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

Population and Development This 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 Sociology This concentration places an emphasis on environmental equity and sustainability. Prevention specialist, education outreach, climate and energy policymaker, online adjunct professor
Criminology A 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 Globalization This 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

Certified Clinical Sociologist Awarded 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 Licensing Each 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.

Project Manager $52,860-$172,570
City Planner $46,830-$118,280
Forensic Scientist $36,630-$100,910
Corrections Officer $32,830-$81,940
Humanitarian Relief Manager $60,000-$95,890

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.

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.

Community Service Manager A 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 year 18%
High School Teacher A 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 year 8%
Social Worker Social 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 year 16%
Clinical Sociologist A 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 year 1%
Urban Planner Urban planners help communities by creating land-use plans and programs to help revitalize businesses in towns, cities, counties and metropolitan areas. $71,490 per year 13%

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.



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.

Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.