The MA degree is driven by one-on-one teamwork with a faculty member. Students complete a set of core courses in upper level sociology and either a thesis based on original research or report on an internship. A total of 33 credit hours are required; 27 of which are coursework and 6 are for the thesis or internship report. By design, the program provides a coherent, progressive educational experience that equips students for entry into master’s level careers or Ph.D. programs. 

MA Program Strengths

  • Emphasis on Methodology - This program distinguishes itself, in part, by its strong emphasis on methodology.  All students are required to take 9 credit hours of research methodology and analysis (Research Methods, Quantitative Data Analysis, and Qualitative Data Analysis).
  • An Urban Enviornment - Students in CU Denver's MA program in Sociology benefit from studying in a fast-growing and dynamic city that provides a natural classroom for teaching our specialties: Health & Society; Crime, Law & Deviance; and, Family & Social Services.
  • Institutional Connections - Our proximity and connection to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (AMC) offers training opportunities that are facilitated by engagement of departmental faculty with AMC medical researchers. In addition, strong integration of our faculty with the CU Denver campus community supports collaborative teaching and training efforts with faculty in the Departments of Geography, Anthropology, and Health & Behavioral Sciences.

Substantive Concentrations

In addition to education and training for sociology generalists, the program offers concentrations in three substantive areas.  To receive an area concentration, students must successfully complete three courses within the area.  Eligible courses are either within or outside the department, but the student may only take two courses outside the department. 

The 3 areas of concentration are...

Crime, Law, and Deviance

The focus of this concentration is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of criminology including the social construction of laws, the causes of crime, reactions to law violations, and the prevention, control, and treatment of crime.  Additionally, the program teaches students how deviant categories are created, how groups gain control over social definitions, and the consequences these definitions have in the form of norms, laws, and social sanctions.  The concentration on crime, law, and deviance also focuses on how legal systems maintain and reproduces social inequalities.  This offers an essential foundation for students pursuing careers in criminal justice, victim and community services, criminal law, and non-profit organizations in local and international contexts.  Students may ultimately use this degree to conduct social research on crime, influence public policy, and inform government decisions about crime and law. 

Health and Society

Enhancing the health and quality of life for individuals and communities are central goals to societies the world over. Health and medical sociology is a subfield devoted to the study of population health, health care systems and policy, and the social dimensions of illness and healing. Health and medical sociologists study the causes of health inequalities, social constructions of health and illness, origins of medical authority, doctor-patient relationships, community influences on health, and the social forces that affect policy. The Sociology Department’s MA concentration in Health and Society provides training in the core research methodologies and theories of medical sociology, examining individual experience, institutional structures, laws and policies that affect health, and broader systems of inequality that lead to unequal rates of illness and access to care. This area of concentration provides in-depth training and is ideal for students interested in further graduate-level study and social research on health and medicine as well as those interested in careers in public health, health care services, and non-profit organizations. 

Family, Social Services, and Community

Families play a significant part in individuals’ lives and society.  At the micro or interpersonal level they are a setting for small-group processes such as socialization, conflict, communication and intimacy. At the meso or institutional level they interact with other major social institutions including those affecting education, law, healthcare, religion, the economy, criminal justice, and welfare. At the macro or structural level, the family—in its varied and diverse forms also is key to understanding how inequality is experienced and reproduced in society. The interplay of these multiple levels—the micro or interpersonal, the meso or institutional, and the macro or structural—is important as well as individuals influence social structures and institutions, and the latter, in turn, affect family interactions and relationships.  This concentration provides in depth understanding of the complex role of families and family members at multiple levels, as well as the social systems, organizations and communities responsible for supporting families and individuals.