Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology offers the Master of Science Degree in Sociology.

Master of Science Degree in Sociology

The Master of Science degree in Sociology is designed to prepare graduates with the skills necessary to enter the professional workforce as sociologists or to pursue further study at the doctoral level. Students have the opportunity to acquire a knowledge base in sociological methods, theory and in areas of growing community concern, including health, aging, religion, socioeconomic development, gender issues, and race and ethnic relations. They will have the necessary research skills to define social issues and problems, select data collection techniques, establish appropriate analysis methods, develop statistical reports, and undertake policy analyses for businesses, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Program Admission Requirements

Students applying for unconditional admission must satisfy University-wide and College-wide graduate admission requirements, and be recommended for admission by the Graduate Program Committee of the Department of Sociology. Applicants must have completed 18 semester credit hours of undergraduate courses, 12 of which must be at the upper-division level in sociology or related areas, including a course in research methods or statistics. Applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate and graduate work.

Applicants who do not meet these requirements will be considered for conditional admission. Conditional applicants must submit indicators of preparation for graduate study, such as completion of additional undergraduate coursework to remove deficiencies, completion of 9 or more semester credit hours of graduate courses, and the achievement of a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). An applicant not eligible for either unconditional or conditional admission may be recommended for admission as a special graduate student (or a non-degree-seeking student). This does not guarantee subsequent admission as a degree-seeking graduate student; such students must reapply for degree-seeking status.

Applicants for the Master’s Program in Sociology must submit the following materials to the graduate admissions office:

  1. an application form (available online at http://graduateschool.utsa.edu/)
  2. an application fee
  3. official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended, including community colleges
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE®) scores from a GRE-administered examination. This score will be considered as only one element in the evaluation of applicants. Applicants who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher will not be required to submit GRE scores.
  5. a personal statement (approximately 500 words, or two typed pages) indicating your interest and goals in studying sociology
  6. three letters of recommendation from references who can speak to your qualifications for the graduate program (at least one of these must be from someone who can speak to your academic qualifications)
  7. an academic writing sample (such as a paper written for a class, preferably a sociology class)

Degree Requirements

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 36.

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

A. 9 semester credit hours of core courses:9
Sociological Theory
Research Design
Quantitative Research Methods
Qualitative Research Methods
B. 21 semester credit hours of prescribed electives from the following courses:21
Qualitative Research Methods (if not taken under section A above)
Evaluation Research
Professionalization Seminar
Quantitative Research Methods (if not taken under section A above)
Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
Family Contexts and Social Change
Sociology of Health and Health Care
Demography and Community Trends
Religion, Health and Mortality
Social Stratification
Race and Ethnic Relations
Mexican Americans: Community, Culture, and Class
Sociology of Gender
Border Studies
Cultural Studies
Sociology of Childhood
Language and Society
Education and Reproduction of Inequality
Crime and Delinquency
Theory Building and Methods
Social Movements
Social Psychology
Immigration and Society
Health and Health Disparities
Sociology of Religion
Topics in Advanced Sociology
Special Problems
C. Students who opt to take the Exit Exam (one of the two nonthesis options) in lieu of Thesis or Internship must complete an additional 3 credit hours of sociology electives.
Exit Exam must be taken in the final semester of the student's program.
D. 6 semester credit hours of Internship or Thesis:6
Internship option. Students may participate in an internship (one of two nonthesis options) after completion of 18 semester credit hours (which must include the core courses). Internships offer work-oriented experiences in local organizational settings where the principles, theories, concepts, and methods of the discipline can be applied. A research paper under the supervision of assigned faculty is required, including a formal defense of an internship proposal.
Thesis option. Students may select the thesis option after they have completed 24 semester credit hours. A formal defense of both the thesis proposal and the thesis is required.
Total Credit Hours36

Sociology (SOC) Courses

SOC 5003. Sociological Theory. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

The nature of sociological theory, the major varieties of theory, the theorists who developed them, and the social and historical contexts of theory development and construction. Issues concerning the relation of theory and research are also explored.

SOC 5033. Qualitative Research Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Qualitative strategies and techniques used in social science research, including field methods such as participant observation, in-depth interviews, and the collection of documents. Emphasis is on understanding the ways people interpret their experiences and construct and shape their reality.

SOC 5043. Evaluation Research. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Theory and practice of evaluation of public policy and social service programs. Evaluation theories, models, and key evaluation studies are reviewed. Practical and political issues involved in the design and implementation of evaluations are addressed. Evaluation of a social agency or program may be included.

