Graduate Studies

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University offers a supportive environment for Masters level students who wish to pursue training in sociology. Our accomplished faculty place a strong emphasis on teaching and mentoring while also striving to maintain an active research agenda.  The curriculum is designed to provide our students with a wide range of options in pursuit of their academic and professional goals and interests, while also providing solid training in core foundations of  the two disciplines. Students learn both qualitative and quantitative research methods and are exposed to a variety of subfields and theoretical perspectives.

Faculty core strengths include: social movements and social change, inequality, stratification, deviance, cultural diversity, social interaction and group processes, migration, world systems/globalization, social institutions (religion, family, work and occupations, health care, politics and the economy), criminology, gerontology, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and advanced statistical analysis.

Admission Requirements

Interested students may seek admission to the program for full-time or part-time studies, with preferred entrance in the fall semester of each year. To receive full consideration all application materials must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by April 15 for the Fall semester and by November 15 for the Spring semester. Please note that while the GRE is not required for admission into the program, students are strongly encouraged to take the exam.

Applicants should follow the admission process outlined in the Graduate Catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at

In addition to the materials described in the catalog and on the website, applicants for regular admission to the Master of Arts in Sociology must submit to the Graduate Admissions Office:

  • a personal statement describing interests in the program and future plans;
  • international students must provide evidence of English language proficiency such as the TOEFL;
  • evidence of a minimum of 12 credit hours of undergraduate sociology coursework;
  • undergraduate grade point average (GPA), overall and in sociology;
  • a writing sample: a copy of one paper (10-25 pages) from an undergraduate course, preferably a sociology or anthropology course; and
  • two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic or professional competence.

Admission to the program is offered to a limited number of qualified students demonstrating academic excellence and professional promise. Applicants who have submitted a complete application and fulfill the requirements stated above will be considered for full admission. The Sociology program may admit applicants provisionally, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program. The Sociology program may admit applicants on a conditional basis.

Comprehensive Exams

All students must successfully pass comprehensive exams to demonstrate broad comprehension and synthesis. The comprehensive exam will be scheduled twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring; the dates of the exam will be posted in advance. The exam will be made available on-line at 12 noon on the Friday of the posted date and must be completed by the following Monday no later than 12 noon. Current academic year due dates are posted on the Sociology MA Comprehensive Exam page.
The format of the exam will consist of four (4) questions:

  1. one (1) drawn from Sociological Theory;
  2. two (2) drawn from Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods respectively
  3. one (1) drawn from the student’s Focus Area (or Anthropology if the student elects to pursue an Anthropology Area of Emphasis).

A list of possible questions that might appear on the exam for the Theory and Methods secdtions will be available in advance. The question most pertinent to the student’s Focus Area (c) will not be available until the exam is posted but the student will be permitted to select a specific area of interest in consultation with his/her advisor that will form the basis for the final question.
Students must notify the Graduate Program Director of their intent to take the comprehensive exam at least three weeks prior to its scheduled date. Students who fail the comprehensive exam may re-take the exam upon approval from the Graduate Program Director. No student who fails the comprehensive exam twice will be permitted to continue in the program.
Please follow this link to be taken to the exam files.


All students, prior to graduation, must submit a portfolio to the Graduate Program Director. No student will be permitted to graduate until the portfolio is submitted. The portfolio will consist of the following items:

  • A statement of how the portfolio material demonstrates your status as a Sociologist
  • CV
  • An application letter to a PhD program or for employment (if a PhD is not your goal)
  • Teaching Materials (e.g., syllabus)
  • Paper on Sociological Theory
  • Paper on Research Methods

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Contact Us

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Smith Hall 727
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755-2678
Tel: 304-696-6700
Fax: 304-696-2803