• Sociology, M.A.
    More than half of full-time students receive departmental or university funding
  • Sociology, M.A.
    At MTSU, students can specialize in a number of areas
  • Sociology, M.A.
    Students can learn with
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Sociology, M.A.

The master's degree program in Sociology at MTSU effectively prepares graduates that intend to pursue further, doctoral-level academic study or seek employment in non-academic and applied settings in the public, private, and non-profit economic sectors. With relatively small classes, a low student-faculty ratio, and ample funding opportunities, the program offers students quality interaction with award-winning faculty, along with opportunities to collaborate on presentation and publication of academic and applied research. Specialized training and experience are available in public/applied sociology, criminology/deviance, medical sociology, research methods, sex/gender, social gerontology, and work and organizations, among other areas. The program supports a large proportion of full- and part-time students, and offers competitive funding opportunities to support tuition, travel, and research.

Attorney Jerry Gonzalez

Lawyer turns issue into sociology research, master's degree

Attorney Jerry Gonzalez, initially seeking a professor as an expert to help research legal work, ended up becoming an expert himself by studying for a master's in sociology at MTSU. He turned his law interest into a thesis, using statistical analysis on whether judicial commissioners are violating state statute by not considering employment, ties to community, and length of residence when determining flight risk and bail amount. Gonzalez plans additional research including real-life reasons why people don't appear for court (transportation, babysitting, and lack of electronic calendar use). After earning a bachelor's in biological science, he worked as a U.S. Navy flight officer and intelligence officer and achieved rank of lieutenant commander. Gonzalez then served as a Secret Service agent before adding his law degree in 1996. His practice focuses on federal criminal defense and cases dealing with employment discrimination and constitutional law.

Dr. Meredith Dye, MTSU sociology faculty member

Outstanding Teacher focuses research on prison population

Dr. Meredith Dye, MTSU sociology faculty member, has contributed significantly to an area lacking research attention: suicide and prison. The esteemed Criminal Justice and Behavior criminology journal (2013) published her study “I Just Wanted to Die,” which compared suicide ideation among women serving life sentences prior to serving time and while in prison. Dye, who collaborates with graduate students, has an article forthcoming for The Prison Journal (2014) entitled “‘The Rock I Cling To:’ Religion in the Lives of Life-Sentenced Women.” She teaches a topics graduate class, which has looked at declining crime rates and increased mass incarceration and has focused on societal experiences and reactions to deviance including a historic chronology. She was named one of the University’s Outstanding Teachers in 2012 by the MTSU Foundation and Outstanding Advisor in 2013 by the College of Liberal Arts.

MTSU students on the academic track receive the research and theoretical training necessary to become successful doctoral students and have a high rate of acceptance at various doctoral programs. Students on the applied track have graduated to direct state agencies and multi-million dollar federal programs; serve as federal, state, and local investigators, researchers, and consultants; and coordinate or participate in a variety of university, non-profit, and social service programs. Potential professions, some of which may require additional training, include

  • Attorney
  • College professor/high school teacher
  • Community developer
  • Consultant
  • Counselor
  • Criminologist
  • Demographer
  • Director of research
  • Gerontologist
  • Human resource manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Program director in social service agency
  • Program manager
  • Research analyst
  • Sociologist
  • Statistician
  • Survey researcher
  • Therapist
  • Urban planner


Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Early Connections Network, Tennessee Voices for Children
  • Edvantia Educational Research
  • Forensic Institute for Research & Education
  • Nashville Metro Transit Authority
  • National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago
  • Populations Study Center, University of Michigan
  • Tennessee Housing Development Agency
  • US Department of Labor


Among universities admitting graduates for advanced degrees or hiring to fill positions are

  • Jacksonville State University
  • University of Baltimore School of Law            
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida                                    
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Michigan                                          
  • University of Minnesota                                        
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Tennessee                             
  • University of Texas                                             
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
  • Vanderbilt University

Dr. Ronald H. Aday
Professor
ronald.aday@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Foster K. Amey
Undergraduate Program Director | Professor
foster.amey@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Kevin D. Breault
Professor | Co-editor of Sociological Spectrum
kevin.breault@mtsu.edu

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Dr. William L. Canak
Professor
william.canak@mtsu.edu

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Dr. W. Craig Carter
Professor
craig.carter@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Meredith Dye
Assistant Professor | Faculty Advisor
meredith.dye@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Jackie Eller
Department Chair, Professor
jackie.eller@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Brian Hinote
Associate Professor | Graduate Program Director
brian.hinote@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Vicky MacLean
Professor
vicky.maclean@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Angela Mertig
Professor
angela.mertig@mtsu.edu

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Dr. J. Brandon Wallace
Aging Studies Program Director | Professor
brandon.wallace@mtsu.edu

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Dr. Gretchen Webber
Associate Professor
gretchen.webber@mtsu.edu

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The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers the Master of Arts with a major in Sociology, as well as minors in Sociology and Gerontology at the graduate level.

