Many universities are now offering a convenient alternative to traditional education with online education. Many students prefer to earn a Master’s Degree while sitting within the comfort of their homes. Almost all universities and colleges are offering distance education programs in every discipline. This article will highlight all the aspects of earning a Master’s Degree in Sociology Online.
Why is the blue color associated with boys and pink with girls? What compels us to stop at the red traffic light and follow authority? All such questions allude to an underlying need to make sense of the social world we live in.
Most Affordable Online Master’s in Sociology
The quest for understanding society is quintessential. If we cannot grasp the notions behind society’s mechanisms, we are likely to be overwhelmed by the ever-evolving dynamics of our social fabric.
To influence social structures, we have to fully understand the intrinsic social processes. This is where Sociology aids us with astute comprehension of not only our society but individuals as well.
Insight on Online Master’s in Sociology
Sociology is concerned with the national, institutional, and cultural factors that influence an individuals’ life experiences and decision-making. This broad field encompasses inputs from various fields, including law, politics, religion, education, and psychology.
Sociologists are primarily concerned with studying people and their interactions with each other, organizations, and governments.
A Sociology Degree requires students to analyze trends, data, and statistics while drawing conclusions and making predictions.
As the current pandemic has forced educational institutions to reconceptualize the learning process, students are opting for Online Degrees that save tuition costs and are convenient.
With changing social dynamics in a post-pandemic world, the debate about online versus traditional education has intensified. Students are weighing the pros and cons of both before pursuing a Degree.
This article will provide prospective students with a deep insight into the multifaceted aspects of an Online Master’s Degree in Sociology so that they are better informed before embarking on their Online Master’s journey.
What to Expect in an Online Master’s in Sociology Programs?
As with any other traditional classes, Online Degree classes offer the same educational expertise and rigorous learning schedule.
An Online Sociology Degree comprises a set number of core curriculum modules alongside elective modules, which a student has to undertake over the course of two years. Students can opt for an array of electives depending on their areas of interest.
These electives may include Sociology of death and dying, race and ethnic groups, comparative criminology, deviant behavior, and healthcare delivery systems. Students usually prefer popular modules such as education, healthcare, criminal behavior, gender studies, politics, and media.
An accredited Online Master’s in Sociology normally requires approximately two years to complete. Many universities also offer an accelerated study Program that students can complete within 18 months. A typical Online Master’s Degree in Sociology expects students to complete 30-37 credit hours, including voluntary fieldwork.
The study course consists of various learning and examination methods that culminate into a traditional written thesis, a verbal or written online exam, and a conclusive social project.
Individuals with a Master’s Degree in Sociology research and analyze data to predict trends in markets and amongst consumers and businesses.
They are also expected to develop and design social programs, formulate public policy, and help various government organizations address multifarious social issues, such as crime and deviance.
Students are expected to develop critical reasoning and problem-solving skills, an analytical and research-oriented personality, and an aptitude for investigative inquiry in order to excel in this field.
Entry Requirements for an Online Master’s in Sociology
Most universities require students to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology before they can try to undertake a Master’s. They require a minimum number of undergraduate credits in Sociology or any other closely related discipline such as Social Works, Psychology, Philosophy, or Gender Studies.
Many universities also expect students to hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their Bachelor’s Degree. Some schools also select students based on their performance in standardized tests such as the SAT and GRE.
However, some universities may also consider individuals who fail to meet the admission requirements, if they produce relevant recommendation letters from faculty members or provide evidence of professional experience in the field.
Modules During an Online Master’s in Sociology
The Online Master’s Degree Program consists of varied modules that include a specified set of core modules that a student must pass to earn a Degree. These core courses include sociological theory, research methods, social statistics, and data analysis.
Besides core courses, a Master’s program in Sociology also offers distinct elective modules for students, which they can select along with their preferences. These areas include education, criminology, healthcare, gender studies, media, politics, and the environment.
The following are the core courses that a student ought to undertake during an Online Master’s Degree.
This module comprises the study of all three levels of sociological theory.
The micro-level, which is the fundamental level, analyzes individuals and their social conduct in a particular environment. The meso-level examines variegated groups and their interactions.
The macro-level studies broad subjects such as social processes, diversity, globalization, equality, and justice.
In this module, students will learn about various statistical tools that enable sociologists to conclude population analysis, growth rates, crime rates, etc.
Statistical techniques might include descriptive statistics that involve the analysis and summarization of data, while inferential statistics incorporate the testing of hypotheses and the creation of population estimates.
