College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2015-2016

Department of Sociology and Social Work

Applied Sociology, Master of Arts

Our program prepares you for professional practice in human service agencies and applied research settings as well as for further academic study in sociology and related fields. A committee of three faculty members guides and oversees your program of study as you progress toward completing your degree.

This degree is approved by the Western Regional Graduate Program.


What Can I Do with a Master of Arts in Applied Sociology?

If you’re wondering how to apply sociological theory and methodologies to find solutions to the problems facing society, you may want to consider an MA in Applied Sociology at Northern Arizona University. Here, you can build on your existing knowledge while preparing for job opportunities in applied research settings or for further academic studies in sociology.

This degree program is one of only a few offered in the country, and offers a diverse and highly collaborative academic atmosphere. You can design your coursework to reflect your personal interests, as well as choose between an internship or a thesis. Learn with a faculty who boast expertise in areas including family, gerontology, gender, social policy, deviance, race and ethnicity, environment, corrections, social psychology, and demography.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Non-profit executive director
  • Program evaluator
  • Program planner

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • University professor
  • Community college instructor
  • Researcher
  • Policy analyst

University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 37
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Oral Defense Oral Defense may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

The mission of the Sociology Program is to promote an understanding of the “problems of biography, history and their intersections within social structures” (C. Wright Mills). The program utilizes a two-pronged approach to accomplish this mission:

First, the program aims to increase understanding of group, organizational, and institutional processes that structure communities and human experience. The program helps students analyze experience in terms of patterns of beliefs, behaviors and resource distribution in social, cultural and historical context.

Second, the program encourages research and the application of sociological theory, knowledge and methodologies to address contemporary issues facing society at large and communities in our regionOur commitment to applied sociology is manifest in undergraduate and graduate internship programs that provide hands-on experience for our students to help bridge the gap between theory and practice of sociology and prepare them to use such knowledge and skills in a wide range of employment settings.
Graduates will be able to:

  • Explain key social concepts relating to the groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that societies develop
  • Design research projects that test theories about social issues
  • Collect data through surveys, observations, interviews, and other sources
  • Locate published research and data on various social topics such as social inequality, education, population demographics and crime
  • Perform and interpret complex quantitative and qualitative analysis that uses social data
  • Prepare reports, articles, or presentations detailing their research findings in clear and articulate ways
  • Consult with and advise clients, policymakers, or other groups on research findings and sociological issues


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application required.for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
Master's Requirements
  • Electives (21 units)
    Select in consultation with your committee.

    Internship, Thesis, or Coursework/Portfolio Option (6 units)

    • Internship: SOC 696. Complete an internship, which requires your committee's approval, provides you with hands-on experience to help bridge the gap between theory and practice. See the internship coordinator for information about our network of field-placement opportunities with agencies, organizations, and companies throughout Arizona. An internship manuscript is required. Contact the department for further information.
    • Thesis: SOC 699. Prepare a thesis, which involves an independent research project in either applied or basic sociological inquiry, followed by the writing and oral defense of an approved thesis. (Please note that you may end up taking more than the 6 units you can count toward your degree because you must register for it each semester while you are working on your thesis.)
    • Take 2 additional courses and prepare a portfolio (advisor approval of coursework required). The portfolio itself will document the completion of five tasks relevant to demonstrating professional competencies in applied sociology.

    Additional requirements:
    • Select your committee by the time you've completed 18 units of coursework
    • Prepare a formal manuscript for your internship or thesis, which your committee must approve
    • Make an oral presentation to your committee, which they must approve

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

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