The MA Program
The MA Program requires two years of graduate study and is expected to lead onward
to the PhD. Appropriate background for entry to the master's program includes courses
in sociological theory, research methods, and statistics plus nine additional hours
of coursework in sociology. Exceptionally qualified candidates (as evaluated from
their GRE scores and other components of their application packages) with less background
in sociology may be accepted into the program.
The MA degree requirements are based on the philosophy that the MA program should
be broad in its orientation. Successful completion of the degree provides students
with a background to enter the PhD program in sociology at LSU or elsewhere. Minimum
course requirements are 36 hours of graduate work. Core courses (classical theories,
methods, and two statistics courses) should be completed in the first year. See details
concerning credit-hours and the course sequence under Graduate Course Requirements
Students may be permitted to transfer some coursework at the graduate level from another
institution. The maximum number of transfer credits depends upon each student’s situation.
After satisfying coursework requirements, a master's degree is conferred upon completion
of either an empirical research paper or a master’s thesis, to be defended before
the student’s MA committee.
The student's MA Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members
from sociology department. The student may substitute one of them for a graduate faculty
member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair
and approved by the departmental chair or graduate advisor. At least one of the committee
members has to be a full graduate faculty. If the student has a minor field, a representative
from the minor department must also be on the committee.
Before the final semester (generally the spring semester of the second year), the
student must decide whether s/he will write an empirical research paper or an MA thesis.
If writing an empirical research paper, the student may elect to take SOCL 8900 (Research
in Sociology), although taking these credits is not a requirement. If writing an MA
thesis, the student must take six hours of SOCL 8000 (MA Thesis Research), supervised
by a faculty member who will serve as the chair of the student's committee. The faculty
member must agree to the content of the research paper or thesis before the student
is permitted to enroll in the course. An oral examination is required in accordance
with normal procedures of the Graduate School. MA degrees with empirical papers are
considered “non-thesis degrees” by the Graduate School.
Final Exam for the MA Degree: Defense of Thesis or Empirical Paper
The final exam for the MA degree is the defense of the thesis or empirical paper.
To graduate with a MA degree, the student must submit the following two documents
to the Graduate School:
a. Application for Degree
b. Request for Master's Examination
Every student must consult the Director of Graduate Studies before turning in the Request for Master’s Examination form
to avoid errors. The form must be submitted by the deadline
(mid- to late January for Spring semester, mid- to late August for Fall semester,
or early May and early June for Summer term). In addition, Request for Master's Examination form must be submitted three weeks
prior to the date of the exam. The empirical paper or thesis must be submitted to
the student's committee at least two weeks prior to its defense (Final Exam).
At the Final Exam, the committee chair or the graduate secretary has to prepare the
Exam Results Form. In addition, for MA with Thesis only, Master's Examination and
Thesis Report must be signed by the committee members. These forms need to be submitted
by mid-April or mid-November for the degree to be awarded at the end of the semester.
Consult the Graduate School calendar to determine the latest possible date to file
in order to graduate in a particular semester.
Graduate students, at the request of the graduate director, will submit an annual
report summarizing their academic activities during the past year.