graduate: M.A. Program

About the Program

In the Department, the Master of Arts (M.A.) program serves primarily as the first graduate degree for students seeking academic careers and high level social science positions in the public and private sectors. Such students usually undertake a course of study that leads to the Ph.D. degree. Students seeking careers in middle level social science positions in the government or private sectors may pursue the M.A. program as a terminal degree.

Credit Hours and G.P.A

The M.A. in Sociology requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate course work in sociology beyond the B.A. degree exclusive of the thesis (which carries a minimum of 3 credit hours and a maximum of 6) with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 (B).

Academic Requirements

Core Course Requirements

All students must complete 18 credit hours of required core courses as follows:

Six (6) credit hours in Sociological Theory: Courses used to fulfill this requirement are SOCI-300 (Sociological Theory I ) and SOCI-301 (Sociological Theory II).

Six (6) credit hours in Sociological Research Methods and Skills: Courses used to fulfill this requirement are SOCI-310 (Sociological Research I ) and SOCI-311 (Sociological Research II).

Three (3) credit hours of Statistics: The course used to fulfill this requirement is 220-219 (Advanced Statistics I).

Three (3) credit hours of General Sociology: The course used to satisfy this requirement is SOCI-392 (Perspectives in Sociology).

All students must earn a grade of B or better in each course designated as a core requirement. Failure to do so will mean that a grade of C or below in any of the core requirements must be considered an unsatisfactory grade and the course must be repeated.
Only grades earned at Howard University are used for computing the G.P.A..

* Students who are admitted into the program without either a Theory Course or a Statistic Course are required to take the departmental course requirements: SOCI-100 (Sociological Theory and Society) and SOCI- 110 (Elementary Statistics)

Sociology Electives

All students must take twelve at least 12 graduate credit hours in electives in sociology. All requirements for the degree, including the successful Final Oral Defense of the M.A. thesis must be satisfied within the time requirements for the M.A. degree.


Residency Requirements

M.A. students must spend at least one year or two semesters in full-time residence, and must enroll for a minimum of nine (9) credits each of these semesters The residency requirement need not, however, be fulfilled in consecutive semesters in full-time study.


Admission to Candidacy

Please consult the Graduate Handbook for the Department of Sociology and Criminology for information on admission to candidacy.


M.A. Thesis

A student must write a thesis for the Master's degree. This demonstrates the student's ability to integrate theoretical insights and methodological skills in the formulation and investigation of a sociological problem.


M.A. Thesis Advisory/ Examination Committee

The M.A. Thesis Committee consists of at least three graduate faculty members, one of which is the thesis advisor. The committee guides and reviews the student's thesis work (from the proposal stage through the final oral examination), verifies the completion of course work requirements, certifies to the department completion of the student's thesis research, and arranges for the final oral examination.


Final Oral Examination for the M.A. Degree

All M.A. students in Sociology must take and pass the Final Oral Examination. The examination covers the student's completed M.A. thesis and demonstrates the student's ability to discuss broad theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues in sociology. 
The Final Oral Examination is conducted by the student's M.A. Thesis Advisory/ Examination Committee.

For further information and details on the policies for the Masters Program, please consult the Graduate Handbook for the Department of Sociology and Criminology.