Sociology, MA

Department of Sociology & Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences

Vision Statement

This innovative degree program provides students with advanced knowledge in sociological theory, methods, and research. The flexible and interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to focus on an additional academic specialty area within or outside of sociology. Department faculty members have strengths in several areas, including families and gender, health, inequality and social justice, work and organizations, race and ethnicity, and anthropology.  The department also has close connections to the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Program Contact Information

Jay Irwin, PhD, Graduate Program Chair (GPC)
383L Arts & Sciences Hall (ASH)

Program Website


Application Deadlines (Spring 2021, and Fall 2021)

  • Fall: April 15
  • Spring: November 15

Program-Specific Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree or previous Master’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Applicants for admission to the graduate program in sociology should present a minimum of 15 undergraduate credit hours in the following social science courses:
    • Statistics, research methods, and social theory
    • A minimum of six (6) additional hours of sociology or other social science courses
  • Undergraduate courses in statistics, research methods, and social theory are required before the student can enroll in the graduate courses in the same areas.
    • Students without the specific prerequisite courses may be admitted provisionally, but deficiencies should be removed in the first year of graduate study.
    • All prerequisite courses must be passed with a grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.
  • Letters of recommendation
    • Two letters of recommendation from a former or current professor (preferred), supervisor, or individual that can speak to one's academic potential in a graduate program. If students have recently graduated from UNO with a major in Sociology, it is expected that one of the letters will be from a faculty member in the UNO Sociology & Anthropology Department.
  • Statement of purpose
    • Outline your career goals, why a graduate degree in Sociology will help you attain these goals, and why the UNO MA in Sociology is a good fit. Make sure your statement includes the following components:
      • Provide a brief (1-2 paragraph) personal statement regarding the development of your academic interest in Sociology.
      • Detail your research interests and how these interests are sociological.
      • Discuss how your academic goals fit into the Department of Sociology & Anthropology’s strengths and areas of research.
  • Writing sample
    • Submission of an academic, research-based writing sample. The sample must be written in English, include citations, and be a minimum of five pages in length. This writing sample can be a previous assignment. If no such paper exists, the applicant should contact the graduate program chair for an alternative assignment.
  • Resume
    • Please highlight the education and employment experiences that are especially relevant to graduate work in sociology.
  • Applicants are required to have a command of oral and written English.  Those who do not hold a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from the United States, OR a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from a predetermined country on the waiver list, must meet the minimum language proficiency score requirement in order to be considered for admission.  A minimum score of 80 on an internet-based TOEFL, with no sub-score under 15, or the IELTS and PTE English proficiency tests are also accepted. Those scores must translate to the minimum internet-based TOEFL equivalent to be considered for admission. Passing with a minimum score does not guarantee admission into the program.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission; however, students are welcome to submit them. 
  • Applicants with International Transcripts: Any applicant to this program who has completed undergraduate or graduate coursework at an international higher education institution outside of the United States may submit transcripts and degree certificates (with an English translation) in lieu of a course-by-course transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), or Educational Perspectives.  This graduate program will conduct an in-house credential evaluation of your transcript(s).
    • UNO reserves the right to require a course-by-course evaluation from WES, ECE, or Educational Perspectives if the program is unable to complete an evaluation or should there be any questions or concerns about the documentation that is received. You will be notified by the individual program if an external course-by-course evaluation is required.
    • *Note: If you are admitted, official transcripts and degree certificates (with an English translation)/official course-by-course transcript evaluation, and any applicable official exam scores are required.
  • Official transcripts from all attended institutions. Please note that although the Office of Graduate Studies forwards applications to departments for review with unofficial transcripts, students cannot enroll until all official transcripts have been received.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
Select one from the following:3
Elective courses will be chosen in consultation with the GPC and/or your advisor. The department offers a rotating selection of elective courses based on faculty specialty areas. Students in the thesis option (see below) may take up to six (6) hours of electives outside of sociology; students pursuing the applied project or non-thesis option (comprehensive exams) may take up to nine (9) hours outside of sociology. All outside courses must be relevant to the student's interest area within sociology and should be approved by the GPC and/or advisor. 12-24

Exit Requirements:

Thesis Option

This option is especially recommended for students who wish to pursue the PhD degree after completing their MA and/or who wish to gain research and writing experience through the thesis process.


