Jul 15, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sociology, M.A.

Location(s): Main Campus

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The Master of Arts degree in Sociology provides advanced study in sociological theory and methods of research with a variety of subject matter emphases that students plan with a graduate advisor. The program prepares students for doctoral studies, teaching at the secondary or community college level, or working in a professional capacity in government agencies or private organizations.

Culminating Experience courses are offered in 3 groups: 

  • Graduate Research (SOC 5970 ) and Thesis (SOC 5990 ) - An approved thesis proposal is required for enrollment in SOC 5990, Thesis units. Human subjects review clearance (IRB) may be required. The proposal and the IRB application (if required) are completed in the required prerequisite, SOC 5970, a one-unit supervision course. Students take between 1 to 4 units of thesis during a semester but must complete exactly 4 thesis units. Oral defense of the thesis is required. Students must comply with college and department requirements as detailed in department documents. Students who fail to complete their thesis, but have completed 4 units of 5990 may take additional terms to complete the thesis through UNIV 9000 , subject to University policy. 
  • Capstone Transition (SOC 5030 ) and Comprehensive Examination (SOC 5960 ) -  The comprehensive examination (SOC 5960) is a written examination in three fields of concentration: theory, methods, and one elective field selected by the candidate, subject to advisor approval. Exams are given during the last week of class. Students should expect to take all three comprehensive examinations (comps) in the semester they complete all coursework on their program, or in the following semester, and must comply with college and department policy. Students are required to take the preparatory course (SOC 5030) Capstone Transition before or during the semester they will take the comps. Students who do not pass on the first attempt repeat on the failed exam(s). Students are allowed a maximum of two attempts to complete the comprehensive examination successfully.
  • Capstone Transition (SOC 5030 ), Graduate Research (SOC 5970 ), and Project (SOC 5995 ) which requires a project in the form of an original work portfolio that includes professional presentations and other evidence of Sociology MA Program Learning Outcomes. An approved Project Planner form is required for enrollment. The project is comprised of four demonstrations of advanced scholarly achievement, that are primarily completed beyond the classroom. Demonstrations include conference presentation from original work, research skills, and the writing of an original paper that is in academic journal submission-ready format (using author guidelines from a relevant peer-reviewed journal). Student project portfolios are required to demonstrate the achievement of MA PLOs. The paper and the IRB application (if needed) are mentored in the required pre/co-requisite, SOC 5970, a one-unit supervision course. Students are required to take the course (SOC 5030) Capstone Transition, before or during the semester they will turn in their completed project portfolio. Students should expect to submit the project portfolio the semester they complete all coursework on their program, although they may elect later submission. Students must comply with college and department requirements as detailed in department documents.

Admission to the Program

  • Fall is the admission term for the MA Program in Sociology.
  • The Sociology Department does not require any materials other than those submitted to the Cal State LA Admissions Office. Students will be accepted until the deadlines established by the University for Fall term admissions.
  • The Sociology Department has two admissions requirements in addition to University requirements.

[1] One admission requirement is a prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or better in a set of nine specified prerequisite courses or their equivalents.

  • These include the four most recently completed upper-division sociology elective courses in addition to these specific courses (or their equivalents):
  • SOC 2010  ; SOC 2100  ; SOC 3100  ; either SOC 3900   or SOC 3910  ; and SOC 4120  
  • Independent Supervision courses do not count as prerequisites. Satisfactory equivalents will be determined by the Graduate Studies Committee in Sociology.

[2] Applicants must have achieved a grade point average of 3.0 in this coursework. Applicants must also achieve a GPA of 2.75 or above in an additional 24-semester units of upper-division undergraduate coursework in addition to meeting university requirements for admission to graduate study.

  • If more than 24 additional upper-division semester units of coursework have been completed, those courses least relevant to the Sociology MA Program will be omitted from the GPA calculation.

Summary of Program Requirements

A total of 30 units is required, with at least 27 in 5000-level courses. A summary of the unit distribution is indicated below: 

Sociology M.A. Requirements A. Students who will take SOC 5990 B. Students who will take SOC 5960 C. Students who will take SOC 5995
Core Courses (18 units)
 Elective (7 or 9 units)
Culminating Experience (3 or 5 units) 


Learning Outcomes    Roadmap (2019)   

Requirements for the Degree (30 units)

Electives (7 or 9 units)

Culminating Experience Options (3 or 5 units)

Following the college and department policy, students who successfully achieve candidacy may select a group of culminating experience courses (A, B, or C) to complete the degree. 

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