• Sociology, M.A.
    More than half of full-time students receive departmental or university funding
  • Sociology, M.A.
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Sociology, M.A.

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.

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Attorney Jerry Gonzalez

Lawyer turns issue into sociology research, master's degree

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

Outstanding Teacher focuses research on prison population

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

  • Attorney
  • College professor/high school teacher
  • Community developer
  • Consultant
  • Counselor
  • Criminologist
  • Demographer
  • Director of research
  • Gerontologist
  • Human resource manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Program director in social service agency
  • Program manager
  • Research analyst
  • Sociologist
  • Statistician
  • Survey researcher
  • Therapist
  • Urban planner

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Centerstone Behavioral Health Services
  • Early Connections Network, Tennessee Voices for Children
  • Edvantia Educational Research
  • Forensic Institute for Research & Education
  • Nashville Metro Transit Authority
  • National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago
  • Populations Study Center, University of Michigan
  • Tennessee Housing Development Agency
  • US Department of Labor

Among universities admitting graduates for advanced degrees or hiring to fill positions are

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Georgia State University
  • Florida State University
  • Jacksonville State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Baltimore School of Law            
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida                                    
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan                                          
  • University of Minnesota                                        
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Southern Illinois
  • University of Tennessee                             
  • University of Texas                                             
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
  • Vanderbilt University

Dr. Ronald H. Aday


Dr. Foster K. Amey


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
Interim Chair/Aging Studies Director/Professor


Dr. Gretchen Webber
Associate Professor


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

  • an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college;
  • an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (generally at least a 2.75 GPA);
  • successful completion of at least 18 semester hours of undergraduate sociology courses, which includes the prerequisites of research methods (SOC 3040), statistics (SOC 3050), and sociological theory (SOC 3060) or their equivalents with a grade of C or better;
  • completion of the Graduate Record Exam with acceptable scores.

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.

SOC 5011 - Social Inequality
3 credit hours

The origins, variations, and consequences of class, status, and power in society. Includes individual and group economic interests, social prestige, ideology, market, and institutional inequality.

SOC 5020 - Sociology of Aging
3 credit hours

Demographic, social, and cultural aspects of aging. Emphasis on the types of problems encountered by older persons in American society.

SOC 5030 - Topics in Gerontology
3 credit hours

An opportunity to integrate gerontological theory and research techniques in working with the practical problems of older persons.

SOC 5040 - Health Care Delivery Issues
3 credit hours

Sociological analysis of health care delivery and major issues facing providers, patients, and citizens in the twenty-first century, from the level of social interaction through the broader structures of health care systems and policies. Includes sociological approaches to health and medicine, health care institutions, insurance and reimbursement structures, and vulnerable populations, along with future issues and directions in U.S. health care delivery.

SOC 5050 - Sociology of Families
3 credit hours

An analysis: contemporary American family patterns; racial, ethnic, and class variations.

SOC 5090 - Health Care Management
3 credit hours

Details of the technical aspects of health care management with an emphasis on long-term care settings.

SOC 5100 - Sociology of Work
3 credit hours

Comparative analysis of work structure and processes in organizational contexts, including study of management and employee organizations and legal environments regulating workplace relations.

SOC 5140 - Violence in the Family
3 credit hours

(Same as CDFS 5140.) Causes, dynamics, and consequences of violence in the family. Includes the discussion of violence toward children, spouses, dating partners, siblings, and elders. Emphasizes the social conditions which lead to these types of violence.

SOC 5150 - Topics in Sociology
3 credit hours

An in-depth topic significant in current sociological literature.

SOC 5160 - Sociology of Gangs
3 credit hours

History of gangs in the U.S., the factors which account for their formation and perpetuation, and current empirical data on gang composition, demographics, and culture. Policy strategies for prevention, law enforcement, and nonlegal interventions assessed.

SOC 5240 - Race and Ethnic Relations
3 credit hours

Theories and dynamics of intergroup relations in a multiethnic society.

SOC 5300 - Criminology
3 credit hours

Theories of the causes of criminal behavior and coverage of its development and incidence; punishment and methods of control and rehabilitation.

SOC 5320 - Public Opinion and Propaganda
3 credit hours

(Same as PS 5320.) Public opinion and its role in the political and social processes.

SOC 5360 - Medical Sociology
3 credit hours

Sociological analysis of health, biomedicine, epidemiology, and disease, along with critical analysis of major issues facing providers, patients, and citizens in the twenty-first century. Focuses on social epidemiology, social determinants and patterning of disease, health care delivery, institutions, and policy in the U.S. and other nations, and major theoretical developments in the sociology of health, illness, and healing.

SOC 5500 - Social Psychology
3 credit hours

Individual behavior in social contexts and symbolic interaction among groups. Includes social influences on perception, conformity, attitudes, communication, group structure, leadership, and role behavior.

