Former grad student, Susan Fisk, teaching a Sociology class.

A Sociology graduate student-taught class. Photo credit: Jeff Sheng

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Coterminal Master's Program

Stanford students in any undergraduate major interested in post-graduate work in Sociology may apply for the department's co-terminal master's program.

Application and Admission

To apply for a coterm degree, undergraduates must meet eligibility requirements set by both the Registrar's Office and the Sociology department. General requirements for coterm applications include completion of at least 120 units and six non-summer quarters at Stanford. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in previous undergraduate work is required for admission. It is also 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 January 25, 2024 for Spring Quarter enrollment. There are no exceptions to this deadline. All application materials are submitted online. The GRE is not required for a Sociology master's program application. For questions, please contact MA Co-term Officer, Patricia Jacobus.

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

Program Requirements

Coterminal M.A. students are required to take 45 units of coursework 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 at least 23 units must be at the 200 level or above.

Students who wish to take courses outside the department must request approval in advance; 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. Up to 5 units can be taken as an independent study or directed reading (SOC 290 Coterminal MA individual study) with a faculty member appointed in Sociology but no more than 12 units of coursework across the 290 series (including SOC 291, SOC 292) can be counted toward the degree.

In this master’s program, students may transfer relevant units from their undergraduate career.  Students admitted into the program Spring 2023 or earlier follow the three-quarters back rule meaning that classes taken three quarters prior to the first graduate quarter can be considered for transfer to the graduate career. For example, if admitted to the program Spring 2023, classes taken Spring 2022 or later can be considered. 

For students admitted into the program Spring 2024 or later, courses taken during or after the first quarter of the sophomore year are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career; the timing of the first graduate quarter is not a factor. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.

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.

All coterminal students are required to take SOC 270 Classics of Modern Social Theory and SOC 280A Foundations of Social Research (or their 100-level counterparts if taken previously as a Sociology BA). These introductory theory and methods courses are an important component of graduate training in the social sciences. Enrollment in SOC 202 Preparation for Research, SOC 204 Capstone Research Seminar, and SOC 280B Introduction to Data Analysis is strongly encouraged. Together, these courses provide foundational skills for research opportunities within the department and in academic or professional careers.

Research Focused Co-term. The Department of Sociology is able to provide a research-intensive curriculum to a limited number of coterminal Master’s students each year. It is highly recommended that students interested in a research-focused experience complete 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. A total of 18 units of coursework across the 290 series can be counted toward the degree.

Co-Term Advising. Coterminal M.A. students should meet with the Sociology Coterm Director upon acceptance to discuss their planned coursework and receive approval for their program proposal. Revised program proposals, which outline the courses to be completed for the master's degree, must be submitted before the start of the student's second graduate quarter. Sample proposals for the 2022-23 academic year are provided below.

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. 

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.

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 a Master’s Degree Program Proposal be completed by the student and approved by the department before the start of the student’s second graduate quarter.

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

Sample Sociology Program Proposals

Standard Coterminal Master’s Coursework (2023-2024)


Course ListUnits
SOC 214  - Economic Sociology4
SOC 215 - Global Human Rights and Local Practices3-5
SOC 216 - The Logic of Governance in Contemporary China4
SOC 230 - Education and Society4-5
SOC 267A - Asia-Pacific Transformation4
SOC 270 - Classics of Modern Social Theory4
SOC 275 - Understanding China's Rise4
SOC 280A - Foundations of Social Research4
SOC 280B - Introduction to Data Analysis4
Outside department5
Previously taken Sociology coursework8
Research-focused Coterminal Master’s Curriculum (2023-2024)


Course ListUnits
SOC 202 - Junior Seminar: Preparation for Research5
SOC 204 - Capstone Research Seminar5
SOC 270 - Classics of Modern Social Theory4
SOC 280A - Foundations of Social Research4
SOC 280B - Introduction to Data Analysis4
SOC 291 - Coterminal MA Directed Research3-9
SOC 292 - Coterminal MA Research Apprenticeship2-9
Substantive Sociology course work12