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Master's in Sociology & Criminology

A master's degree in sociology and criminology typically requires two years of study and can potentially lead to a diverse range of career opportunities for graduates to pursue.

Comparing Different Sociology and Criminology Master's Degrees

Master of Arts in Sociology

A master's degree in sociology typically requires 1-2 years of graduate-level study in social science. Students are required to have earned a bachelor's degree before applying to this program, though it's not necessary to have a sociology-specific degree. Candidates may be expected to prepare a thesis before being awarded a master's degree. Common courses within a Master of Arts in Sociology program include social problems, marriage and the family, criminology, and applied sociology. Graduates of this program can pursue career opportunities as counselors, therapists, and social workers.

Master of Science in Sociology

A Master of Science in Sociology program typically prepares students for community-driven careers as urban planners, leaders, and policy makers. It also functions to prepare students to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology. Students often spend two years studying social analysis methodology, data analysis techniques, and classic and academic research composition. Graduates of a Master of Science in Sociology degree program are likely to find positions working in public management, administration, and education. Roles within the government are also popular options for those with a master's in sociology.

Master of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Society

Those who have decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Society degree program may find themselves studying law and social science, criminological theory, and ethics for 1-2 years. Many MA in Criminology, Law, and Society degree programs focus on preparing students to study more challenging post-graduate coursework and pursue a Ph.D., though graduates can also choose to seek a career upon earning their degrees. Students with this degree are often employed as criminal profilers, forensic analysts, and private government agents.

Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

A master's degree in criminology and criminal justice may help graduates pursue a management position within the criminal justice field. Accepted applicants can anticipate 1-2 years of rigorous study on topics such as criminal procedure, criminology, the sociology of law, and thesis research. Before earning a degree, students must complete the required courses and successfully submit and present a thesis. Though graduates may decide to continue their education after completing this program, they may also decide to seek employment as managers, analysts, and researchers within the criminal justice field.

Degree ProgramProgram LengthProgram RequirementsRelated Careers
Master of Arts in Sociology1-2 years*Undergraduate degree*Marriage and Family Therapist
Master of Science in Sociology2 years*Undergraduate degree*Urban and Regional Planner
Master of Arts in Criminology, Law, and Society1-2 years*Undergraduate degree*Insurance Investigator
Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice1-2 years*Undergraduate degree*Forensic Psychologist

Master's in Sociology & Criminology Career Paths

Sociologist

Sociologists perform a varied set of tasks that all relate to the science of human communication and socialization. For example, a sociologist may observe a social situation and record data relating to specific groups participating in that socialization. Sociologists are responsible for imparting the data they've collected and analyzed via academic journals or direct communication with public and private leaders. This information often proves imperative to politicians, scientists, educators, and public officials, so it must always be as accurate as possible, which is why most sociologists are post-graduates with master's degrees or Ph.D.s.

Insurance Fraud Investigator

An insurance fraud investigator is responsible for protecting insurance companies from fraudulent claims. They do this by taking statements, gathering evidence, and interviewing witnesses until they can either prove a claim to be fraudulent or valid. An insurance fraud investigator must be familiar with the habits of criminals as well as many other groups of people, which is why it may be helpful to have earned a degree in sociology and criminology.

Psychologist

Psychologists work closely with patients and fellow academics to observe, analyze, and define various facets of human emotion, behavior, and habits. Psychologists may work in a clinical setting when studying the brain or surveying and treating patients. They are often expected to publish the results of their trials and findings in academic papers and journals, requiring in-depth knowledge of the subject.

Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners are responsible for planning land use and maintaining facilities as they relate to population growth. They are required to possess a current understanding of zoning laws, building codes, and other local and federal government policies and requirements. Urban and regional planners work directly with developers and officials to approve or deny proposals for new constructions.

Marriage and Family Therapist

A marriage and family therapist counsels couples and families to resolve relationship issues among the involved parties. The statements made by patients must often be kept confidential, and therapists are responsible for recommending continued care in specific situations. Therapists act as guides, providing valuable emotional advice to their patients.

School and Career Counselor

A school and career counselor may have many various duties to perform over the course of a normal day. Responsible for providing emotional and professional guidance to children, teenagers, and adults, a school and career counselor must have an in-depth understanding of personality types, interpersonal communication techniques, and psychology to perform their job well.

Postsecondary Educator

Postsecondary educators are responsible for conferring information to their students, in addition to continuing their own post-graduate studies. Tasks include creating lesson plans, updating the curriculum as new research is published, and composing and publishing post-graduate research. Students who thoroughly enjoy positions as teaching assistants, or find themselves dedicated to continual research, may enjoy this career.

Job TitleMedian Salary (2018)*Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Sociologist$82,0509%
Insurance Fraud Investigator$65,670 (claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators)-4% (claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators)
Psychologist$79,01014%
Urban and Regional Planner$73,05011%
Marriage and Family Therapist$50,09022%
School and Career Counselor$56,3108%
Postsecondary Sociology Educator$74,1406%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Most master's degree programs in sociology and criminology require applicants to have earned an undergraduate degree, in addition to having a GPA of 3.0 or greater. A master's program in sociology or criminology typically requires two years of study, though program length varies. These degrees can lead to a diverse set of career paths ranging from school counselor to insurance fraud investigator.