M.S. Degree

The M.S. degree provides advanced training for work in specialized public and private human service programs, undergraduate teaching, applied research, work in the private sector, or preparation for continued education at the Ph.D. level. Students seeking the M.S. degree receive a broad background in sociology, encompassing the major research and theoretical concerns of the discipline.

Master of Science in Sociology or Rural Sociology

NOTE: All students must meet the requirements of the Graduate College in addition to the requirements of the Sociology Program. Please familiarize yourself with the following:

Graduate College Policy on Courses on Program of Study (POS)

With POS-committee approval, graduate students will be permitted to use undergraduate classes from both within and outside of their majors toward the POS (B or better).

  • Up to 9 credits from 300- and 400-level courses at ISU (not undergraduate classes from other institutions) may applied toward their POS, with a maximum of 6 credits at the 300 level (must receive B or better).
  • If a 300-level class is used, it must be from outside of the student’s major (psych, econ, etc.).
  • Expired courses (over 7 years old) must be approved by the Graduate College (see expired courses petition form).

Master’s Program of Study Committee, Examinations, and Evaluation

Graduate Student Evaluation

All graduate students in sociology will be reviewed yearly by the faculty. After the review, the student will receive a letter as to whether his or her progress and performance in the program is satisfactory or not. If not, the student will receive specific information from the faculty as to how to remediate the issue(s). If a problem is not rectified in accordance with the faculty’s recommendation, the student may be dismissed from the program.

Time Limitations for Completion of Degrees

A student beginning a M.S. degree program at ISU is expected to complete the program within three years. If warranted, the POS Committee may request by letter that the Dean of the Graduate College extend these time limits.

Program of Study Committee

The POS committee for a master’s program consists of three members of the graduate faculty, at least one of whom must be from within the student’s major. Only Graduate Faculty currently employed by Iowa State University can serve as major professor. The Graduate College recommends that the committee be formed as early as the second semester of graduate study. In no case can the committee be formed later than the term before the final oral examination.

M.S. Thesis and Thesis Examination

M.S. students are required to complete a thesis. A written proposal for thesis research must be accepted by the POS committee before the candidate begins his or her research work. Students must take an oral examination after the thesis is completed that focus on, but is not limited to, a defense of the thesis. The POS committee’s decisions are considered final.

Time Limitations for Completion of Degrees

The master’s degree student is expected to complete the degree program within three years.

Petitioning Procedures

Students may request a waiver of any of the procedures, rules, and regulations described in this document and appeal decisions based on these procedures, rules, and regulations. Such requests are to be submitted to the DOGE and Department Chair and should take the form of a written document that presents the student’s rationale for requesting the waiver or appealing a decision, accompanied by an evaluation of the request by the student’s advisor or major professor. The DOGE and Chair will examine the issue, seek advice from departmental committees as necessary, and make the final decision. These petitions will be approved only under highly extenuating circumstances.