Master of Arts in Sociology - Applied Social Research in our School of Graduate Studies
The Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology – Applied Social Research degree will focus on the application of social theories and research methodologies that assist in understanding and addressing the social problems and challenges of northern and rural communities, including Indigenous communities, in Canada and around the world. The program brings together faculty expertise in Sociology, Health and Populations Studies, Gerontology, Anthropology, Science and Environmental Studies, and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Active involvement in the community, government agency partners, a curriculum of research-intensive courses, and practicum placements will provide you with the theoretical foundations and quantitative and qualitative research skills to undertake applied research, evaluation and policy studies in government, not-for-profit and private organizations. There are three required courses that are the foundation of the degree and include: SOCI 5106 Advanced Sociological Theory; SOCI 5216 Research Design; and either SOCI 5217 Quantitative Analysis or SOCI 5417 Qualitative Analysis. You will be well prepared for more advanced studies in Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at the doctoral level.
Students have the option of completing either the one-year Major Research Paper (MRP) or the two-year Thesis Research Project (TRP).
Major Research Paper (MRP) Route
The Major Research Paper (MRP) option takes one year to complete (Fall, Winter, Summer terms) and is designed for students who decide to conduct library-based research, including reviews of literature and secondary analyses of data (e.g. census and survey data) that focus on social issues and policy analysis affecting individuals and communities in northern and rural areas and elsewhere in Canada and abroad, and who plan to seek employment opportunities possibly as research or policy analysts/evaluators in government and the social services sector. Students will have an MRP committee to oversee and assist with their chosen project, made up of a faculty supervisor and one consulting committee member drawn from a government, community or private organization directly related to their MRP topic. Students in the MRP option will complete a total of 18 credits, including required courses in Sociological Theory, Research Design, and either Quantitative Analysis or Qualitative Analysis, along with three additional elective courses which may include a practicum placement with a government, community or private agency.
Thesis Research Project (TRP) Route
The Thesis Research Project (TRP) option takes two years to complete, (Fall, Winter-Summer terms X 2) and is designed for students who plan to undertake original, primary source empirical research that addresses a social problem or social issue affecting individuals and communities in northern and rural areas and elsewhere in Canada and abroad, and who plan to continue on to further academic studies, or to work in a front-line research capacity with a community or private organization, or with government. Students will have a TRP committee to oversee and assist with the chosen project, made up of a faculty supervisor, an additional two faculty members, and one consulting committee member drawn from a government, community or private organization directly related to their TRP topic. Students in the TRP option will complete a total of 15 credits, including required courses in Sociological Theory, Research Design, and either Quantitative Analysis or Qualitative Analysis, along with two additional elective courses, including a six-credit practicum placement with a government, community or private agency.
Minimum Admission Requirements
Each program sets its own admission criteria, however, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) has established the minimum admission requirements for all programs as follows:
- The normal minimum admission requirement is a four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent as recognized by Nipissing University in an appropriate discipline, with a minimum B standing. For master’s degrees with a Thesis or Major Research Paper (MRP), where appropriate to the program for which the candidate applies, preference will be given to applicants with an honors degree with an independent research component (such as an Honors Thesis or research paper).
- All applicants are required to provide at least three letters of recommendation from professors or other appropriate professionals who can speak to their level of preparation and readiness for graduate studies. At least two of the references must be from someone qualified to address the academic ability and competence of the applicant to undertake graduate studies. Reference letters cannot be completed by anyone who is personally related to the applicant.
- All applicants are required to either write a statement of approximately 500 words explaining the value of undertaking a master’s degree for their specific circumstances or a statement about their research interests.
- Applicants may also be asked to submit supplemental information, such as GMAT or English Language Proficiency scores, as appropriate.
It is understood that admission to graduate programs is limited and, therefore, applicants who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements are not guaranteed admission.
English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirements
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit the results of an acceptable English Language Proficiency test, with the minimum scores indicated below.
The following are the minimum ELP requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies; in addition, each program will have minimum language requirements specific to the program:
- TOEFL iBT, with a minimum overall score of 100 on the TOEFL iBT, and a minimum of 27 in writing and 27 in speaking, or
- IELTS, with an overall score of no less than 7 and a minimum of 6.5 in reading and listening and 7 in writing and speaking, or
- Pearson Test (PTE Academic), with a minimum overall score of at least 67 and at least 60 in reading, writing, listening and speaking, or
- MELAB, with a minimum overall score of 90%.
The required minimum scores must be submitted before the candidate can be considered for admission.
In some circumstances, the English Language Proficiency requirement may be waived. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for additional information.
The Nipissing University MA in Sociology – Applied Social Research degree will provide students with the academic background and applied research and evaluation skills to work in a wide variety of occupations and fields where research, analysis, and interpretation skills are required. Graduates will find employment as research and policy analysts within government, community and private sector organizations, including “big data” organizations like credit card and internet-based companies. Graduates of the program are highly-educated and qualified social service, police, customs, military and probation officers. Some choose to become survey research designers and analysts, qualitative research analysts and focus group facilitators. Others are social epidemiologists and demographers who are employed by health care and other government organizations. Graduates of this program are candidates for more advanced studies at the doctoral level in sociology, anthropology, criminology and related fields.
Financial Aid and Funding
Funding is available to graduate students from both internal and external sources. Internal funding includes teaching/research assistantships, faculty research grants, and Nipissing Graduate Scholarships. The value of these scholarships varies. Students are also encouraged to compete for scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), the Canada Graduate Scholarship, and the Mackenzie King Memorial Scholarship.
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