University Bulletin 2016-17

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Sociology (MA)

Master of arts program in sociology

The Master of Arts Program in Sociology provides students with advanced training in sociological theory and social science research methods for enhanced understanding of several specialized subject areas of sociology: crime and deviance, environmental sociology, family, gender, medical sociology, social psychology, social stratification and labor markets, and the sociology of religion. In addition to working closely with sociology graduate faculty, students can collaborate with graduate faculty in anthropology and social work and can simultaneously pursue a graduate certificate in gerontology. The Master of Arts Program in Sociology can prepare students for doctoral-level study or for careers in teaching, private industry, government, or community and social service.

Students can apply for admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology to begin study in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester. However, it is highly recommended that students apply for admission to begin study in the Fall semester as per the academic structure of the Master of Arts Program in Sociology. See below, and The Graduate School, for important application deadlines.

The following Requirements for Admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology supplement the categories of admission as stipulated by The Graduate School.

Requirements For Admission

Regular Admission
  1. Baccalaureate degree or coursework in a social science discipline from an accredited institution of higher education.
  2. 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average across all completed undergraduate courses.
  3. Completion of the University of South Alabama Graduate Application for Admission.
  4. Official academic transcripts from each college or university attended, even if the applicant did not earn credit at the institution.
  5. Combined score of 300 or better on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. GRE scores older than five (5) years from the date of application for admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology will not be accepted.
  6. Submission of a statement of purpose—approximately two (2), single-spaced pages in length—that provides an intellectual autobiography of the applicant, an indication of the applicant's areas of specialized interest within sociology, and a description of the applicant's academic and career goals.
  7. One (1) writing sample, preferably generated for evaluation in completed coursework toward the baccalaureate degree.
  8. Three (3) letters of recommendation that detail the applicant's capacity for success in, and for timely completion of, a master's program of study. Letters of recommendation should also address the applicant's ability and willingness to work cooperatively within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work and cooperatively among the University of South Alabama's broader academic community. A minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation must be written by college or university faculty members who are familiar with the applicant's academic work.

Applicants who wish to be considered for financial assistance through a Graduate Assistantship must submit a University of South Alabama Application for Graduate Assistantship directly to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology, care of the Graduate Coordinator. Letters of recommendation for Graduate Assistantships should additionally consider merit for paid financial assistance through a Graduate Assistantship. Applicants who wish to be considered for Fall admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology, and for a Graduate Assistantship, should submit all pertinent application materials to the appropriate recipient by March 1. Review of admission and Graduate Assistantship applications will begin immediately thereafter and continue until all available Graduate Assistantships are awarded.

Provisional Admission

Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements for Regular Admission (e.g., combined score of less than 300 on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE General Test) can still qualify for acceptance to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology under Provisional Admission. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 across all completed undergraduate courses is required to be considered for Provisional Admission. To advance to Regular status, students accepted to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology under Provisional Admission must meet two requirements: 1) satisfy all conditions of admission as stipulated in the letter of acceptance and 2) accumulate a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of graduate-level coursework in sociology, within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. No more than fifteen (15) credit hours of graduate-level coursework earned under Provisional Admission can be approved for change to Regular status. Students accepted under Provisional Admission with a grade point average of below 3.0 after completing fifteen (15) credit hours of graduate-level coursework will be subject to dismissal both from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology and from The Graduate School.

Non-Degree Admission

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education who prefer not to earn the terminal master's degree in sociology can apply for admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology as a Non-Degree student. A suitable academic background for coursework in sociology is expected. After completing the University of South Alabama Graduate Application for Admission, permission to enter graduate-level courses in sociology in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work should be obtained from the Department's Graduate Coordinator. Non-Degree students subsequently seeking admission to the Master of Arts Program in Sociology must follow and meet the requirements for admission as above outlined. No more than twelve (12) credit hours of graduate-level coursework completed as a Non-Degree student can be applied toward coursework requirements for the Master of Arts degree in sociology.

Program requirements

To earn the Master of Arts degree in sociology, students must complete thirty-five (35) credit hours of graduate-level work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. At least twenty-five (25) credit hours of graduate-level work must be in sociology. A student who receives two (2) grades of "C" or lower in any graduate-level course while enrolled in the Master of Arts Program in Sociology will be recommended to the Dean of The Graduate School for academic dismissal.
Program requirements, both for master's students planning to ultimately pursue doctoral-level study and for master's students planning to ultimately pursue a career in teaching, private industry, government, or community and social service, are as follows:

1.   Core Coursework

Contemporary Sociological Theory (SY 506), Research Design (SY 508), Research Analysis (SY 509), and Papers and Presentations Seminar (SY 591).

2.   Comprehensive Examination

Students will sit for a comprehensive examination that evaluates their knowledge and skills with respect to Year 1 coursework in contemporary sociological theory, research methods, and other relevant, specialized subject areas of sociology. The comprehensive examination will be administered between the Spring and first Summer semesters. The sociology graduate faculty, comprised of at least a quorum of sociology graduate faculty members, will evaluate the comprehensive examination as Pass or Fail, the latter score initiating a reexamination evaluated by at least a quorum of sociology graduate faculty members within three (3) calendar weeks from the original score notification. Two consecutive comprehensive examinations evaluated by the sociology graduate faculty as Fail will result in dismissal from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology.

