The Graduate Program in Sociology provides a solid grounding in sociological theory and research methods. The training provided by a talented and experienced faculty serves as excellent preparation either for further graduate work or for immediate employment in social research and related types of jobs.
Washington, D.C. is an exciting city that enriches the lives of GW students in multiple ways. The city offers a rich social laboratory in which students can acquire and develop new skills in sociological observation and analysis. The wide array of government agencies, advocacy organizations, and think tanks headquartered in Washington gives students opportunities to secure internships and jobs in which they can apply their newly acquired sociological skills. Graduates of our MA program are in high demand, and many find long-term jobs in agencies and firms in which they interned or were employed during their student days.
The Sociology Department offers several options for graduate education summarized below. For fuller information check out the Master's Program Handbook (pdf file).
Master of Arts in Sociology
The MA in Sociology provides a solid grounding the follow areas of specialization:
- social inequality
- urban sociology
Master of Arts in Criminology
A joint with program with the Forensics Department, the MA in Criminology combines training in:
- traditional criminology
- criminal justice
- forensic sciences
Affiliated Program: PhD in Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy (Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration)
The PhD in Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy is offered through the Institute of Public Policy. Many of the courses offered in this latter track of study are housed within the Sociology Department, and the main field advisors for the PhD program in Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy are Sociology professors.
To apply for admission to the Graduate Program, you may click here. The Department requires a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, full undergraduate transcripts, scores from the GRE, and a writing sample.
A note on the statement of purpose: This statement should reflect your preparation for graduate study in sociology or criminology and the fit between your intellectual interests and our departmental strengths.
A note on letters of recommendation: Letters should address the quality of your performance on items required for graduate study such as critical thinking skills, writing skills, organizational aptitude, interest in the field, eagerness, and the ability to carry tasks through to completion. While the Department will accept letters from employers, recommendations from professors who are familiar with applicants' academic abilities tend to carry more weight.
A note on the writing sample: The sole function of the writing sample in your application is the demonstration of your writing ability. The content and form of the sample are not as important as the quality of the writing. Course papers are appropriate, as are other genres. If you would like to demonstrate your expertise in a particular subject area, the writing sample provides the opportunity for you to do so, but this is not a requirement.
Teaching and Research Assistantships
The Department of Sociology awards teaching assistantships on a competitive basis for students pursuing MA degrees in Sociology and Criminology. Research assistantships are available on individual faculty members' grants. Applicants who want to be considered for teaching or research assistantships must submit their applications to the Columbian College prior to February 1.