Graduate Studies


“The Graduate Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Western Illinois University has prepared me for success in my current career in social services and local government. The curriculum has given me the edge when evaluating statistics and programs. Having a strong sense of grounded theory, I have cultivated new ways to approach local government and social services. The research tools that are taught are presented in a way that create an everlasting understanding and the ability to apply them to everyday life. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology faculty hold an incomparable compassion to educating and empowering students to achieve their goals and create change. I am proud and honored to be an alumni of the Sociology and Anthropology Graduate Department at Western Illinois University.” -- Jaclyn Smith-Esters M.A. ‘20

"Western Illinois University's graduate program in sociology prepared me for continuing my graduate education in four primary ways. First, the classroom experience encouraged engagement with professors and colleagues to wrestle with key sociological theories, concepts and ideas. This fertile environment challenged me to be creative in integrating established ideas with observable phenomenon. Second, the program provided time and space for me to explore how a sociological perspective interacts with my specific research interests (i.e., religion, technology, and media). Third, the benefits of the program would not have been possible without the expert tutelage that shaped my critical thinking skills that gave me confidence and skills for improving my academic writing. Finally, the graduate program in sociology provided me with opportunities to present my research at regional conferences. All of these experiences prepared me for the rigors of a doctoral program at a research university." --Rob Shelby, M.A. '11

Program Overview

Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. As a discipline, it focuses on the influence of social relationships on people's attitudes and behavior and on identifying recurring patterns of behavior and the social forces for change in society. While the scope of sociology is broad and may entail the study of social groupings such as families, gangs, business firms, political parties, or schools, it is also concerned with social issues such as poverty, discrimination, and alienation.

Why Choose Sociology at WIU?

The graduate program in sociology at Western is focused on preparing students for a multitude of possibilities. Students will be instructed on both qualitative and quantitative methods as well as both contemporary and classical theory. We have three exit options for graduate students to complete their degree: thesis, non-thesis paper, or graduate internship. Students work closely with faculty on degree completion option.

Our Faculty

The Sociology faculty conduct research and teach in a variety of sociological areas including but not limited to: criminology, social  stratification, social psychology, gender, identity, medical sociology, and political sociology. The faculty of the Sociology program at WIU are nationally recognized as experts in their fields. They are active researchers that publish regularly and present their work at regional, national, and international conferences.

Possible Careers

  • Community college instructor
  • Human/Social Services Manager
  • Policy or Market Research Analyst

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts
  • Goals Statement/Statement of Purpose (at least 2 pages)
  • 3 Academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample

Interesting Facts: Fall 2022

  • Currently enrolled: 13
  • International: 5
  • Minority: 4
  • Students with Assistantships: 8

Department Contact Information:

Morgan Hall 404