SOC 5511 - Social Movements and Social Change
3 credit hours

Sociological theories of revolutions, rebellions, civil wars, and protest movements of the past and present and the relationship to significant social changes.

SOC 5520 - Population and Society
3 credit hours

Examines world and U.S. population trends and the impact of social forces on such demographic variables as births, deaths, migration, age, sex, education, marital status, and how these impact social conditions.

SOC 5540 - Juvenile Delinquency
3 credit hours

Social factors related to delinquency including family, peer group, school, and community. Includes the juvenile justice system and its agents.

SOC 5550 - Sociology of Religion
3 credit hours

Religion as social process and institution. An ideological, structural, and functional analysis. Specific U.S. religions examined in detail.

SOC 5560 - Organizational Structures and Processes
3 credit hours

Analysis of structure and processes of change, organizational environments, modes of power, ideologies, forms of control and resistance, including alternatives to bureaucracy.

SOC 5660 - Urban and Community Studies
3 credit hours

Focuses on concept of community as a core idea in the historical development of sociology, concentrating on theories and historical trends of urbanization and current urban problems and policies.

SOC 5790 - Sport and Society
3 credit hours

Behavioral approach to the sport and leisure phenomena from the related perspectives of sociology and anthropology.

SOC 5800 - Special Projects
1 to 3 credit hours

Field experiences or reading courses through which special interests or needs of the student may be pursued under individual supervision. No more than three hours may be used in the major. Arrangements must be made with instructor prior to registration.

SOC 6000 - Comparative Social Change
3 credit hours

(Same as PS 6000.) A historical comparative examination of the structure, institutions, and development of the modern world system; a review of major theoretical and empirical research on the world system.

SOC 6010 - Social Policy Analysis
3 credit hours

A historical comparative examination of social policy formulation, structure, and consequences. Focus on policy formation in modern and developing nations. Critical analysis of social policy development.

SOC 6540 - Topics in Crime and Deviance
3 credit hours

Critical analysis of selected topics in the fields of crime and deviance. Students pursue individual projects that require integration of their theoretical understanding with contemporary applications.

SOC 6550 - Seminar on Aging
3 credit hours

In-depth investigation of selected topics in social gerontology.

SOC 6560 - Sociological Theory
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: SOC 3060. Encourages students to think sociologically, integrating theoretical knowledge with a critical examination of everyday experiences and social problems/issues. Addresses both classical and contemporary theories: structural, interpretive, micro and macro applications.

SOC 6570 - Seminar in Advanced Social Psychology
3 credit hours

The dynamics of human interaction: attitudes, processes, group structures, settings, and properties.

SOC 6620 - Quantitative Research Methods
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and SOC 3050 or equivalent. Focuses on the design and application of quantitative data collection and analysis procedures to practical problems and issues. Students pursue supervised independent design and analysis using SPSS or SAS.

SOC 6630 - Seminar in the Family
3 credit hours

Principles of family organization; family as a sociocultural institution in various societies; theories of family structure, change, and deviance.

SOC 6661 - Program Evaluation
3 credit hours

(Same as PSY 6661.) Prerequisite: SOC 3040 or permission of instructor. Methods and issues of client-centered social program evaluation. Topics include evaluation methods, proposal construction, report writing, and presentation techniques.

SOC 6670 - Mental Health and Aging
3 credit hours

The basic concepts associated with mental health and the aging process. The epidemiology, assessment process, and approaches to treatment stressed. A positive approach to the mental well-being of the older adult provided.

SOC 6675 - Social Statistics
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and SOC 3050 or equivalent. An intermediate level treatment of statistical concepts and methods for the analysis of sociological data with emphasis on the application of multivariate statistical methods for basic and applied sociological research. Statistical analysis software (e.g., SPSS, SAS) applied to existing datasets.

SOC 6680 - Counseling Elders
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: SOC 6670 recommended but not required. Counseling techniques and outcomes common to late life therapy. Special application to specific problems and social environments of the elderly.

SOC 6690 - Death and Survivorship
3 credit hours

The social complexities of dying, death, and survivorship with particular emphasis given to the aging population.

SOC 6700 - Introduction to Community and Regional Development: An
3 credit hours

Analysis of the problems and proposed solutions of community development from an interdisciplinary point of view.

SOC 6710 - Japanese Society and Business
3 credit hours

(Same as ECON 6540.) Japanese economy, business practices, and social and physical environment in comparison with those in other countries, particularly the United States.

SOC 6720 - Qualitative Research Methods
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and SOC 3050 or equivalent. Focuses on the design and application of qualitative data collection and analysis procedures to practical problems and issues. Students pursue supervised independent and group projects.

SOC 6900 - Practicum: Applied Analysis
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: SOC 6620 and permission of instructor. Supervised independent study in which student is placed in an organization on a contractual basis. Course directed toward student pursuing career in applied sociology.

The following links will provide additional information about the master’s program in Sociology, and the list of theses indicates recent research interests: