Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Sociology and Anthropology


Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology

The Master’s degree course requirements may be met in one of two ways: 1) successfully completing 30 credits of course work beyond the bachelor’s degree and a comprehensive exam during the final semester of coursework or after the completion of all course requirements or 2) successfully completing 24 credits of coursework and six credits of thesis research that culminates in a thesis that meets the standards of the Department.  

Required courses for the M.A.: Courses must be taken at Fordham.  Students planning to do doctoral work in the department are required to write an M.A. thesis. 

Theory:     SOCI 6100 (Classical Social Theory) or SOCI 6101 (Contemporary Social Theory), (6100 preferred).
Methods:  SOCI 6200 (Research Design I).
Statistics: SOCI 6300 (Graduate Statistics I).

Minimum Grade Requirements:
A “B” average (or 3.0 GPA) must be maintained in courses taken for the Master’s degree. M.A.students must receive a grade of C or better in each of the required courses in theory, methods and statistics. Students who earn a grade lower than a C must re-take the course. Failure to achieve a grade of C or better after the second attempt to take the course will be grounds to recommend that the student be discharged from the program.

Comprehensive exam: More information on the M.A. comprehensive exams is available in the Department Handbook.  Comprehensive exams are offered in the spring semester.  The exam consists of two parts, a sit-down section (Part One) and a take home section (Part Two) that must be hand-delivered to the Department secretary by the specified date.  Part One consists of a two-hour, closed-book exam that is administered in Dealy Hall.  Typically, the student will be expected to answer one of two or more questions, citing the literature as appropriate.  These questions are designed to ensure that the student is familiar with the major theories, studies, findings, and developments in one or more substantive areas. 
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Thesis:  In considering applications to the doctoral program, the Department’s admissions committee attaches significant weight to evidence that an applicant’s written work demonstrates an ability to undertake research informed by sociological theory.  Students admitted to our M.A. program who intend to go on to study in our doctoral program or students admitted to our PhD program without an MA are expected to write, complete, and successfully submit a master’s thesis.  There are no restrictions on the content or methodology used in the thesis other than meeting ordinary standards of the discipline as interpreted by the student’s thesis committee. The thesis may have an empirical (quantitative or qualitative) focus or may be theoretical or methodological in content.  The overall standard that the thesis should meet is that it should be based on primary sources; meet professional standards of documentation, argumentation and literary structure; and be between 50 and 100 double-spaced substantive pages in length (excluding tables, figures, and references). The thesis should be undertaken with the intent that it will be submitted (in revised form) for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  Students must prepare their theses to conform to Chicago or ASA style manuals. 

Two differences between the M.A. thesis and the PhD dissertation are: (1) the M.A. thesis requires only one mentor and one reader, while the dissertation requires one mentor and at least two readers; (2) a formal oral defense is strongly recommended (but not required) for the M.A. thesis, while a formal defense is required for the dissertation. Appropriate forms must be signed in recognition of faculty approval of the thesis. The thesis must be submitted to the GSAS Dean’s Office.
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Early Admissions Option to the MA Program: This option enables academically strong students currently enrolled in Fordham College to attain both a bachelor’s degree (either in sociology or a related social science discipline or interdisciplinary program) and a master’s degree in sociology in five years.  Students apply during the fall of their junior year for admission into the program. Admitted students are eligible, in their senior year, to take up to three graduate courses that count toward the major elective courses they take for the B.A. as well as toward the graduate courses the student needs for the M.A. Graduate courses taken while still at the College must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies of the Department.  All graduate courses taken in the early admissions option to the M.A. program must be at either the 5000- or 6000-level.

The policy applies to FCRH, FCLC, and PCS students.  The minimum GPA to be eligible to apply is 3.2 or above after five semesters of work in the College.  Applications do not need to include GRE scores unless the student is planning to apply for financial aid during the 5th year.  Comprehensive exams will be taken in the spring of the student's second year.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs

Applications for the Ph.D. program are currently not being accepted.

The Department’s graduate programs prepare students for careers in teaching, research and administration. The program of required and elective courses is designed to provide the breadth and depth of knowledge needed for effective work in sociology.  Our Ph.D. program offers specializations in three areas: race/ethnicity, sociology of religion and culture, and social demography.   Doctoral students normally specialize in one or two of these areas.

Minimum Requirements: The Ph.D. requires at least 30 credits beyond the Master’s level (for a minimum of 60 graduate credits) including a second-level course in each of theory, methods, and statistics.  Upon completion of coursework, the candidate is eligible for the comprehensive examination, provided he or she has maintained an average of 3.5 (B+) and completed the foreign language requirement.  At both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels, students must complete the required courses at Fordham.

Language requirements/research skills: In addition to proficiency in a research language (as demonstrated by a grade of B or better in Graduate Statistics courses), students are expected to demonstrate competency in a foreign language.  Foreign language competency exams may be arranged by contacting the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  Also, the CUNY Graduate Center Language Reading Program offers intensive, non-credit courses in three languages and can provide official documentation of each student’s performance upon request.
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Required courses for the PhD: All required courses must be taken at Fordham in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

        Theory:      SOCI 6100 (Classical Social Theory), SOCI 6101 (Contemporary Social Theory).
        Methods:   SOCI 6200 (Research Design I), and either SOCI 6201 (Research
                                        Design II), SOCI 6209 (Fieldwork in Religious Communities), or an 
                                        approved Independent Tutorial.
        Statistics:  SOCI 6300 (Graduate Statistics I), SOCI 6301 (Graduate Statistics II),
                         or an approved Independent Tutorial.

Students are strongly advised to take Classical Social Theory in their first semester of graduate school and to take Contemporary Theory after completion of Classical Social Theory.   M.A. students are strongly advised to take SOCI 6100 to meet the 3-credit theory requirement; PhD students are required to take SOCI 6100 and SOCI 6101.  These two courses, Classical Social Theory and Contemporary Social Theory, form the basis for the doctoral comprehensive exam in theory.

PhD comprehensive exams: More detailed information is available in the Department Handbook and on file in the Department office.  The purpose of the exam is to ensure a comprehensive grasp of the discipline with particular emphasis on the area of primary concentration or specialization, and to aid in the preparation of well-prepared and articulate teachers and researchers.  The Ph.D. comprehensive examination is offered each Spring semester. The written examination has four major parts:

1. A two-hour Theory examination.

2. A two-hour examination focusing on Methods and Statistics.

3. Part 1 of the Specialization examination will be a two-hour examination given on the day following the examinations in Theory and Methods/Statistics.

4. Part 2 is a take-home examination designed with the candidates expressed research interests in mind, but not limited to a proposed area of thesis research. The take-home examination is to be returned to the department secretary one week from the day it was distributed. Books and class notes may be consulted for this examination, but, with the exception of seeking clarification from a member of the comprehensive committee, no direct aid from another person should be sought or accepted.  An oral examination will also be scheduled which covers all parts of the comprehensive written examination, including the take-home.

Dissertation proposal and defense: A formal oral defense of the dissertation proposal is required.  The dissertation proposal serves two functions:  to define the parameters of the question to be asked, and to elucidate the means by which the posed question will be answered.  The test of a well-constructed proposal lies in its ability to perform these two functions successfully. The degree is completed upon the successful defense of the dissertation and presentation of the dissertation to the Dean’s Office.
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For descriptions of recent courses please visit Fordham's Online Course Catalog or review on program website.

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