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Master's Degree Programs

A Stanford master’s degree in sociology is a degree with an extremely broad application. Whether you are thinking of law school or medical school, working in the non-profit or business world, or changing the world (Nobel Prize Winner Emily Balch, Rev. Martin Luther King, and Former First Lady Michelle Obama were all sociology majors) a master’s degree in sociology gives you the opportunity to focus on an area of particular interest to you, and gain theoretical and methodological expertise that is easily applied to real-world challenges.

Please note: The Department of Sociology does not offer a master's program for external applicants. Only currently enrolled Stanford students may apply.

Career Options for Sociology M. A. graduates: 

Business and Nonprofit

Sociologists enter the corporate and nonprofit worlds as research analysts, consultants, human resource managers, and program managers.


If you are contemplating becoming a teacher or working in the school system, sociology can help you to understand how the educational system as an institution can affect students’ career and lifestyle choices. You can also study the extent to which factors other than school play a part in an individual’s likelihood of graduating from high school or going to college.


An MA in sociology offers the chance to study the structure and consequences of the criminal justice system with a critical eye. How does a conviction affect an individual’s life chances? How does an individual’s race or ethnicity affect their likelihood for conviction? These are just a few questions you might want to investigate as you embark on your legal career.


A master’s degree in sociology is also helpful when applying to medical school. Central topics include the social determinants of health and health disparities; the subjective experience of health and illness; and the organization of medical care.

Public Policy

Sociology can help you better understand how institutional inertia affects public policy initiatives, how government organizations are effectively suited for certain tasks and not others, and how businesses in the free market interface with government institutions.

PhD in Sociology

Considering a Sociology Ph.D.?  An MA in sociology offers opportunities to learn more about the discipline through coursework, engage with department faculty, and gain research experience - which can be especially helpful if your undergraduate major was in a different field.