3a.   Master's Practicum Report Proposal, SY 592

For master's students planning to ultimately pursue a career in teaching, private industry, government, or community and social service, completion of Master's Practicum Report Proposal (in conjunction with course co-requisite SY 596, Sociology Internship) to generate a practicum report proposal, directed by a member of the sociology graduate faculty, that the student must formally defend. The practicum report proposal and practicum report proposal defense must be approved by a faculty committee, the Chair of which must be a member of the sociology graduate faculty. The faculty committee must also include one member of the graduate faculty from within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and one member of the University's graduate faculty from outside of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. The faculty committee will evaluate the practicum report proposal defense as Pass or Fail, the latter score initiating one (1) opportunity to re-defend the practicum report proposal within three (3) calendar weeks from the original score notification. Two consecutive practicum report proposal defenses evaluated by the faculty committee as Fail will result in dismissal from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology.

3b.   Master's Thesis Proposal, SY 598

For master's students planning to ultimately pursue doctoral-level study, completion of Master's Thesis Proposal focused on the specialized subject area of research interest in sociology to generate a thesis proposal, directed by a member of the sociology graduate faculty, that the student must formally defend. The thesis proposal and thesis proposal defense must be approved by a faculty committee, the Chair of which must be a member of the sociology graduate faculty. The faculty committee must also include one member of the graduate faculty from within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work and one member of the University's graduate faculty from outside of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. The faculty committee will evaluate the thesis proposal defense as Pass or Fail, the latter score initiating one (1) opportunity to re-defend the thesis proposal within three (3) calendar weeks from the original score notification. Two consecutive thesis proposal defenses evaluated by the faculty committee as Fail will result in dismissal from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology.

4a.   Master's Practicum Report, SY 593

For master's students planning to ultimately pursue a career in teaching, private industry, government, or community and social service, completion of Master's Practicum Report based on work in SY 596, Sociology Internship, that satisfied the practicum report proposal. The practicum report must be defended and approved by the faculty committee constituted for the Master's Practicum Report Proposal defense and approval. The faculty committee will evaluate the practicum report defense as Pass or Fail, the latter score initiating one (1) opportunity to re-defend the practicum report within three (3) calendar weeks from the original score notification. Two consecutive practicum report defenses evaluated by the faculty committee as Fail will result in dismissal from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology. Upon passing the practicum report defense, students must provide the Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work with a PDF copy of the practicum report for approval. Students must follow all thesis preparation deadlines and approval guidelines as outlined by The Graduate School.

4b.   Master's Thesis, SY 599

For master's students planning to ultimately pursue doctoral-level study, completion of Master's Thesis focused on the specialized subject area of research interest in sociology that satisfies the Master's thesis proposal. The thesis must be defended and approved by the faculty committee constituted for the Master's Thesis Proposal defense and approval. The faculty committee will evaluate the thesis defense as Pass or Fail, the latter score initiating one (1) opportunity to re-defend the thesis within three (3) calendar weeks from the original score notification. Two consecutive thesis defenses evaluated by the faculty committee as Fail will result in dismissal from the Master of Arts Program in Sociology. Upon passing the thesis defense, students must provide the Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work with a PDF copy of the thesis for approval. Students must follow all thesis preparation deadlines and approval guidelines as outlined by The Graduate School.

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work web site
http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/artsandsci/syansw/

Departmental mission statement

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work seeks to equip students with conceptual tools to enhance their social and cultural awareness and with methodological tools to obtain empirical knowledge to empower them to engage in improvement of social conditions. Acknowledging the inextricable link between teaching and scholarly research, we strive for excellence in both areas to unite students and faculty in a common experience of learning and discovery through pure and applied research to prepare students for service through careers and civic engagement.

Undergraduate programs

Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior and social phenomena. Our program seeks to provide students with knowledge and insight about why groups, institutions, organizations, and societies (and the people in them) behave in the ways they do. Popular courses within the program address such diverse social phenomena as Drug Use, Marriage and Family, Culture, Religion, Crime and Deviance, Medicine, Disasters, Race, Gender, and Aging. We also focus on equipping students with the tools of social research methods and statistics - two very highly-sought-after skills in today's labor market.

Anthropology is the study of human biological and cultural variation, both past and present. It seeks to establish principles and generalizations about societies and their cultures, and to increase understanding among people.

Social work is a social science and a profession devoted to helping people solve problems and issues in their lives. Social workers, help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities to achieve an effective level of psychosocial functioning and  seek social reform to improve societal well being, with an emphasis upon marginalized and oppressed communities. Social work is founded upon the ethical principles of service; social and economic justice; personal dignity and worth; the importance of human relationships; integrity; and competence.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

SY 382 will fulfill the technology proficiency requirement for Sociology and Social Work majors.

AN 454 will fulfill the technology proficiency requirement for Anthropology majors.