Students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of approved graduate work in sociology and related disciplines, plus six (6) hours of thesis credit, for a total of 30 credit hours.

Thesis Committee

Students will form a thesis committee of UNO faculty members who are knowledgeable about the thesis topic. The committee will consist of at least three members, all of whom must be graduate faculty, and at least one of whom must be a sociologist:

  • a committee chair from within the department
  • at least one additional member from within the department
  • at least one outside member from another academic department

Prior to beginning the thesis, students must have their project formally approved by the thesis committee. Students must pass an oral defense structured around the thesis to complete the degree requirements.

Applied Project Option

The capstone experience in this program option is a research project conducted in an applied setting. Students will use the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the program to conduct a project and produce a report for a “client” in the community (or elsewhere). Students may seek out their own project site or choose from among the community organizations with which the department already has relationships. Examples of potential projects include evaluating program effectiveness, assessing community needs, or designing training programs for employees.

This option is especially recommended for students who plan to enter the job market immediately after completion of the MA degree; would like to gain a better idea of the type of employment for which they are qualified with an MA in sociology; and/or are already working in a setting amenable to a project of this nature.


Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of approved graduate work in sociology and related disciplines, plus six (6) hours of applied project credit, for a total of 36 credit hours.

SOC 8960APPLIED PROJECT (6 Hours Required)1-6
Project Committee

Students will form a project committee that consists of:

  • a committee chair from within the department
  • a representative from the project site
  • at least one other faculty member from the university with expertise or interest in the project

Prior to beginning the project, students must have their proposal formally approved by the project committee. Students must also have their final project report approved. While the project site representative must sign off on the proposal approval form, only the UNO faculty members will be responsible for approving the final project.

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis, comprehensive exam option is recommended for students who wish to maximize their exposure to coursework in sociology and related disciplines.


Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of approved graduate work in sociology and related disciplines.

Comprehensive Exam

The comprehensive examination focuses on the student's coursework, particularly the topical focus area developed by the student. Students will answer one of two questions on sociological theory, one of two questions on research methods, and one of two questions from the focus area.

The exam is a one-week take-home exam to be scheduled in consultation with the Graduate Program Chair. Students will work with the Graduate Program Chair to select 2 readers for each section (theory, research methods, focus area). Each of the three sections of the exam will be evaluated separately on the following basis:

  • high pass
  • pass
  • conditional pass
  • or fail

In the case of a conditional pass in a section or sections, the students will have an opportunity to revise their answers for reevaluation by the faculty readers.

In the case of a failing evaluation in a section or sections, the student will have one more opportunity per section to re-take the exam. The student will answer the other of the two questions they were originally presented with for each failing section. Both readers will evaluate the new answer(s), with conditional pass available as a possible recommendation.

Total Credit Hours

Thesis Option: 30
Project Option: 36
Non-Thesis Option: 36


This course surveys the nineteenth century writers whose ideas have had a strong influence on the development of contemporary sociology and sociological theories. It examines work in such areas as: structural functionalism; conflict theory; rationalism; and the beginnings of modern symbolic interaction, feminist, and race theory. The course emphasizes a close reading of original texts, as well as seminar-style class discussions.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate; permission of instructor if outside Sociology MA program.


This course reviews some of the most important developments in contemporary sociological theory. It examines work in such areas as: symbolic interactionism, phenomenology and ethnomethodology; dramaturgical analysis; functionalism and neo-functionalism; structuralism, post-structuralism and postmodernity; postcolonial and subaltern studies; neo-marxism; critical theory; critical race studies; feminist theory; cultural theory; and world systems and globalization theory. The course emphasizes a close reading of original texts, as well as seminar-style class discussions.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate; permission of instructor if outside Sociology MA program.


