Best Online Master’s in Sociology Programs

Sociology involves the systematic study of society, social behavior, and social issues that impact culture, groups, institutions and organizations. Those who major in sociology learn how to address challenges like discrimination, inequality, identity development and life chances through the lens of statistics, research and data analysis.

Sociology is a highly diverse field of study which focuses on the development and interaction of individuals and groups within human society. A master’s in this program can provide training in the skills of sociology as well as career preparation to enter into various professional areas such as social service, academia, or business. 

Sociology is one of the most diverse fields of study, with numerous career options for master’s degree holders. Sociologists work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, schools, hospitals, and social advocacy organizations. Sociologists earn a median annual salary of $83,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is more than twice the national average.

Our master’s in sociology program guide goes over common courses, career options, and admission requirements in detail.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master’s in Sociology Programs

1. Arizona State University

Arizona State University is a prestigious research university that offers an online master’s degree in sociology. This 30-credit program is designed to help students understand contemporary social issues through an applied practitioner approach.

This non-thesis program takes 15-18 months to complete and includes a three-course capstone project. Students work with faculty members who are experts in their field and can help them with their project. Graduates can work for nonprofits and government agencies in the fields of human resources and social services. While students with a 3.0 GPA can apply, this program is highly competitive, and applicants with a 3.30 GPA or higher are given priority. Official transcripts, an updated resume, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution are some of the other requirements.

Graduation Rate: 58%
Location: Birmingham, AL

2. University of Alabama at Birmingham

An online master of arts in applied sociology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham focuses on sociological research, theory, and psychology. This MA program is a non-thesis option that culminates in a six-credit capstone project directed by faculty.

This program’s curriculum consists of nine courses totaling 30 credits, with 12 credits of core courses, 12 credits of additional sociology electives, and six credits devoted to the capstone project. While most courses are pre-determined, instructors frequently tailor assignments to their students’ personal interests and goals in order to better prepare them for their future careers. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition at UAB, which is an appealing incentive for nonresidents looking for cost-effective programs. To be admitted, applicants must have a background in the social sciences. Students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field unrelated to the program will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Graduation Rate: 58%
Location: Birmingham, AL

3. New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University is the state’s oldest public university, having been established in 1888. Alternative economies, digital media, social movements, political and environmental sociology, popular culture, and social psychology are among the topics covered by the university’s online master’s in sociology.

Students can apply insights and findings to better understand individuals, groups, and communities by studying research design and theory. While this online program does not require students to write a thesis, they must pass a comprehensive written exam. This program consists of 36 credits and is typically completed in two years. A statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and a minimum 3.0 GPA are all required for admission. Students, on the other hand, are not required to submit their GRE scores.

Graduation Rate: 47%
Location: Las Cruces, NM

4. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, offers an online master’s degree in sociology that delves into methodological techniques, theoretical perspectives, and empirical evidence in sociological theory.

While all students must complete 37 credits, the exact curriculum varies depending on whether they choose to do a thesis or take a comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam option has five core courses and eight electives, whereas the thesis option has seven core courses and six electives. Both tracks help students learn how to analyze social issues.

Two letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, and a writing sample demonstrating critical thinking skills and sociology experience are required of applicants. Enrollment is only available during the spring and fall semesters; summer sessions are not currently available.

Graduation Rate: 52%
Location: Huntsville, TX

5. Virginia Commonwealth University

A master’s degree in sociology with a focus on digital sociology is available at Virginia Commonwealth University. This program, which consists of 10 courses and totals 36 credits, is entirely online and can be completed in four semesters.

This master’s degree in sociology combines data and sociology, preparing students to work in areas that are digitally focused and social movements. The course investigates how various groups interact with the digital world and how technology affects human behavior, relationships, and self-concept. Important sociology concepts, literature evaluation, data analytics, and quantitative and qualitative reasoning are all taught to students. This program culminates in two projects, one in the third semester and the other in the fourth semester. The student created both projects to show their ability to critically analyze a research question. After these research projects are completed, department faculty evaluate the student’s graduation eligibility.

Graduation Rate: 67%
Location: Richmond, VA

What Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Sociology Program?

With online master’s in sociology programs you can further expand your knowledge of sociology theories, businesses practices and public policy. These are great options for professionals who already work in the field and need to boost their skills to be successful in their careers.

Sociology is a discipline that studies the interaction and relationships between individuals within groups. Sociologists study the human condition using various research methods, including survey research, focus groups, experimental studies and historical analysis. The field seeks to develop an understanding of the dynamic nature of how societies operate and how social factors affect individuals.

An analytical nature, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and an aptitude for research and investigative inquiry are all required for success in this field. Sociologists must also be able to write and communicate effectively in order to prepare reports and presentations.

The majority of online master’s in sociology programs require 30-37 credits and take about two years to complete full-time. Some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. A capstone project, a traditional thesis, and/or a comprehensive written exam are usually required to complete most programs.

Master’s degrees in sociology are offered at the graduate level. Students enrolling in online sociology master’s programs learn about current issues and research in their field, as well as theory and methodology related to the study of sociology. Most online sociology master’s degree programs consist of a core curriculum that is often supplemented by optional concentration or elective courses.

Since Sociology programs are broad in nature, online sociology degrees allow students to focus their studies on a specific aspect or area of sociology. The most popular concentrations that an online master’s in sociology program may offer include: education, healthcare administration, social services, digital media, criminology and chemical dependency. While most of these concentrations do not have specializations available, students can enroll in an elective (or concentration) that focuses on these areas.

Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Sociology Programs

The majority of online master’s in sociology programs require a bachelor’s degree in sociology or a closely related field, as well as a certain number of undergraduate credits in sociology or a closely related field. Many schools demand a minimum 3.0 GPA and standardized test scores from applicants.

Some schools take into account prospective students who do not meet the admissions requirements on a case-by-case basis. Schools may consider an applicant’s professional experience as well as letters of recommendation from faculty members when making these decisions.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master’s in Sociology Program?

The core classes in most online master’s in sociology programs cover sociological theory, research methods, social statistics, and data analysis. Students may choose electives in education, criminology, healthcare, or other fields of interest in addition to these courses.

The courses listed below are typical of those offered in master’s in sociology programs.

What Can I Do With an Online Master’s in Sociology Degree?

Graduates of a master’s degree in sociology can work in a variety of fields, including business, education, healthcare, social services, law, and politics. Sociologist, market research analyst, social and community service manager, and educator are some of the common career paths for these professionals.

Market research analysts are expected to grow by 18 percent between 2019 and 2029, according to the BLS. Managers of social and community services are also expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 17%.

Read our sociology careers guide to learn more about sociology careers and see where a master’s in sociology can take you.

FAQs About Master’s in Sociology Programs