Graduate Programs

The Graduate Program in Sociology provides a solid grounding in sociological theory and research methods. The training provided by a talented and experienced faculty serves as excellent preparation either for further graduate work or for immediate employment in social research and related types of jobs.

Washington, D.C. is an exciting city that enriches the lives of GW students in multiple  ways. The city offers a rich social laboratory in which students can acquire and develop new skills in sociological observation and analysis. The wide array of government agencies, advocacy organizations, and think tanks headquartered in Washington gives students opportunities to secure internships and jobs in which they can apply their newly acquired sociological skills. Graduates of our MA program are in high demand, and many find long-term jobs in agencies and firms in which they interned or were employed during their student days.

The Sociology Department offers several options for graduate education summarized below. For fuller information check out the Master's Program Handbook (downloadable pdf file). 


Master of Arts in Sociology

The MA in Sociology provides a solid grounding the follow areas of specialization:

  • Criminology
  • Social Inequality
  • Urban Sociology

Master of Arts in Criminology

A joint with program with the Department of Forensic Sciences, the MA in Criminology combines training in:

  • Traditional Criminolgy
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Sociology

Affiliated PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration

The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration offers a PhD in Public Policy and Public Administration. The areas in which students can specialize include Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy; Gender and Social Policy; Urban Policy; and other public policy and administrative fields.

Although housed in The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administraiton, this PhD program includes many courses taught within the Sociology Department, and the main field advisors for program are Sociology professors.


Graduate Program Admissions

The application requirements for the MA programs in Sociology and Criminology include a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, full undergraduate transcripts, scores from the GRE, and a writing sample. Click here for more information on the GW Graduate Program Admissions process, including the link to apply on-line.

Statement of purpose:  This statement should reflect your preparation for graduate study in sociology or criminology and the fit between your intellectual interests and our departmental strengths, and your career goals upon graduation.

Letters of recommendation:  Letters should address the quality of your performance on items required for graduate study such as critical thinking skills, writing skills, organizational aptitude, interest in the field, eagerness, and the ability to carry tasks through to completion. While the Department will accept letters from employers, recommendations from professors who are familiar with applicants' academic abilities tend to carry more weight.

Writing sample:  The sole function of the writing sample in your application is the demonstration of your writing ability. The content and form of the sample are not as important as the quality of the writing.  Course papers are appropriate, as are other genres.  If you would like to demonstrate your expertise in a particular subject area, the writing sample provides the opportunity for you to do so, but this is not a requirement.   


Graduate Assistantships: Teaching and Research

The Department of Sociology awards teaching assistantships on a competitive basis for students pursuing MA degrees in Sociology and Criminology.  Research assistantships are available on individual faculty members' grants. Applicants who want to be considered for teaching or research assistantships must submit their applications to the Columbian College prior to February 1. Click here for more information on Funding Your Graduate Education at GW.


Graduate Student Placements & Theses

Click on the following links to see where our recent graduate students are working and pursuing additional degrees, as well as the titles of their master's theses:

GW Graduate Admissions

Seminar on Food

Professor Ivy Ken, along with colleagues from Judaic Studies, History, Landscape Design, American Studies, Public Health, and Anthropology, were awarded a University Seminar on Food in 2011-12. The seminar featured public discussions of food-related issues, with special attention devoted to the topic of food policy implementation.