This page is meant to give general information about pursuing sociology as part of the MAIS (as minor area), as well as to help you through the process of applying for admission and moving through the graduate degree.

  1. General overview of Sociology as part of the MAIS
  2. How do I apply for Admission with an emphasis in sociology?
  3. How will I know if/when I am admitted?
  4. Planning your coursework for the MAIS
  5. Getting ready to do a Thesis or Research Paper
  6. Graduation

You can find more detail on admissions criteria and procedures at the OSU Graduate School website and the website for the MAIS degree.

If you have specific questions about admission to the Sociology Program, contact the Program Coordinator, Sally K. Gallagher,

General overview of Sociology as part of the MAIS

The Sociology Program does not accommodate requests to declare sociology as a major area in the MAIS program, but on a quarterly basis it does review and accept qualified students wishing to declare sociology as a minor area of study. If a student requests to declare two minor fields in sociology, the areas of concentration within the program must be different. Sociology offers four fields of concentration:

  • Environmental and Natural Resources
  • International Sociology
  • Social Policy

When students apply for a minor field in Sociology, they must specify the area(s) of concentration (from the above list).

To ensure that students have adequately explored how the Sociology Program can contribute to their inter-disciplinary graduate education, and to ensure that the department has adequate personnel to assist students, prospective students, prior to applying, should first directly contact prospective committee members from among the Sociology faculty to inquire about their willingness to serve as a committee member. Faculty interests and expertise are indicated on the Faculty page of this website. With this provisional approval secured from the faculty member, students should then proceed with the normal MAIS application process (See: ).  Applicants should indicate in their statement of purpose which Sociology professor has agreed to serve.  Note that if two minor areas of Sociology are declared, then two Sociology faculty must be on the committee.

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How do I apply for Admission with an emphasis in Sociology?

All students interested in applying for admission to the MAIS with a minor area in sociology must contact the Program Coordinator for the Sociology Program prior to doing so.

There are three relevant issues to be aware of when you apply: admission standards for the university and departments, the application materials required, and the timeline for application and admission. Note that international students have additional requirements for the application process and standards for admission.

  1. Admission Standards

    It is important to know what the admissions standards are before you apply. The university sets general standards for all students. However, the Sociology Program has additional requirements that must also be met.

    The Graduate School processes and evaluates graduate applications according to admission standards, including:

    • A four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and
    • A combined GPA of 3.00 on the last 90 quarter credit hours of graded undergraduate work on the first baccalaureate degree plus all work completed thereafter.
    • For international students, a minimum TOEFL score is required (550 for the written version, 213 for the electronically administered version).

    In addition to these, the Sociology Program also has some additional standards for admission:

    • For those selecting a minor area in sociology, we expect the student to have had coursework in theory and/or methods in relevant social science disciplines (sociology, psychology, economics, political science, or anthropology).

    If a student has not had the required background in sociology/social science, but does meet university standards, the department may give a "provisional admission." This would require the student to enroll in one or more sociology classes before beginning graduate study. The student would be required to earn a grade of B or higher in these courses.

    There is further detail available on Standards for Admission in the Graduate Catalog

  2. Application Process

    Applying for admission is described in detail on the OSU Graduate School website.  An electronic application is also available. Or at their mailing address: Graduate School
    Oregon State University, 300 Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-2106

  3. Timeline for Admission Process:  The Sociology Program reviews applications for admission once a quarter during the academic year (September 16 to June 15). The following scheduled should be used for applications:

  1. Term You Want to Begin Classes Deadline for Receipt of ALL Materials To the Sociology Program *
    Fall May 15
    Winter Nov 15
    Spring Feb 15

    * It is imperative that ALL materials reach the program by this date. So submit materials to the Graduate School in advance of this date. Incomplete applications will be deferred until complete.

    Be aware that if you change your program in any way after it is submitted (e.g., changing major and/or minor areas), this is treated as a new application and may not be reviewed until the following quarter.

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How will I know if/when I am admitted?

You will receive a letter from the Program when we receive your application. In that letter we will indicate if the application is complete, of if there are materials missing. The Graduate Admissions Committee cannot review your application until it is complete.

