Texas Tech University

Sociology Graduate Program

The graduate program provides broad advanced level training for students who intend to enter a Ph.D. program, prepare for undergraduate or community college teaching, or pursue a nonacademic professional career for which a Master of Arts degree in sociology is appropriate and useful. Decisions on the program of study, specific courses, and thesis topics are made through consultation with the graduate advisor and other faculty members based on the individual student's background, interests, and objectives. With departmental approval, requirements may be amended for students with exceptional qualifications, or additional courses may be required or recommended for applicants with inadequate undergraduate preparation.

If you have any questions about the program or how to apply after reading this webpage, please contact Dr. Patricia Maloney, Sociology Graduate Program Director.

Coursework Requirements

Students may select the thesis option or nonthesis option. The thesis option is strongly recommended for students who plan to continue their graduate studies in a doctoral program. The nonthesis option is designed as a terminal M.A. program for students interested in career advancement, practical applications of sociological knowledge and research methods, or intellectual enrichment. Both options require 36 credit hours of coursework, including courses in the core areas of sociological theory and research methods.

Elective courses are available in various substantive areas such as family, criminology and deviance, social psychology, social change, minority relations, demography, urban problems, medical sociology and gerontology. (See list of courses and sample timeline.) Six hours may be taken as a minor outside the department, subject to graduate committee approval. A grade of B or better is required for graduate credit.

Graduate students must take i) Classical Theory (Soc 5308), ii) Contemporary Theory (Soc 5303), iii) Research Methods (Soc 5394), and iv) Statistics (Soc 5334) within their first two long semesters of beginning the master's program.

A comprehensive examination designed to reflect the student's specific areas of study is scheduled during the final semester.Students who attended and presented their work at two professional conferences are not required to take the comprehensive examination.

Teaching Assistantships

Opportunities are also available on a competitive basis for a Teaching Assistantship in the Department. The applications are evaluated by the Sociology Graduate Committee.

Sociology in Africa

List of Graduate Courses in Sociology

  • 5101. Professional Socialization (1). Practical issues in sociological research, scholarship, and teaching. Required of first-semester graduate students and teaching assistants through their appointment period. Pass-fail grading.
  • 5303. Seminar in Contemporary Sociological Theory (3:3:0). Study of contemporary approaches to society, including conflict theory, functionalism, symbolic interaction, and ethnomethodology.
  • 5308. Seminar in the Origins of Social Theory (3:3:0). Development of sociological theory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Topics may vary, but emphasis usually will be on the work of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber.
  • 5311. Seminar in Criminology (3:3:0). Critical review of theory and research on selected topics in criminology.
  • 5312. Seminar in Urban Education Problems (3:3:0). Extensive analysis of the process and consequences of urbanization and education, with emphasis upon causation and critiques of proposed solutions.
  • 5313. Seminar in Minority Relations (3:3:0). American and world patterns of interethnic relations are covered with emphasis on recent and current trends.
  • 5315. Seminar in Social Change (3:3:0). Linear and cyclical theories; analysis of the idea of progress, stage theories, dialectical materialism, and the lag hypothesis.
  • 5316. Seminar in Social Gerontology (3:3:0). Theory and research on aging, covering demographic, sociocultural, economic, individual, and societal factors. Interdisciplinary aspects are stressed.
  • 5320. Social Psychology: Symbolic Interactionism (3:3:0). Central ideas of social psychology are analyzed and integrated in a contemporary model of symbolic interactionism, with focus on affect.
  • 5325. Seminar in Deviant Behavior (3:3:0). Critical review of current theory and research in deviance.
  • 5327. Seminar in Demography (3:3:0). Theory and skills of population analysis including use of census data in sociological and social science research.
  • 5329. Social Inequality (3:3:0). Overview of theories and trends in social inequality in the U.S. and in international context.
  • 5331. Field Research (3). Individual research project off campus, covering entire term or longer. Research plans must be approved in advance by the student's major advisor. May be repeated for credit with permission.
  • 5332. The Research Organization (3:3:0). Participation in campus-based organized research project. Required at least once of research assistants; open to other students.
  • 5333. Qualitative Methods in Sociology (3:3:0). A focus on learning the methods and mindset behind qualitative research in social science, particularly interview, ethnographic, focus group, and content analysis skills.
  • 5334. Quantitative Methods in Sociology (3:3:0). Decision making skills (from test selection to inferences from data) for quantitative analysis in sociology.
  • 5335. Seminar in Family Violence (3:3:0). Advanced examination of definitions, prevalence, and theories of family violence. Focuses on impact of variation in definitions of family violence and societal responses to family violence.
  • 5336. Seminar in Family Change (3:3:0). Analysis of how the family institution has changed, in relation to other institutions and society in general. Family is treated as both a dependent and independent variable.
  • 5381. Seminar in Medical Sociology (3:3:0). Theory and research on conceptions of health, illness, and medical care from the sociological perspective.
  • 5384. Seminar in the Sociology of Religion (3:3:0). Examination of the religious institution focusing on its sociological meaning, organizations, presence as a force in western society, and relationship to other social institutions. 
  • 5394. Seminar in Sociological Research Methods (3:3:0). An examination of the research process including problem formation, case selection, data collection, and data organization.
  • 6000. Master's Thesis (V1-6).
  • 7000. Research (V1-12).

