Overview

A master’s degree in sociology prepares graduates for meaningful, rewarding careers that focus on the betterment of society as a whole. Professionals with an advanced understanding of human culture and how humans interact with one another are in high demand right now. Sociologists develop a great insight into how society works, which puts them in a position to greatly help the people they work with. If you care deeply about people, work well with others, and want a career centered around making the world a better place to live in for all human beings, then a master’s in sociology could be a perfect fit.

While courses vary from school to school, students can expect core classes such as methods in sociology, sociology of religion, economic sociology, and macro organizational theory. Many programs will culminate in a capstone project that allows students to conduct their own research and present their findings. Graduates will come away with an advanced understanding of how society works and how they can help create a more just society for all.

There are several options for professionals with their master’s degree. Many graduates become community service managers or social workers. They can also work as substance abuse counselors, teachers, and training and development specialists.

Online degrees are accepted by most employers. Many well-respected institutions offer degrees in sociology online.

Yes, many schools offer online programs in sociology. That said, it is essential to find a program that is accredited.

A master’s degree in sociology usually takes about two years to complete. However, programs that follow a cohort format can take longer.

Definitely. While sociology is certainly not the most lucrative field, professionals with their master’s often make more money than their counterparts with only a bachelor’s. More experiences sociologists also tend to earn higher salaries. More importantly, sociologists spend their lives helping people. Their essential work makes our world a better place to live in.

Sociology is a necessary profession. There will always be a need for highly-qualified, highly-dedicated professionals who strive to help people and change the world for the better. Sociologists may not always make a great amount of money, but they do make a great impact in the lives of the people they work with.

Best Online Masters in Sociology Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Sociology program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 10 best online Sociology programs.

Read about our methodology here.
Graduation Rate
59%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$925 per credit
Most Unique

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a unique master's degree program in digital sociology, a one-of-a-kind program that provides a better understanding of how diverse groups experience and interact in the digital world. Students in this program develop the technological and theoretical skills to better understand digital media and how it affects human behavior and social relationships.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master's of Science in Sociology
Available Concentrations: Digital sociology
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 36 credit

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: August 23, 2018; Spring:January 14, 2019;

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 29, 2018; Spring:January 25, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

827 West Franklin Street

Richmond, VA 23284

804-828-6916

Graduation Rate
56%
School Type
Public
Tuition
$441 per credit
Best Value

The University of Alabama's master's degree program in sociology is a great value in terms of tuition and accessibility. With no GRE or GMAT required and no out-of-state tuition price hikes, this program is designed for professionals and caters to their career needs while eliminating the roadblocks as they work toward their master's degrees.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts and Sciences
Program Name: MA in Applied Sociology
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's or master's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 units

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: 27, 2018; Spring: January 7, 2019; Summer: May 6, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: 20, 2018; January 2, 2019;
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Dr. Cullen Clark

Admissions Contact

Address:

1401 University Blvd

Birmingham, AL 35233

205-934-3307

School Type
Public
Tuition
$522 per credit
Best in Sociology Education

Arizona State is a leader in academics and provides the best sociology program for practitioners who want to advance their careers as leaders in their chosen field. Students in ASU's Master of Arts in Sociology program benefit from an innovative curriculum, expert instruction, flexible scheduling and practical coursework to develop their skills and leadership abilities.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Sociology
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's or master's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credit

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: January 7, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: November 1; Fall: May 1; Summer: Febuary 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Tempe, AZ 85281

480-965-7788

School Type
Public
Tuition
$253 per credit
Best Virtual Campus

New Mexico State University offers online students the best virtual learning experience, offering the same courses, faculty and resources that on-campus students enjoy. With the online master's in sociology program, distance learners can work at their own pace and customize the program to meet their personal needs and career goals.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Sociology
Program Name: M.A. in Sociology
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: August

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

Corner of Stewart & Williams

Las Cruces, NM 88003

575-646-3121

School Type
Public
Tuition
$451 per credit
Best in Community Development

South Dakota State University offers an exceptional Master of Science in Sociology program with an emphasis in community development. Through this program, students have the opportunity to study with leading educators and researchers, developing the skills to enact positive change in their communities and surrounding areas.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Sociology - Community Development (M.S.)
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate
Credit Requirements: 36 Credit Hours

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: April 15; Spring: October 15
GPA: 3.25

Address:

1175 Medary Ave

Brookings, SD 57006

605-688-4181

School Type
Public
Tuition
$765 per credit
Best in Personalized Instruction

Sam Houston State University offers an individualized learning experience in its master's in sociology program. Small class sizes make the experience even better, providing greater interactivity and collaboration between peers and fantastic one-on-one support from faculty members.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Sociology
Program Name: Master of Arts Sociology
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Spring: January 16, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1 Financial Plaza, Suite 100

