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.

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


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.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS  tab above.

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.

Apply Now!

Sociology, M.A.

Vicky MacLean, Program Director
(615) 898-2692

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers the Master of Arts in Sociology and minors in Sociology and Gerontology at the graduate level.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Arts in Sociology program requires

  1. an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college;
  2. an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (generally at least a 2.75 GPA);
  3. 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*;
  4. completion of the Graduate Record Exam with acceptable scores.

*NOTE: This requirement may be waived by the graduate program director for students with sufficiently high GPA and GRE scores.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Application deadline for the M.A. program is March 1 for Fall admission, September 15 for Spring admission, but applications are reviewed on a continuous, rolling basis by the Admissions Committee and Program Director.

 Applicant must

  1. submit application with appropriate fee (online at;
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  4. submit letter of interest and goals;
  5. submit an example of written work, preferably in the form of academic writing;
  6. submit three letters of recommendation from mentors or colleagues able to speak to your ability to succeed in graduate school in the social/behavioral sciences.

Degree Requirements

Candidate must

  1. complete a minimum of 36 semester hours in graduate-level courses, all of which must be at the 6000 level and 24 of which must be Sociology courses;
  2. complete all required courses with a minimum grade of B-;
  3. complete 6 hours of thesis research (SOC 6640);
  4. submit and successfully defend a thesis.

Curriculum: Sociology

Candidate must complete 36 hours in the following course of study:

Required Core (15 hours)


  • SOC 6560 - Sociological Theory

    3credit hours

    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 6620 - Quantitative Research Methods

    3credit hours

    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 6675 - Social Statistics  3 credit hours  

    SOC 6675 - Social Statistics

    3credit hours

    (Same as PRST 6600) 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 6720 - Qualitative Research Methods

    3credit hours

    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 6661 - Program Evaluation  3 credit hours  OR 

    SOC 6661 - Program Evaluation

    3credit 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 6010 - Social Policy Analysis

    3credit 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.

Sociology Elective (3 hours)


Electives (12 hours)

  • Chosen in consultation with thesis advisor and/or program director.

Thesis Research (6 hours)


  • SOC 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 6 credit hours  

    SOC 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 6credit hours

    Prerequisite: Student must have filed Candidacy Form and selected thesis committee before enrolling. Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.

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

Contact and Student Information

Dr. Vicky MacLean

Dr. Vicky MacLean

Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 10
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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