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Graduate Degree in Sociology

Western Illinois University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in sociology. The M.A. in sociology qualifies individuals for jobs in government, human service agencies, and businesses which specifically call for a social science or behavioral science master’s degree. Community colleges employ M.A. graduates as teachers, and some universities employ them as entry level, temporary teachers. The M.A. also serves as a preliminary to further study for a Ph.D. degree in sociology.

The ongoing programs of applied and basic research, combined with a commitment to teaching excellence, provide the opportunity for sociology graduate students to work side-by-side with award winning faculty in an environment which reinforces the philosophy of “learning by doing.”

Consider these specific advantages:

  • Excellent chance for assistantship funding
  • Small classes
  • Work closely with professors
  • Teaching opportunities for advanced students
  • Thesis or nonthesis option
  • Increased job options and preparation for doctoral studies

About Our Graduates

Students with a master’s degree in sociology have an abundant choice of job possibilities. Some of our graduates teach in universities and community colleges across the country. Others hold governmental administrative positions such as those in the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Some of our graduates work with teens and adults in group homes. Some graduates use their degrees to advance in rank and pay in jobs they held while taking classes.

By the Numbers

There are typically about 30 active graduate students in the master's program. This is a rather large graduate program; recent studies have concluded that the program ranks first in terms of size and production of graduates among the 83 "MA only" programs in the United States.

  • About 80% who enter the program will earn a master's degree within four semesters.
  • Through aggressive pursuit of additional funding from the University, our department funds 10-12 graduate assistantships each semester.
  • Nearly all our graduates find work for which their master's degree has prepared them (business, social services, courts and probation, communication, and teaching in community colleges).
  • About 20% of our graduates go on to obtain a doctorate in sociology or related disciplines.