5003 - Applied Statistics for Sociology

      Introduction to statistical methods used in the analysis of quantitative social science data. This course focuses on applying common statistical techniques to real-world problems. Students will also gain experience explaining statistical analyses to both technical and non-technical audiences. Instructor Permission required.

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    • SOCI-5053 - Sociological Theory

      Examines the contributions of major classical and contemporary sociological thinkers and schools of thought and the contexts in which they developed, with a special emphasis on applying their ideas to the analysis of various social issues. Course begins with selected classical thinkers but emphasis current perspectives and developments.

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    • SOCI-5103 - Women and Work

      A course designed to familiarize students with the history of women and work, the present role of women in the workplace, and current issues affecting working women; and to develop in student skills and strategies for dealing with issues related to women and work. Same as MGNT 5626.

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    • SOCI-5300 - Housing and Homelessness

      Sociological examination of the places in which we live, how we are housed, and what it is like to live without a place to call home. The focus is housing development in the United States throughout the twentieth century with special attention to its association with economic, gender, race, and family relations, along with public policy. Consideration is given to problems and controversies surrounding 'the American dream': segregation, overcrowding, affordability, urbanization/suburbanization, accessibility, and alternative housing. Special attention will be given to the problem of homelessness.

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    • SOCI-5323 - Cultural and Racial Minorities

      Comparative study of racial and ethnic groups in America. The disciplinary base of this approach is sociological, but observations and interpretations from different perspectives will be examined. Special attention will be given to the nature of prejudice, discrimination, and inequality as related to historical, cultural and structural patterns in American society. Topics include: ethnocentrism and racism; interracial violence; theories of prejudice and discrimination; immigration and immigrant experiences; the origins and nature of racial/ethnic stratification; ideologies and programs to assist or resist change. African American experiences are emphasized and contrasted with those of other racial/ethnic groups.

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    • SOCI-5373 - Visual Sociology

      A qualitative research course focusing on the interpretation and analysis of photographic and other static images as a means for studying and critiquing social life. Student photographic projects a major component of course work. Technical photographic skills not necessary. Course combines ethnographic research and critical sociology to develop visual literacy skills.

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    • SOCI-5445 - Sociology of Childhood

      This course will examine the influence of societal structure in the socialization of children and the sociological theoretical framework for the study of childhood. Students will be introduced to the complexity and the diversity of sociological issues related to children, this includes family, parenting, school and other socialization issues.

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    • SOCI-5503 - Individual and Society

      A study of the social character of individual experience. Comparative sociohistorical and cultural analyses of the social nature of psychological phenomena and human meanings as they are constructed by individuals in the process of interaction. Comparisons of classic and modern sociological theories on communicative actions, social organization, and the language-mediated nature of human consciousness and sociality. Application of these sociological models to selected social issues and problems.

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    • SOCI-5543 - Deviant and Alternative Behavior

      Analysis and evaluation of sociological conceptions and research on deviant and unconventional thought and action. Focuses on contemporary, multicultural society.

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    • SOCI-5803 - Environmental Sociology

      Studies how societal practices and organization produce varying types of ecological degradation. Analyzes various forms of environmental activism. Analyzes selected cases and issues as well as a critical examination and comparison of various sociological viewpoints themselves. Considers global problems and everyday situations with a focus on modernity as risk society.

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    • SOCI-5981 - Directed Readings

      Title and description of the type of independent study to be offered will be specified on the variable credit form students must complete before being permitted to register for this class. Transcripts carry different nomenclature to indicate the topic taught.

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    • SOCI-6000 - Orientation

      The goal of this course is to equip incoming graduate students with the necessary tools to successfully complete the program. Topics to be addressed include course requirements, professional development, plan of study and thesis preparation.

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    • SOCI-6013 - Social Research

      Social research examines the process of sociological research, with a specific focus upon designing and conducting quantitative research and writing empirical research reports. Students will learn how to evaluate quantitative research published in academic journals, and spend some time discussing the procedural stages for completing a thesis or a position paper.

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    • SOCI-6015 - Managing Data

      This course teaches students to build and manage databases using SPSS. An emphasis is placed on working with large national data sets that are available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research database. Advanced data analysis techniques will also be examined.

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    • SOCI-6182 - Special Seminars

      Title and description of the instruction to be offered will be specified on a variable credit form. The variable credit form must be completed before a student will be allowed to register for this course. Transcript entries carry different nomenclature to correspond with material taught. May be repeated on different content at least two times for credit.

