Master's in Sociology & Psychology

Because of the similarities in coursework and prospective careers in the fields of psychology and sociology, choosing which master's degree to pursue can be confusing. This article provides general program overviews for both programs and some of the common coursework. Schools offering Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Comparing Master's Degrees in Psychology and Sociology

Master's Degree in General Psychology Overview

The field of psychology is concerned with the behaviors of individuals and has several special focuses that encompass the foundational aspects of psychology while integrating research and studies that are field specific. Sports psychology, addiction psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology are a few of those specialties. Students also have a choice between pursuing a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree, with the former focusing on a more in-depth research-based approach to psychology and the latter taking a broader humanities approach to psychological studies. Depending on the school of choice, programs can require 35-70 credit hours for graduation, which can take between 1 1/2-3 years of full-time study. While broadening real-world applicable skills in research and behavioral studies, students in a master's program in psychology also put themselves on a trajectory to pursue a PhD and/or advance in positions that look favorably on master's degrees, like community college instructor or research assistant.

Master's Degree in Sociology Overview

While studies in psychology focus on the individual, studies in sociology focus on the collective. Program offerings often encompass studies in organizational, social, and cultural behaviors. Human rights and social responsibility are also familiar exploratory topics. As with psychology programs, sociology programs lead to a Master of Science or Master of Arts, have intensive curricula that examine the theoretical and methodological principles of research, and generally include studies in statistics. Many colleges and universities offer 30-credit hour master's programs in sociology, which can take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete. Aside from putting students on a path toward a PhD in Sociology, sociology graduates with a master's can pursue careers as research analysts, educators, or enter law school with a humanistic perspective of social justice.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master of Science in General Psychology 1 ½-3 years Undergraduate degree *Human Resources Manager
*Family Services Worker
Master of Science in Sociology 1-2 years Undergraduate degree *Data Analyst
*Sociologist

Common Coursework in Psychology and Sociology

Although psychology and sociology are distinct programs with differing curricula and program outcomes, their foundations in research, analysis, and statistics mean they often share some similar coursework.

Research

Qualitative and quantitative research methods and theories are applicable to both programs of study. Students in both programs can expect to learn the principles of data analysis as it applies to each respective field of study as well as the ethical responsibilities and implications of conducting, interpreting, and reporting research results. Students are also often involved in hypothetical research scenarios where they must plan and orchestrate research as well as writing about their findings.

Statistics and Data Analysis

In research- and observation-heavy curricula, being able to critically review, analyze, and interpret research data is a necessary skill. Students are taught to evaluate quantitative research in their respective fields of study, test hypotheses, and interpret and understand multivariate regression. Another exploratory area common to this course is learning to understand and perform statistical data analysis. Because established and evolving research are foundational to both programs of study, students are expected to review and critique current research and data.

Ethics

The cultural and social determiners of ethical standards in the individual, organizations, and society as a whole have implications in the fields of sociology and psychology. Courses of this nature give consideration to these social and cultural forces such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. How inequality is born of, and consequently contributes to, these factors is explored via research and in comparison to laws and codes of ethics.

Capstone/Thesis Courses

Both sociology and psychology programs have a capstone/thesis research project requirement, though some programs may offer a comprehensive exam track instead. These courses aim to provide students with the necessary tools to develop and construct research projects, submit proposals, and finalize cumulative projects. Because of the research and writing intensive nature of capstone and thesis projects, many programs offer more than one course on this subject such as thesis I and II courses.

Although psychology and sociology both focus on human behavior, whether as a collective or as the individual's motivations and influences upon the collective, the programs of study are as different as they are similar. By considering the emotional and cognitive approach of psychology versus the cultural and societal approach of sociology, prospective students may be able to better choose between the two.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
      • Master - Christian Counseling of Substance Use & Addictive Disorders

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs
  • Divine Mercy University

    Divine Mercy University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Divine Mercy University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available