Ohio University

skip to main content
Research at OHIO

 

Sociology

College or Campus: College of Arts and Sciences

Student Learning Outcomes

UNDERGRADUATE

Sociology

1. Through the development of an understanding of sociological theories and concepts students can demonstrate the role of theory in sociology. Specifically students can:

  • Define theory and describe its role in building sociological knowledge.
  • Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations.
  • Describe how sociology differs from and is similar to other social sciences, and give examples of these differences.
  • Demonstrate the historical/cultural context in which theories were developed.
  • Apply basic theories or theoretical approaches in at least one area of social reality. Apply the sociological imagination, sociological principles and concepts to her/his own life.  

2. Students can demonstrate an understanding of data collection and analysis techniques that sociologists use to gather and evaluate empirical data. Students will develop the ability to critically evaluate sociological research.

  • Identify basic methodological approaches and describe the general role of methods in building sociological knowledge.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences among the basic methodological approaches for gathering data.
  • Design a research study in an area of choice and explain why various decisions were made.
  • Critically assess a published research report and explain how the study could have been improved.

3. Students can demonstrate an understanding of the diverse forms and sources of social stratification, inequality, and difference that exist in society.

  • Students can demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of: culture, social change, socialization, stratification, social structure, institutions, and differentiation by and the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, age, and class.
  • Students can define and explain the relevance of each concept.

4. Students will develop understanding of the social and cultural processes and structures that inform social interaction. Students can articulate an understanding of how culture and social structure operate.

  • Describe the inter-linkage of institutions and their effects on individuals.
  • Explain how social change factors affect social structures and individuals.
  • Describe how culture and social structure vary across time and place and with what effect.
  • Identify examples of specific social policy implications using reasoning about social structural effects.

5. Students will develop an understanding of the reciprocal relationships between individuals and society, such that the student will be able to:

  • Explain how the self develops sociologically.
  • Demonstrate how societal and structural factors influence individual behavior and the self's development.
  • Demonstrate how social interaction and the self influences society and social structure.
  • Distinguish sociological approaches to analyzing the self from psychological, economic, and other approaches.

Sociology/Criminology

1. Through the development of an understanding of theories of crime, law, and the criminal justice system, students can demonstrate the role of criminological theory as framework for understanding crime rates and patterns. Specifically students can:

  • Define theory and describe its role in building criminological knowledge.
  • Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations in criminology.
  • Describe how criminology differs from and is similar to other social sciences, and give examples of these differences.
  • Describe the historical/cultural context in which theories were developed.
  • Apply basic theories or theoretical approaches to crime and its social context.

2. Students can demonstrate an understanding sources of crime data and analysis techniques used to study crime and the criminal justice system. Students will develop the ability to critically evaluate criminological research and crime measurement

  • Identify basic methodological approaches and describe the general role of methods in building criminological knowledge.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the differences among the basic methodological approaches for gathering crime data.
  • Design a research study in an area of choice and explain why various decisions were made.
  • Critically assess a published research report and explain how the study could have been improved.

3. Students can demonstrate an understanding of the forms and distribution of crime. Students should develop an understanding of the social correlates of crime and the distribution of crime across time and space.

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between sex, class, race, ethnicity, gender and criminal offending and victimization.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the distribution of crime across historical periods, geography and cultural context.

4. Students can demonstrate an understanding of social control as it is practiced in everyday social life.

GRADUATE

Master of Arts in Sociology

The M.A. program in Sociology at Ohio University prepares students for professional careers in both academic and applied settings. Students are required to complete at least 30-semester hours of graduate level course work and to demonstrate competence at the Master’s level in sociological theory and methods.

The Sociology MA curriculum offers a range of courses in theory, methods, and substantive topics and students in the program are required to take 12 credit hours of core elements: SOC 6160 (Sociological Theory), SOC 6540 (Social Research Methods), and an additional research methods course selected from several options (SOC 6010, SOC 5500, POLS 6010, PSY 5111, PSY 6111). In addition, students must take a minimum of two 6000-level graduate seminar courses and two more courses of either Sociology 6000-level graduate courses or Sociology dual-listed courses (undergraduate/graduate). Two additional hours are required from the following options: SOC 5930 (Specialized Readings), SOC 5931 (Research Problems), SOC 6920 (Practicum), SOC 6931 (Independent Study) or SOC 6950 (Thesis).

