Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

Core Courses

All students must complete the following courses in a satisfactory manner:

  • SOC 5050 - Proseminar in Sociology (Students are required to take this course in their first semester.)
  • SOC 5070 - Seminar: Research Methods
  • SOC 5160 - Seminar: Social Theory II

Students who have not taken an undergraduate course in Social Theory are also required to take SOC 5150-1 credit Seminar in Social Theory I.

Students who have not taken an undergraduate course in Social Statistics are also required to take 5020-1 credit Proseminar in Social Statistics.

AND one of the advanced methods electives:

  • SOC 5170 - Advanced Statistics and Research
  • OR SOC 5180 - Community Organization and Analysis (Ethnographic Methods)
  • OR SOC 5200 - Program Evaluation*
  • OR SOC 5370 - Sociology of Media and Popular Culture (Content Analysis)*
  • OR SOC 5550 - Sociology of the Family
  • OR SOC 5830 - Race and Ethnic Relations (Participant Observation)
  • OR SOC 5950 - Inequality, Crime, & Justice (life Narratives)*

* These courses are only available as an advanced elective for students that began the program prior to fall of 2023

Elective Courses

In addition to the core courses, students will complete at least 19 units of elective coursework. These classes allow students to build their expertise in substantive areas, sociological theory, and research methods.

Students can have up to six units of cognate coursework taken outside of the Sociology Department at UCCS applied to their elective credits. The student must send the syllabus for each course to the Graduate Director for review and acceptance prior to enrolling in the class(es). If a student feels additional coursework outside of the Sociology Department is necessary to their academic and professional goals, then they can petition the Graduate Director for an additional three units prior to enrolling in the class.

In all courses, no grade lower than a B will count toward the Master's degree.

No course can receive graduate credit twice, this includes 4000/5000 level courses previously taken in the program as an undergraduate and the Teaching Practicum.

Course Load Policy

To help ensure the success of graduate students, the UCCS Sociology department requires students enroll in no more than ten (10) credit hours per semester. Students who desire to take more than ten credit hours will need to meet with the Graduate Director for approval.

Transfer Credits

No more than eight (8) semester hours from other accredited institutions or in non-degree coursework may be transferred toward the master's degree in Sociology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. All transfer credits must be cognate to Sociology and approved by the Sociology Department and the Graduate School by the beginning of the semester prior to that in which the student will graduate. All transfer credit hours must be graduate credit hours and completed within six years of the start of course work. If a student completes a graduate course at another institution and wants to transfer the credits into the UCCS Sociology program, the course term for the transfer credits at the other institution is considered the start date of course work. Work done earlier will not be accepted for the degree unless validated by a special examination covering the content areas of the course.

Plagiarism Policy

According to the UCCS LAS Plagiarism Policy, plagiarism is the use of distinctive ideas or words belonging to another person, without adequately acknowledging that person's contribution.

Below is the UCCS sociology's departmental policy regarding plagiarism: 

  • First offense-the professor has the discretion to at the minimum assign zero points for the assignment and report the offense to the Dean's office.
  • Second offense-a student will fail the course and be placed on departmental probation. 
  • Third offense-will result in a student's expulsion from the graduate sociology program.  

General Requirements

There are two options for completing the requirements for the degree:

Plan I- Thesis

Plan I students must complete a total of 24 hours of approved course work, including the required courses, plus an acceptable thesis for 6 hours of credit.

Plan II - Non-Thesis

Plan II students must complete a total of 30 hours of approved course work, including the required core sociology courses and are encouraged to develop individualized areas of concentration with the elective credits. Elective coursework may include approved courses from other UCCS Graduate programs, for example: the Graduate School of Public Affairs, Applied Geography, Communications, Business and the College of Education.

Advisory Committee, Thesis Advisor, and Examination Committee

Each student must select a graduate faculty member within the Department as his or her Advisor. This should be done as early as possible during the first semester of graduate work. 

Independent Coursework Option

Students may earn a maximum of six graduate credits toward the Master's degree in independent coursework.  "Independent coursework" includes Independent Study (SOC 9500), Teaching Practicum (SOC 5100), Research Practicum (SOC 5090) and Internship in Applied Sociology (SOC 5560).  It does not include Master's Thesis credits (SOC 7000).  Students can only take 3 credit hours of independent study each semester/summer session.  In addition, each 3 credit hour session must be significantly different from each other and students must sign a contract stipulating workload requirements (i.e. readings, research expectations, assignments and due dates) with the faculty member overseeing the independent study.


