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Graduate Program in Sociology

MA in Sociology


The MA, offered on a full- and part-time basis, is a research degree that emphasizes the attainment of a basic capacity for critical research, analysis, and academic writing. Graduates are capable of taking up social science research in both public and private sector positions or of gaining admission to the best professional and doctoral programs in Canada and abroad. Although the majority of our MA candidates plan to pursue doctoral degrees, others are interested in upgrading professional skills or working in research and public service agencies.

Please note that completion of the MA does not guarantee admission to our doctoral program. Applications from internal MA candidates are reviewed by the program's Admissions Committee in the context of all other applications, and using standards that apply to all PhD applications.  As with all applicants, internal MA applicants must apply directly to the admissions office.  There is no internal application process.


Duration of the MA

Officially the MA program is a one-year program. However, students have up to four years to complete all requirements for the MA degree. Students are allowed a maximum of 1 year, or 3 terms of full-time study at the MA level, after which they must register part-time. During this period, continuous registration must be maintained. The time limit is the same whether one is registered full or part time. The time for completion will be shorter for students who are able to study throughout the summer, and who choose a clear and viable topic early.

Students who begin the program on a full time basis, must register part time if a second, third or fourth year of study is required. Petitions to remain full time will only be granted if the student has extenuating circumstances. Petition forms are available online on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website, http://www.yorku.ca/grads/forms.html.


Requirements of the MA Program

We offer two options leading to the MA degree: the Thesis option and the Research Review Paper option. The Thesis option involves twelve course credits and a research-based Thesis. Students choosing the Research Review Paper option are required to complete eighteen course credits and write a major paper based on a critical review of a body of literature. All students are required to participate in a minimum of twelve weekly workshops.

 

Thesis Option
Students are expected to carry out the original research project planned in their proposal and report the results in appropriate Thesis form (http://www.yorku.ca/grads/policies_procedures/thesis_dissertations_index.html). The Thesis should demonstrate originality and understanding of the topic. Theses are typically 120 to 150 pages long, plus References.

If you are using human participants, attention should be paid to the Senate Policy for the Ethics Review Process for Research Involving Human Participants. This policy states that all university-based research involving human participants, whether funded or non-funded, faculty or student, scholarly, commercial or consultative, is subject to the ethics review process. Students should, therefore, familiarize themselves with (i) the Senate Policy for the Ethics Review Process for Research Involving Human Participants and (ii) the SSHRC/NSERC/CIHR Tri-Council Policy Statement Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Information about these policies can be found on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website (http://www.yorku.ca/grads/policies_procedures/research_ethics.html).

    The following requirements must be met to satisfy the Thesis option:

    Course Requirements.

    For Students  Entering the Program Prior to September 2012

    Completion of two full courses or the equivalent, chosen from 5995 or 6000-level courses. Up to one full course credit can be earned by taking a reading course (Sociology 5900). With the Director's permission, the equivalent of one full graduate course can be taken in another graduate program.

    For Students  Entering the Program Effective September 2012 (pending approval)

    Completion of two full courses or the equivalent, including SOCI 5901 3.0 (Key Debates in Sociologial Theory) and a 3.0 credit course in sociological methods.  Courses which meet the methods requirement are:  6060, 6086, 6090, 6095, 6112, 6120, 6121, 6150.  As the Program is only able to offer a select number of methods courses during any academic year, not all of the coureses which meet the methods requirement will be available for you to enrol.


    The Workshop Requirement. The program organizes a weekly three-hour workshop in the fall and winter terms for graduate students. The workshops take place on Mondays at 11:30 in the Sociology Common Room (2101 Vari Hall). The purpose of the series is to provide students with an orientation to sociology, particularly focusing on the way the discipline is conceptualized and practiced in our program and in the field. A range of intellectual and professional sessions are offered over the course of the year. While some sessions are specifically designed for MA students and others for PhD students, workshops have the same objectives for all students: to showcase faculty and student research, to provide a forum for intellectual exchange, to promote a strong sense of collegiality and engender a sense of community among members of the program. Attendance is required at a minimum of twelve 3-hour weekly workshop sessions, normally within the first year of study. Ideally, this requirement should be met within the first year of study since it is structured to help students move through the program. While this is the formal requirement, students are encouraged to attend all research-related workshops offered by the program.