Group and individual processes of ephemeral social action and institution formation are studied. The development of transitory groups and ideologies in new movements and organizations through opinion formation; case and comparative investigations of the origins and growth of collective movements are made and relevant social theories are applied. (Cross-listed with SOC 4020)


This course focuses on the research design process from a sociological perspective. It gives broad, intermediate-level coverage to social science research methodology, with an emphasis on the logic of research procedures. Topics covered include the relationship of theory and research, causal analysis, sampling, and quantitative and qualitative design approaches.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate; undergraduate course in research methods; permission of instructor if outside Sociology MA program.


This course focuses on intermediate statistics and data analysis as applied to social research. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, significance tests, multiple regression, and more advanced topics as time permits. Students will also learn how to utilize computer software packages to perform statistical analyses.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate; undergraduate statistics course; permission of instructor if outside Sociology MA program.


A survey of various approaches to teaching at the college level (including critical, feminist, and other pedagogical theories) as well as strategies that can be employed in teaching. Topics include: syllabus and course design, evaluation and assessment strategies, developing a teaching style and philosophy, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Emphasis is on preparing new teachers in sociology, but the course is intended for any graduate student who may already be teaching or anticipates teaching in the future.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Enrollment in the graduate program in sociology or permission of the instructor.


This course familiarizes students with contemporary qualitative methodologies and techniques by which the social sciences explore social and cultural relations in natural settings. Students will conduct individual and or group field projects.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.

SOC 8080  THEORIES OF FAMILIES (3 credits)

A core course in sociology and anthropology of the family. Gender and kinship systems are analyzed in the comparative study of family institutions and relationships. In addition to substantive material on the family in various socieities, the course covers theoretical perspectives on the family and the history of family studies in sociology and anthropology.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Enrollment in the graduate program in sociology or permission of the instructor.SOC 8080

SOC 8100  SOCIAL INEQUALITY (3 credits)

This course examines social inequality from a sociological vantage point. Students will review theoretical frameworks for studying social inequality, processes that result in the unequal distributions of individual resources, empirical analyses of inequality, and the consequences of various inequalities for intergenerational social mobility. While the course focuses on inequality in the United States, global and international dimensions of social inequality are also covered.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate; permission of instructor if outside of Sociology MA program

SOC 8106  THE COMMUNITY (3 credits)

A basic course in community sociology. Sociological theory and the techniques of empirical research are applied to published studies of communities in the United States and elsewhere. The comparative social scientific method is elaborated as it pertains to data derived from community investigation. (Cross-listed with SOC 4100)


A survey of the social problems existing in disadvantaged communities. The effects upon individuals of such settings. The subculture of poverty.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SOC 8110


A topical seminar focusing on the sociology of aging. Students are encouraged to develop proposals for research, programs or social policy. Focus is upon generational differences and age changes throughout the adult life.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of instructor.


A theoretical analysis of the relation of deviant group behavior and subcultures to community standards of conventional behavior as expressed in law and norms. (Cross-listed with SOC 4130)

SOC 8146  URBAN SOCIOLOGY (3 credits)

Examines urban theoretical perspectives, urbanization processes, the diversity of metropolitan communities, urban stratification, metropolitan growth, urban neighborhoods, community power and urban policy and planning. (Cross-listed with SOC 4140)


This course explores the problems and issues faced by contemporary American families, such as racism and sexism; the challenges of childhood and adolescence; divorce and remarriage; work and family conflict; and family violence. The difficulty of defining both "family" and "problems" is addressed throughout the course. (Cross-listed with SOC 4150)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Not open to non-degree graduate students.


