Why This Matters


    A master’s degree in sociology will train you in quantitative and qualitative research methods that are applicable to a variety of industries, including government, nonprofits, criminal justice, education, and more.


    Job growth for sociologists is expected to increase at a faster-than-average pace through 2028. Research opportunities related to psychology, economics, and cultural dynamics will help drive job creation in this field.


    The average yearly salary for sociologists with a master’s is $82,050. By comparison, individuals with a bachelor’s in sociology can expect to earn an average annual salary of $56,000, according to Payscale.com.

Our Research

This list focuses on master’s degrees in sociology. The two most common types of graduate degrees in this field are a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Science (MS).

To make a list of high-quality programs that are accessible to all students, regardless of availability or geographic location, we concentrated on reviewing programs that are offered fully or primarily online.

All of the schools on our list have regional accreditation, which means they meet the highest standards of quality in postsecondary education. Degrees and credits from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted by other schools and employers.

We evaluated each program on the basis of cost, course offerings, outcomes, flexibility, faculty, and reputation. We then calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 54 hours to write this article
  • 172 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 409 education programs we compared

The Top 11 Online Master’s in Sociology Programs

Best Online Master's in Sociology Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Best Concentration Options
Morehead State University
Best for International Students
New Mexico State University
Best for Small Class Sizes
Sam Houston State University
Best for Accelerated Classes
Arizona State University
Most Affordable
South Dakota State University
Most Flexible
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Best Digital Sociology Focus
Virginia Commonwealth University
Most Experienced Faculty
Fayetteville State University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Sociology is a research-oriented field that focuses on the study of societies and social behaviors in a variety of contexts. As such, there are multiple routes for employment within sociology. The top employment opportunities for sociologists include research and development, educational services, and the government.

Depending on your personal interests and professional goals, you may need a doctorate degree in sociology, particularly if you are interested in advanced research. If you are considering pursuing a PhD, you should seek a traditional sociology master’s program, as opposed to an applied or clinical sociology program. Traditional master’s programs are designed to give students the preparation they need for doctoral study, while applied sociology programs prepare students to directly enter the workforce. Furthering your studies with a PhD is also another commitment of time and money after you complete your master’s.

Sociology is a relatively small field, with about 3,000 professionals currently employed. Therefore, while employment in sociology is expected to grow 9 percent, that translates to about 300 new jobs. There will be competition for jobs, so those with strong research and statistical skills, experience in applied sociology, and doctoral degrees will have the best prospects for employment.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Sociology programs:

  • How are online courses delivered? Online courses are typically delivered either synchronously or asynchronously. Students attend synchronous courses remotely, but at set meeting times. In asynchronous courses, students can access lessons and assignments on their own time. Find out how the program delivers its courses so that you can choose the type of program that best fits into your schedule.
  • Does this program have the concentration I want? As a broad field, sociology offers several options for specialization in areas like digital sociology, criminology, and interdisciplinary social studies. If you are considering developing a specialization as part of your master’s degree, be sure to choose a program that will allow you to pursue your area of focus.

Now is also the time to gather your application materials and research the school’s admissions process and requirements. You can typically find this information by reviewing the school’s website or contacting their admissions department. Also consider your financing options for graduate school, including financial aid, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition remission or reimbursement from your employer.