    Supervisory Committee. At the core of a student's program is the formation of a two-person graduate faculty Supervisory Committee. This committee is a way to establish and maintain close contact with faculty members who share similar orientation and interests. While the committee is particularly important when working on the Thesis, if it is in place early enough, the members can also act as academic advisors. Within the general parameters of program requirements, the Supervisory Committee is largely responsible for advising students on a course of study appropriate to their interests, assessing their work and progress, and for professional mentoring.

     

The specific composition of the Supervisory Committee is in the student's own hands, subject to the Director's approval and general Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations which specify the categories of membership which must be filled. Briefly stated:

    MA Supervisory Committees MUST consist of a minimum of two members from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, one of whom must be from Sociology and will serve as the principal Supervisor. In exceptional circumstances, one additional member, who does not have an appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies MAY be included, but this requires prior approval by the Dean

    .

Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations state that MA students must have a supervisor in place by the end of their first term of study, and a supervisory committee in place no later than their second term of study. Students who do not meet this deadline will be unable to register unless the supervisor and/or supervisory committee has been approved. Students must fill in the Faculty of Graduate Studies Supervisory Committee Approval form and submit it to the program office to in order for their supervisor and committee to be formally approved.

The York Sociology Graduate Assocation, with help from the program members, has developed some guidelines to assist you in both choosing and meeting potential committee members. 

Thesis Proposal. The Thesis proposal must be approved by the Supervisory Committee, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. At least three months before the Thesis defense one copy of the proposal, a signed proposal approval form, signed copies of the human participants research forms, a TCPS tutorial certificate and a copy of the informed consent document (all available at http://www.yorku.ca/grads/policies_procedures/research_ethics.html), must be sent to the program office to be forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for approval.  Thesis proposals must be approved by Faculty of Graduate Studies at least 3 months prior to the thesis defense.

Research Project and Thesis. Carry out a research project and report the results in appropriate Thesis form (http://www.yorku.ca/grads/policies_procedures/thesis_dissertations_index.html). The Thesis should demonstrate originality and understanding of the topic.

Thesis Defense. Students must pass an oral examination on the subject of the Thesis and related questions. When the Thesis is judged examinable by the Supervisory Committee, an Examining Committee is appointed. It consists of the following:

 

  1. two graduate faculty members chosen from the Program and/or supervisory committee, at least one of whom must be from the supervisory committee;
  2. one graduate faculty member at arm's length from the thesis, and normally from outside the Program

Note that the examining committee varies from the composition of the Supervisory Committee.

At least 4 weeks prior to the oral exam date, all paperwork for the defense, as well as 2 copies of the thesis must be deposited in the Program Office.  The paperwork will include the names of all examining committee members as well as the confirmed date of the defense.  Please see the Program's procedures for scheduling a thesis defense for a complete list of instructions.  Forms for the thesis defense can be found at http://www.yorku.ca/grads/forms.html.

There are important deadlines to be observed if you intend to graduate in June or October. Please consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies website in good time (http://www.yorku.ca/mygrad/): THEY WILL NOT BE WAIVED.

Theses written by former students may be consulted, but not removed from the Common Room (2101 Vari Hall).

 

Research Review Paper Option
The research review paper is an in-depth critical analysis and synthesis of sociological research literature, focused on developing an answer to a question that the proposal poses. This paper should be roughly 40-50 pages in length and demonstrate independent work. (Note: it is not meant as a 'mini-thesis' and, therefore, it will not involve a research design or collection of primary data.) It should normally take the equivalent of three months of full-time work to write.

The following requirements must be met to satisfy the MA Research Review Paper option:

Course Requirements.

For Students  Entering the Program Prior to September 2012

Completion of three full courses or the equivalent, chosen from 5995 or 6000-level courses. Up to one full course credit can be earned by taking a reading course (Sociology 5900). With the Director's permission, the equivalent of one full graduate course can be taken in another graduate program.