This course examines the existing social science research on fatherhood, exploring topics such as the evolution, history, demography, and politics of fatherhood; father involvement and its relationship to both children's and men's well-being; the effects of diversity and family structure on fatherhood; and public policy surrounding fatherhood. (Cross-listed with SOC 4170)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

SOC 8200  SOCIETY & HEALTH (3 credits)

The course provides a critical sociological understanding of health, illness, healing, and medical care within a social context. The focus ranges from examining health and illness behavior and patient-provider interaction to issues addressing the social organization of health care and medicine.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Enrollment in sociology graduate program or permission of the instructor.


This course takes a sociologically grounded but interdisciplinary look at the past, present, and potential future of disability. Along the way, competing models and theories of disability are critically explored and substantive issues pertaining to the social experiences and social responses to people with disabilities are discussed. (Cross-listed with SOC 4210)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SOC 1010 and junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

SOC 8256  LATINO/A MIGRATION (3 credits)

The course covers major issues related to : 1) the political-economic and socio-cultural factors that have shaped Latino migration streams historically and in today's world economy and, 2) contemporary empirical methodologies and findings related to the causes and multiple socioeconomic costs and benefits of migration streams for immigrants as well as "sending" and "receiving" communities. (Cross-listed with SOC 84250).


This class focuses on the social construction of sexualities - especially heterosexual sexualities, bisexual sexualities, and homosexual sexualities. A primary focus of the class will be LGBT/Queer Studies. The class examines how sexual desires/identities/orientations vary or remain the same in different places and times, and how they interact with other social and cultural phenomenon such as government, family, popular culture, scientific inquiry, and race, gender, and class. (Cross-listed with SOC 4310)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Not open to non-degree graduate students.

SOC 8356  WORK & FAMILY (3 credits)

This course examines the contemporary problems that individuals, families and communities in the U.S. have in integrating work and family/personal life. (Cross-listed with SOC 4350)


This graduate seminar provides an overview focused on the understanding and analysis of intricate internal and external organizational forces such as organizational bureaucracy, organizational culture, autonomy and control systems, which affect performance of organizational members as well as influence organizational survival. (Cross-listed with CACT 8500)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate enrollment or permission of class instructor.


This course analyzes law and public policy affecting the family in a variety of areas, which include: family violence; divorce, child custody, and child support; reproductive technology, contraception, and abortion; unmarried couples' and parents' rights; welfare; care and support of the aged; rights of parents to determine education and health care of their children; adoption and foster care, etc. New policy proposals and likely changes in law are considered, as well as the process of policy formation and legal change. The role of the professional in this system, including legal regulation and ethical issues, is considered. (Cross-listed with SOC 4500)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Six hours social science or human services or permission.


As a core course in sociology of organizations, this course provides a sociological understanding of the processess of cultural formation as well as the nature of cultures within organizations. Emphasis will be placed on the roles of organizational culture and subcultures to organizational processes.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing, graduate certificate enrollment or permission.


This course focuses on the sociological understanding, analysis and management of social diversity in the workplace. Major issues and attitudes toward racial and ethnic minorities, older workers and workers with disabilities, as well as strategies for implementing diversity in the workplace are examined. (Cross-listed with SOC 4550)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate students or certificate students.


Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to a general topic in social organization selected by the instructor. As seminar topics change, this course may be repeated in a student's program without implying duplication.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission.


Examines organizational theory and research. Analyzes organizational problems such as goals and effectiveness; authority, leadership and control; professionals in organizations; communications; clients; organizational change; and organizations and their environments. Comparative analysis of many types of organizations such as business, industry, schools, prisons and hospitals with special attention given to human-service organizations. (Cross-listed with SOC 4620)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Nine hours of sociology including SOC 1010 or permission of instructor.


Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to the sociology of occupations and professions. Questions relating to theory, research and practical application are considered.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate and permission of instructor.


Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to a general topic in sociological theory selected by the instructor. As seminar topics change, this course may be repeated in a student's program without implying duplication.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission.