This course is of particular interest to students as it incorporates two disciplines: Psychology and Sociology. Students will learn about individuals’ behavioral principles, including the cause and effect of an individuals’ choices on society.
Concepts such as emotions, gender, identity, mental health, status, race, and deviance are key areas of study in this core course.
Applied Sociological Research Methods
This module is a very basic course that explores the fundamentals of social research. Students learn about the primary and secondary research methods used in Sociology, sampling and research designs, and methods of collecting data, such as questionnaires, surveys, and observation.
Social Science Data Analysis
To analyze data, sociologists require assistance from various data analysis software. This module enables students to learn about multiple tools available for sociological research. Topics in this course include simple univariate distributional statistics and bivariate regression and correlation.
Students are introduced to the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, a common inference software used by Sociologists.
Elective Areas of Study in an Online Master’s in Sociology
Sociology is a discipline that encompasses a broad range of subjects that excite many students. Many universities offer distinctive electives from which students can choose, depending on their main area of interest.
Some of the major areas of study in an Online Master’s of Sociology include:
Students who pursue social inequality as their optional study area, learn about the factors that adversely affect individuals and communities’ opportunities. These are multifaceted factors, including economics, social class, ethnicity, and political status.
Students also learn about how social inequality remits various social evils such as crime and deviance, while also analyzing how inequality impacts health, education, culture, and political engagement.
Students opting for specialization in gender, analyze how gender impacts the domestic, professional, and political dynamics of any society. Students may also research how gender differences impact access to childcare, domestic work, consumption, and leisure activities in society.
A key area of specialization in Sociology is Media, as media is the primary means of interaction between communities, organizations, and individuals.
Students who pursue specialization in media can conduct research on how the political and individual spheres within society interact via media, how the internet affects our society, and how access to various media outlets shape an individuals’ views about politics, society, and economics.
With the onset of climate change, environmental concern is now a primary part of Sociology. This field is concerned with how artificial changes and decisions impact the environment and how political influences affect natural world elements, such as fossil fuels and water.
Read More: Online Vs Traditional Education: One-Size Does Not Fit All
How Many Students Opt for a Master’s in Sociology?
There may be a general misconception amongst students that earning a Degree in Sociology is not practical.
It’s believed that majoring in this subject will not yield enough earnings once employed; however, you may be surprised to read that many famous personalities are Sociology majors. Some of them are-
- Michelle Obama (Princeton University 1985)
- President Ronald Regan (Eureka College Illinois 1932)
- Martin Luther King Jr. (Morehouse College, Atlanta 1948)
According to research, 36,703 Sociology Degrees were awarded to students in the United States in 2017.
In the year 2018, 7,986 students were enrolled in a Master’s Program of Sociology across various US institutions.
Future Prospects of an Online Degree in Sociology
Students are prepared for diverse career paths during an Online Master’s Degree in Sociology. The degree provides students with a strong foundation by developing their critical and social skills.
With these important skills, students can pursue a career in social work or public relations management.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that individuals with a Master’s Degree in Sociology earn a median annual salary of $83,420, which is twice the median average salary of any other social sciences occupation.
The BLS also projects an 18 percent growth in the employment rate of market research analysts, which is much faster than average.
Moreover, for individuals interested in building a Social and Community Work career after completing their Degree, BLS has also projected a satisfactory 17 percent annual job growth rate in that domain.
Below, we listed the top four highest-paid jobs in Sociology, to assist you in choosing your career path:
Market Research Analyst
This career field is perhaps the highest-earning job, according to BLS. Individuals who pursue a career as a Market Research Analyst earn $63,790 per year. A Market Research Analyst either provides consultancy services to a business or works as a part of its marketing team.
These individuals employ various social statistics tools to gauge the market and consumer trends. They are also responsible for developing marketing campaigns and provide their expertise regarding current social trends and market features.
After completing a Master’s in Sociology, individuals can also be hired by various public and private organizations as Sociologists.
A Sociologist is an expert in studying societal trends, behaviors, and processes. They gather data by conducting research, surveys, and opinion polls, thereby providing an expert opinion to organizations and institutions.
Most Sociologists are employed as consultants by schools, government survey organizations, research facilities, etc. They are also often hired when governments are developing a public policy and are in need of a Sociologist’s expertise.
Social and Community Service Manager
Another lucrative job opportunity for graduates with a Master’s in Sociology is working as a Social and Community Service Manager. According to BLS, individuals who pursue a career as a Social and Community Service Manager earn up to $67,150 per year, and this field is also expected to grow by 17 percent.
