black lives matter protest

Graduate Program in Sociology

The Department of Sociology at San Diego State University offers a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. Students who earn an M.A. may go on to pursue a doctorate in various disciplines and/or engage directly in other areas such as research, teaching, and social justice work.

Our program is a two-year series of 10 courses, which provides students a strong base in both theory and methods as well as rotating seminars in various areas including: criminology, race, globalization, education, media and culture, demography, immigration, sexualities and gender.

All students in our program are able to develop their teaching experience and research, while being paid, by assisting professors with their classes and/or research.  In their second year, most students work as teaching assistants, running their own break-out sections of our large introduction to sociology course.  A community-based research practicum gives students the opportunity to do a group research project on a local issue connected to community organizations and policy work. Students also work with individual professors on their research through grant funding.  Many of our students have published policy reports and academic articles with our professors.  In addition students have presented their own research, as well as joint research, at local and national conferences including the annual meetings of the California Sociological Association, Pacific Sociological Association and American Sociological Association.

The culmination of the program is either a thesis, for which the student conducts primary research in his or her area of interest OR a comprehensive exam in which the student demonstrates mastery of a particular field in sociology.  Our professors are dedicated to offering guidance and support to students throughout this process. 

Our faculty members’ particular fields of expertise include: social inequalities, international migration,  crime and deviance, law and justice, gender and family, health, education, labor relations, social movements, globalization, and popular culture. Also, taking advantage of our geographical location, several faculty members work on international trans-border and trans-cultural research projects.

Why choose our program?

Hear from some of our alumni about our program:

My professors challenged and stretched me academically while they remained flexible; in fact, most openly honored my roles and experiences, viewing them as advantageous and desirable rather than as points of interference with my academic career.  I am a much better academic and a much better sociologist than I was two years ago--but I am also a much better father, husband, and citizen.  As I continue my studies in the PhD program in sociology at UC Irvine, the lessons I learned at San Diego State about negotiating my place in the world will stay with me.  San Diego State was much, much more than a stepping stone to something bigger for me: it is a place of learning, and understanding, and growth--and part of me will always consider it home.

 Joe Remenak, SDSU Sociology MA


I really enjoyed my time during my stay at SDSU in the sociology department.  The faculty who worked with the graduate students were outstanding, resourceful, and inspirational, and they really cared about their students.  The culture within the department is one of collegiality, which I felt made mine and other students' experiences all the better.  I was able to take advantage of all the teaching opportunities by having been a teaching assistant for four semesters.  I was also part of a research team that examined the working conditions of taxicab drivers in San Diego and at one point even testified to the City Council on behalf of our team in order to implement policies that would improve the lives of drivers.  I came into SDSU's sociology department with the aim of launching into a PhD program, and am happy to report that I was recently accepted to several programs, and will be attending UCSB's PhD program in sociology

– Roberto Danipour, SDSU Sociology MA

Graduate Advising

Dr. Enrico Marcelli
Office: NH-219
Phone: (619) 594-5459
Email: [email protected]

Advising Hours for Spring 2019: Wednesdays and Thursdays 12:30-2:00pm and by appointment.