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

Samantha Ammons, PhD, Graduate Program Chair (GPC)
383K Arts & Sciences Hall (ASH)

Program Website

Other Program Related Information

Fast Track Program

The Department of Sociology & Anthropology has developed a Fast Track program for highly qualified and motivated students providing the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in an accelerated time frame. With Fast Track, students may count up to 9 graduate hours toward the completion of their undergraduate program as well as the graduate degree program.

Program Specifics:

  • This program is available for undergraduate students pursuing a BA/BS in Sociology who are desiring to pursue an MA in Sociology.
  • Students must have completed no less than 60 undergraduate hours.
  • Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.3 in SOC and ANTH courses.
  • Students must complete the Fast Track Approval form, obtain all signatures, and submit to the Office of Graduate Studies prior to first enrollment in a graduate course.
  • Students will work with their undergraduate advisor to register for the graduate courses.
    • ANTH 1050, SOC 1010, SOC 2120, SOC 2130, SOC 2134 should be completed before enrolling in the first graduate course.
    • SOC 3510 and SOC 3514 should be taken before or concurrently with enrollment in the first graduate course.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduate coursework to remain in good standing.
  • Students remain undergraduates until they meet all the requirements for the undergraduate degree and are eligible for all rights and privileges granted undergraduate status, including financial aid.
  • Near the end of the undergraduate program, formal application to the graduate program is required. The application fee will be waived, the applicant will need to contact the Office of Graduate Studies for a fee waiver code.
  • Admission to Fast Track does NOT guarantee admission to the graduate program. 
  • The admit term must be after the completion term of the undergraduate degree.


General Application Requirements and Admission Criteria

Program-Specific Requirements

Application Deadlines (Spring 2024 and Fall 2024)

  • Fall: April 15
  • Spring: November 15

If you are applying for a graduate assistantship, both admissions and assistantship application materials should be completed by February 15 (for Fall Semester). Review of materials begins soon after February 15 and continues until the graduate assistantship position is filled.

Other 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 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.
  • English Language Proficiency: 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. 
    • Internet-based TOEFL: 80 (no sub-score under 15), IELTS: 6.5, PTE: 53, Duolingo: 110 
      • Passing with a minimum score does not guarantee admission into the program.
  • 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:
    • Discuss how your academic goals fit into the Department of Sociology & Anthropology’s strengths and areas of research.
    • Detail your research interests and how these interests are sociological.
    • Provide a brief (1-2 paragraph) personal statement regarding the development of your academic interest in Sociology.
  • 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: The resume should highlight the education and employment experiences that are especially relevant to graduate work in sociology.
  • 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.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission; however, students are welcome to submit them. 

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 hours of electives outside of sociology; students pursuing the applied project or non-thesis option (comprehensive exams) may take up to nine 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. 9-21

Exit Requirements:

All students begin this program as a comprehensive exam student. Students who would like to complete a thesis or applied project may apply to do so after completing 9 credit hours, but at least one term before they plan on starting their thesis or applied project. To apply to change out of the comprehensive exam track, a student must request an application form and submit it to the graduate program chair during the time specified above. The graduate program chair will then meet with the student and discuss which degree completion pathway might be best. If denied, a student may appeal once in a following term by going through the same process. During an appeal, the graduate program committee will review the application.

Comprehensive Exam Exit Requirement

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.

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 two 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.

Applied Project Exit Requirement

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 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 hours of applied project credit, for a total of 36 credit hours.


Students will form an applied 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. Please refer to the graduate catalog's exit requirements for more detailed information.

Thesis Exit Requirement

This option is 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 hours of thesis credit, for a total of 30 credit hours.


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. Please refer to the graduate catalog's exit requirements for more detailed information.

Total Credit Hours

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