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Department of Sociology and Anthropology


Master of Arts in Sociology

Program Overview

The Department of Sociology/Anthroplogy offers a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. This innovative degree program provides students with advanced training in sociological knowledge, theory, and methods. The flexible nature of the program allows students to focus on an additional academic specialty area within or outside of sociology.

Department faculty members have strengths in several areas, including Medical Sociology, Sociology of Families, Global Social Inequality, Organizational Sociology, and Anthropology.

Other interdisciplinary possibilities include Latino/Latin American Studies, Native American Studies, Women's Studies, Black Studies, Public Health, History, Psychology, Economics, Political Science, Geography, Religion, Communication, and more.

Why a Master's Degree in Sociology?

Graduate training in sociology provides students with a unique set of perspectives on the social world. The analytic and methodological skills learned are in high demand in both academic and applied settings. Potential employers include, but are not limited to:

Colleges and Universities
Non-Profit Organizations
Advocacy Groups
Think Tanks
Consulting Firms
Human Resources
Corporations and Businesses

The department is currently accepting applications for admission to the Sociology M.A. program. Please click on the admissions link to the left for more information about program requirements and applications. For more information, please contact:

placeholder Daniel Hawkins

Dr. Daniel Hawkins
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Chair, Graduate Program Committee
Department of Sociology/Anthropology
383 Arts and Sciences Hall
Omaha, NE 68182
Phone: 402-554-4935
Fax: 402-554-3786


Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the graduate program in sociology should present a minimum of 15 undergraduate semester hours in the social sciences. This includes courses in statistics, research methods and social theory, and a minimum of six additional hours of sociology or related courses.

Students with a background in sociology but without the specific course requirements may be admitted provisionally, but must remove any deficiencies within the first year of graduate study. Students admitted provisionally can show competence in statistics by taking SOC 2130, in theory by taking SOC 4710, and in research methods by taking SOC 2510, or in any of these areas by taking a program of independent work approved by the graduate committee. All courses must be passed with a grade of “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

The graduate program has an April 15 deadline for Fall admission and a November 15 deadline for Spring admission. To apply, please click on the "Graduate School Application Form" link below.

The application materials required are:

-- three letters of reference
-- an academic writing sample
-- a personal statement that outlines your reasons for applying to the program
-- a resume

Graduate School Application Form

Degree Requirements

Required Courses (12 hours):

SOC 8010 Sociological Theory I OR SOC 8020 Sociological Theory II
SOC 8030 Research Methods I
SOC 8040 Research Methods II
SOC 8100 Social Inequality

Electives (12-24 hours):

To be determined in consultation with your advisor or the graduate program chair

The department offers a rotating selection of elective courses based on faculty specialty areas. Students may also take up to one half of their elective courses outside the department, provided these courses are relevant to their interest areas within sociology.

Thesis Option:

SOC 8990 Thesis (6 hours)
30 total hours (24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis)

This option is especially recommended for students who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree after completing their MA and who wish to gain research and writing experience through the thesis process.

Students will form a thesis committee that is knowledgeable about the thesis topic.The committee will consist of at least three members, all of w hom must be Graduate Faculty, and at least one of whom must be a sociologist:

An advisor from within the department
An additional member from within the department
An outside member from another academic department

Prior to beginning the thesis, students must have their project formally approved by the thesis committee. Students must pass an oral defense structured around the thesis to complete the degree requirements.

Project Option:

SOC 8950 Practicum in Applied Sociology (3 hours)
SOC 8960 Practicum in Applied Sociology (3 hours)

36 total hours (30 hours of coursework and 6 hours of practicum)

The capstone experience in this program option is a research project conducted in an applied setting. Students will use the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the program to solve a problem or conduct a project for a “client” in the community(or elsewhere). Examples of potential projects include evaluating program effectiveness, assessing community needs, or designing training programs for employees.

This option is especially recommended for students who:

Plan to enter the job market (especially in a non-teaching capacity) immediately after completion of the MA degree;
Would like to gain a better idea of the type of employment for which they are qualified with an MA in sociology; or
Are already working in a setting amenable to a project of this nature.

Students may seek out their own project site or choose from among the community organizations with which the department already has relationships.

Students will form a project committee that consists of an advisor from within the department, a representative from the project site, and one other faculty member from the university with expertise or interest in the project.

Prior to beginning the project, students must have their proposal formally approved
by the project committee. Students must also have their final project report approved. While the project site representative must sign off on the proposal approval form, only the two UNO faculty members will be responsible for approving
the final project.

