The master's degree program in Sociology at MTSU effectively prepares graduates that intend to pursue further, doctoral-level academic study or seek employment in non-academic and applied settings in the public, private, and non-profit economic sectors. With relatively small classes, a low student-faculty ratio, and ample funding opportunities, the program offers students quality interaction with award-winning faculty, along with opportunities to collaborate on presentation and publication of academic and applied research. Specialized training and experience are available in public/applied sociology, criminology/deviance, medical sociology, research methods, sex/gender, social gerontology, and work and organizations, among other areas. The program supports a large proportion of full- and part-time students, and offers competitive funding opportunities to support tuition, travel, and research.
Attorney Jerry Gonzalez, initially seeking a professor as an expert to help research legal work, ended up becoming an expert himself by studying for a master's in sociology at MTSU. He turned his law interest into a thesis, using statistical analysis on whether judicial commissioners are violating state statute by not considering employment, ties to community, and length of residence when determining flight risk and bail amount. Gonzalez plans additional research including real-life reasons why people don't appear for court (transportation, babysitting, and lack of electronic calendar use). After earning a bachelor's in biological science, he worked as a U.S. Navy flight officer and intelligence officer and achieved rank of lieutenant commander. Gonzalez then served as a Secret Service agent before adding his law degree in 1996. His practice focuses on federal criminal defense and cases dealing with employment discrimination and constitutional law.
Dr. Meredith Dye, MTSU sociology faculty member, has contributed significantly to an area lacking research attention: suicide and prison. The esteemed Criminal Justice and Behavior criminology journal (2013) published her study “I Just Wanted to Die,” which compared suicide ideation among women serving life sentences prior to serving time and while in prison. Dye, who collaborates with graduate students, has an article forthcoming for The Prison Journal (2014) entitled “‘The Rock I Cling To:’ Religion in the Lives of Life-Sentenced Women.” She teaches a topics graduate class, which has looked at declining crime rates and increased mass incarceration and has focused on societal experiences and reactions to deviance including a historic chronology. She was named one of the University’s Outstanding Teachers in 2012 by the MTSU Foundation and Outstanding Advisor in 2013 by the College of Liberal Arts.
MTSU students on the academic track receive the research and theoretical training necessary to become successful doctoral students and have a high rate of acceptance at various doctoral programs. Students on the applied track have graduated to direct state agencies and multi-million dollar federal programs; serve as federal, state, and local investigators, researchers, and consultants; and coordinate or participate in a variety of university, non-profit, and social service programs. Potential professions, some of which may require additional training, include
Dr. Ronald H. Aday
Dr. Foster K. Amey
Undergraduate Program Director | Professor
Dr. Kevin D. Breault
Professor | Co-editor of Sociological Spectrum
Dr. William L. Canak
Dr. W. Craig Carter
Dr. Meredith Dye
Assistant Professor | Faculty Advisor
Dr. Jackie Eller
Department Chair, Professor
Dr. Brian Hinote
Associate Professor | Graduate Program Director
Dr. Vicky MacLean
Dr. Angela Mertig
Dr. J. Brandon Wallace
Aging Studies Program Director | Professor
Dr. Gretchen Webber
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers the Master of Arts with a major in Sociology, as well as minors in Sociology and Gerontology at the graduate level.
Admission to the M.A. in Sociology program requires
Conditional admission is possible, but not guaranteed, if the GRE score is less than acceptable, prerequisites are missing or the grade is less than a C, or GPA is less than 2.75.
MTSU has an undergraduate major in Sociology leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers four undergraduate minors including Anthropology, Criminology, Family Studies, and Sociology. Department faculty members coordinate interdisciplinary minors in Archaeology, Asian Studies, International Media Studies, and Native American Studies.
Please note that only 6000-level courses may go toward completion of M.A. degree requirements.
The following links will provide additional information about the master’s program in Sociology, and the list of theses indicates recent research interests:
Professional Organizations and Information:
Jamie Fuston – Hegemonic Images of Sexuality in Primetime Television Advertisements: Selling Heteronormative Ideology (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Grady Lowery – A Blessing and a Curse: Faith and Environmentalism in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)
Theresa Bryant – Assessing Undergraduate Perceptions of Campus Climate and Safety at Middle Tennessee State University (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Kevin Patrick Coghlan – A Comparison of Two Measures of Social Class (Chair – Dr. Foster Amey)
Christina N. Harness – Doctor-Patient Trust and Questioning Medical Authority: A Race, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status Analysis (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)
James M. Kinslow – An Examination of Responses to a Decline in Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and Membership Within American Freemasonry (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)
Jordan E. Raley – Saying 'I Do': Exploring College Students' Attitudes Toward Marriage (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)
Stephanie Steed – Work-First Programs and the American Dream: Women's Struggles to Improve Their Lives under Welfare Reform (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)
Lori Nicole Watson – Men as Caregivers of Frail Elderly: Gender Differences in the Caregiving Experience (Chair – Dr. Brandon Wallace)
Lisa Walker – Tipping Capital and the Guise of Gratuity: Women Servers' Perspectives of Sexualized Interactions in the Sports Bar and Grill Industry (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Shaonta Allen – Stomping the Yard in Black and White: A Comparative Study on the Perceived Benefits of Black Greek Life at Historically Black and Predominantly White Institutions (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)
Jerry Gonzalez – Behind the Curtain: A Quantitative Examination of Factors Considered by Judicial Commissioners in Rutherford County, Tennessee in Determining the Presence of Risk of Flight and Amount of Bail (Chair – Dr. Brian P. Hinote)
Sarah Elizabeth Curtis -- Putting Gender in Its Place: The Construction and Experience of Gender in an Elementary School (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Amanda K. Kaiser -- Examining the Effects of Sexual Victimization on the Mental and Physical Well-Being of Incarcerated Women (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)
Kisha L. Ledlow -- Framing Sexual Harassment in the News (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Michael Patrick O'Flinn -- Ups and Downs: Narrative Accounts of Exiting Methamphetamine Use Without Formal Treatment (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Tara Lee-Ann Perrin -- Gettin' Above Your Raisin': Exploring First-Generation College Student Familial Support and Limited Support Experiences (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
Kimberly Fleming Wingard -- Alcohol Consumption, Mental Illness, and Suicide: An Ecological Study (Chair – Dr. Kevin Breault)
Melanie Fryman – Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) Player Identity: An Application of Identity Control Theory (Chair – Dr. W. Craig Carter)
Derrick Griffey – Choosing Community College: Understanding the Attitudes and Satisfaction of Students and Why It Matters (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)
Sherry B. Holley – Crossing the Thin Blue Line? A Qualitatively Descriptive Study of What 'Crossing' Means for Female Police Recruits (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
DeAnn Lamb – Exploring the Effects of Victimization on the Mental and Physical Health of Incarcerated Women (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)
Simon Lynn – Intentions Toward Extradyadic Behavior among Young Adults (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)
Lauren Norman – No Shame in My Game: An Exploratory Study of How Men Construct Moral Emotions Within the College Culture of Hooking-Up (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)
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