Details About the Graduate Program in Sociology

Thesis Option

  • Professional Socialization: 5101 (1 hour each semester; in addition to the 36 required hours specified below)
  • Sociological Theory: SOC 5303 (3 hours) and SOC 5308 (3 hours)
  • Sociological Research Methods: SOC 5334 (3 hours) and SOC 5394 (3 hours)
  • Elective Courses (18 hours)
  • SOC 6000: Master's Thesis (6 hours)

The Master's Thesis is supervised by the student's major professor and the thesis committee. The thesis committee must include at least one other sociology faculty member, chosen in consultation with the major professor. The thesis committee may also include a faculty member from another program with the approval of the major professor. Students are advised to consult with the graduate program director in selecting a major professor and thesis committee members. Students must pass a publically announced defense of the thesis before it is submitted to the Graduate School. The date for the thesis defense should be early enough for required revisions (if any) to be made prior to the Graduate School deadline for submission. The thesis must conform to all Graduate School requirements.

Non-Thesis Option

  • Professional Socialization: 5101 (1 hour; in addition to the 36 required hours specified below)
  • Sociological Theory: SOC 5303 (3 hours) or SOC 5308 (3 hours)
  • Sociological Research Methods: SOC 5334 (3 hours) or SOC 5394 (3 hours)
  • Electives (27 hours; 2nd course in theory or methods may be included as elective)
  • Field Research: SOC 5331 (3 hours)

The student will enroll in Sociology 5331 (Field Research), which will be directed by the student's non-thesis paper committee chair. The major professor for the non-thesis paper should be chosen in consultation with the graduate program director.

Sample Timeline for Graduate Students

Semester 1, Fall (10 Hours)

  • Professional Socialization (SOC 5101)
  • Seminar in the Origins of Social Theory (Soc 5308)
  • Quantitative Methods in Sociology (SOC 5334)
  • Elective (3 hours)

Semester 2, Spring (9 Hours)

  • Seminar in Contemporary Sociological Theory (Soc 5303)
  • Seminar in Sociological Research Methods (SOC 5394)
  • Elective (3 hours)

Semester 3, Fall (9 Hours)

  • Master's Thesis (SOC 6000, 3 hours)
  • Elective (3 hours)
  • Elective (3 hours)

Semester 4, Spring (9 Hours)

  • Master's Thesis (SOC 6000, 3 hours)
  • Elective (3 hours)
  • Elective (3 hours)

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam will include questions that relate to the student's chosen specialty area and may include applications of theory and methods. The examination committee is comprised of two faculty members, with one member chosen by the student and the second selected by the graduate director on behalf of the Graduate Committee. A third reader may be appointed in the event that the two examiners disagree on their evaluation. The length and time limits for the exam are set by the examining committee.

In keeping with the recommendations of the Graduate School, the Graduate Committee strongly suggests that the exam be written during each student's final semester of study. It may be taken one semester earlier with the approval of the Graduate Committee.

Students who do not satisfactorily complete the exam the first time may, with the approval of the Graduate Committee, re-take it after a waiting period of three months. A third attempt is not permitted by the Graduate School.

For more information, please download the Graduate Student Handbook.

Teaching Assistantships and Financial Aid

The Department provides funding for a limited number of Teaching Assistants (TAs). Most of these are usually available in the fall semester. In addition, Research Assistantships are sometimes available with faculty members in the department or within one of the University's institutes or research centers. These awards are available on a competitive basis and are based on the Sociology Graduate Committee's evaluation of the applicant's overall academic record and other relevant information provided as part of the application process.

The Graduate School also awards various types of scholarships. In addition, various employment opportunities are sometimes available within the University.

New or returning students may apply for a departmental Teaching Assistantship by contacting the Sociology Graduate Program Director:

Dr. Patricia Maloney, Ph.D.,
Sociology Graduate Program Director
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Texas Tech University
Box 41012
Lubbock, Texas 79409-1012

Application Guidelines

Applications are submitted online to the Graduate School [http://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/] of Texas Tech University and must include:

  • Payment of the application fee, and
  • Official transcripts from every university you have attended.
  • Letter of Intent/ Statement of Purpose
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • Academic writing sample (preferably 10-15 pages in length)

The Department adheres to the Graduate School policy of evaluating applicants in terms of holistic admissions criteria. The minimum expected grade point average (GPA) for admission is 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale). Scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE are also considered if provided. In addition to the GPA and GRE, applicants will also be evaluated in terms of additional criteria as reflected in the materials listed above. 

GRE Scores

The Graduate School no longer requires GRE scores as part of the application process. However, if you have taken the GRE (or plan to do so) and want the results to be considered, you can report them to the Graduate School.


Your application for admission will not be evaluated until all of the materials listed above have been received. Deadlines for applications to be completed are as follows:

  • Fall admission: March 1st
  • Spring admission: November 1st

Early applications are encouraged, especially if you wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship.

Follow this link to check your application status: http://www.raiderlink.ttu.edu. Select the "Applications" tab to check the status of your application.

Please contact the Sociology Graduate Director, Dr. Patricia Maloney, if you have any questions about the application process or would like to receive additional information regarding the program.