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Coterminal Master's Program

Stanford undergraduates, regardless of undergraduate major, who wish to pursue an M.A. in Sociology may apply for the coterminal master’s program. The coterminal M.A. in Sociology is a flexible, self-designed program. It is possible for students to complete their B.A. and Sociology coterminal M.A. in the fourth year; historically, most students have completed a Sociology M.A. during their fifth year at Stanford.

Application and Admission

Undergraduates must be admitted to the program and enrolled as a graduate student for at least one quarter prior to their B.A. conferral. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in previous undergraduate work is required for admission; GRE test scores also are required. It is highly recommended that applicants have completed at least one Sociology course at the 100 level with a grade of ‘B’ or better.

The department accepts applications once a year; the application deadline is February 4, 2020 for Spring Quarter enrollment. There are no exceptions to this deadline. All application materials are submitted online.

The department does not fund coterminal M.A. students. To learn more about graduate financial assistance, please visit the Stanford Financial Aid Office.

To apply for admission to the Sociology coterminal M.A. program, students must submit the following:

  1. The Application for Admission to Coterminal Master's Program available online in mid-September;
  2. Statement of purpose: should be 2 pages double-spaced. Applicants should outline reasons for pursuing the M.A. in Sociology, including research interests, career aspirations or plans for additional advanced degrees, and other aspects of their academic experiences that may aid the admissions committee in evaluating their motivation for graduate study;
  3. Program Proposal for Master’s Degree: this form should be uploaded to the online application packet. At least 45 units of course work relevant to the degree program must be specified. Some sample proposals for the 2018-19 academic year appear below;
  4. Undergraduate Coterm Application Approval form: downloaded from the Registrar's Office web site and uploaded to the online application;
  5. Current unofficial undergraduate transcript;
  6. Two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty familiar with the student’s academic work; additional letters from teaching assistants, employers, or other individuals are accepted as supplemental materials but are not required;
  7. GRE scores (must be taken within the past 5 years). Offer of admission will not be granted without official scores from ETS. However, if necessary, unofficial scores can be provided at the time of application.

University Coterminal Requirements

Coterminal master’s degree candidates are expected to complete all master’s degree requirements as described in the Stanford Bulletin

After accepting admission to this coterminal master’s degree program, students may request transfer of courses from the undergraduate to the graduate career to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree. Transfer of courses to the graduate career requires review and approval of both the undergraduate and graduate programs on a case by case basis.

In this master’s program, courses taken three quarters prior to the first graduate quarter, or later, are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.

Course transfers are not possible after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred.

The University requires that the graduate adviser be assigned in the student’s first graduate quarter even though the undergraduate career may still be open. The University also requires that the Master’s Degree Program Proposal be completed by the student and approved by the department by the end of the student’s first graduate quarter.

Program Requirements

Coterminal M.A. students are required to take 45 units of course work during their graduate career. All units for the coterminal M.A. must be taken at or above the 100 level; advanced-level course work is encouraged and 50 percent must be courses designated primarily for graduate students (typically at least at the 200 level). Students who wish to take courses outside the department must seek approval in advance from the Sociology student services office; coterminal master’s students are limited to 5 units from outside of the department and outside courses must be taken in other Social Science departments.

Students may transfer relevant units from their undergraduate career; to be eligible for transfer, courses must have been taken in the three quarters preceding the student's first graduate quarter. Courses cannot be transferred after a student's bachelor's degree has been conferred. See the Registrar's Office for additional information on course transfer policies. All units applied to the coterminal master’s degree must be taken for a letter grade, and an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better is required for the degree.

Coterminal students are strongly encouraged to take SOC 280A Foundations of Social Research, and SOC 280B Introduction to Data Analysis, in sequence when possible. These methods courses provide skills for research opportunities within the department and in academic or professional careers. They are also an important component of graduate training in the social sciences. Coterminal M.A. students should meet with the Sociology Coterm Director upon acceptance to discuss their program proposal. Program proposals, which outline the courses to be completed for the master's degree, must be submitted before the end of the student's first graduate quarter.

The Department of Sociology is able to provide a research-focused experience to a limited number of coterminal Master’s students each year. Students interested in completing a research-intensive curriculum should have already completed SOC 180A/280A and SOC 202, or be enrolled, at the time of application to the coterminal Master’s program. Applicants should indicate interest in their statement of purpose and describe their specific research question or topic. Upon acceptance, research-track students will work with the Sociology Coterm Director to develop an individualized program, which may include engaging in a research apprenticeship with faculty and/or completing an original research project.

The Department of Sociology is committed to providing academic advising in support of the scholarly and professional development of all coterminal Master’s students. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the advisor and the advisee. The Sociology Coterm Director guides students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways. The Sociology student services office is also available to assist coterminal students in navigating policies and degree requirements. Students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for knowing and adhering to University and Departmental policies, standards, and requirements for coterminal students.

For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see the Coterminal Degrees section of this bulletin. For additional information regarding the Sociology coterminal M.A. and how to apply, see the Department of Sociology web site.

Sample Program Proposals

Standard Coterminal Master’s Coursework (2018-19)

Course List Units
SOC 214 - Economic Sociology 4
SOC 235 - Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy in the United States 4
SOC 247 - Race and Ethnicity Around the World 4
SOC 270 - Classics of Modern Social Theory 4
SOC 280A - Foundations of Social Research 4
SOC 280B - Introduction to Data Analysis 4
SOC 298 - The Social Psychology of Contemporary American Politics 4
Outside department, previously taken course work 17

Research-focused Coterminal Master’s Curriculum (2018-19)

Course List Units
SOC 172 - Computational Social Science 4-5
SOC 202 - Junior Seminar: Preparation for Research 5
SOC 204 - Junior/Senior Seminar for Majors 5
SOC 270 - Classics of Modern Social Theory 4
SOC 280A - Foundations of Social Research 4
SOC 280B - Introduction to Data Analysis 4
SOC 291 - Coterminal MA Directed Research 1-5
SOC 292 - Coterminal MA Research Apprenticeship 1-5
Previously taken Sociology course work 10


Please see the Stanford Bulletin for additional requirements and detailed information on Coterminal Degree Programs.