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    • SOCI-6255 - Delinquency, Family, and the Community

      This course will examine juvenile crime within a larger social context, exploring the positive and negative contributions of the individual, the family, peer, schools, and the larger community. Intervention strategies will be assessed, and a model will be presented for a community action that can reduce/prevent juvenile crime.

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    • SOCI-6280 - Seminar in Social Justice

      This course offers an opportunity to explore a number of areas, which may be defined within the broad heading of justice. It takes a realistic and critical look at the legal, social, psychological, and political effects the 'justice system' on people and their cities. Students will be asked to analyze these effects from the perspective of what is 'just' or 'unjust' - and what we can do about it.

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    • SOCI-6286 - Internship

      Internship experience within an approved local organizational setting where sociological theories, concepts, and methods can be applied. May be repeated for credit with permission from the head of graduate studies (for a total of six credit hours).

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    • SOCI-6305 - Advanced Sociological Theory

      This course provides a foundation in the central ideas of social theory. Course topics include classical and contemporary sociological theories, applications and contemporary treatments, as well as major debates.

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    • SOCI-6363 - Sociology of the Family

      This course will concentrate upon the theories and critically analyze the research that is of interest to scholars in the area of family studies. Contemporary issues facing the American family will be explored.

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    • SOCI-6613 - Qualitative Research

      An in-depth exploration of the logic, approaches, techniques, and issues in qualitative sociological research. Qualitative program evaluation and activist research are considered along with basic research.

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    • SOCI-6623 - Inequality in Society

      An examination of inequality within the American society. A focus will be placed upon classical and contemporary social theories and the various dimensions and consequences of stratification.

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    • SOCI-6660 - Institutional Ethnography

      Examination of institutional ethnography, a way of exploring the particular and generalized social relations that shape people's everyday experiences.

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    • SOCI-6700 - Social Movements, Protest and Change

      The history of social change from the classical perspective to contemporary theories. Collective behavior and social movement theory will be explored. Attention will be given to who participates in movements, movement strategies and tactics, and movement outcomes. Several movements from American History will be explored including the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the worker's movement, the gay and lesbian movement, and the environmental movement.

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    • SOCI-6803 - Seminar in Social Psychology

      To explore the sociological relevance of selected areas within social psychology such as group dynamics, leadership, collective behavior and symbolic interaction.

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    • SOCI-6882 - Thesis Preparation

      Directed individual guidance in the steps leading to the completion of a thesis research proposal and the beginning of thesis research. Areas covered may include selection of a topic, literature review, formation of research questions, selecting research methods, protection of human subjects.

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    • SOCI-6983 - Continuing Research

      Must be taken by those who are finishing course work to remove an incomplete while not enrolled for other courses or those who are not enrolled for thesis hours but are completing thesis or position paper.

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  • Faculty
  • Admissions

    Guidelines for Admittance

    • All graduate applicants must complete the online Graduate Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
    • Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process.
    • International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See Procedures for International Students.
    • Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Graduate Admissions Office.

    Program Specific Admittance Guidelines

    The Department of Sociology considers the quality of an application to the M.A. program in its entirety. Applicants will be considered on a competitive basis and thus simply completing an application does not guarantee admission to the program. To apply to the program, a student is ordinarily expected to have a bachelors degree in sociology or a related discipline from an accredited academic institution. Applicants to the Sociology M.A. program must have:

    • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
    • A 750-word personal statement, which includes the applicant’s relevant academic and/or professional background and reasons for seeking the degree
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • A current resume or curriculum vitae

    Applicants may be admitted provisionally and considered for regular admission.

    Application Deadlines

    Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

    Posted deadline includes Application, app fee, and all supplemental items/documents.

    The Priority Deadline refers to the date that students can be fully considered for Graduate Assistantship positions. Students may be admitted until the Final deadline, but will not meet the deadline to hold Graduate Assistantship positions for the fall semester. 

    See The Scoop for more specific deadlines.

    Admission Process Checklist

    One exception: If you will not ever be traveling to a UWG campus or site, you may apply for an Immunization Exemption. Contact the Immunization Clerk with your request.


    Graduate Admissions

    College of Social Sciences, Sociology Department
    Dr. Emily McKendry-Smith
    Room 219 - Pafford Hall
    (678) 839-5404

  • Dates

    Specific dates for Financial Aid, Fee Payment, Registration, Start/End of Term Dates, Final Exams, etc. are available in THE SCOOP.

    Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

  • Objectives

    Upon completion of this degree program, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate a mastery of communicating in writing how sociology contributes to an understanding of social reality
    • Demonstrate a mastery of sociological theories  
    • Demonstrate a mastery of methodological approaches within sociology
    • Demonstrate a mastery of the diversity in society