Sociology & Anthropology

Thesis Option

General Information

Given the fact that one can earn a Master's degree in this program without writing a thesis, the question arises "Why should I write a thesis?". There are several reasons, including the time honored tradition of writing a thesis, and the fact that some - but certainly not all - Ph.D. programs require a Master's thesis as a prerequisite. Perhaps the soundest reason of all for writing a thesis is having a sociological question that you really want to answer. Do your future plans, particularly Ph.D. programs, require a thesis? Examine what those before you have done - theses of former students are in our department chair's office, and the library.

Requirements -- 31 hours

  • Students must successfully complete 16 hours of required coursework prior to registering for Soc 600.
    • Soc 500 (Proseminar)
    • Soc 518 (History of Sociological Theory)
    • Soc 519 (Contemporary Sociological Theory)
    • Soc 530 (Statistical Methods)
    • Soc 531 (Advanced Research Techniques)
    • Soc 535 (Qualitative Research Methods)
  • 9 hours course work
  • Soc 600 (Thesis Research)
  • Soc 601 Thesis in Sociology)
  • Soc 602 (Comprehensive Examination)

A thesis proposal must be approved by the student's thesis committee before research for the thesis is undertaken. A final oral defense of the thesis is required.

Steps in Writing a Thesis

  1. You must contact the thesis chair to agree on the thesis topic that you will work on together.

  2. You must complete required graduate courses prior to beginning thesis work.
    Students must successfully complete Soc 500 (Proseminar), Soc 518 (History of Sociological Theory), Soc 519 (Contemporary Sociological Theory), Soc 530 (Statistical Methods), Soc 531 (Advanced Research Techniques), and Soc 535 (Qualitative Research Methods) prior to registering for Soc 600 and 601 and conducting thesis research.

  3. You must select a thesis chair (second or third semester)
    Criteria: Sociology graduate faulty, Professor's area of specialization, Favorite Professor. You must contact the professor and get a firm commitment from professor, i.e. ascertain a thesis topic.

  4. You and your thesis chair must select a thesis committee
    Usually a thesis committee consists of three members, the chair and two other faculty members who will advise and assist you in writing your thesis. Committee members may come from among the Sociology and Anthropology department faculty as well as faculty outside the department. Select on basis of specialization and compatibility. Once selected, student should complete and submit a Thesis Declaration Form to the graduate committee. Prior to enrolling in Sociology 600, students must meet with the department chair to discuss thesis topic and thesis chair.

  5. Thesis proposal (third semester – enrollment in Sociology 600)
    You and your committee will develop a statement of problem, literature review, and a design for collecting data, which may include a questionnaire. This material will be presented by you to interested department faculty and graduate students for their review, comments and suggestions. This hearing may result in a revision of your thesis plans, or a "go-ahead" for data collection. A copy of your proposal should be made available (in department office) at least one week prior to your scheduled thesis proposal defense. In addition to committee approval, you must receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to collecting your data.

  6. Thesis writing (fourth semester – enrollment in Sociology 601)
    Data are collected, analyzed, and written up. Summary and conclusions chapter is written.

  7. Thesis Defense (fourth semester)
    When your committee is satisfied that the thesis is in optimum form, you will present your work to interested faculty and graduate students. Thesis defenses are scheduled for 90 minutes. During this time you will formally present your thesis research. Your committee members and other members of the audience will then be given the opportunity to question you regarding your methods (how you collected your data), analysis (coding, statistical procedures), and conclusions. A copy of your thesis should be made available (in department office) at least one week prior to your scheduled thesis defense. Your thesis committee may approve thesis fully or subject to revision. Departmental Clearance form is signed and submitted to Graduate School.

  8. Final Draft (fourth semester)
    After your thesis defense you must prepare a final draft (including any revisions suggested by committee) of your thesis and present it to your committee for final approval and signatures. This draft must be grammatically correct, free of typographic, spelling and other errors, and must be prepared according to the graduate school standards. These standards are available at graduate office or from the Sociology Graduate Chair.

Recent Graduate Thesis Titles

  • "Emergency Contraception: Use and Perceptions among College Women"
  • "The Attitudes of Education: Understanding the Effects of Academic Training on Social Distance Attitudes"
  • "Fertility Decision-Making Processes among Japanese Women"
  • "Presentation of Gay Men in Advertisements in Gay Media: A Content Analysis"