Frequently Asked Questions

Liz Farrington image“After graduation I worked as a researcher at the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute where I worked on federal reports and won a grant to analyze drug sentencing before and after Indiana’s criminal code reform. In currently work for the Crime Gun Intelligence Center Unit at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. I am helping the department build a civilian analyst team. The goal of our team is to help officers solve violent crimes and get shooters off the streets of Indianapolis. I love being able to help make Indianapolis, the city I got my education and live in, safe!” – Liz Farrington, MA Sociology, Intelligence Analyst Supervisor at the IMPD.

Program FAQs

Admissions FAQs

Program FAQs

Are you thinking about Sociology at IUPUI? We take graduate student recruitment very seriously and we assume you take applying to graduate school equally seriously. Here are a few questions you might be asking about our program.

Does your program offer a PhD in Sociology?

No, we do not offer a PhD in Sociology. We offer a MA Sociology Degree and a PhD Minor (the PhD Minor is taken as part of a non-Sociology PhD Program).

What are Sociology Graduate Program’s strengths?

Our key strengths include the following:

  • An applied research emphasis – all students will leave our program with training in both qualitative and quantitative research design and intermediate statistical analyses.
  • Accomplished faculty (link to faculty page) with active research agendas and a deep commitment to student learning.
  • The option to complete a concentration in Medical Sociology.
  • The option to complete either a Master Thesis or Internship or a Course only option as the final requirements for the degree.
  • Small seminars and individualized attention to graduate students.

What are the requirements of the MA?

Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours past the BA Degree. This is made up of 12 hours in required methods and theory courses, 6 hours of thesis or 3-6 hours of internship and 6-9 credits of electives.  We also have a course only option to the degree in lieu of a thesis or internship. If you choose to specialize in medical sociology, at least 12 of the remaining credits must be courses in medical sociology.

How long does it take to finish your degree?

Full-time students can complete the program in 2 years; part-time in 3 years.

What is the course load for full-time versus part-time students?

The normal course load for full-time students is three courses (9 credit hours) each semester (fall and spring). Part-time students take only one or two courses a semester (3-6 credits).

Is there a time limit for me to finish my degree?

Yes. Students must complete all requirements for the MA degree within five (5) years. Extension of the five-year time limit is covered in the IU Graduate School Bulletin. Transfer and non-degree graduate credits also fall within this five-year limit.

How often are each of your graduate courses offered?

Courses are offered about once every two years and we try to keep them on a predictable rotation. 

Do you offer graduate courses in the summer?

No. However, you can take thesis, internship, and independent readings courses in the summer. You may also find a graduate course in a different department that is offered in the summer which may then count as a non-department elective towards your degree.

What time of the day are courses offered?

Courses are normally offered Monday-Thursday during late afternoons or evenings (either twice a week after 3pm or once a week from 6-8:40. We occasionally offer hybrid online classes.

Can I take any courses outside of Sociology and count those towards my degree?

Yes, 6-9 graduate level credits. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in such courses to make sure the courses count.

Does your program allow me to transfer Graduate credits taken elsewhere?

Students who have taken graduate courses at other universities can have up to 8 credit hours transferred toward the MA in Sociology at IUPUI, subject to the approval of the Department and Graduate School. Students who have taken courses at IU Bloomington may transfer up to 18 credit hours toward the degree at IUPUI; a residency requirement applies in which the last half of the required credits for the degree must be taken at the Indianapolis campus. Only courses with a B or higher may be transferred from other institutions. Double counting courses towards degrees will not be allowed. Also, this means that a course needed for another degree cannot simultaneously count for the MA. But a graduate course taken as an undergraduate, which was not needed to meet requirements of the bachelor’s degree, may be used for the MA. In addition, such courses need to have been taken within five years of completing your MA degree with us. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies after you are admitted if you want to request to transfer credits.

Do any of your graduate courses have prerequisites?

All our graduate courses require that students have graduate level standing. Our graduate level statistics course (SOC-R559) requires students to have taken undergraduate statistics with a grade of B- or better. If you’ve never taken undergraduate statistics, you will need to enroll in such a course prior to you taking graduate statistics. Our department offers undergraduate statistics (SOC-R359) every fall and spring semester.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement I must maintain to stay in the program?

Yes, to remain in good academic standing, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA (B average). No grade less than a C will count towards your graduate degree.

Can I do both a thesis and an internship?

Yes.

