MA Requirements

The M.A. Program (Years 1-2)

The following table summarizes the expected timeline for completing specific M.A. requirements.

The program details listed here apply to students entering in Fall 2013 and beyond. Students enrolled in the program prior to Fall 2013 may choose to follow either these new curriculum requirements or the former curriculum requirements.

The M.A. in Sociology is awarded upon successful completion of at least 24 credits of coursework and a 6-credit thesis.

Year 1: MA Coursework (Total Credits: 18)
Term 1 (9 credits)

  • SOCI 500: Classical Sociological Theory SOCI
  • SOCI 502: Quantitative Research Design SOCI
  • SOCI 503: Qualitative Research Design Elective Course (3 credits)
  • Professional Development Seminars 

Term 2  (9 credits)

  • SOCI 514:  Analyzing Quantitative Data in Sociology
  • SOCI 598*: Directed Studies (3 credits)
  • SOCI Elective Course (3 credits)
  • Professional Development Seminars 
  • NOTE: *Focused on preparing a thesis proposal that is approved by the end of the term

Year 2: MA Coursework and Thesis (Total Credits: 12)

Term 1 (6 credits)

  • SOCI 515: Qualitative Data Analysis and Professional Writing Seminar (3 credits)
  • Thesis (3 credits)
  • Professional Development Seminars

Term 2 (6 credits)

  • Elective Course (3 credits)
  • Thesis (3 credits) & Defense
  • Professional Development Seminars

Each incoming M.A. student is assigned a Temporary Advisor in their offer of admission. The student should contact this faculty member in the summer prior to entering the program to discuss selection of elective coursework (i.e. prior to registering for any courses for the coming year) and applying for external fellowship funding (detailed in the funding section of this document). As soon as possible, ideally within the first six months in the program, the student should identify a Supervisor with competencies appropriate to the student's topical and thesis interests, and if his/her agreement is obtained to serve as Supervisor, notify the Sociology Graduate Secretary accordingly so that this may be properly documented in the student’s file.

In addition to consulting with the Temporary Advisor, students may ask the Sociology Graduate Studies Committee (SGSC) for help with arranging supervision. Students are free to ask any member of the faculty with a regular appointment to serve as Supervisor. Students may change supervisors at a later date if necessary, but this should be done in consultation with the SGSC. Please note that a faculty member can normally serve as Supervisor for a maximum of five graduate students, and that not all faculty are on campus or accessible 12 months a year, especially when they are on leave, at conferences, or between teaching terms.

The SGSC and the Head of the Department are ultimately responsible for ensuring that graduate students obtain adequate supervision.

Students are required to complete a minimum of 24 graduate course credits. This includes completion of:

SOCI 500 (3 credits) Foundations of Sociological Thought
SOCI 502 (3 credits) Research Design and Techniques (Quantitative)
SOCI 503 (3 credits) Research Design and Techniques (Qualitative)
SOCI 514 (3 credits) Analyzing Quantitative Data in Sociology
SOCI 515 (3 credits) Analyzing Qualitative Data in Sociology
SOCI 598 (3 credits) Directed Studies (focused on completing an approved thesis proposal)

Occasionally other graduate-level methods and theory courses can substitute for these required courses with permission from the SGSC. At least 18 course credits should be from departmental graduate seminars; the remaining credits can be from upper-level undergraduate courses (300 or 400 level), directed studies courses and/or "external" courses offered by other departments.

The SGSC or Supervisor may recommend or require that a student take specific or additional courses. All requests for registration in undergraduate courses, directed studies courses and "external" courses must be submitted to and approved by the SGSC. Please note that students are required to register for specific courses each term. Students who have finished all of their coursework must register for the thesis course (SOCI 549) in order to be considered registered full-time and to be eligible for awards.

The Professional Development Seminars will consist of several one-time events help each term that cover important professionalization issues. Some examples of recent Pro-D seminars include “Professional Networking” (Fall 2012) and “Publishing” (Spring 2012). Pro-D seminars will be co-organized by graduate students and the Director of Graduate Studies, who, together, will select specific focal topics and recruit appropriate faculty panelists to participate. The dates and times of the Pro-D seminars will be announced at the start of each term.

It is expected that all graduate students attend each Pro-D seminar as well as all other departmental seminars, such as the visiting distinguished speaker series and job talks given by candidates for a department faculty hiring. Participation in these events will be one factor considered each year in evaluating each student’s standing in the program as well as in deciding teaching assistantship placements and other potential funding allocations. Further details about these seminars are details in Appendix G.

For master's students registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Fail (F) for individual courses is defined as below 60%:

Grading Scale

Percentage (%) Letter Grade
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
76-79 B+
72-75 B
64-71 B-
64-67 C+
60-63 C
0-59 F (Fail)

Only 6 credits of pass standing (60-67%) may be counted toward a master's program. For all other courses, a minimum of 68% must be obtained. Some graduate programs may require a higher passing grade for specific courses.

If a course is repeated, both marks will appear on the transcript. The higher mark will be used to determine promotion in a program and in any decision to admit or withdraw a student from a program. For all other purposes, averages will be calculated using both marks.


M.A. and Ph.D. students are evaluated twice a year by the Sociology Graduate Studies Committee. Students are also evaluated in May by all faculty members at an annual departmental meeting. Evaluations are generally based on coursework, progress on the thesis proposal, and research and writing of the thesis/dissertation as appropriate and according to specified time limits.

MA students should expect to take two years to complete the program. The first full-time study is typically devoted to the theory and methods seminars and the remaining credits of additional course work. As indicated in the program outline above, students are expected to take three courses in each of the first two terms and the remaining courses during the following summer and/or fall terms. (Directed studies courses are especially suited to the summer session.) To ensure timely progress, students are expected to work on—and ideally complete—their M.A. thesis proposal in the summer following their first year. The second year of study normally consists of coursework, thesis research and thesis writing.

Full-time M.A. candidates must spend at least one winter session (September-April) as a full-time student and are normally required to have completed at least 18 credits of course requirements within two years of registration in the program. Students should not expect to continue if they have not met this requirement. Full-time M.A. students are required to pass the thesis examination within five years of registration. Students may request from the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FoGS) a year of leave for reasons of health or personal crisis which will not be counted towards the five year time limit. Parental leave is also available upon request.

Extensions beyond the five year limit are not normally granted and students who have not passed the thesis defence by the end of five years should not expect to continue in the program. Finally, note that full-time students cannot engage in remunerative work for more than 12 hours per week.

Part-time Study

The Department offers part-time study for the M.A. in Sociology. There is a maximum time limit of five years for part-time students to complete the program. Admission to part-time studies is the same as for the regular M.A. program. A period of residence is not required of part-time students and part-time M.A. students are not eligible for graduate fellowships or loans. Students can transfer from one status to the other with permission from G+PS. If the time in a degree program has expired, a student must apply for readmission rather than reinstatement. Upon re-admission, the student can receive up to 12 credits towards the degree at the Department's recommendation. In exceptional instances the Department can recommend "reinstatement". Reinstatement implies that the student never left the program and that tuition fees must be paid for the time away.