This course provides a critical understanding of the inter-relationship between socio-cultural, economic, and political factors and women's physical and mental health. The aim is to provide an overview of the experience with the health care system. Emphasis will be on critically examining recent scholarship from a sociological, behavioral, health policy perspective. (Cross-listed with SOC 4700, PHHB 4700, PHHB 8706)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing.


This course investigates the economic, political and social constraints on equality present in local, national and global arrangements. Students will gain a theoretical understanding of these conditions as well as those that lead to social change, spanning from day-to-day resistance techniques to large scale social movements. Students will participate in a service learning or applied project as they explore contemporary social justice issues and learn both theoretical and practical tools needed to become successful change makers, activists, or community organizers. Examples of social justice movements or campaigns form the basis for understanding injustice at a local, national, and global level. (Cross-listed with SOC 4740)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SOC 1010 and junior standing; or permission of instructor.


A historical and comparative review of theories, models, and political ideologies of social change. Topics include the globalizaton model of social change and the role that governments, transnational corporations, multilateral agencies, and local groups and organizations play today in creating and responding to social change. (Cross-listed with SOC 4750)


This course is an introduction to environmental sociology, a field of sociology that explores the interaction between the environment and society. Environmental sociologists consider how political, social, and economic factors have come to shape our patterns of interaction with the natural and built environment. Students will be expected to use the sociological perspective to understand the landscape of environmental problems, focusing on such issues as environment and health, disaster, environmental policy, climate change, environmental risk, human and animal interactions, sustainability, environmental justice and social movements. (Cross-listed with SOC 4760).


This course explores political sociology, focusing on political processes and power. Political sociologists investigate relationships between political institutions and various other institutions, including but not limited to the economy, education, media, and religion, and the impacts that these relationships have on society and the individuals that comprise the society. This course will explore the concepts, theories, and knowledge that comprise this field such as power, legitimacy, the state, networks, stratification, and collective action. (Cross-listed with PSCI 4770, PSCI 8776, SOC 4770).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing


This course reviews research and writing in an area of current interest in the field of sociology. The specific topic(s) to be covered will be announced at the time the course is being offered. Since the topics will vary, students may elect to take this course more than once. (Cross-listed with SOC 4800)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Sociology major; or permission of instructor.


Students participate in a semester-long class research project. Students will be involved in all stages of research: problem formulation, literature review, research design, measurement construction, data collection, data analysis, report writing and presentation of findings. The project's focus will vary, but it may often involve issues confronting Omaha, a particular organization or a specific group of people. (Cross-listed with SOC 4820)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Junior and SOC 2510 and permission of instructor.


This course will apply the sociological perspective to various topics regarding mental health and illness. The course will cover topics such as the social construction of mental illness, the social epidemiology of mental illness, labeling and stigma of those with a mental illness, and mental health policy/treatment. (Cross-listed with SOC 4830)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): SOC 1010, and junior standing¿ or permission of the instructor.


Analysis of religious behaviors from a sociological and social- psychological perspective and utilizing both theoretical and empirical materials. The class is designed as an introductory approach to the sociology of religion, and the first in a two-step sequence, undergraduate and graduate. (Cross-listed with SOC 4850)


A practical work experience under supervision that provides opportunity for applying principles from the student's academic area of concentration.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate sociology major. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

SOC 8960  APPLIED PROJECT (1-6 credits)

This capstone experience in the applied project option is an independent research project conducted in an applied setting under the supervision of a graduate faculty member in the department..

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate sociology major; permission of the graduate program chair. Not open to non-degree graduate students.


Guided reading or independent research in special topics in Sociology under the supervision of a member of the Sociology faculty. This course is designed primarily for the student interested in topics not currently available in the departmental offerings and who has demonstrated capability of working independently. May be repeated once for credit.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of the instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

SOC 8990  THESIS (1-6 credits)


An overview of social gerontology with an emphasis on the interplay between social, psychological and physical elements in later life. Restricted to graduate students only; required of gerontology students. (Cross-listed with GERO 9110)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate.