Department of Sociology
Department of Sociology
At the graduate level, the Department of Sociology at The University of Montana offers a Master of Arts degree designed to prepare students for either advanced study at the doctoral level or careers in organizational settings such as business, government, social services, or private nonprofit agencies. The graduate curriculum seeks to provide students with a solid foundation in sociological theory, research, and methods. As a part of their graduate education, students are also encouraged to become involved in research and policy analysis or an internship experience. Four programs of study are available: General Sociology, an option in Criminology, an option in Inequality and Social Justice, or an option in Rural and Environmental Change.
For further information about graduate programs in Sociology, please contact Professor Dan Doyle at 406-243-5912 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Master of Arts Degree in Sociology is based upon a graduate core in sociology which all students must complete. This core consists of three courses (9 credits):
Graduate students must also have previously taken or plan to take Classical Social Theory (455) or an equivalent.
Beyond this common graduate core, students can choose to pursue a course of study in General Sociology or in one of the three option areas: Criminology, Inequality and Social Justice, or Rural and Environmental Change. In addition, the graduate program allows for a thesis or professional paper option. Students choosing the thesis option must complete 30 credits, which may include six credits of Thesis/Professional Paper (599). A thesis is an original, in-depth study in which the student is expected to make clear linkages between sociological theory, data collection techniques, and research findings. The professional paper option requires 36 credits, three of which may be in Graduate Research (597) for work done on the professional paper. The professional paper is less theoretical, more narrowly focused, and more applied than a thesis.
At least half of all credits earned must be at the 500-level; however, with few exceptions, 300 and 400-level courses may also be applied to the graduate degree. All undergraduate courses taken for graduate credit require a "graduate increment" consisting of additional reading or writing.
Beginning with the graduate core, the graduate course of study in general sociology allows students to extend their undergraduate course work in sociology. The graduate program is designed to provide extended training in theory and methods and the application of theories and methods to social issues, problems, and policies. While the curriculum allows students considerable freedom to pursue their own sociological interests, it is necessary that the student's interests draw upon the interests of a particular departmental faculty member (Please refer to the listing of faculty research interests). In this respect, students are encouraged to develop a plan of study with their advisor.
Criminology is an intriguing field of study which examines the making of law, the nature and extent of crime and criminality, and efforts to control crime. The option builds upon the required course work in sociology and allows students to pursue extended study of crime and the criminal justice system. The criminology option prepares students for careers in criminal justice research or administration, as well as further graduate work at the doctorate level at another university. In addition to the core courses listed above, students in the Criminology option must take two additional classes:
Inequality and Social Justice
The ISJ option investigates the mechanisms that produce and ameliorate the disparities across ascribed groups, calling on students and faculty to examine the causes and consequences of inequalities based on class, gender, race/ethnicity, disabilities, age, and sexual orientation. Attention is given to local, national, and global sites of inequality, including work and labor markets, financial institutions, education, health, religion, and families. In addition to the graduate core, students in the Inequality and Social Justice option must take two additional classes:
Rural and Environmental Change
Rural regions are facing rapid social, economic, demographic, and environmental change. This option will develop analytical and practical skills for understanding rural and environmental change globally and in the American West, and its policy implications in such areas as rural health, welfare and work; community development and assessment; Native peoples; and natural resource management. An option in Rural and Environmental Change will prepare students for employment in either a government, private, or non-profit agency concerned with the above topics, or for pursuing a doctorate in this area at another university. In addition to the graduate core, students in the Rural and Environmental Change option must take two additional classes:
Graduate students should consider becoming involved in a research project or an internship experience. While such first-hand experience is outside of the required course work, students can receive academic credit for their involvement. The research activities of faculty members frequently allow for graduate student participation. In addition, the department offers an internship program with a variety of placements in local, state, federal, and national organizations.
Application to our graduate program is done on line. This link can be found at www.umt.edu/grad. Through this process you will pay your non-refundable $51 application fee and will be given the opportunity to download the recommendation form, which you will need to duplicate.
When your on-line application is submitted, we will receive an electronic copy, but there are several other items you will need to submit directly to the Department of Sociology:
To be admitted to the graduate program you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and meet each of the following criteria:
It is possible to be admitted even though you may not meet all four criteria, but there must be compelling evidence of your ability to do graduate work. For example, if your GRE scores are somewhat lower than 1000/4 but your GPA is exemplary, the Department may recommend admission.
Occasionally students are admitted provisionally and are expected to take additional undergraduate sociology courses to meet deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation. For example, if you lack training in research methods, you would be expected to take an undergraduate research course before enrolling in a graduate-level methodology class.
Admission Deadlines: February 15th (to be considered for financial support); May 1st, final fall semester deadline; November 15th, final spring semester deadline.
If you do not meet the requirements for admission, you may take courses as a graduate nondegree student. Should you be accepted at a later date, you may apply one semester's credit to the masters degree. Please be aware that nondegree students are not eligible for financial aid.
The Department of Sociology offers a limited number of teaching assistantships. The stipend for a full-time assistantship is $9,000 (2008-09 AY) plus a tuition waiver. Assistantships for the coming academic year are awarded in the spring. If you wish to be considered for an assistantship, your application materials must be received by the Department by February 15th. Should any unanticipated aid money become available, late applicants will be considered along with those whose materials arrived prior to the February 15th deadline. You will be notified of your admission status by March 15th.
Once in residence you may want to investigate other sources of support available through the University. These include research assistantships, paid internships and University grants and scholarships. Your advisor can help you with the application process.
Once you have been admitted to the program, you will be assigned a temporary advisor who will help you develop an individualized plan for completing your degree requirements. This assignment will be based largely on the statement-of-purpose that you submit along with your application. You will be expected to select a permanent advisor by the end of your second semester in residence. Your progress will be reviewed each spring by the department faculty. You will receive a written evaluation, including recommendations for remedial work when appropriate. Normally students are expected to complete the program in two years.
The Department's research and graduate training programs use the Social Science Research Laboratory (SSRL). The SSRL is fully equipped with up-to-date, networked computers and software. The Lab is readily available to graduate students.
Department of Sociology
Social Science, 3rd Floor
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812