Master’s students have the opportunity to complete a seminar on the sociology of teaching. As a part of the requirements for this course, students complete a teaching e-portfolio and design and deliver several lectures to undergraduate classes and to their peers in the graduate program. Graduate students can compete for limited graduate teaching positions in our department. Those selected, teach their own sections of Introduction to Sociology (under the supervision of the graduate director) during their second year in the program. Our students not only have the opportunity to learn to teach but they also have opportunities to apprentice and collaborate with faculty on research projects. Master’s students are often recruited and trained by faculty researchers to assist and partner on data collection and analysis, and in the co-authoring of presentations and publications.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the requirement of an M.A. in Sociology, we expect our graduates to be able to demonstrate the following skills and competencies through their class participation and contributions to seminar discussion, their completion of seminar papers, methodological exercises, class presentations, and final projects (thesis, applied/policy project, comprehensive exams). 

Students will:

  1. Actively acquire the ability to analyze the origins and structure of sociological theory and demonstrate their grasp of theory through course writings, discussion, and presentations.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast the differing theoretical perspectives, noting strengths and weaknesses inherent in each through seminar writings, discussion, and presentations.
  3. Learn about and actively reflect on the role of theory in sociological research. They will demonstrate this competency through seminar writings, discussion, and presentations.
  4. Be able to evaluate contemporary sociological theories and apply them to social research questions. This competency will be demonstrated through seminar writings, discussion, and presentations.
  5. Learn to review methodological principles and observe and practice normative standards of sociological research; evaluate the implementation of methods in published studies and prior MA thesis work.
  6. Apply the above principles and standards to the creation of research proposals.  
  7. Demonstrate the ability to develop a research question, contextualize their topic in a theoretical framework, and develop a research design or analytical research review plan to investigate their research question.

Assessment Plan

UNDERGRADUATE

Sociology

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 1:

  • Essay question or short written assignments in which students compare and contrast theoretical approaches in terms of a particular issue.
  • Exam questions or papers asking for the identification of main features of theories identified in any of the other courses in our program.
  • In upper division courses written assignments (major papers or essay exams) utilizing theory as the basis of the work.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 2:

  • Major primary empirical research papers in required courses
  • Examination questions that compare and contrast methods and apply appropriate design to an example.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 3:

  • Essay exam questions in social inequality based courses (e.g. Social Inequality, Gender, race and ethnicity, etc.)
  • Papers that require application of the concepts.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 4:

  • Essay exam questions in social institution based courses (e.g. family, religion, political, education, etc.)
  • Papers that require application of the concepts.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 5.

  • Essay question or short written assignments in which students explain how the self develops
  • Written assignments in which students compare and contrast social psychological theoretical theories or Essay exam questions in social psychology based courses
  • Papers that require application of the concepts.

Sociology/Criminology Undergraduate

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 1:

  • Essay questions or short written assignments in which students compare and contrast criminological perspectives.
  • Exam questions or papers asking for the synthesis of the main features of criminological theories with content from other courses in our program.
  • In upper division courses written assignments (major papers or essay exams) utilizing criminological theory as the basis of the work.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 2:

  • Major primary empirical research papers in required courses.
  • Examination questions that compare and contrast methods and apply appropriate design to an example.

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective 3:

  • Essay exam questions in courses that focus on forms of crime such as juvenile delinquency, white collar crime, etc.
  • Papers that require application of the intersection of crime and social correlates.

Direct measures of student learning for learning Objective 4:

  • Essay exam questions in courses that focus on social control such as Punishment, Correctional Institutions, and Police and Society
  • Papers that require demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of social control and its effects.

Capstone courses as direct measures of learning objectives for Sociology and Criminology:

Our Sociology/ Criminology capstone courses require students to integrate knowledge and skills that have been acquired throughout their undergraduate curriculum. To that end they are the mechanism to assess the extent to which students are able to demonstrate facility with our learning objectives. Specifically, our capstone courses are centered on particular topics and they all require each student to design and carry out a research project. The project requires the integration of knowledge and skills learned in social theory, research methods, and data analysis. Grades on this project can be used to assess the extent to which students have achieved the objective.

GRADUATE

M.A. Program in Sociology

The M.A. program in sociology requires students to complete at least 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, including three required courses. Two required courses are completed during the first semester of the program: SOC 6160 (Sociological Theory), SOC 6540 (Research Methods), and an additional research methods course selected from several options (SOC 6010, SOC 5500, POLS 6010, PSY 5111, PSY 6111) is completed in the spring semester. The graduate faculty assesses student outcomes by their performance in these core courses, two graduate seminars, two other graduate courses (seminars or dual-listed courses), and additional independent readings, thesis work, or practicum placement. Student course performance is evaluated by seminar papers, exams and quizzes, research proposals, class presentations, grant proposals, and group projects.