These individuals work in communities and groups while assessing their social needs in order to improve their living conditions. They identify key areas where communities are lacking and suggest improvement plans to various public sector organizations.
All types of organizations, including the government and non-government agencies, non-profits, and family service groups depend on Social and Community Service Managers to oversee their welfare programs.
Teacher or Educator
Master’s in Sociology graduates can also work as high-school or college teachers in various community colleges all over the USA.
Although most universities require individuals to complete a Ph.D before teaching, some colleges and schools do still employ Masters as non-tenured lecturers or post-secondary education administrators.
These administrators are responsible for conducting surveys, opinion polls, and questionnaires among the student community. Besides that, they are also hired to oversee student records, maintain student registration books, and analyze students’ admission data.
Survey Researches are specialists in formulating survey tools, including opinion polls, questionnaires, and feedback forms. These individuals gather data and analyze the results using multiple statistical software and methods.
They provide expert judgment and present reports about their findings to various organizations such as non-profits, public sector companies, polling organizations, schools, and health care organizations.
According to BLS, Survey Researchers earn approximately $59,170 per year.
Why Accreditation is Important for Online Degree Programs
All these ranked colleges and universities offer affordable Degree Programs in Sociology and hold accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
A DEAC accreditation is crucial for any university that is offering an Online Degree Program. If a university program is accredited by the DEAC, this indicates that the Online Program meets the same academic standards as an on-campus program. Subsequently, students must verify the programs’ accreditation status through the US Department of Education Database before undertaking admission to any university.
Accreditation indicates that the school, college, or university meets high standards concerning quality education, faculty qualifications, and student learning outcomes.
Many Sociology Programs also hold accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology.
Universities Offering an Online Master’s in Sociology
Although there are numerous universities all across the United States that offer an accredited Online Master’s Degree Program in Sociology, we have listed the top five of the best colleges and universities that offer these right here:
- Arizona State University (Scottsdale, Arizona)
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
- New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
- Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, Virginia)
We have also collated a comparative list of top universities that offer Online Master’s in Sociology Programs.
Students keen on enrolling in a Master’s Program may conveniently weigh their best options by comparing tuition costs and offered subjects.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a highly ranked university that offers an Online Master’s in Arts Sociology Program. The university offers a research-based Sociology Program and follows an applied practitioner approach.
This is a non-thesis Degree Program of 15 to 18 months that concludes with a final three-course project. Students can take advantage of the quality faculty available at this university. This Degree is a 30 credit hours program.
Various non-profits and governmental agencies promptly hire graduates from this university.
$12,786 per annum (excluding books and materials)
Diversity and Society; Leadership and Social Justice; Marriage and Family Relationships; Social Change and Adjustment; Social Statistics
Total Graduate Enrollment
Higher Learning Commission
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
This university offers an Applied Masters in Sociology Program that emphasizes Psychology, Sociological Theory, and Research. This is another non-thesis Degree Program that culminates into a six-credit final project under expert faculty supervision.
It comprises a total of 30 credits with an equal division of credits amongst 12 core modules and 12 non-core elective modules.
Besides that, The University of Birmingham also offers great benefits to both in-state and out-of-state students as it charges the same tuition fees for both types of students.
$8,010 per annum
Consumer Culture; Health Care Delivery Systems; Health Disparities; Patient Care Relationships and Ethics; Sociology of Death and Dying; Teaching Sociology
Total Graduate Enrollment
Southern Association of Schools and Colleges
New Mexico State University
This university is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and it is the oldest public institution in the state. New Mexico University offers a comprehensive Master’s Degree in Sociology Online, with electives such as digital media, social psychology, alternative economics, political and environmental sociology, social movements, and popular culture.
The Degree program spans over 36 credits and typically takes two years to complete. Students must take a final written exam in place of a thesis and submit a final capstone project.
$7,191 per annum
Advanced Collective Behavior and Social Movements; Issues in Globalization; Race and Ethnic Relations; Sociological Perspectives on the U.S.-Mexico Border; Sociology of Education; Seminar in Classical Social Theory
Total Graduate Enrollment
Higher Learning Commission
Sam Houston State University
Situated in the heart of Huntsville, Texas, Sam Houston State University offers an Online Master’s of Sociology Program. The university provides an overarching Degree Program that focuses on empirical evidence, theoretical perspectives, and methodological techniques related to Sociology.
Students can opt for either a final thesis or a comprehensive written exam. This program extends over 37 credits and is typically completed in two years.