What kinds of internships have your students completed?

Our students have completed internships in a wide variety of places, including the Damien Center, the Never Alone Project, Girls Inc, the Indiana State Department of Health, as well as research internships for different Centers on campus (e.g., Survey Research Center, the Polis Center, SPEA’s Urban and Health Policy Center.)

What kinds of MA Thesis have your students completed?

Students have completed both qualitative and quantitative Master’s Thesis projects. You can explore those through our library here: Sociology MA Thesis

Is there any kind of teaching training available?

There is no formal training offered through our Department. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at IUPUI offers seminars, workshops and conferences that specifically target graduate students. The IUPUI graduate school also has a Preparing Future Faculty and Professional Program which engages current students in a full range of career options, responsibilities, and mentoring in academic and non-academic careers. Some students have also worked closely with faculty to develop teaching internships for credit.

What is the makeup of the graduate student body?

This varies year to year. Normally our students include a mix of traditional and returning students, part-time and full-time students, gender and racial/ethnic diversity, and occasionally international students.

What kinds of jobs can you get with an MA Degree in Sociology?

MA students from our program attain a wide range of jobs in schools, universities, government agencies, research companies, health departments and non-profit organizations. For a listing of the types of jobs, visit our Sociology Graduate Alumni Page.

Do any of your graduate students continue in PhD Programs?

Yes. Many of our students have been accepted and gone on to study in PhD Sociology programs, such as Wayne State, Ohio State, UC Santa Barbara, Florida State, Penn State, University of Illinois, Georgia State University, University of Cincinnati, Portland State University, Syracuse University, and the University of Hawaii. We have also had students pursue non-sociology graduate degrees (e.g., Law School, Public Health).

Cameron McAlister image“My time at IUPUI provided me the skills and experience necessary to be a competitive applicant to PhD programs. The MA program developed my critical thinking and research abilities through coursework, my thesis, and experience as a research assistant. This helped me gain experience with virtually all aspects of the research process, including publication manuscript development. The courses, research experience, and relationships developed with faculty helped shape my dissertation and current research interests.” – Cameron McAlister, Sociology Ph.D Student, University of Kentucky.

What kind of research activities are available to your graduate students?

In addition to a few competitive positions working as research assistants, some of our students present their research at conferences and are coauthors on faculty publications and reports. The University Graduate School offers travel grants to present research at conferences and students have been involved in service activities and have won awards for their work.

If I have additional questions not answered here, or on your website, or would just like to talk to a real person about your graduate program, who would I contact?

You are welcome to contact our Director of Graduate Studies who will be happy to answer your questions or just visit with you about our program, about IUPUI, the community of Indianapolis, or anything else you might be concerned about. Contact: Prof. Carrie Foote (foote@iupui.edu)

Admissions FAQs

Amy Hemphill image“My M.A. program in the Sociology Department at IUPUI provided me with the knowledge and skills to work as research faculty and then become full-time faculty at Ivy Tech Community College. The opportunity to work as both a Research and a Teaching Assistant was invaluable. I also appreciated the ability to complete coursework in other departments to tailor my degree to my research interests.” – Amy Hemphill MA, Faculty at Ivy Tech Community College

Can I apply to start the program in spring semester?

No. Applicants are accepted for fall semester only. However, you may apply to the Graduate Non-degree program and, if accepted, start taking courses in the spring semester. If you are later admitted to the Sociology MA Degree program, we will consider counting up to 12 credits taken in the Non-Degree program (Grade B or better) towards meeting the requirement of the MA degree. Acceptance in the Non-Degree program does not guarantee admission into the graduate program. For more information visit the non-degree program.

I’m an International Student. How do I apply?

If you are applying as an international student, you will need to apply through the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and they will finalize your admission and assist you with obtaining a visa, if necessary. OIA will conduct a final review of your application to determine that all institutional and USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) requirements have been met. If you are accepted into our program, you will receive an acceptance letter from our department, but your admission will not be final until it is followed by an acceptance letter from OIA.

My bachelor’s degree is not in sociology. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. You don’t have to be sociology major to apply for our graduate program. However, applicants should have completed 5 undergraduate sociology courses, or approved equivalents (for 2 of these 5 courses), with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Successful applicants have come from a wide range of academic backgrounds. Some students enter the program directly from undergraduate institutions, while others enter with a master’s degree or several years of work experience. Regardless of undergraduate academic background, an applicant’s statement of purpose describing current goals, career plans, and reasons for selecting Sociology as a field of study is taken very seriously by our review committee.

