Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Part of the social and behavioral sciences discipline in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the sociology graduate program provides students with a solid grounding in sociological theory and research methods. Students gain hands-on experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research and develop skills in data collection and analysis.

The M.A. program offers comprehensive coverage of the core areas of sociological theory and social research methods, along with a range of disciplinary substantive areas. Examples of courses include research methods, data analysis, qualitative methodology, field research in organizational settings, development of sociological theory and modern sociological theory. To graduate, all students must complete 30 credit hours and write a publishable thesis.

Students are required to identify major and minor concentrations, selecting from the department’s three core areas: social stratification, criminology and urban sociology.

Training provided by experienced faculty members prepares students for further graduate work or immediate employment in social research positions, government agencies and related jobs. After completing the master’s program, students may enroll in a doctoral program in sociology.

The Department of Sociology also offers a Master of Arts in criminology with the Forensics Sciences department, and a Ph.D. in race, ethnicity and public policy through the Institute of Public Policy. The department awards teaching assistantships on a competitive basis for students pursuing an M.A. in sociology.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – April 1 (February 1 for applicants applying for assistantships/fellowships)
Spring – November 1

Applications received after the above dates will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Standardized test scores:

GRE general test (institutional code 5246). Waived for applicants who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 

Minimum scores for the M.A. program are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0; or
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 53

Applicants to the Master’s program who do not meet minimum English language requirements may be eligible for our full-time Applied English Language program.

Recommendations required: 

Three (3) academic letters of recommendation

Prerequisite requirements: 

A bachelor’s degree with a major in Sociology or in an approved related field.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching or research experience you have had.

Writing Sample:

Recent writing sample required. Please review the department Web site prior to applying:

International applicants only:

Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents, earlier deadlines for applicants requiring an I-20 or DS-2019 from GW, and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday