Traditional Master's Degree

The traditional master's degree consists of 30 credit hours of course work and the satisfactory completion of a written research thesis.

It is expected that students completing the degree will continue to a doctorate. Students who complete the degree will have basic knowledge of advanced sociological research methods and data analysis, knowledge of social theories, and expertise in one of the department's substantive areas of specialization.

Course Requirements

Four three-hour courses are required:

  • An advanced social statistics course that requires knowledge of basic elementary and parametric statistics and reviews nonparametric linear techniques.
  • A research-design course that illustrates the fundamentals of research analysis.
  • A course that surveys both 19th and 20th century social theory.
  • A transitional theory-methods course that addresses the problems of linking theory and operational methodology.

An additional 18 credit hours of course work are required.


To complete their master's degree, students are required to write an original research-based master's thesis.

Core Curriculum Requirements

The following courses are required for Rural Sociology graduate students:

  • An advanced statistics course that is equivalent to RuSoc 7130. The course should address the kind of data-analysis problems rural sociologists encounter. Entering graduate students already should have taken a basic statistics course, such as RuSoc 7120 or Stat 1400. Graduate credit will not be given for those courses.
  • RuSoc 8510 or an equivalent course in research-methods design.
  • Soc 8100, Soc 9187 or a survey theory course in Sociology that begins with Marx and Durkheim and includes important 20th century sociologists.

Requirements for the Thesis Master's Degree

Students must complete at least 30 credit hours of study and a master's thesis:

  • The nine credit hours of core courses outlined in the previous section.
  • An additional 15 credit hours of course work.
  • A master's thesis for which six credit hours (RuSoc 8090) will be awarded.

The Master of Science Program


All members of a master's degree committee must be members of the graduate faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Transfer Credit

Up to six hours of graduate credit from another institution can be applied toward a master's degree.

Residency Requirement

There is no residency requirement for the master's degree.


There are two forms required of non-thesis students and three for thesis students. All forms must be signed by a student's adviser and the director of graduate studies, who then will forward them to the Graduate School. Do not submit the forms directly to the Graduate School; that will result in delays.

Program of Study for the Master's Degree

All master's students should complete the form before the end of their second semester of graduate studies. Students cannot graduate the semester they file Form M-1, which designates their advisers and courses of study.

Request for Thesis Committee

The form is only for students writing a thesis and should be submitted by the end of their second semester of graduate studies. The form's purpose is to have an official record of a student's master's committee and to ensure the committee's configuration meets stated requirements.

Report of the Master's Examining Committee

The form is required of all master's students and must bear all of the committee members' signatures. Thesis students must submit the title pages of their theses with their committees' signed approvals and unbound theses in suitable boxes.

Other Requirements

Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater and must have completed at least 15 credit hours of course work at or above the 8000 level.

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