$9,283 per annum
Cultural Sociology; Gender And Society; Sociology of Entrepreneurship; Sociology Of Community; Sociology Of Religion; Sociology Of The Family
Total Graduate Enrollment
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Virginia Commonwealth University
This university offers a completely Online Master’s Degree in Sociology Program, with an exclusive emphasis on digital Sociology.
With a total of 10 courses, this program has 36 credits and expands over four semesters.
Students are often particularly interested in this Degree program, as it encompasses broad electives including studies on how diverse groups interact via social media and how technology influences social behavior, culture, and relationships.
The program concludes in two projects that enable the students to examine social concepts and employ critical and research abilities in their projects.
Nevertheless, the per annum tuition fees for this Online Degree are relatively high, and therefore not a feasible option for students looking for an affordable Degree.
$25,956 per annum
Aging and the Minority Community; Complex Organizations; Domestic and Sexual Violence in Social Context; Globalization and Transformation: Concepts and Realities; Social Stratification; Sociology of Work in Industry
Total Graduate Enrollment
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
FAQ for Online Master’s in Sociology
Students are often perplexed regarding the fundamentals of an Online Master’s in Sociology due to a lack of adequate information available on the internet and other sources.
We have compiled a few frequently asked questions regarding an Online Master’s in Sociology, so you are better informed before pursuing online education.
1) What can I do with an Online Degree in Sociology?
Sociologists study how various factors and social processes contribute to constructing a culture. These factors may include a cross synthesis of diverse social processes such as governments, religion, economics, and history.
With a Master’s Degree in Sociology, students can become professionals, sociologists, market research analysts, social and community managers, and educators.
These individuals are hired by various government and non-government organizations, agencies, schools, and social service groups.
2) How Can I achieve a Master’s in Sociology Online?
Numerous top colleges and universities in the USA and worldwide now have full-time courses available for students who prefer online education over traditional education. These universities offer both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Sociology.
Some universities offer full-time online courses while others have a hybrid educational system, where selected courses are available both online and on-campus.
3) How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Master’s in Sociology?
You would be surprised to learn that all Online Degrees are completed within the same study period as a traditional degree. Hence, a typical Online Master’s Degree in Sociology takes approximately two years of full-time study. Most Online Sociology Programs require 30-37 credit hours.
4) Is an Online Degree in Sociology Worth my Money?
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, graduates with a Master’s Degree in Sociology earn about $13,000 more in average salary than those with only a Bachelor’s Degree. With a Master’s Degree, students can pursue a career in various social and public sectors while working for government organizations, welfare institutions, schools, and social services groups.
5) Are Sociologists in High Demand?
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a positive job outlook for Sociologists. It projects a 4 percent increase in the job employment rate during the period of 2019-2029. Moreover, with the onset of the pandemic, the demand for Sociology has increased in various public sector institutions working for people’s welfare.
The demand for market research analysts and community workers has changed over the course of the past year, with sociologists now being in high demand.
6) What are the Earning Prospects of a Master’s Degree in Sociology?
Sociologists can earn a median yearly salary of $83,420, while social community workers can earn a median annual wage of $67,150 after completing their Master’s Degree. Higher education in this field entails higher earning prospects, with those with a Master’s Degree earning significantly more than those with only a Bachelor’s Degree.
7) What are the Highest Paying Jobs in the Field of Sociology?
After completing an Online Master’s in Sociology Degree, individuals can pursue a career in human resource management that, on average, earns a median salary of $116,720, making it one of the highest paying jobs in the field of Sociology.
Besides that, if individuals choose to become post-secondary education administrators, they can earn a median salary of $95,410 per year.
8) Is there any Difference Between Social Work and Sociology?
Yes, there is. Social work pertains to the field-work that helps individuals and communities by bettering their current living conditions. On the other hand, Sociology refers to studying theory and experiments to conclude social processes, cultures, and communities.
With Online distance education gaining immense popularity amongst the student body due to pandemics, and ever-increasing tuition costs, it is now impossible to ignore the benefits of earning a Degree Online.
More and more students are opting for Online education over traditional education.
Consequently, if you are looking for a convenient and cost-effective solution to earning a Master’s Degree in Sociology, we suggest that you look for universities that offer an Online Master’s Degree in Sociology.
If you enrol in an accredited online university or college, the Degree you will earn will be on par with any traditional Degree. Therefore, you do not have to worry about your employment chances.
As the ever-evolving social dynamics push societies into unchartered waters, the need for sociologists who study social processes is on the rise. Enrol in an Online Master’s of Sociology program and make your mark with your contributions to our society!