MA in Sociology

A sociology professor lectures to graduate students in front of a whiteboard

In the GW Master of Arts in Sociology program, students focus on social stratification and inequality while honing their skills in sociological theory and research methods. Students develop specific expertise in their chosen major and minor fields, with elective options including Race and Urban Development; Principles of Demography; and Race, Gender and Class. Students also have the option to complete criminology courses as electives for the MA in Sociology. All MA in Sociology students must complete a thesis.

Our MA graduates have gone on to win Fulbrights, publish papers and books and help shape the future of society through careers in policy, law, public administration and more.



MA in Sociology students choose one major field and one minor field from three designated areas: social inequality, criminology and urban sociology. Students must complete two courses in the major and one in the minor.


Social Inequality Courses
  • SOC 6245: Race Relations
  • SOC 6246: Comparative Race and Ethnicity
  • SOC 6248: Race and Urban Redevelopment
  • SOC 6252: Selected Topics
  • SOC 6263: Race and Crime
  • SOC 6265: Women, Welfare and Poverty
  • SOC 6268: Race, Gender and Class
  • SOC 6271: Gender and Society
  • SOC 6273: The Sex Industry
  • SOC 6286: Law of Race and Slavery
Criminology Courses
  • SOC 6258: Deviance and Control
  • SOC 6259: Criminology
  • SOC 6260: Special Topics in Criminology
  • SOC 6262: Corrections
  • SOC 6263: Race and Crime
  • SOC 6264: Organized Crime
  • SOC 6273: The Sex Industry
Urban Sociology Courses
  • SOC 6248: Race and Urban Redevelopment
  • SOC 6250: Urban Sociology
  • SOC 6252: Selected Topics
  • PSC 6211: Urban Politics
  • PSC 6212: Urban Policy Problems
  • GEOG 6243: Urban Geography

Sample Schedule

  • SOC 6238: Sociological Theory
  • SOC 6230: Sociological Research Methods
  • Elective OR major/minor field course
  • SOC 6239: Sociological Theory
  • SOC 6231: Data Analysis
  • Elective OR major/minor field course
  • SOC 6998: Thesis Research
  • SOC 6232: Qualitative Methodology: Doing Field Research
  • Elective OR major/minor field course
  • SOC 6999: Thesis Research
  • Elective OR major/minor field course
  • Elective OR major/minor field course

Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

36 credits, including 15 credits in required courses, 15 credits in substantive elective courses, and 6 thesis credits. Students may substitute one or more appropriate graduate-level classes from other departments or in the consortium with the permission of their advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies. SOC 6295 may be taken once (3 credits) toward degree requirements.

SOC 6230Foundations of Research Methods
SOC 6231Quantitative Methods
SOC 6232Qualitative Methods
SOC 6238Development of Sociological Theory
SOC 6239Contemporary Sociological Theory
SOC 6999Thesis Research (Taken for 3 credits in each of the final two semesters for a total of 6 credits.)

Affiliated PhD Program

The Columbian College's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration offers a PhD in Public Policy and AdministrationGraduate students in sociology may be interested in the doctoral program's concentrations in gender, poverty and inequality, race and ethnicity or urban policy.