The Master of Arts in Applied Sociology

The M.A. degree in Applied Sociology is a highly practical program of studies for individuals in the private and public sectors who want to fast forward their careers. Its content is the result of input in focus groups from administrators in corporate and nonprofit settings who do the hiring and promoting. At these on-campus sessions, they informed the sociology faculty of the qualities and skills that they seek in master’s degree students, especially an understanding of diverse cultures and intercultural communication, together with an ability to utilize data analysis to conduct assessments and program evaluations.

Because applied diagnostic skills and applied knowledge about diversity in the workplace and society are of great value in virtually every occupational field, this master’s program prepares students and gives them a competitive edge in a variety of professional settings. As demonstrated in the jobs/promotions secured by M.A. graduates in applied sociology at other universities across the nation, these areas include, but are not limited to, departments of human resources or research and planning in banking, corporations, education, government, health care, insurance, marketing, as well as in community and other nonprofit organizations.

Among the many possible positions available, graduates in applied sociology work as planners, program development specialists, researchers, policy analysts, community outreach coordinators, data analysts, and human resource directors. Settings in which they typically work include corporations, research organizations, community agencies, government bureaus and programs, school systems, medical facilities, courts, and private businesses.

According to the Sociological Practice Association, employment for applied sociologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in the foreseeable future. This increasing demand results from concern about such issues as employee morale and retention of experienced professionals; organizational efficiency and effectiveness; and ways to enhance the organization’s public image and increase market share. With a shortage of trained evaluators, job prospects are best for students with an advanced degree in applied sociology that specifically equips them to take advantage of the trend toward research, evaluation, and data analysis.

The program highlights demographic changes and issues affecting metropolitan areas, providing the tools for mapping and measuring trends and for assessing their impact on communities, organizations and programs. As a result, this program provides students with the critical thinking and analytical abilities needed in today’s ever-changing world.

The Master’s in Applied Sociology is a 33-credit program in which a faculty advisor works closely with students to help them tailor a program of studies to suit their needs and interests, whether they be working professionals or students beginning their graduate studies immediately after earning their bachelor’s degree. As part of their studies, students experience a supervised professional internship, either in their work setting or through placement, and complete a deliverable project applying the knowledge and skills they have learned.

For further information: Contact the Graduate Director, Dr. Vincent N. Parrillo, at gradsoc@wpunj.edu or 973-720-3881.