Additionally, we evaluate graduate students on their final project. M.A. candidates select one of three final projects: comprehensive exam, applied sociology and policy project, thesis. A description of each project option and how they are evaluated is listed below.

Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam Track: M.A. candidates may complete comprehensive exams to satisfy their final requirements for a master’s degree in sociology. 

1. Declaring intentions to take comprehensive exams, forming a committee, selecting exam areas

Students may select the comprehensive exam track to complete the requirements of a master’s degree in sociology. First year graduate students will declare their intention to follow the comprehensive exam track by the final week of the fall semester. At this time, students choosing this track should assemble and meet with a three-person exam committee. The committee will be comprised of a chair from the sociology program and two other faculty members. The candidate may draw one committee member from outside the department (subject to graduate chair approval). In collaboration with the committee, exam candidates will identify two separate exam areas, articulate how these areas relate to and draw from the expertise and training of the exam committee, and agree on a plan for exam preparation (e.g., constructing reading lists). During the fall meeting, the committee and candidate will decide whether to hold an optional oral defense of the exam after completion. After agreeing on areas and a plan for preparation, committee members will sign the candidate’s qualifying form and present to the graduate chair for approval and signature.

2. Eligibility to sit for the exam:

Students must complete SOC 6160 (Sociological Theory), SOC 6540 (Research Methods), and must have completed and/or be currently enrolled in courses needed to meet the minimum course requirement (i.e., 30 semester hours) for degree completion.

3. Examination Periods and Scheduling

Comprehensive exams will be offered three times a year. Candidates may choose to sit for exams during three pre-determined weeks in the fall, spring, and summer terms. The Graduate Committee will identify these weeks at the beginning of each academic year. If the candidate is unable to sit for an exam during the pre-determined weeks, they may petition the committee for an alternative exam date.

4. Exam Administration

The examination will take the form of a “take-home” exam to be completed over a 72-hour period. The exam questions will be provided to the candidate by the committee chair at an agreed-upon time on Day 1 and the completed exam is due to the committee within 72 hours of the Day 3 deadline (e.g., Friday at 9 until Monday at 9; Monday at 9 until Thursday at 9). Candidates must submit digital versions of their completed exam to the committee by email. The examination will cover both selected content areas and will be comprised of three questions. One question will be devoted to each of the major exam areas and the final question will require candidates to integrate literatures from each of the two main exam areas. Candidates may use readings, notes, and other resources to answer exam questions. In each section of the exam, American Sociological Association (ASA) formatting, 12-point font, in-text citations, and bibliographic references are required. Candidates should be familiar with Ohio University’s policies on plagiarism (see Ohio University Code of Conduct: https://www.ohio.edu/student-affairs/community-standards/students/student-code-of-conduct). While there are no strict page number requirements for comprehensive exam responses, past candidates have generally submitted between 8 and 10 pages of double-spaced text (excluding references) in response to each question.  This page estimate is merely advisory and should not constrain candidates as they will take place within one week of exam completion. At least two committee members must be present at the defense. The third may Skype or call in to the defense.

5. Exam Grading

Completed examinations will be reviewed and evaluated by the candidate’s three-person committee. Students will be informed of their results approximately two weeks after the completion of the exam by the chair of their committee. The evaluation of each exam question will be result in one of four possible distinctions: (1) High Pass (2) Pass (3) Revise and Re-submit (4) Fail. If the committee requests revisions, the candidate will have one week (after receiving specific revision requests) to complete and submit their revisions. If the candidate receives a “fail,” they may register to re-take the exam during the next exam period. No more than one re-take is permitted.

Applied Sociology and Policy Project

1. Declaring intentions to complete a policy/applied sociology project, forming a committee, selecting a topic and target audience

Students may select the policy/applied project track to complete the requirements of a master’s degree in sociology. First year graduate students will declare their intention to follow this track by the final week of the fall semester. At this time, students choosing this track should assemble and meet with a three-person exam committee. The committee will be comprised of a chair from the sociology program and two other faculty members. The candidate may draw one committee member from outside the department (subject to graduate chair approval). In collaboration with the committee, policy project candidates will identify a policy paper topic. The policy project should be driven by a research question or questions related to a specific set of current or past policy practices. The project should involve an analytical review of the relevant literature on a particular policy and a critique of policy practices and outcomes. Candidates may draw from the body of literature on relevant policy practices and outcomes, secondary data, and/or primary data to construct a critique of policy and to build an argument about best policy practices. If the candidate collects data for the project, they must first design and submit an Institutional Review Board proposal by the third week of the Spring semester. IRB approval must be gained before data collection.