Non-Thesis Option:

Comprehensive Examination
36 total hours of coursework

The comprehensive examination will focus on the student’s coursework, particularly the substantive focus area. Students will answer one of two questions on sociological theory, one of two questions on research methods, and one of two questions from the focus area.

The exam is a one-week take-home exam to be scheduled by the student in consultation with the Graduate Program Chair. Students may suggest particular faculty to serve as their primary readers in each exam area, and each of the
primary readers will select an additional faculty member to evaluate the exam.

Each section of the exam will be evaluated on the following basis:

1) high pass
2) pass
3) conditional pass
4) fail

In the case of a failing evaluation, students will have one opportunity per area to re-take the exam, which will consist of a new question to be evaluated by both faculty readers.

Faculty Specialty Areas

Medical Sociology examines the impact of social factors on the health and illness of people and the system of medical services. Topics include experience of illness; issues of prevention and self-care; inequalities in health and quality of health care services; provider-patient relationships; alternative/complementary medicine; medical ethics; health care policy; and the professional dominance of medicine.

Sociology of Families examines gender, kinship and families in different societies. Topics include the impact of poverty and racism on families; social capital, employment, and inequality among and within families; and the impact of law and public policies on families.

Global Social Inequality examines new patterns of domestic and international inequality. Specific topics include the role of transnational corporations and multilateral policy bodies in the restructuring of First and Third World economies, politics, polities and societies; labor displacement and migration; new forms of class, gender, inter-ethnic, language and cultural conflicts; and new forms of resistance to global inequalities.

Organizational Sociology is an applied field of sociology that examines the social context of organizational performance. Using a human relations perspective, organizational sociologists analyze and solve problems of group structure, dynamics, and process that enhance or hinder employer and employee goals and interests. Students of organizational sociology are prepared for leadership or consulting positions in business, government, and private agencies.

Anthropology examines contemporary and prehistoric cultures and how they change over time. Topics include cultural anthropology, North American archeology, medical anthropology, contemporary Native American peoples, and applied anthropology.

Graduate Course Descriptions

8010 Sociological Theory I (3) First of two theory courses required of all master\'s degree candidates in sociology. The course emphasizes the theoretical issues associated with sociological processes of modern societies: urbanization, industrialization, bureaucratization and the emerging world order. Student writing skills as well as the conceptual and historical setting of major theorists who deal with these processes are emphasized. Prereq: Graduate; permission of instructor if outside department of sociology/anthropology. Not open to nondegree students.

8020 Sociological Theory II (3) The second of two theory courses required of all master's degree candidates in sociology. The course emphasizes central theoretical and conceptual issues within sociological theory. Student writing skills as well as the conceptual materials will be emphasized. Prereq: Graduate; permission of instructor if outside department of sociology/anthropology. Not open to nondegree students.

8026 Collective Behavior (3) Group and individual processes of ephemeral social action and institution formation are studied. The development of transitory groups and ideologies in new movements and organizations through opinion formation; case and comparative investigations of the origins and growth of collective movements are made and relevant social theories are applied. Prereq: For 8026, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4020.)

8030 Research Methods I (3) This course is one of two in research methodology required of departmental graduate students. It gives a broad, intermediate-level coverage to social science research methodology, with an emphasis on the logic of research procedures. Topics covered include the relationship of theory and research, causal analysis, sampling, experimental design, methods of data production and introduction to computer usage. Prereq: Graduate, a course in Statistics and Methods and permission of instructor. Not open to nondegree students.

8040 Research Methods II (3) The second of two courses required of departmental majors in graduate work, and covers topics in intermediate statistics applied to behavioral research. Topics include a review of basic statistics, simple and multiple regression, analysis of variance, path analysis, and more advanced topics as time permits. Appropriate computer packaged programs are utilized. Prereq: SOC 8030 or equivalent, and permission of instructor. Not open to nondegree students.

8080 Theories of Family (3) A core course in sociology and anthropology of the family. Gender and kinship systems are analyzed in the comparative study of family institutions and relationships. In addition to substantive material on the family in various socieities, the course covers theoretical perspectives on the family and the history of family studies in sociology and anthropology. Prereq: Enrollment in the graduate program in sociology or permission of the instructor.

8100 Social Inequality (3) A core course in societal inequality. The course covers major issues in social inequality focusing on: historical origins; contemporary empirical analyses; contemporary theoretical positions and debates; and international dimensions of social inequality. Prereq: Enrollment in the graduate program in sociology or permission.

8106 The Community (3) A basic course in community sociology. Sociological theory and the techniques of empirical research are applied to published studies of communities in the United States and elsewhere. The comparative social scientific method is elaborated as it pertains to data derived from community investigation. Prereq: For 8106, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4100.)

