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 www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission.

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.

Portfolio

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

Quick Links

News and Views

RSS Chronicle for Higher Education Advice Columns

  • 3 Ways to Fix Hiring in Financial Aid
    Why it’s so difficult to recruit staff members in financial-aid offices, and how to change that.By Aaron Basko, Marilae Latham, and Jen McMahon Illustration by Ron Coddington, The Chronicle; Photo by Getty Why it’s so difficult to recruit staff members in financial-aid offices, and how to change that.
  • Promotion Rejected? Your Record May Not Be the Problem.
    A study of fairness and bias in tenure and promotion suggests that some candidates are spurned for reasons beyond their control.By Christiane Spitzmueller, Juan Madera, Erika Henderson, Michelle Penn-Marshall, and Cynthia Werner Eric Petersen for The Chronicle A study of fairness and bias in tenure and promotion suggests that some candidates are spurned for reasons […]
  • Administration Can Be a Calling
    For some of us, at a certain stage of our careers, the chair’s job is no longer something to dread or apologize for. It’s a “scholarly gift” we give to our colleagues.By Kevin Dettmar Tim Foley for The Chronicle For some of us, at a certain stage of our careers, the chair’s job is no […]
  • How to Cope With Presentation Anxiety
    Here’s how a professor and experienced public speaker has learned to deal with the academic version of stage fright.By James M. Lang Here’s how a professor and experienced public speaker has learned to deal with the academic version of stage fright.
  • 10 Ways to Rebuild Department Culture
    No one seems happy with the level of connection at work after two years of Covid. So how can chairs start repairing the damage?By Trisalyn Nelson No one seems happy with the level of connection at work after two years of Covid. So how can chairs start repairing the damage?
  • 3 Practical Approaches to Writing While Teaching
    Here's how to make time for your manuscript during the academic year.By Rebecca Schuman Here's how to make time for your manuscript during the academic year.
  • Grammar Lessons From a Former Adjunct Turned ‘Public Grammarian’
    A lively new book tackles the Oxford comma, the “unjustified vilification” of “me,” and other language matters.By Rachel Toor A lively new book tackles the Oxford comma, the “unjustified vilification” of “me,” and other language matters.
  • Still Recovering From Academe, One Year Later
    A professor walked away from academe and his tenured position in 2021. Here’s where he landed.By William Pannapacker A professor walked away from academe and his tenured position in 2021. Here’s where he landed.
  • Ask the Chair: What to Do When a New Hire Bails
    A new monthly column offers advice on the challenges of running a department.By Kevin Dettmar A new monthly column offers advice on the challenges of running a department.

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