Huntsville, TX 77340

936-294-1971

School Type
Public
Tuition
$570 per credit
Best in Career Development

Morehead State University focuses on its students' career development through a rigorous curriculum that's designed to advance their careers in such areas as teaching, social and environmental activism, chemical dependency counseling, and more. Students in the master's in sociology program also benefit from the school's invaluable career services, which offer everything from career planning to internship placement.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Sociology
Available Concentrations: General sociology, Criminology, Chemical dependency, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: BA in sociology or related field
Credit Requirements: 30 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: August 2019; Spring: January 2020

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0 in sociology or related courses, 2.75 overall GPA
GRE: Not required

Address:

701 Ginger Hall

Morehead, KY 40351

606-783-2039

School Type
Public
Tuition
$625 per credit
Most Comprehensive

Texas A&M University - Commerce offers a comprehensive master's degree program in sociology, covering everything from advanced research methodology to data analysis in social sciences. Graduates emerge with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers as social workers, community development workers and other roles to better serve society.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
Program Name: Master in Sociology
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Master's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credit

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: October 31, 2018
GPA: 3.0

Address:

2600 South Neal Street

Commerce, TX 75428

903-886-5163

School Type
Private
Tuition
$430 per credit
Best in Advanced Training

Fayetteville State University provides advanced training for professionals who want to earn their master's degrees in sociology. This program takes students on a journey through advanced courses and practical applications to prepare them for social scientist positions in research departments, government administration and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Arts and Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Sociology
Accrediting Body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Master's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credit

Program LengthProgram Options: Full time
Program Length: 1-2 years
Program start dates: Summer: June 4, 2018

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: March 23, 2018
GPA: 2.75

Address:

1200 Murchison Road

Fayetteville, NC 28301

910-672-1371

School Type
Private
Tuition
$620 per credit
Most Flexible

Ashford University offers a highly flexible master's degree program in sociology, giving students the freedom to complete coursework online at their own pace. Students can enroll in the online program and continue their full-time employment while earning their master's degrees for career advancement.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Public Sociology
Accrediting Body: Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degrees
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1310 19th Ave. NW

Clinton, IA 52732

866-711-1700

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Sociology Program?

An online master’s in sociology combines academic training and independent research to analyze the impact of race, ethnicity, gender and social class on social relationships and life chances. An online degree offers flexibility and offers better time management for those who continue to work while going to school. All online programs have something unique to offer, so it’s important to research your options to find one that best aligns with your current career goals and needs.

Degrees Offered for an Online Master’s in Sociology

CONCENTRATIONDESCRIPTIONCAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Population and DevelopmentThis concentration focuses on the population and development of existing societies and developing nations. An emphasis is placed on how food, sustainability, fertility and population movements affect new communities.Project manager, study manager, city planner, corrections officer and academic coordinator
Rural and Environmental SociologyThis concentration places an emphasis on environmental equity and sustainability.Prevention specialist, education outreach, climate and energy policymaker, online adjunct professor
CriminologyA concentration on criminology focuses on the theories behind criminals and the crimes they commit.Corrections officer, detective, loss prevention specialist and forensic science technician
Political Economy and GlobalizationThis focuses on the growth of political systems in both size and complexity around the world.Civil service worker, humanitarian relief worker and international relations specialist

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Sociology

A master’s degree in sociology requires a blend of core classes, electives and a capstone course. The type of classes you must choose from depends on your concentration and where you choose to go to school. Make sure the program you choose aligns with your future career goals. Also, check to see how the classes are offered. Some programs require specific classes to be taken in person while other programs are all online.

  • Sociology of religion covers how religion impacts society through the use of religious symbols, languages, practices and communities. The class also focuses on both new and established religious culture and how they affect cultures

  • Economic sociology looks at some of the most controversial issues in society, including modernization, capitalism and the development of new societies

  • Macro organizational theory focuses on the start, repair and decline of organizations in human culture. This is a capstone course for many students

  • Methods in sociology introduces the methods used in sociological research. It also introduces students to this type of research and prepares them for capstone courses

  • Fundamentals of ethnomethodology examines social processes and cultural norms that support genders, race, culture and other social phenomena

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Sociology?

