Sociology, MA

Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Bruce Western
MA Advisor: Denise Milstein
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

The free-standing MA program in Sociology is designed to provide conceptual and practical research tools for a number of areas in applied sociology. In addition to studying traditional research methods and theoretical perspectives, students investigate and utilize new techniques and models for analyzing issues. Students construct their programs in consultation with the director of graduate studies.

The department emphasizes rigorous training in sociological theory and in research methods. It includes a sequence of required and elective courses on theory and theory construction, designed to acquaint every student with skills necessary for developing social explanations. Required and elective courses in methods and statistics familiarize students with the basic techniques for collecting and analyzing data on social processes. The methods sequence ensures that every student acquires the competence to formulate and test research questions.

The department also participates fully in the interdisciplinary MA Program in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. This MA program trains students in how to apply quantitative methods to problems in the social sciences as they arise in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. The program draws on the diverse strengths of the statistics and social sciences faculties at Columbia and other institutions in the New York metropolitan area. It is designed for students with a strong background in social sciences or quantitative methods who are interested in deepening their analytical skills and broadening their knowledge of the social sciences.

The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) was established in 1999 to serve as the principal organization at Columbia to promote cross-disciplinary collaborative research among social science faculty from throughout the university. The Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences provides an organizational focus for a wide range of workshop seminars and empirical research across the social sciences. Other centers include the Center for Decision Sciences, the Center for Historical Social Science, the Center on Organizational Innovation, the Center for Urban Research and Policy, and the Center for the Study of Wealth and Inequality. The centers host international and domestic visitors, pre- and postdoctoral, in seminars where graduate students work with faculty as coordinators.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper, etc.), and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.