The program objective for the Sociology Master of Science degree is to produce graduates who have the following characteristics:
- Graduates know the research methods, computing skills, and advanced statistical and qualitative analytic techniques that form the basis for much social science research.
- Graduates have an in-depth understanding of the principal theories of sociology and how these theories may be used to elucidate key social issues and to frame research.
- Graduates have an in-depth understanding of the current state of sociological research and theories on at least one substantive social topic (such as one or more of the following: crime & delinquency, family, gender, community, race & ethnicity, education, migration, organizations, religion, etc.)
These objectives are particularly suited for students who plan to become social researchers and analysts, who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology or a related field, who plan to pursue a professional degree (such as a J.D. or an M.B.A.), or who plan to teach sociology at a community college level.
Sociology Fundamentals and Specialization
Graduates will have a broad understanding of sociology as a discipline and a deeper understanding of at least one substantive area within sociology.
Graduates will be conversant in sociological theory, sufficient to participate meaningfully in current theoretical debates.
Graduates will be able to design and conduct sociological research.
Graduates will be able to present original sociological research or theory for a scholarly audience, both orally and in writing.
Evidence of Learning
- Reviews of masters theses and coursework
- Faculty evaluations of student performance as research or teaching assistants
- Records of students productivity in the form of research presentations and publications
- Tracking of alumni
- Regular meetings of the department's Graduate Committee
- Review of a sample of completed masters theses using a rubric based on the four expected learning outcomes, and indicate the degree to which the students have demonstrated competence in each.
- Thesis Committees will be asked to assess each thesis and oral defense on the degree to which the student demonstrates competence on each of the four learning outcomes.
- Review of a sample of course papers and projects using a rubric based on the four expected learning outcomes, and indicate the degree to which the students have demonstrated competence in each.
- Program completion rate
- Placement of MS graduates in PhD programs and professional schools
- Acquisition of research skills as demonstrated by
- student placement in research settings
- contribution of student work to faculty research and productivity
- number of students acquiring ORCA or other grant funding
- number of students participating in the Fulton Research Conference
- Student presentations at regional and national conferences and/or publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals
Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement
- At least two faculty members are assigned by the Graduate Committee chair to review completed masters theses and/or course papers or projects. Their review of completed masters theses will take into account the review of the thesis committee on how well the student demonstrated competence in each of the four learning objectives, but they are expected to add substantively to that assessment. They present a written report of their findings annually to the department's Graduate Committee.
- The Department's Graduate Committee will meet to evaluate the graduate program and recommend changes as needed, at least annually. The Graduate Committee will do a comprehensive review of the graduate program for the department as a whole at least once every five years.
- Based upon these assessments, plans for improvement in the program will be made through regular institutional processes.