The Graduate Admissions Committee of the Sociology Program meets once per term (November 15, February 15, and May 15). The committee reviews the materials from students only if they have met the university's standards for admission and if applications are complete. We make a recommendation to the Program Coordinator based on the following:

  1. Does the applicant meet university and department standards? If not, would a provisional admit be advisable?
  2. Does the program have the coursework to help meet the student's program needs?
  3. Does the program have available faculty to meet the student's program needs?

After the Committee makes its recommendations, the Program Coordinator will contact the student with a decision. A letter will also be sent from the Graduate School. If a student does not hear from the Program within one month of our receipt of a complete application, please contact Program Coordinator, Sally K. Gallagher

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Planning your coursework for the MAIS.

When you receive a letter of acceptance from the Sociology Program you should contact the faculty member who has agreed to serve on your committee.


    In addition to meeting with the student's major advisor in the program listed as the major area of concentration, the student should contact the sociology faculty member(s) on the committee. At this meeting you will get help on selecting appropriate courses for the minor area(s) of concentration you have chosen. Your sociology committee member/s will also be interested in any early thoughts on your ideas for a thesis or research paper.

    Students should review the "Graduate School Guide to Success" available at the Graduate School office in Kerr Administration or online. This guide sets out important timelines necessary to remember on the way to graduation. One critical and early deadline:

  • Before the completion of 18 credits of graduate coursework, the student must file a program with the Graduate School. The student is required to form a committee consisting of four faculty members: one representing each substantive field of study, plus one Graduate Council Representative.

Note: The 18 hour rule is in force for the initial filing of a program. Students can (with the approval from affected units) change their programs (including their areas of concentration and departmental affiliations) after filing the initial program.

You can obtain the forms for filing a program online. Plan on meeting with your advisor each term.


    MAIS students with a secondary area in Sociology must complete a minimum of 9 credits in Sociology. The MAIS program requires that students complete 9 units in each of the three fields; at least 12 credits in the College of Liberal Arts; and no more than 21 credits in any one field unless the 45 credit total has been exceeded.

    Also, MAIS students with a secondary area in sociology are required to take EITHER a "theory-based" OR a "methods-based" course. Courses can be selected from the following:

    • Theory-based courses:
      • SOC 513, Sociological Theory
      • SOC 521, Social Change
      • SOC 524, Social Psychology
      • SOC 526, Social Inequality
      • SOC 522, Sociology of Organizations
      • SOC 599 (Topical courses; by permission)
    • Methods-based courses:
      • SOC 518, Qualitative Sociology
      • SOC 519, Applied Research Methods

    Reminder: All students must meet the prerequisites for these courses.

    1. Specific information regarding allowable transfer credits can be found in the Graduate Catalog under Rules and Regulations.
    2. In addition, the Department of Sociology requires that:
      1. Students with a minor in Sociology take a minimum of three (3) sociology credits in residence.
      2. If students have two declared areas in Sociology, they must meet the requirement for each area.

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Getting ready to do a Thesis or Research Paper.

Discuss the options of a thesis versus research paper with your major professor and with your sociology minor committee member. Once you have decided on an option, you will need to observe the appropriate guidelines.

For a Thesis (Thesis Option).

You need to write a Thesis Proposal and present it to your committee. The thesis proposal can be presented at your Program Committee meeting (required prior to the completion of 18 credits). However, if you do not have a thesis idea formulated at this point, you should plan on a second meeting with the representatives of your three substantive areas to discuss your thesis plan. Remember that the thesis option requires that you integrate your three areas of study into your project.

Theses must follow Graduate School guidelines. Obtain the style guide from the OSU Bookstore or from the Graduate School website.

For Students Completing a Research Paper (Project Option).

A meeting of your graduate committee is not required for a Research Paper proposal. A student selecting this option works primarily with the major professor (Graduate Committee Chair). Criteria for style and organization of the research paper are at the discretion of the major professor. However, it is strongly recommended that once the major professor accepts a proposal for a research paper the student then distribute it to all committee members for feedback.

When completed, both the thesis and the research paper must be presented before the student's committee for approval. Students must follow Graduate School Procedure on scheduling the final defense

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Oregon State University holds a spring commencement each year for those obtaining advanced degrees at any time during the previous academic year. Deadlines for application and receipt of degrees are found here.

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