8110 Social Problems of the Disadvantaged (3) A survey of the social problems existing in disadvantaged communities. The effects upon individuals of such settings. The subculture of poverty. Prereq: Graduate and permission of instructor.

8120 Seminar in Social Gerontology (3) A topical seminar focusing on the sociology of aging. Students are encouraged to develop proposals for research, programs or social policy. Focus is upon generational differences and age changes throughout the adult life. Prereq: Permission of instructor.

8136 Sociology of Deviant Behavior (3) A theoretical analysis of the relation of deviant group behavior and subcultures to community standards of conventional behavior as expressed in law and norms. Prereq: For 4130, nine hours of sociology including SOC 1010. For 8136, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4130.)

8146 Urban Sociology (3) Examines urban theoretical perspectives, urbanization processes, the diversity of metropolitan communities, urban stratification, metropolitan growth, urban neighborhoods, community power and urban policy and planning. Prereq: For 8146, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOWK-4140.)

8156 American Family Problems (3) The course takes up problems and issues of the contemporary American family. Specific topics vary, but might include: family violence; the impact of poverty and racism on families; families and work; gender roles; divorce and its aftermath, remarriage and step-parenthood; family and economy; law and the family; parenting; sexuality, sexual orientation, and reproduction; family policy; drug, alcohol and mental health problems; and the most basic question of all: what is a family? Family problems and issues are presented in a historical and analytical context which connects the family to basic social institutions and processes. Prereq: 6 hours graduate or undergraduate social science or permission of instructor. Permission will be based on social science background and/or enrollment in a relevant graduate program. (Cross-listed with SOC-4150.)

8200 Society & Health (3) The course provides a critical sociological understanding of health, illness, healing, and medical care within a social context. The focus ranges from examining health and illness behavior and patient-provider interaction to issues addressing the social organization of health care and medicine. Prereq: Enrollment in sociology graduate program or permission of the instructor.

8206 Urban Anthropology (3) The course is intended to examine the city from an anthropological point of view. Included will be an overview of its history and the processes by which cities are formed and grow as well as the internal structure and processes within the city. The course is intended to be comparative geographically and temporally. Topics covered will include urbanization and cities in both the so-called "third-world" countries as well as in the developed, industrialized ones. Graduate students will be required to do a substantive term paper on a topic mutually acceptable to both the instructor and the student. In addition to the written work, the student will also be required to make an oral presentation in class of the research done and the major findings. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4200.)

8216 Cultural Anthropology (3) Arts, economics, family, kinship, politics, religion, subsistence, technology, war and world view approached as parts of an integrated whole, a way of life in human society. Illustrations will be drawn from a number of societies, anthropological theories and methods of study. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4210.)

8226 North American Archaeology (3) American Indian culture history in North America, with emphasis on the peopling of the new world, origin and development of new world agriculture, development of middle American civilizations and their impact on core areas of village-farming in the continental United States; introduction to archaeological investigation techniques, dating methods and taxonomic concepts. Prereq: For 4220, ANTH 1050 or 4210. For 8226, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4220.)

8256 Latino/a Migration in the World Economy (3) The course covers major issues related to : 1) the political-economic and socio-cultural factors that have shaped Latino/a migration streams historically and in today's world economy and, 2) contemporary empirical methodologies and findings related to the causes and multiple socioeconomic costs and benefits of migration streams for immigrants as well as "sending" and "receiving" communities. Prereq: Enrollment in the Sociology graduate program or permission of the instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4250.)

8416 Advanced Qualitative Methods (3) This course familiarizes students with contemporary qualitative methodologies and techniques by which the social sciences explore social and cultural relations in natural settings. Students will conduct individual and/ or group field projects. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4410.)

8506 Law, the Family and Public Policy (3) This course analyzes law and public policy affecting the family in a variety of areas, which include: family violence; divorce, child custody, and child support; reproductive technology, contraception, and abortion; unmarried couples' and parents' rights; welfare; care and support of the aged; rights of parents to determine education and health care of their children; adoption and foster care, etc. New policy proposals and likely changes in law are considered, as well as the process of policy formation and legal change. The role of the professional in this system, including legal regulation and ethical issues, is considered. Prereq: Six hours social science or human services or permission. (Cross-listed with SOC-4500.)

8526 Psycholinguistics (3) A discussion of the literature concerned with how such psychological variables as perception, learning, memory and development relate to the linguistic variables of sentence structure, meaning and speech sounds. Prereq: Senior or graduate or permission of instructor. Recommended: ANTH 1050. (Cross-listed with SOC-4520.)

