The Specialist Track (M.A.)

How to apply for admission and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship

This track is designed for the student who wants to focus on a particular research area and who can define a research project very early in his or her graduate career. To successfully defend a thesis and graduate within two years, a full-time student must identify a viable empirical research question during the second term of the first year. A viable project asks a question that is fully grounded in the relevant research, can be addressed with data that is available or can be developed within the time constraints of the degree, and draws on the scholarly expertise of one or more members of the department's faculty.

Semester One:

  1. Consult with the Graduate Director on the selection of three (nine credits) sociological foundation seminars.  Complete those classes successfully.
  2. Submit a proposal for semester two's seminars to the Graduate Director.

Semester Two:

  1. Successfully complete three sociological foundation seminars (nine credits).
  2. During the first month of the term, consult with the Graduate Director about your interest in doing a thesis. You will need to identify a topic and propose a tentative committee.   The Graduate Director will consult faculty who have worked with you during your first nine credits and in any other academic capacities.  Based on that consultation, the Graduate Director will decide if it is advisable for you to move forward on the thesis project.
  3. If the Graduate Director agrees that you can move ahead with the thesis project, you will need to identify a faculty mentor who has a scholarly background in the area of the thesis topic and is willing to chair the thesis committee. Work with the chair of the committee to identify other possible members for the committee.  You will need to form a committee prior to defending your thesis proposal.
  4. Before the end of Semester Two (or, for the part-time student, before the conclusion of 18 credits), you will need to write and defend a thesis proposal. The defense requires a thesis proposal, a thesis writing plan that includes a detailed table of contents for the thesis and a suggested time line for the completion of each chapter or part of thesis, and a preliminary bibliography.
  5. By the end of Semester Two (or, for the part-time student, before the conclusion of 18 credits), work out a plan of study through consultation with the chair of your thesis committee and submit it for the approval of the department and the Graduate College.

Semester Three:

  1. Successfully complete three to six credits of Master's Thesis.
  2. Successfully complete three to six credits of approved graduate course work. The course work should complement the thesis research and must be approved in advance by the chair of the thesis committee.
  3. Submit final thesis writing plan to the thesis committee no later than the end of the semester.
  4. Before the end of semester three (or, for the part-time student, prior to the term in which you will graduate), submit a final revision of your plan of study.

Semester Four:

  1. Submit your application for graduation by the deadline.
  2. Complete the thesis, submit it for review by your committee, and submit the final version to the Graduate College by the deadline.
  3. Successfully complete three to six credits of Master's Thesis and other approved graduate coursework.

Required Courses For the Specialist Track: Students must complete 36 credits to receive their Master's degree, including: an approved research methods course, 3 credits;  an approved theory course, 3 credits; Master's Thesis, SYA 6971, minimum of six credits