Sociology

 
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The graduate curriculum allows student individualization of plans through the selection of electives and opportunities for internships and student projects.

Students are accepted to CSULA as unclassified, and then must meet with the advisor to determine whether they meet with the additional departmental criteria to be accepted into the Sociology MA program.  Students must meet with an advisor to determine whether they have met all prerequisites to become classified with an official program or need to complete prerequisites as a conditionally admitted student in our program.

Prerequisites must be completed before 500-level courses may be taken.  Program requirements must be completed in the order specified.  A program is considered "official" only after it is signed off by the student, advisor, department chair, and the graduate dean of the college.

Students should begin their programs with SOC 497, Introduction to the Discipline and the Profession.  This is required as prerequisite to the required core theory courses including: SOC 512 and SOC 514 (Seminars in the History of and Contemporary Sociological Theories).

Advanced courses in research methods (SOC 490, Quantitative Research Methods and SOC 491, Qualitative Research Methods) are required core courses as well.  SOC 490 is prerequisite to SOC 410, an advanced course in statistics.  All of these classes are prerequisites for the research seminar (SOC 590).  Students who successfully complete our M.A. program will have a good grasp of the methodology of sociological research. They will also be well prepared if they elect to pursue further graduate or doctoral study.  We also have alumni who have worked as researchers for RAND, WESTED and other research firms, as well as alumni who have held research positions or had research responsibilities for school districts, CALTRANS, and other agencies.

As described above, the MA program includes 32 units of core requirements.  Each program must be a minimum of 45 units (50% of which must be 500-level coursework).  Initially, each program will include a minimum of 13 units of elective coursework as approved by the advisor, chair, and dean's office.

A formal teaching internship has been introduced into the graduate curriculum.  Students will be able to take a seminar on college teaching (SOC 593, Teaching Sociology at the College Level) as well as a teaching internship (SOC 594 - Teaching Sociology Internship) where they work closely with an instructor and gain supervised classroom experience.  For more detail, see section below on graduate mentoring and enrichment opportunities.

To complete the program, students must either complete a thesis (SOC 599) or pass a comprehensive exam (SOC 596) in three areas: theory, research methods, and a substantive area of their choice (e.g., deviance, social organization, family, social psychology, criminology, family, sociology of knowledge, urban sociology, and the like).

All new MA students are initially enrolled in the comprehensive examination option.  If they meet all criteria to move to the thesis option later in the program, they may elect to do so.

Graduate Mentoring

Faculty mentoring and opportunities for student participation combine with the course offerings to enable students to meet their expectations for graduate life.  The Department offers MA students four types of credit-earning, mentored independent enrichment opportunities.

  • SOC 498 Advanced Cooperative Education (CR/NC grading) can be used to complete an internship at a site agreed to by the student and mentor or at a site listed through EPIC (Educational Participation in Communities)

  • SOC 597 Graduate Research (CR/NC grading) can be used for research assistantships, individual projects, or other enrichment opportunities.

  • SOC 598 Directed Study (letter grade) can be used by students involved in a research project under faculty supervision.  This course is often used to gain faculty guidance when writing a thesis proposal draft.

  • SOC 594 Teaching Internship (CR/NC grading) can be an especially valuable opportunity for those who intend to pursue a PhD or teach in a community college setting.  This involves functioning as an unpaid teaching assistant in an undergraduate course.  SOC 593 Teaching Sociology at the College Level (ABC/NC grading) is a classroom-based course recommended as a companion opportunity.  Recent alumni taking this course are now in tenured and tenure-track positions at community colleges or in lecturer positions at CSU campuses or community colleges.

For any of these four experiences, interested students and a faculty mentor work out the details together, after which the faculty mentor signs a permit allowing the student to enroll.  Generally,  research and teaching assistantships are done solely for course credit or on a voluntary basis.  These experiences enhance a students resume both for job-seeking or Ph.D. program admissions.  Occasionally, a few paid research assistantships become available as faculty members obtain grants.  

Culminating Experience

Students who would like further information about the thesis requirement or about the comprehensive exams can click on the appropriate link below.  Both of these documents are in pdf format and require Adobe Reader to view them.  Free copies of Adobe Reader can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Thesis Requirement

Thesis Requirement

Students should anticipate the thesis to require at least three quarters of concentrated effort AFTER they complete a reasonable proposal draft and obtaining an official thesis committee.  They may not enroll in thesis units until both of these requirements have been met.

The Sociology Department maintains a WebCT site with thesis guidelines specific to the department.  Any student enrolled in the sociology program has access to this site and should refer to it long before enrolling in thesis units.  the site includes: (1) a thesis guideline more specific to sociology; (2) criteria and directions for changing from the comprehensive exam option to the thesis option; (3) a link to the IRB website for human subject research clearance (e.g., if thesis includes questionnaires, interviews, focus groups); (4) an outline of steps for the thesis process.

The department also maintains library reserve materials specific to the thesis effort.

Instructions for accessing the department's WebCT site are below.

Comprehensive Exams

The Sociology Department maintains a WebCT Site for Comprehensive Exam Study. TO USE the site, you do NOT NEED to be enrolled for the comprehensive examinations (SOC 596); you only need to be an enrolled student here. This means you can use the site to study and communicate with others who are studying for comprehensive exams. Examples of past exams, some study guides, and several suggested reading lists are provided at the site. There are also chat rooms that can be used for study group purposes, a bulletin board where exam-relevant messages can be posted, and email addresses specific to the site for easy communication among students preparing for the comprehensive exams.

Students who are taking comprehensive exams are encouraged to review questions from exams given previously.  The WebCT site will have the most recent years of the exams for you to use as practice.  Plan to spend at least 3 quarters studying for the comprehensive exams.

WebCT Use Instructions

Here are the instructions for using the site.  While using WebCT, you need to dsiable any pop-up blocker you may have. 

Go to WebCT Learning Entry Page: /sites/default/files/academic/aa/ess/webct and click Student.

Log in using your NIS account name and password.

You will self-register in the SOC 599 class for thesis information and in the SOC 569 class for comprehensive exams information.

 

For further information, please contact Dr. WaiKit Choi, Graduate Advisor.
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