SOC 5053. Professionalization Seminar. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course assists students in navigating key benchmarks in the master’s program, including the comprehensive examination, master’s thesis, and internship. Issues of pedagogy (teaching), writing, and scholarship are also addressed, along with prospects students often consider upon completion of the master’s degree (e.g., doctoral program admission, community college instruction, and the application of sociological skills in workplace settings).

SOC 5063. Research Design. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: 3 semester credit hours of undergraduate research methods. Graduate-level methods of sociological inquiry. Topics may include the ethics of social inquiry, deductive and inductive reasoning, conceptualization and operationalization, sampling, experimental and quasi-experimental design, survey research, field research, unobtrusive research, and basic qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

SOC 5073. Quantitative Research Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: SOC 5063. Graduate-level social statistics. Topics may include analysis of contingency tables, analysis of variance, correlation, multiple linear and logistic regressions, and index construction and scaling with use of computer programs such as SPSS to analyze social data. (Formerly SOC 5013. Credit cannot be earned for both SOC 5013 and SOC 5073).

SOC 5083. Advanced Quantitative Research Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: SOC 5073. Advanced social statistics. Topics may include categorical data analysis, event history analysis, structural equation modeling (LISREL), multi-level modeling or longitudinal data analysis with use of computer programs such as SPSS, STATA, SAS, Amos, or HLM to analyze social data. (Formerly SOC 5023. Credit cannot be earned for both SOC 5023 and SOC 5083).

SOC 5123. Family Contexts and Social Change. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Family system organization and process within the broader context of community and society. Emphasis is on the changing historical roles of families, as well as cross-cultural, socioeconomic, race and ethnic, and gender variability in the family. The impact of education, the economy, and politics is also considered.

SOC 5133. Sociology of Health and Health Care. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

The relation of social behavior to health status, epidemiology, and the social organization of medicine in the United States and cross-culturally. Emphasis is on the development of the health care industry and problems associated with the delivery of health care services.

SOC 5143. Demography and Community Trends. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Basic demographic perspectives and data; methods of analysis of population size, distribution, and composition; determinants and consequences of population trends. Applications of computer programs for demographic analysis may be included.

SOC 5173. Religion, Health and Mortality. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Explores the complex relationships between religion and mental health, physical health, and mortality risk. Attention will also be given to religious influences on factors that may affect health, including health behaviors, social ties and support systems, psychological resources, coping practices, and character strengths that may foster resilience. The distinction between religiousness and spirituality will be discussed.

SOC 5203. Social Stratification. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Theory and research pertaining to structures of social inequality—their causes, forms, and consequences. Emphasis is on the distribution of power, prestige, and economic privilege, and patterns of social mobility in the United States.

SOC 5213. Race and Ethnic Relations. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Dominant-subordinate relations between various racial and ethnic groups from cross-cultural theoretical perspectives. Models of assimilation, cultural pluralism, and colonialism are investigated, as are their implications for minority and majority group members.

SOC 5223. Mexican Americans: Community, Culture, and Class. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Sociological focus on the Mexican American population. Emphasis is on the theories used to interpret the experiences of this group, particularly those oriented to issues of stratification and social mobility.

SOC 5233. Sociology of Gender. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Interdisciplinary survey of theory and current research on gender and gender-related issues. Gender-based theories are examined and compared to explanations for other forms of social stratification. Implications for family dynamics, the labor force, and the economy are explored. (Formerly titled “Gender and Society”).

SOC 5253. Border Studies. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of borders in an era of globalization, with emphasis on the United States–Mexico border. Themes may include a theoretical criticism of American mainstream border studies and its more important representatives.

SOC 5263. Cultural Studies. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

A study of the significance of culture in society, including the relationship between culture, consciousness, the economy, identity, and history. The development of the field and crucial debates in the literature will be examined. The relationship of Cultural Studies with Critical Theory, feminist theory, multicultural theory, and media studies will be explored.

SOC 5323. Sociology of Childhood. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Explores concepts, theories, and empirical research focusing on childhood and children. Topics may include social structure and its consequences for children’s lives, and how circumstances, meanings, and representations of childhood differ across cultures.

SOC 5333. Language and Society. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

An examination of the work of important scholars in the study of language and social behaviors. Themes may include an overview of morphology communication, communicative interactions, societal segmentation and linguistic variation, language and gender, language acquisition, language policies, bilingual communities, and language in institutional encounters such as schools.