Admission to the M.A. in Sociology program requires

  • an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college;
  • an acceptable grade point average in all college work taken (generally at least a 2.75 GPA);
  • successful completion of at least 18 semester hours of undergraduate sociology courses, which includes the prerequisites of research methods (SOC 3040), statistics (SOC 3050), and sociological theory (SOC 3060) or their equivalents with a grade of C or better;
  • completion of the Graduate Record Exam with acceptable scores.


Conditional admission is possible, but not guaranteed, if the GRE score is less than acceptable, prerequisites are missing or the grade is less than a C, or GPA is less than 2.75.

MTSU has an undergraduate major in Sociology leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers four undergraduate minors including Anthropology, Criminology, Family Studies, and Sociology. Department faculty members coordinate interdisciplinary minors in Archaeology, Asian Studies, International Media Studies, and Native American Studies.

Sociology

Please note that only 6000-level courses may go toward completion of M.A. degree requirements.

SOC 5011 - Social Inequality
3 Credit Hours
The origins, variations, and consequences of class, status, and power in society. Includes individual and group economic interests, social prestige, ideology, market, and institutional inequality.

SOC 5020 - Sociology of Aging
3 Credit Hours
Demographic, social, and cultural aspects of aging. Emphasis on the types of problems encountered by older persons in American society.

SOC 5030 - Topics in Gerontology
3 Credit Hours
An opportunity to integrate gerontological theory and research techniques in working with the practical problems of older persons.

SOC 5040 - Health Care Delivery Issues
3 Credit Hours
Sociological analysis of health care delivery and major issues facing providers, patients, and citizens in the twenty-first century, from the level of social interaction through the broader structures of health care systems and policies. Includes sociological approaches to health and medicine, health care institutions, insurance and reimbursement structures, and vulnerable populations, along with future issues and directions in U.S. health care delivery.

SOC 5050 - Sociology of Families
3 Credit Hours
An analysis: contemporary American family patterns; racial, ethnic, and class variations.

SOC 5090 - Health Care Management
3 Credit Hours
Details of the technical aspects of health care management with an emphasis on long-term care settings.

SOC 5100 - Sociology of Work
3 Credit Hours
Comparative analysis of work structure and processes in organizational contexts, including study of management and employee organizations and legal environments regulating workplace relations.

SOC 5140 - Violence in the Family
3 Credit Hours
(Same as CDFS 5140.) Causes, dynamics, and consequences of violence in the family. Includes the discussion of violence toward children, spouses, dating partners, siblings, and elders. Emphasizes the social conditions which lead to these types of violence.

SOC 5150 - Topics in Sociology
3 Credit Hours
An in-depth topic significant in current sociological literature.

SOC 5160 - Sociology of Gangs
3 Credit Hours
History of gangs in the U.S., the factors which account for their formation and perpetuation, and current empirical data on gang composition, demographics, and culture. Policy strategies for prevention, law enforcement, and nonlegal interventions assessed.

SOC 5240 - Race and Ethnic Relations
3 Credit Hours
Theories and dynamics of intergroup relations in a multiethnic society.

SOC 5300 - Criminology
3 Credit Hours
Theories of the causes of criminal behavior and coverage of its development and incidence; punishment and methods of control and rehabilitation.

SOC 5320 - Public Opinion and Propaganda
3 Credit Hours
(Same as PS 5320.) Public opinion and its role in the political and social processes.

SOC 5360 - Medical Sociology
3 Credit Hours
Sociological analysis of health, biomedicine, epidemiology, and disease, along with critical analysis of major issues facing providers, patients, and citizens in the twenty-first century. Focuses on social epidemiology, social determinants and patterning of disease, health care delivery, institutions, and policy in the U.S. and other nations, and major theoretical developments in the sociology of health, illness, and healing.

SOC 5361 - Contemporary Issues in Women's Health
3 Credit Hours
Examines the social and cultural issues that shape women's health-related experiences and disparities in health and illness in contemporary culture. Critically analyzes problems associated with medicalization, technological favoritism, and for-profit intrusion. Explores issues and experiences among women by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, and abilities. May be taken for Women's and Gender Studies graduate certificate credit.

SOC 5500 - Social Psychology
3 Credit Hours
Individual behavior in social contexts and symbolic interaction among groups. Includes social influences on perception, conformity, attitudes, communication, group structure, leadership, and role behavior.

SOC 5510 - Social Movements and Social Change
3 Credit Hours
Sociological theories of revolutions, rebellions, civil wars, and protest movements of the past and present and the relationship to significant social changes.

