Thinking About the Master’s Degree in Sociology: Academic, Applied, Professional, and Everything in Between

Master's degrees account for 90 percent of all graduate degrees awarded in all disciplines and Master's education is the fastest growing area of graduate education. Master’s degrees are by far the most common graduate degree in Sociology, and often represent the face of sociology to the public. Yet, Master’s degrees in sociology have not kept pace in terms of growth compared to other social sciences, much less other Master’s degrees (especially those of a professional/vocational nature). And more troubling, in the past several years, there has been a significant drop-off in the number of Master’s degrees awarded in Sociology.

This report grew out of the Task Force on the Master’s Degree in Sociology’s response to chairs who requested help from ASA to develop strategies to ensure that the terminal Master’s degree is a meaningful professional degree. The report contains information on crucial topics concerning characteristics of current programs, institutional politics in developing and maintaining programs, Master’s programs and quality education, need for resources and support, types of planned learning experiences, and identifying employment opportunities. 70 pages, 2009.



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