The MA Program requires two years of graduate study and is expected to lead onward to the PhD. Appropriate background for entry to the master's program includes courses in sociological theory, research methods, and statistics plus nine additional hours of coursework in sociology. Exceptionally qualified candidates (as evaluated from their GRE scores and other components of their application packages) with less background in sociology may be accepted into the program.
The MA degree requirements are based on the philosophy that the MA program should be broad in its orientation. Successful completion of the degree provides students with a background to enter the PhD program in sociology at LSU or elsewhere. Minimum course requirements are 36 hours of graduate work. Core courses (theory, methods, and statistics) should be completed in the first year. See details concerning credit-hours and the course sequence under Graduate Course Requirements.
Students may be permitted to transfer up to six hours of coursework at the graduate level from another institution. To petition for credit transfer the student must have completed the first nine hours of graduate residence at LSU with no grade lower than a B.
After satisfying coursework requirements, a master's degree is conferred upon completion of either an empirical research paper or a master’s thesis, to be defended before the student’s MA committee.
The student's MA Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members from sociology department. The student may substitute one of them for a graduate faculty member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or graduate advisor. At least one of the committee members has to be a full graduate faculty. A faculty member may decline an invitation to join a committee, in which case the student will invite an alternative faculty member. If the student has a minor field, a representative from the minor department must also be on the committee.
Before the final semester (generally the spring semester of the second year), the student must decide whether s/he will write an empirical research paper or an MA thesis. If writing an empirical research paper, the student may elect to take SOCL 8900 (Research in Sociology), although taking these credits is not a requirement. If writing an MA thesis, the student must take six hours of SOCL 8000 (MA Thesis Research), supervised by a faculty member who will serve as the chair of the student's committee. The faculty member must agree to the content of the research paper or thesis before the student is permitted to enroll in the course. An oral examination is required in accordance with normal procedures of the Graduate School.
Final Exam for the MA Degree: Defense of Thesis or Empirical Paper
The final exam for the MA degree is the defense of the thesis or empirical paper. To graduate with a MA degree, the student must submit the following two documents together to the Graduate School:
a. Application for Degree ( http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11985.pdf ) and
b. Request for Master's Examination ( http://gradlsu.gs.lsu.edu/files/item11986.pdf ).
They must be submitted by the deadline (late January, late August, or early June for Spring, Fall, or Summer, respectively). In addition, Request for Master's Examination must be submitted three weeks prior to the date of the exam. The empirical paper or thesis must be submitted to the student's committee at least two weeks prior to its defense (Final Exam).
At the Final Exam, the committee chair or the graduate secretary has to prepare the Exam Report ( http://gradschool.lsu.edu/files/item11828.pdf ). In addition, for MA with Thesis only, Master's Examination and Thesis Report ( http://gradschool.lsu.edu/files/item11829.pdf ) must be signed by the committee members. These forms need to be submitted by late April or early November for the degree to be awarded at the end of the semester. Consult the Graduate School calendar to determine the latest possible date to file in order to graduate in a particular semester.
Graduate students, at the request of the graduate director, will submit an annual report summarizing their academic activities during the past year.