SOC 5520 - Population and Society
3 Credit Hours
Examines world and U.S. population trends and the impact of social forces on such demographic variables as births, deaths, migration, age, sex, education, marital status, and how these impact social conditions.

SOC 5540 - Juvenile Delinquency
3 Credit Hours
Social factors related to delinquency including family, peer group, school, and community. Includes the juvenile justice system and its agents.

SOC 5550 - Sociology of Religion
3 Credit Hours
Religion as social process and institution. An ideological, structural, and functional analysis. Specific U.S. religions examined in detail.

SOC 5560 - Organizational Structures and Processes
3 Credit Hours
Analysis of structure and processes of change, organizational environments, modes of power, ideologies, forms of control and resistance, including alternatives to bureaucracy.

SOC 5660 - Urban and Community Studies
3 Credit Hours
Focuses on concept of community as a core idea in the historical development of sociology, concentrating on theories and historical trends of urbanization and current urban problems and policies.

SOC 5790 - Sport and Society
3 Credit Hours
(Same as REC 5790.) Behavioral approach to the sport and leisure phenomena from the related perspectives of sociology and anthropology.

SOC 5800 - Special Projects
1 to 3 Credit Hours
Field experiences or reading courses through which special interests or needs of the student may be pursued under individual supervision. No more than three hours may be used in the major. Arrangements must be made with instructor prior to registration.

SOC 6000 - Comparative Social Change
3 Credit Hours
(Same as PS 6000.) A historical comparative examination of the structure, institutions, and development of the modern world system; a review of major theoretical and empirical research on the world system.

SOC 6010 - Social Policy Analysis
3 Credit Hours
A historical comparative examination of social policy formulation, structure, and consequences. Focus on policy formation in modern and developing nations. Critical analysis of social policy development.

SOC 6510 - Independent Study
3 Credit Hours
Recommended for students past the midpoint in their master's programs. Designed to provide an opportunity to fill perceived gaps in the program of study and as precursor for the thesis. Arrangements must be made with instructor prior to registration.

SOC 6540 - Topics in Crime and Deviance
3 Credit Hours
Critical analysis of selected topics in the fields of crime and deviance. Students pursue individual projects that require integration of their theoretical understanding with contemporary applications.

SOC 6545 - Topics in Gender
3 Credit Hours
Critical analysis of selected topics in the study of gender in sociology with a focus on such issues as race/ethnicity, social class, work, deviance, and sexuality. Examines the major contemporary scholarly debates about gender and explores how gender is embedded in different institutions and organizations. A maximum of six hours may be credited to one's major.

SOC 6550 - Seminar on Aging
3 Credit Hours
In-depth investigation of selected topics in social gerontology.

SOC 6560 - Sociological Theory
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisite: SOC 3060. Encourages students to think sociologically, integrating theoretical knowledge with a critical examination of everyday experiences and social problems/issues. Addresses both classical and contemporary theories: structural, interpretive, micro and macro applications.

SOC 6570 - Seminar in Advanced Social Psychology
3 Credit Hours
The dynamics of human interaction: attitudes, processes, group structures, settings, and properties.

SOC 6620 - Quantitative Research Methods
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and 3050 or equivalent. Focuses on the design and application of quantitative data collection and analysis procedures to practical problems and issues. Students pursue supervised independent design and analysis using SPSS or SAS.

SOC 6630 - Seminar in the Family
3 Credit Hours
Principles of family organization; family as a sociocultural institution in various societies; theories of family structure, change, and deviance.

SOC 6640 - Thesis Research
1 to 6 Credit Hours
Prerequisite: Student must have filed Candidacy Form and selected thesis committee before enrolling. Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

SOC 6650 - Contemporary Social Issues
3 Credit Hours
An in-depth investigation of a particular sociological issue or subdiscipline. A maximum of six hours may be credited to one's major.

SOC 6661 - Program Evaluation
3 Credit Hours
(Same as PSY 6661.) Prerequisite: SOC 3040 or permission of instructor. Methods and issues of client-centered social program evaluation. Topics include evaluation methods, proposal construction, report writing, and presentation techniques.

SOC 6670 - Mental Health and Aging
3 Credit Hours
The basic concepts associated with mental health and the aging process. The epidemiology, assessment process, and approaches to treatment stressed. A positive approach to the mental well-being of the older adult provided.

SOC 6675 - Social Statistics
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and 3050 or equivalent. An intermediate level treatment of statistical concepts and methods for the analysis of sociological data with emphasis on the application of multivariate statistical methods for basic and applied sociological research. Statistical analysis software (e.g., SPSS, SAS) applied to existing datasets.

SOC 6680 - Counseling Elders
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisite: SOC 6670 recommended but not required. Counseling techniques and outcomes common to late life therapy. Special application to specific problems and social environments of the elderly.

