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Policy Statement - 09-01 Applied Sociology, M.A. in

Master of Arts in Applied Sociology (code SOC_MA01)

This new program was recommended by the Academic Senate on April 17, 2008, approved by the President on April 25, 2008, and approved by the Chancellor on January 28, 2009.

The Master of Arts degree in Applied Sociology is designed to prepare graduates for careers in a variety of public and private organizations that require intellectual rigor and research-based decision-making and application.  Specific expertise will include needs assessment and program evaluation, survey, statistical, secondary and qualitative data analysis applicable in local, national and international settings.  The curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong theoretical and methodological foundation with specialization in one of the two thematic concentrations:  Sociology of Health and Medicine; or Community Development and Social Change.  Courses focus on community development, health and illness, and the role of organizational structures and public policy in addressing contemporary social issues.  Field work placements provide direct and practical experience with local public and private agencies addressing community health and social justice issues.  The program also serves as an ideal foundation for further study for students wishing to pursue doctoral study in sociology or related disciplines.

The graduate coordinator serves as the general advisor for all entering graduate students. Upon admission, students will be assigned to a faculty member for advising and mentoring. Students can elect to keep this faculty member or, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, choose another faculty advisor. The faculty advisor is responsible for assisting students in writing a Plan of Study, which outlines how individual students will fulfill the requirements of the program. Faculty advisors will also assist the student in selecting her/his thesis committee (two additional faculty members).  Graduate thesis committees must be formed after completing a minimum of 12 units and before a maximum of 21 units.

Students are urged to become acquainted with the general requirements of the University and the specific requirements of the department listed in this Catalog.  Important supplementary information about the steps leading to the master’s degree in sociology is contained in the Handbook for Graduate Students, which is available on the University website at

Admission Procedures

Consideration for admission requires submission of a program application and university application.  Submit all program application materials to the Department of Sociology in one complete package.


1. A Bachelor’s degree with a major in Sociology, or related degree, and have earned a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units attempted.

2. Completion of a minimum of one upper-division sociological theory and research methods course equivalent to SOC 356, 357, 355.

3. Students whose undergraduate work is deficient in sociology will be required to complete appropriate pre-requisite courses.  Course deficiencies will be determined by the Department’s Graduate Committee after taking into account each student’s background and goals. Prerequisite courses will not count toward credit in the M.A.

4. Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination.

5. Official transcripts.

6. Three letters of recommendation, including at least two from individuals well acquainted with the applicant’s academic ability.

7. A 3-4 page personal statement describing the student’s qualifications and reasons for wanting to pursue an Applied Sociology M.A. at CSULB.

8. Experience in community organizations is helpful, but not required.

Program Requirements

All students must complete a minimum of thirty (30) units of upper division and graduate level courses, of which twenty-four (24) must be at the 500/600 graduate level.  A student’s program is outlined in the Plan of Study that must be developed in consultation with a sociology faculty advisor within the first 12 units at CSULB.

Course Requirements

1. Core Courses (3 courses, 9 units): SOC 696, 656 and 670

2. Concentration Area Courses (3 courses, 9 units) in one concentration area:

Sociology of Health and Medicine:

Community Development and Social Change:

Applicable courses include SOC 540, 558, 562; HSC 528, 625; PPA 610, 660.

3. Applied Skill Cluster (2 courses, 6 units): Applicable courses include ANTH 560, HSC 500, HSC 503, PPA 670.

4. Internship (one course, 3 units): SOC 696.

5. Capstone Course (one course, 3 units): SOC 697 or 698.

Advancement to Candidacy

1. Students must satisfy the general requirements of the University for advancement to candidacy;

2. In order to be recommended for advancement to candidacy, students must obtain the written approval of their master’s degree program course work by their committee chair and graduate advisor;

3. Students must file a written statement in the department approved by the Faculty Advisor, indicating how the student plans to complete all remaining requirements for the degree. The statement will include the members of the thesis committee, and the date for completing the thesis or for taking the comprehensive examination.

Capstone Experience

All graduate students must complete one of the following options:

A. Comprehensive Examination in the areas of theory, applied research methods, and substantive issues in their concentration;

B. Thesis.

Students following the comprehensive examination option will earn 3 units of credit in SOC 697 and those writing a thesis will be granted 3 units of credit in SOC 698.


EFFECTIVE: Fall 2009

Campus Code:  SOC_MA01

College:  GR

Career:  GR

CSU Code:  22081

CIP Code:  45.1101