How many students do you accept; how competitive is your program?

We have around 15 applicants every year for a cohort of 6-8 students. We receive several strong applications and have a limit on the size of each incoming cohort. As a result the decision-making process is competitive.

What does the admission committee like to see in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should be about your interest in sociology, and why you want to pursue a master’s degree in sociology. You can describe any relevant experience (academic, work, volunteer or paid, or other life experiences) that brings you to apply to our program. We would also like to know the kinds of sociological topics and approaches that interest you and what might make our department a particularly good fit for you.

What should I submit as a writing sample?

Most applicants submit papers they wrote as course term papers, undergraduate theses, or reports they prepared for an internship. Essentially any paper that demonstrates your writing and analytical or theoretical skills is acceptable. Applicants should submit a sample that best reflects the abilities consistent with the goals and mission of the MA program. Papers normally are about 20 double spaced pages. Two shorter papers would also be acceptable.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Get letters from people who can speak most directly to your ability to do graduate work in Sociology. Try to have at least two letters come from sociology professors or professors who have taught you in upper level social science or other liberal arts courses. However, we also realize that some of our applicants have been out of school for such a long time that it would be difficult for them to contact their professors at school. If this is the case, we would still encourage you to contact them. If you simply cannot get hold of them, please ask for recommendation letters from those who you think know about your academic ability to succeed in graduate school.

Is there a cut-off point for the undergraduate GPA?

The IU Graduate School requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, in rare circumstances students have been admitted with a GPA between below 3.0 but at least a 2.8 GPA. We consider each applicant holistically. Other factors, such as your letters of recommendation, writing samples, your GPA in your Sociology courses, or whether you have successfully taken graduate level courses, may affect our admission decision favorably even if your GPA is below the minimum requirement. However, most students accepted to our program recently have had minimum GPAs of 3.3.

Do I need to take the GREs?

No.

What kind of funding is available?

There are a limited number of part-time Department funded research assistant positions that are awarded on a competitive basis. Most students apply for assistance through Financial Aid. Explore the financial aid page here.

When do I find out if I am admitted?

Students who have complete applications by Feb 1 are normally notified within three weeks. Otherwise, you may not hear until soon after the April 15 admission deadline.

I was admitted to the MA program but am unable to attend, can I defer my admission?

Yes, under certain conditions. After you have been admitted, if you would like to defer your admission, contact the Sociology Department’s Director of Graduate Studies about your decision. Some financial aid awards, however, cannot be delayed until a later year, and thus you should consult the department’s Director of Graduate Studies before making a decision to defer.

I applied to the MA Program but was not accepted. Can I apply again?

Yes. We welcome repeat applicants if they have made major efforts to improve their application. Some suggestions for doing this include: taking any required classes that you had not previously completed, engaging in community work related to your interests and the program, improving your writing skills and rewriting your personal statement and/or writing sample.

What is the Non-Degree Graduate Program?

The Graduate Non-Degree (GND) Program is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree, or higher degree, who wish to enroll in graduate courses but not seek a graduate degree. GND students may enroll in graduate courses only, or enroll in a combination of graduate and undergraduate courses in the same semester. Graduate Non-Degree students pay graduate tuition rates. The GND program may be for students who:

  • did not complete their application by the admission deadline,
  • want to take courses in the spring semester prior to being admitted in the fall,
  • want to “test the graduate school waters first”
  • think they do not have enough sociology background for graduate work yet
  • have been out of school for a long time
  • have a low undergraduate GPA

If any of these situations apply to you, think about taking some graduate courses with us as a GND student before you apply. It’s a good way for us to get to know each other and for you to supplement your application. Go to the GND Program to read more about, and apply to, the GND program. Keep in mind that acceptance to the GND program does not guarantee admission into the graduate program. If you are later admitted to the Sociology MA Degree program, we will consider counting up to 12 credits taken in the GND program towards meeting the requirement of the MA degree. Only courses with a B or higher will be considered.

If I have additional questions not answered here, or on your website, or would just like to talk to a real person about your graduate program, whom would I contact?

Contact our Director of Graduate Studies, who will be happy to answer your questions or just visit with you about our program, about IUPUI, the community of Indianapolis, or anything else you might be concerned about. The current Director is: Prof. Carrie Foote (foote@iupui.edu)