SOC 6690 - Death and Survivorship
3 Credit Hours
The social complexities of dying, death, and survivorship with particular emphasis given to the aging population.

SOC 6700 - Introduction to Community and Regional Development: An
3 Credit Hours
Analysis of the problems and proposed solutions of community development from an interdisciplinary point of view.

SOC 6710 - Japanese Society and Business
3 Credit Hours
(Same as ECON 6540.) Japanese economy, business practices, and social and physical environment in comparison with those in other countries, particularly the United States.

SOC 6720 - Qualitative Research Methods
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisites: SOC 3040 and 3050 or equivalent. Focuses on the design and application of qualitative data collection and analysis procedures to practical problems and issues. Students pursue supervised independent and group projects.

SOC 6900 - Practicum: Applied Analysis
3 Credit Hours
Prerequisite: SOC 6620 and permission of instructor. Supervised independent study in which student is placed in an organization on a contractual basis. Course directed toward student pursuing career in applied sociology.

The following links will provide additional information about the master’s program in Sociology, and the list of theses indicates recent research interests:

Poster

Handbook for Graduate Studies in Sociology

Professional Organizations and Information:

American Sociological Association

Southern Sociological Society

Sociology.com

Graduate Student Testimonials 

Recent Graduate Student Theses Topics

2012-2013

Jamie Fuston – Hegemonic Images of Sexuality in Primetime Television Advertisements: Selling Heteronormative Ideology (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Grady Lowery – A Blessing and a Curse: Faith and Environmentalism in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)

Theresa Bryant – Assessing Undergraduate Perceptions of Campus Climate and Safety at Middle Tennessee State University (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Kevin Patrick Coghlan – A Comparison of Two Measures of Social Class (Chair – Dr. Foster Amey)

Christina N. Harness – Doctor-Patient Trust and Questioning Medical Authority: A Race, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status Analysis (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)

James M. Kinslow – An Examination of Responses to a Decline in Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and Membership Within American Freemasonry (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)

Jordan E. Raley – Saying 'I Do': Exploring College Students' Attitudes Toward Marriage (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)

Stephanie Steed – Work-First Programs and the American Dream: Women's Struggles to Improve Their Lives under Welfare Reform (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)

Lori Nicole Watson – Men as Caregivers of Frail Elderly: Gender Differences in the Caregiving Experience (Chair – Dr. Brandon Wallace)

Lisa Walker – Tipping Capital and the Guise of Gratuity: Women Servers' Perspectives of Sexualized Interactions in the Sports Bar and Grill Industry (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Shaonta Allen – Stomping the Yard in Black and White: A Comparative Study on the Perceived Benefits of Black Greek Life at Historically Black and Predominantly White Institutions (Chair – Dr. Vicky MacLean)

Jerry Gonzalez – Behind the Curtain: A Quantitative Examination of Factors Considered by Judicial Commissioners in Rutherford County, Tennessee in Determining the Presence of Risk of Flight and Amount of Bail (Chair – Dr. Brian P. Hinote)

2011-2012

Sarah Elizabeth Curtis -- Putting Gender in Its Place: The Construction and Experience of Gender in an Elementary School (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Amanda K. Kaiser -- Examining the Effects of Sexual Victimization on the Mental and Physical Well-Being of Incarcerated Women (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)

Kisha L. Ledlow -- Framing Sexual Harassment in the News (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Michael Patrick O'Flinn -- Ups and Downs: Narrative Accounts of Exiting Methamphetamine Use Without Formal Treatment (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Tara Lee-Ann Perrin -- Gettin' Above Your Raisin': Exploring First-Generation College Student Familial Support and Limited Support Experiences (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

Kimberly Fleming Wingard -- Alcohol Consumption, Mental Illness, and Suicide: An Ecological Study (Chair – Dr. Kevin Breault)

2010-2011

Melanie Fryman – Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) Player Identity: An Application of Identity Control Theory (Chair – Dr. W. Craig Carter)

Derrick Griffey – Choosing Community College: Understanding the Attitudes and Satisfaction of Students and Why It Matters (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)

Sherry B. Holley – Crossing the Thin Blue Line?  A Qualitatively Descriptive Study of What 'Crossing' Means for Female Police Recruits (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)

DeAnn Lamb – Exploring the Effects of Victimization on the Mental and Physical Health of Incarcerated Women (Chair – Dr. Ron Aday)

Simon Lynn – Intentions Toward Extradyadic Behavior among Young Adults (Chair – Dr. Angela Mertig)

Lauren Norman – No Shame in My Game: An Exploratory Study of How Men Construct Moral Emotions Within the College Culture of Hooking-Up (Chair – Dr. Jackie Eller)