Ideally, the policy project will inform program and policy administrators and practitioners about best practices and ways to improve the development of and the process and delivery of policy initiatives and programmatic activities. Candidates and their committee should work together to identify administrative units or organizations or a specific target audience for delivery of their final project. Additionally, the candidate and committee will decide whether the candidate will have an oral defense of their project after completion. The oral defense is optional. After agreeing on a project topic and a plan for preparation and completion, committee members will sign the candidate’s qualifying form and present to the graduate chair for approval and signature.

2. The Applied Sociology and Policy Practicum

Candidates that select the policy project option will register for the practicum in sociology course (SOC 6920) to be offered each spring term. As a part of the practicum experience, students will work no less than 10 hours a week during the semester at an institutional site related to their policy topic. For example, a candidate wishing to explore victim assistance policy practices might secure a practicum at the Athens County Office of Victim Services. The policy practicum is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in policy and program activity. Practicum assignments will be established through the collaboration of the Graduate Director, the M.A. candidate, and local organization service providers and will be established by the first week of the spring semester.  Practicum students will meet once weekly with their graduate committee chair to discuss the practicum experience and receive support and guidance through the completion of their policy project. 

3. Policy/Applied Project Completion and Defense

Students must complete SOC 6160 (Sociological Theory), SOC 6540 (Research Methods), and must have completed and/or be currently enrolled in courses (including the additional methods course) needed to meet the minimum course requirement (i.e., 30 semester hours) for degree completion.

Policy/Applied project candidates will complete their paper for committee review by the end of the spring term or the end of the first summer session. If the candidate plans to complete their paper before the spring terms ends, it must be submitted to the committee by the 12 th week of the term. If the candidate chooses to defend in the summer, they must submit their final paper to the committee two weeks before the end of the first summer session. After the paper is submitted, the committee will review the document and decide if the paper warrants: (1) High Pass (2) Pass (3) Revise and Re-submit. If the committee requests revisions, the candidate will have one week to complete and submit their revisions. In addition to the committee review of the policy paper, an oral defense of the policy project is optional. If the candidate selects this option, the oral defense will occur on (or around) the date that the paper is submitted.

Thesis*

1. Declaring intentions to complete a thesis, forming a committee, selecting a topic and target audience

Students may select the thesis option to complete the requirements of a master’s degree in sociology. First year graduate students will declare their intention to follow this path by the final week of the fall semester. At this time, students choosing this option should assemble and meet with a three-person exam committee. The committee will be comprised of a chair from the sociology program and two other faculty members. The candidate may draw one committee member from outside the department (subject to graduate chair approval). In collaboration with the committee, thesis candidates will identify a topic. If the candidate collects data for the project, they should design and submit an Institutional Review Board proposal by the 10th week of the Spring semester. After agreeing on a thesis topic and a plan for preparation and completion, committee members will sign the candidate’s qualifying form and present to the graduate chair for approval and signature.

2. Thesis Completion and Defense

Students must complete SOC 6160 (Sociological Theory), SOC 6540 (Research Methods), and must have completed and/or be currently enrolled in courses (including the additional methods course) needed to meet the minimum course requirement (i.e., 30 semester hours) for degree completion.

Thesis project candidates will complete their paper for committee review by the end of the spring term or the end of the first summer session in their second year. If the candidate plans to complete their paper before the spring terms ends, it must be submitted to the committee by the 12 th week of the term. If the candidate chooses to defend in the summer, they must submit their final paper to the committee two weeks before the end of the first summer session. After the thesis is submitted, the committee will review the document and decide if the paper warrants: (1) High Pass (2) Pass (3) Revise and Re-submit. If the committee requests revisions, the candidate will have two weeks to complete and submit their revisions. In addition to the committee review of the thesis, an oral defense of the thesis is mandatory. 

*The thesis requirements language is currently in draft form and is subject to approval by the sociology faculty. The comprehensive exam and applied sociology and policy language has been approved by the department.

Exit Interviews:

As a final step in the assessment process, the graduate committee will be discussing an exit interview process for our graduating Master’s students. The exit interview—which will include the graduating student and select members of the graduate committee—will involve a discussion about the student’s perceived strengths and weaknesses of the program as well as a conversation about how the student feels that the program has prepared them for their post-graduation goals. Our discussion of designing an exit interview process is in its early stages. I hope to pilot the exit interview process this spring.

Evidence of Student Learning

To view the "Evidence of Student Learning", please login.

If you are already logged in, and still see this message, you do not have the proper permissions to view this information.

Use of Student Learning Evidence

To view the "Use of Student Learning Evidence", please login.

If you are already logged in, and still see this message, you do not have the proper permissions to view this information.