8550 Organizational Culture (3) As a core course in sociology of organizations, this course provides a sociological understanding of the processess of cultural formation as well as the nature of cultures within organizations. Emphasis will be placed on the roles of organizational culture and subcultures to organizational processes. Prereq: Graduate standing, graduate certificate enrollment or permission.

8556 Social Diversity in Organizations (3) This course focuses on the sociological understanding, analysis and management of social diversity in the workplace. Major issues and attitudes toward racial and ethnic minorities, older workers and workers with disabilities, as well as strategies for implementing diversity in the workplace are examined. Prereq: Juniors, seniors, graduate students or certificate students. (Cross-listed with SOC-4550, SSCI-4550.)

8600 Seminar in Social Organization (3) Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to a general topic in social organization selected by the instructor. As seminar topics change, this course may be repeated in a student's program without implying duplication. Prereq: Permission.

8626 Sociology of Formal Organizations (3) Examines organizational theory and research. Analyzes organizational problems such as goals and effectiveness; authority, leadership and control; professionals in organizations; communications; clients; organizational change; and organizations and their environments. Comparative analysis of many types of organizations such as business, industry, schools, prisons and hospitals with special attention given to human-service organizations. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4620.)

8650 Seminar in Occupations and Professions (3) Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to the sociology of occupations and professions. Questions relating to theory, research and practical application are considered. Prereq: Graduate and permission of instructor.

8700 Seminar in Sociological Theory (3-6) Assigned reading, discussion, specialized individual work leading to the writing and presentation of a paper applicable to a general topic in sociological theory selected by the instructor. As seminar topics change, this course may be repeated in a student's program without implying duplication. Prereq: Permission.

8706 Women\'s Health and Issues of Diversity (3) This course provides a critical understanding of the inter-relationship between socio-cultural, economic, and political factors and women\'s physical and mental health. The aim is to provide an overview of the experience with the health care system. Emphasis will be on critically examining recent scholarship from a sociological, behavioral, health policy perspective. (Cross-listed with HED-4700, HED-8706, SOC-4700.)

8756 Social Change and Globalization (3) A historical and comparative review of theories, models, and political ideologies of social change. Topics include the globalizaton model of social change and the role that governments, transnational corporations, multilateral agencies, and local groups and organizations play today in creating and responding to social change. Prereq: For 8756, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4750.)

8806 Contemporary Topics in Sociology (3) This course reviews research and writing in an area which is of current interest in the field of sociology. The specific topic(s) to be covered will be announced at the time the course is being offered. Since the topic will vary, students may elect to take this course more than once. Prereq: Permission. (Cross-listed with SOC-4800.)

8826 Team Research Seminar (3) Students participate in a semester-long class research project. Students will be involved in all stages of research: problem formulation, literature review, research design, measurement construction, data collection, data analysis, report writing and presentation of findings. The project's focus will vary, but it may often involve issues confronting Omaha, a particular organization or a specific group of people. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4820.)

8836 Sociology of Mental Illness (3) The sociological perspective on mental illness is contrasted with other perspectives. The course covers the conceptualization of mental illness, epidemiology and etiology; the role of the family; "careers" of mental illness; the mental hospital; the patient-therapist relationship and therapeutic modes; mental health professionals; community health; and legal issues. Prereq: Six hours social science or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4830.)

8856 Sociology of Religion (3) Analysis of religious behaviors from a sociological and social- psychological perspective and utilizing both theoretical and empirical materials. The class is designed as an introductory approach to the sociology of religion, and the first in a two-step sequence, undergraduate and graduate. Prereq: For 8856, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4850.)

8926 Seminar in Anthropological Problems (3) Seminar will cover a specific topic which will be announced each time the course is offered. The students will work with the instructor on projects designed to increase the student's depth of knowledge in specific areas. Prereq: Permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4920.)

8950 Practicum in Applied Sociology (3) A practical work experience under supervision which provides opportunity for applying principles from the student's academic area of concentration. Prereq: Graduate sociology major for the MS degree.

8960 Practicum in Applied Sociology (3) A practical work experience under supervision which provides opportunity for applying principles from the student's academic area of concentration. Prereq: Graduate sociology major for the MS degree.

8990 Thesis (1-6)

8996 Independent Study (1-3) May be repeated with permission of the chairperson of the Graduate Committee. Guided reading in special topics under the supervision of a faculty member. Prereq: For 8996, permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with SOC-4990.)

9110 Applied Social Gerontology (3) An overview of social gerontology with an emphasis on the interplay between social, psychological and physical elements in later life. Restricted to graduate students only; required of Gerontology students. Prereq: Graduate. (Cross-listed with GERO-9110)