SOC 5343. Education and Reproduction of Inequality. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Examines the relation between types of societies and systems of education, the connection between schooling and societal stratification, and how schooling contributes both to social mobility and to the reproduction of the prevailing social order.

SOC 5353. Crime and Delinquency. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Analyzes the role of crime and delinquency in society. A consideration of the relationship among data, theory, and policy as integral components of crime and delinquency forms a central theme of this course. Independent empirical work is required.

SOC 5363. Theory Building and Methods. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Explores the role of theory building and methodology in sociology. The philosophy of science and sociology of knowledge and of science are used to understand the scientific dynamics of sociology. Theory building, methodology, and research design are explored.

SOC 5403. Social Movements. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Involves evaluation of dominant theoretical perspectives and research strategies in social movements and organized protests. Contrasts classic theoretical models with more recent scholarship emphasizing the cultural dimensions of social movement dynamics. Case studies may include the American Civil Rights Movement, Labor Unionization, and the Feminist and Environmental Movements.

SOC 5423. Social Psychology. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Provides the student with foundation in the theoretical background of social psychology as well as exposure to contemporary empirical examination of the theories and concepts utilized in this perspective. Topics for study may include socialization, social roles, aggression, pro-social behavior, interpersonal attraction, group dynamics, and collective behavior.

SOC 6043. Immigration and Society. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Analyzes theoretical explanations and social, economic, cultural, and ideological features of migration. May include topics such as border dynamics, transnationalism, incorporation of immigrants, remittances, and the impact on sending and receiving countries.

SOC 6063. Health and Health Disparities. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Explores issues related to disparities in population health. Health care based on racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States and other nations will be analyzed. Discussions may include differences in health and health care at the local, national or international level.

SOC 6143. Sociology of Religion. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

A seminar to provide a theoretical and methodological appraisal of contemporary research in the sociology of religion. Classic texts will be considered with emphasis on current trends in the field. May include topics such as religion and health, religion and globalization, new religious movements, religion and politics, religion and family and the immigrant religious experience. Theoretical debates from the secularization thesis to rational choice approaches will be considered.

SOC 6713. Health Care System in the United States. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course covers the complexities of health care organization and finance and presents a general overview of how the U.S. health care system works and how the major components within the system fit together. Covers basic structures and operations of the U.S. health system—from its historical origins and resources, to its individual services, cost, and quality. Compares and contrasts the U.S. health care system with other health care systems around the world.

SOC 6723. Religion, Health, and Mortality. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

A growing body of theory and research explores the connections between religion (and its close cousin, spirituality) and a diverse array of mental and physical health outcomes, including mortality risk. In this course, explanatory pathways receive particular attention, including the role of religion in shaping health behaviors and lifestyles, social resources, psychological resources, coping practices, healthy beliefs, character strengths, and other potential mechanisms. A number of other topics are considered as well, including: the negative health effects of religion, racial/ethnic and other subgroup variations in the religion-health connection, faith-based health programming, the role of religion and spirituality in healthcare settings, and others. Although the primary focus is on the U.S. and developed western societies, comparative materials may also be introduced.

SOC 6733. The Social Psychology of Health and Illness. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course is organized primarily around the "stress process model" in the social psychology of health and illness. The "stress process" perspective explains individual- and group-level variations in health outcomes partly in terms of (a) differential exposure to stressful events and conditions and (b) differential vulnerability to (or resilience in the face of) such stressors. Thus, we will selectively examine literature on the definition, measurement, and epidemiology of stress. Particular attention is given to the social and psychological resources available to—and the specific coping strategies used by—persons experiencing stressful circumstances. The course will emphasize the impact of stressors and resources on mental disorders, physical health problems, and even mortality risk. In addition, it will examine the usefulness of the "stress process" approach for explaining the social patterning of various mental and physical health outcomes, such as those determined by objective and subjective aspects of socio-economic position, race and ethnicity, gender, and other important elements of social location.

SOC 6743. Religion, Spirituality, and Families. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

After a long period of neglect, scholars and practitioners are once again interested in the relationships between religion, spirituality, and family life. This course will introduce students to key theoretical, methodological, and substantive issues in this broad area. Specific coverage will be given to the complex links between religious factors and sexual behavior and fertility, child-rearing ideals and practices, gender roles, intimate relationships, intergenerational relations, and other facets of family life. The role of religion among racial and ethnic minority families will receive particular attention. Although much of the course material focuses on the United States, comparative cases will also be considered.