In all graduate sociology courses students must earn a B or better, the only exception are provisional classes which we require students to pass with a B+ or better, no grade lower than B in a course that meets a requirement for the master's degree will count toward that degree. Required courses may only be taken twice. Candidates must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in their graduate courses or face departmental probation. In addition to overall cumulative grade point average, students will be placed on departmental probation when at least two of the following are evident: receiving a B- or lower in a single course, excessive use of withdrawals, academic integrity concerns, or excessive use of Incompletes. If a student does not meet the conditions of the academic probation, it will be considered grounds for dismissal from the program.

If a graduate student earns a grade of B- or lower, they are required to meet with the Graduate Director to write out an action plan. If a second grade of B- or lower is earned, it will be considered grounds for dismissal from the program

According to the Policy and Procedures of the Graduate School, coursework receiving a grade of less than B will not be counted toward any graduate degree. A student who receives a grade below B in a course may repeat that course once, upon approval of the program director, provided the course has not been previously applied toward a degree. The grade received in a repeated course will substitute for the original grade and only the latter grade will be used in calculating the Graduate Program grade point average required for graduation. However, all grades received will appear on the student's transcript.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades of "I" will convert to "F" if the work is not completed within the one-year maximum period (no extensions are approved beyond the one-year time limit) according to University Policy. Students cannot have more than two outstanding incompletes. A student who has three incompletes or more will not be allowed to register for any course the next semester.

Withdrawal Policy

 If a student wishes to withdraw from all classes for a semester, he or she may fill out a Withdrawal Form, available from the LAS Dean's Office or from Admissions and Records. This form requires signatures of all course instructors and/or the signature of the Associate Dean. The Bursar and Financial Aid Officer (if applicable) must also sign this form before it is processed. 

Deadlines associated with this form are listed each semester in the Schedule of Courses. 

The sociology department allows students to withdraw from two courses.  Withdrawing from more than two courses can lead to a student's dismissal from the sociology graduate program.  If a student must withdraw from more than two courses, they can get an exemption but the student will need to meet with the graduate director.   In some situations, it is sometimes in the best interest of the student that they take a leave of absence and return when the medical/family issue is resolved. 

Time Limit

All requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Sociology must be completed within five years or six successive summers. This is effective from the fall semester 2005 forward.

Sociology Graduate Student Satisfactory Academic Review Policy Required Examinations

All MA students must pass the Preliminary and Qualifying Examinations and either a Thesis Defense or a Comprehensive Examination, as defined below.

The Preliminary Examination

Students' progress will be reviewed after completion of the first 6 hours of graduate level courses to ensure adequate qualifications to proceed in the program. Students will be notified of the results of this review process and appropriate recommendations for further progress will be included.

The Qualifying Examination

After completing 18 graduate hours, including the required core sociology courses, students must prepare an Admission to Candidacy form (available from Rosemary Kelbel, Graduate Program Coordinator). 

The student's academic record will be reviewed and a plan for either a thesis (Plan I) or course work (Plan II) must be approved to continue in the program. If problems are identified, appropriate steps will be specified in order to become a candidate for degree.

Plan I: Thesis Defense

As the first step in pursuing the Master's Thesis track, the student will select a Thesis Committee, which consists of a minimum of three graduate faculty members (an additional member may be included from outside the Department). Under the direct supervision of the Thesis Chair, the student will develop a Master's Thesis Proposal. After the Proposal is approved by all members of the committee, the student will complete the research and writing of the thesis. This committee, with the approval of the UCCS Dean of the Graduate School shall serve as the student's examination committee for the Master's Thesis Defense. Upon completion of the Master's Thesis and approval of each member of the committee a defense is scheduled. The goal of the defense is to provide for a thorough discussion of the thesis project, and exploration of issues and implications for continued research in the thesis topic. Please review the attached Thesis Timeline for guidelines in planning your thesis and the attached Master's Thesis Proposal Outline.  Additionally please review the Thesis Manual.  This Manual and other important forms are available on the UCCS Graduate School website


Plan II: Sociology Comprehensive Examination

Students that elect to take the Sociology Comprehensive Examination will be tested on core knowledge areas of the discipline. To take the comprehensive examination, students must submit their intention to graduate on or before the first day of classes in the semester they intend to complete the degree. The department will select a committee of three graduate faculty members, to be kept anonymous from the student, to create the questions and review their answers. On Monday of week 9 of the semester, questions will be dispersed to the students. They must select 4 of 6 questions and write a 4 - 5 page response to each question. Students will have two weeks to complete the essays (due Monday of Week 11). Essays must be submitted through Canvas and run through “Turn it in”. If the work is approved, then the student will “advance to the oral examination”. An oral examination of their essays will occur in week 14. Please see the Guide to Taking Sociology Comprehensive Examination for full and complete details on the Sociology Comprehensive Examination.

Aligned Majors

The sociology graduate program will accept aligned majors from Anthropology, Geography and WEST.  These students do not need to complete any additional courses beyond the four we already require to submit the Intent application.