Master's Degree Planning

Policies and Procedures

Graduate Handbook and Manual: The HSU Graduate Student Handbook is your directory for all of the policies and procedures you will need to know to navigate HSU Graduate Studies (more generally). The Sociology Graduate Program Manual is the specific requirements you must meet to graduate from the HSU Public Sociology Program. It also contains all of the policies and procedures that pertain to graduate students in the department.

Conditional Program Admission

Students who lack adequate undergraduate preparation in sociological theory and methods may receive conditional program admission. Conditionally admitted students must complete with an “A-“ or better all or some of the following undergraduate courses:

STAT 108 Elementary Statistics (4 units)
SOC 310   Sociological Theory (4 units)
SOC 382   Intro to Social Research (4 units)
SOC 410   Contemporary Social Theory (4 units)

Choose an Emphasis

MA students choose an experience emphasis in either Practicing Sociology or Teaching Sociology. Some students choose to follow both tracks, completing both a project/placement and a Teaching Assistantship. You need to have one final product, either a thesis or a project.

Practicing Sociology
  • Students complete a Placement (240 hours) (see details below)
  • Introduces students to the research methods and topics of public sociology
  • Provides hands-on career and research experience
  • Prepares students for professional positions in research, business, government and/or non-profit organizations
Teaching Sociology
  • Students complete a Teaching Assistantship (see details below)
  • Introduces students to the pedagogy and theories of learning
  • Provides experience with college classroom teaching
  • Prepares students for community college and other education-related professional positions

Plan of Study

During your first semester, you should develop a Plan of Study to help you map out your time at HSU Public Sociology, and the goals you want to achieve.

Plan Your Coursework

Picking Courses: Each semester, you will want to check in with your committee chair, and plan what to take the next semester (if you have not already mapped out a plan). The HSU Class Schedule is usually updated close to the time registration opens to show dates and times for courses offered the following semester. The Archive of Sociology Syllabi gives you an opportunity to see what you might expect from a course (though courses do, of course, change and vary by instructor).

Course Rotations: These show you what the Department of Sociology plans to teach each semester for the next five years. Use this for short term and long term course planning.

Set up a Field Site Placement

Students emphasizing Practicing Sociology are required to complete 240 hours of field placement work that may include up to 40 hours of academic administrative work. Students should work closely with the Graduate Coordinator to identify a placement that will best support their interests and long-term goals, as well as provide them with experience in either program evaluation or community action.

  • Sociology and Criminology and Justice Studies Community Advisory Board (comprised of faculty, students and community partners - helps to cultivate community relationships for possible placements)
  • Center for Service Learning and Academic Internships (HSU department that cultivates and supports placements)
  • Develop a Placement Contract (see link at right) with the Graduate Coordinator and Site Supervisor before the placement begins.
  • Fill out Risk Management Forms BEFORE you start your placement.
  • Keep your Activity Log (see link at right) up to date, and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator on the 1st day of every other month of your placement. It must be signed by your Site Supervisor every other month. See the Graduate Program Manual for more details.
Finding a Placement

Starting from scratch: If you are unfamiliar with Humboldt County, or are not sure where to begin, here are some possible options:

If you have a place in mind: See if the location already has a Learning Site Agreement (LSA) in place with HSU. If it does, they are already an approved site, and you can contact them directly (though you should keep in touch with the Graduate Coordinator). If it does not, you will need to both (1) determine if the site is interested in working with you, and (2) work with the Center for Service Learning and Academic Internships to get an LSA in place.

Contact the Center for Service Learning and Academic Internships for the most current list of sites with Learning Site Agreements (LSA).

Set up a Teaching Assistantship

Students emphasizing Teaching Sociology are required to complete a Teaching Assistantship with one of the department faculty. This will require approximately 20 hours per week, and require attending class, learning about the pedagogy of Sociology, course preparations and administrative duties related to the course, supervised by the faculty member.

Students should work closely with the Graduate Coordinator to identify an assistantship that will best support their interests and long-term goals, as well as provide them with experience in teaching at the college level. In preparation, you can identify faculty teaching in your area(s) of interest.

There are occassionally a limited number of paid Teaching Associate positions. This can count as a Teaching Assistantship, while receiving payment to facilitate discussion sections for large classes.

Complete a Project

Students who choose to complete a project will need to have a final product that is similar in workload to producing a thesis. A project may take the form of program evaluation reports, program development plans, or other products such as training manuals, videos or curriculum.  For more details, read the Sociology Graduate Program Manual (see link above).

Former HSU Public Sociology Students have...

Write a Thesis

Students who choose to write a thesis have a few resources to guide their work. In addition to these resources, be sure to keep in close contact with your committee chair, and check the Sociology Graduate Program Manual (see link above).

Former HSU Public Sociology Students have...

Professional Development

Whether you plan to go to a Ph.D. program, or to a career, there is much you can do during your time in HSU Public Sociology to plan for your future. You can join professional associations, and attend conferences and/or make a poster or paper presentation at one. You can also start working with the Career Center early in your time at HSU to make sure you can hit the ground running after graduation.

Get Involved

There are several opportunities to get involved, and get leadership experience, with Sociology Clubs and Organizations.

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Establish Residency in California

If you need to establish residency in California, you will need to complete at least three of the requirements before September of the year you start at HSU, so you will want to start the processes as soon as possible. Learn more here.

Advance to Candidacy

In the beginning of the semester before you plan to graduate, you will need to submit an Application for Advancement to Candidacy and Graduation to the Office of the Registrar. You will also pay the graduation fee. Once the application is received, you will receive a Degree Check to determine if you will meet all of the requirements on time. This form will serve as your application for advancement, and for graduation.

Other Resources to help you navigate your time at HSU