The time it takes to complete a master’s degree in sociology is one to three years when taking classes full-time. Several factors can affect the length of time for completion, including the chosen concentration and whether you choose self-paced or cohort learning. With cohort learning, you enter the graduate program with a group of other students. Classes are introduced once every one to two years. All members who started together complete the degree at the same time. In self-paced programs, you choose how fast or how slow you take classes. Individuals in self-paced programs may finish early.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Sociology Prepares For

CONCENTRATIONCERTIFICATION
Certified Clinical SociologistAwarded by the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS), the certification for clinical sociologists indicates that certified professionals have reviewed your background, ethics, skills and attitude and hold you to the highest standards.
Social Work LicensingEach state requires specific licensing requirements. Some states require you to get a license before you start a career in social work, but others let you work towards your license as you advance in your career.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Sociology Degrees

When choosing an online master’s in sociology program, it’s important to identify those that meet regional or locally accredited standards. Accredited programs are held to rigorous educational standards. While regional accreditation like those from a local college or university, tend to be looked at with more respect from employers, there are a few nationally accredited programs that offer top-tier programs. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools is the most common national accrediting body.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Sociology Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

In many careers in sociology, a master’s degree is beneficial for advancement. Some require at least a master’s degree for entry-level positions. The majority of individuals who complete a degree in sociology go on to work in human services, such as social work or working with non-profits. Most of the available jobs require advanced degrees for research, academia, government positions and career paths in the private sector. An online master’s in sociology provides career opportunities and gives you the knowledge needed to make a major difference in your field.

Expected Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals who hold a master’s degree earned approximately $12,000 more than those who held a bachelor’s degree. Consider the following occupations and average salaries.

Job TitleSalary Range
Project Manager$52,860-$172,570
City Planner$69,850-$94,410
Forensic Scientist$40,210-$62,130
Corrections Officer$39,170-$88,930
Humanitarian Relief Manager$60,000-$95,890

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Approximately 3,500 jobs were held by sociologists in 2016. While most worked in an office setting, some may work outside when conducting research and making social observations. The top industries for sociologists were as follows.

Largest Employers of Sociologists

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Due to a specialization in the study of people, those with an online master’s in sociology can pursue a variety of career paths. An advanced degree may make it easier to choose between public, private and non-profit organizations.

JOB TITLEJOB DESCRIPTIONMEDIAN SALARYPROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Community Service ManagerA community service manager helps create, implement and evaluate programs for the community. They also plan outreach activities for nonprofits and government agencies.$64,100 per year18%
High School TeacherA high school teacher in sociology focuses on the study of the behavior of groups of people. Teachers create lessons plans, grade work and give lectures in a classroom setting.$59,170 per year8%
Social WorkerSocial workers work directly with families and individuals to address life issues like substance addiction, unemployment, illness and poverty. They may also find themselves assisting individuals with mental health issues.$47,980 per year16%
Clinical SociologistA clinical sociologist examines groups of people within a community to see how they develop and interact with one another. They may collect data and prepare reports for government agencies.$79,650 per year1%
Urban PlannerUrban planners help communities by creating land-use plans and programs to help revitalize businesses in towns, cities, counties and metropolitan areas.$71,490 per year13%

Professional Organizations

Rural Sociological Society: Founded in 1937, the Rural Sociological Society was the first professional group for those in sociology. The group hosts an annual meeting, helps with employment opportunities and provides a series of publications to keep its members informed of industry changes.

American Sociological Association: With more than 21,000 members, the American Sociological Association promotes sociology on a national level. The group hosts an annual conference and publishes a variety of papers and books to keep members up-to-date on policy changes.

International Sociological Association: The International Sociological Association is a global organization that provides valuable resources, continuing education and networking opportunities for its members. The group offers several levels of membership for those in sociology-related fields.

Association for Humanist Sociology: This association is a community of sociology-related workers who share the commitment to promote peace, equality and social justice. The group hosts annual meetings and publishes a series of journals and newsletters.

National Association of Social Workers: With more than 120,000 members across the globe, the National Association of Social Workers is the largest network of professional social workers in the world. The group advocates to enhance the professional growth and development of its members and to ensure uniformity of social work standards across all industries.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Sociology Degree

There are several financing opportunities for those looking for assistance in paying for an online master’s degree in sociology. The first place to start is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This helps determine if you are qualified for loans, grants and scholarships that are available through the federal government. There are also several private and public options for alternative funding. Consider some of these top resources.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship Program

Award: $5,000

Deadline: April 16

Eligibility: Awarded to Latino students in social science who demonstrate active participation in engagement activities.

Dr. Alma S. Adams Scholarships for Outreach and Health Communications

Award: $5,000

Deadline: April 30

Eligibility: Applicants must provide evidence of community service activities in an underserved community setting and must prove financial need.

Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowships

Award: $3,200 per month

Deadline: October 1

Eligibility: Available to students who work in government, history, international relations, sociology or social work.

Ruth A. De Blanc Sociology Scholarship

Award: Varies

Deadline: March 21

Eligibility: Awarded to graduate students who are enrolled in at least six to nine credit hours per semester at Sam Houston State University with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.