For Students  Entering the Program Effective September 2012 (pending approval)

Completion of three full courses or the equivalent, including SOCI 5901 3.0 (Key Debates in Sociologial Theory) and a 3.0 credit course in sociological methods.  Courses which meet the methods requirement are:  6060, 6086, 6090, 6095, 6112, 6120, 6121, 6150.  As the Program is only able to offer a select number of methods courses during any academic year, not all of the coureses which meet the methods requirement will be available for you to enrol.

The Workshop Requirement. The program organizes a weekly three-hour workshop in the fall and winter terms for graduate students. The workshops take place on Mondays at 11:30 in the Sociology Common Room (2101 Vari Hall). The purpose of the series is to provide students with an orientation to sociology, particularly focusing on the way the discipline is conceptualized and practiced in our program and in the field. A range of intellectual and professional sessions are offered over the course of the year. While some sessions are specifically designed for MA students and others for PhD students, workshops have the same objectives for all students: to showcase faculty and student research, to provide a forum for intellectual exchange, to promote a strong sense of collegiality and engender a sense of community among members of the program. Attendance is required at a minimum of twelve 3-hour weekly workshop sessions, normally within the first year of study. Ideally, this requirement should be met within the first year of study since it is structured to help students move through the program. While this is the formal requirement, students are encouraged to attend all research-related workshops offered by the program.

Supervisory Committee. At the core of a student's program is the formation of a two-person graduate faculty Supervisory Committee. This committee is a way to establish and maintain close contact with faculty members who share similar orientation and interests. While the committee is particularly important when working on the Research Review Paper, if it is in place early enough, the members can also act as academic advisors. Within the general parameters of program requirements, the Supervisory Committee is largely responsible for advising students on a course of study appropriate to their interests, assessing their work and progress, and for professional mentoring.

The specific composition of the Supervisory Committee is in the student's own hands, subject to the Director's approval and general Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations which specify the categories of membership which must be filled. Briefly stated:

       

    MA Supervisory Committees MUST consist of a minimum of two members from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, one of whom must be from Sociology and will serve as the principal Supervisor. In exceptional circumstances, one additional member, who does not have an appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies MAY be included, but this requires prior approval by the Dean.

Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations state that MA students must have a supervisor in place by the end of their first term of study, and a supervisory committee in place no later than their second term of study. Students who do not meet this deadline will be unable to register unless the supervisor and/or supervisory committee has been approved. Students must fill in the Faculty of Graduate Studies Supervisory Committee Approval form and submit it to the program office to in order for their supervisor and committee to be formally approved.

The York Sociology Graduate Assocation, with help from the program members, has developed some guidelines to assist you in both choosing and meeting potential committee members. 

Research Review Paper Proposal. The research review paper proposal must be approved by the Supervisory Committee. At least three months before the RRP defense one copy of the proposal, and a signed proposal approval form, must be submitted to the program office for approval.  RRP proposals must be approved by your committee members at least 3 months prior to the RRP defense.

Research Review Paper. The paper should be roughly 40 50 pages in length and demonstrate independent work. It should normally take the equivalent of three months full time work to write.

An Oral Examination on the Subject of the Research Review Paper and Related Questions. This is likely to be less formal than a Thesis Oral, since it involves only the members of the Supervisory Committee and the student. The committee may waive the oral examination, however, this should only be done under exceptional circumstances. Once the research review paper and oral exam have been approved by the Supervisory Committee, the student must submit a signed oral exam approval form and a copy of the research review paper to the program office.

Please see the programs instructions on how to schedule a research review paper defense.

There are important deadlines to be observed if you intend to graduate in June or October. Please consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies website (http://www.yorku.ca/mygrad/) in good time: THEY WILL NOT BE WAIVED.

Research Review Papers written by former students may be consulted, but not borrowed from the Sociology Common Room (2101 Vari Hall)


Advancement from MA to PhD

Internal MA students must apply to the PhD program in the same manner as all other external applicants.  As is the case with all external applications, internal applicants will be reviewed by the program's Admissions Committee in the context of all other applications, and using standards that apply to all candidates to the program. Please note that advancement to our PhD program is NOT assured by completion of the MA .