SOC 6753. Racial/Ethnic Minority Families in the United States. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course will be devoted to a survey of racial/ethnic families in contemporary America. The course is designed to help students to better understand the concept of "family ethnicity," as the United States is approaching the time when a majority of its citizens will be members of ethnically or culturally diverse families. This course will compare differences and similarities in family lives across a number of racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Specifically, four major groups of racial/ethnic families—African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American families—will be explored and compared. Families with different ethnic/cultural backgrounds such as Hawaiian and/or Jewish American families will be discussed briefly as well.

SOC 6763. Youth and Emerging Adulthood. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

This course will focus on youth and adolescence as well emerging adulthood from a sociological perspective. It will examine theoretical and empirical research related to youth, adolescence and emerging adulthood as well as connect these ideas to practical concerns and current events. It will explore the lives and diverse experiences of young people and will focus on topics such as the historical development and distinguishing characteristics of adolescence and emerging adulthood, the social and cultural context of adolescence and emerging adulthood, gender and identity, family relationships, peers and friends, dating, romance, and family formation, religion and spirituality, school and education, and work and the future.

SOC 6903. Topics in Advanced Sociology. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

A seminar offering the opportunity for specialized study not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. Topics may include social gerontology, deviance, social psychology, religion, mass communications, and research applications. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

SOC 6933. Exit Examination. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Permission of the Graduate Advisor of Record is required and the exam must be taken in final semester of program. This is an exam on sociological theory and methods. It is an in-house, closed book exam administered in two 4-hour sessions on one day at the end of each semester. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance on the Exit Examination) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance on the Exit Examination).

SOC 6951. Independent Study. (0-0) 1 Credit Hour.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission in writing (form available) of the instructor and the Sociology Graduate Advisor of Record. Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. For students needing specialized work not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

SOC 6953. Independent Study. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission in writing (form available) of the instructor and the Sociology Graduate Advisor of Record. Independent reading, research, discussion, and/or writing under the direction of a faculty member. For students needing specialized work not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

SOC 6961. Comprehensive Examination. (0-0) 1 Credit Hour.

Prerequisite: Approval of the Sociology Graduate Program Committee to take the Comprehensive Examination. May be repeated as many times as approved by the Sociology Graduate Program Committee. Enrollment is required each term in which the Comprehensive Examination is taken if no other courses are being taken that term. The grade report for the course is either “CR” (satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination) or “NC” (unsatisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination).

SOC 6963. Internship. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and 18 semester credit hours of graduate work. Work-oriented experience within a local organizational setting where the principles, theories, concepts, and methods of the discipline can be applied. A research paper under the supervision of assigned faculty is required.

SOC 6966. Internship. (0-0) 6 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and 18 semester credit hours of graduate work. Work-oriented experience within a local organizational setting where the principles, theories, concepts, and methods of the discipline can be applied. A research paper under the supervision of assigned faculty is required.

SOC 6973. Special Problems. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. An organized course offering the opportunity for specialized study not usually available as part of the regular course offerings. Special Problems courses may be repeated for credit when topics vary, but not more than 6 hours, regardless of discipline, will apply to the Master’s degree.

SOC 6983. Master’s Thesis. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Permission of the Graduate Advisor of Record and thesis director, and 24 semester credit hours of graduate work. Thesis research and preparation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours will apply to the Master’s degree. Credit will be awarded upon completion of the thesis. Enrollment is required each term in which the thesis is in progress.

SOC 6986. Master’s Thesis. (0-0) 6 Credit Hours.

Prerequisites: Permission of the Graduate Advisor of Record and thesis director, and 24 semester credit hours of graduate work. Thesis research and preparation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 6 hours will apply to the Master’s degree. Credit will be awarded upon completion of the thesis. Enrollment is required each term in which the thesis is in progress.

SOC 7001. Doctoral Dissertation. (0-0) 1 Credit Hour.

Prerequisite: Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral degree in Applied Demography. Preparation and writing of the Doctoral dissertation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 12 hours may be applied to the Doctoral degree.

SOC 7003. Doctoral Dissertation. (0-0) 3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral degree in Applied Demography. Preparation and writing of the Doctoral dissertation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 12 hours may be applied to the Doctoral degree.

SOC 7006. Doctoral Dissertation. (0-0) 6 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Admission to Candidacy for the Doctoral degree in Applied Demography. Preparation and writing of the Doctoral dissertation. May be repeated for credit, but not more than 12 hours may be applied to the Doctoral degree.