5 Best Online Master’s Degrees in Sociology for 2020

People who understand the social fabric of our world are often the most successful in life. Join the ranks of the best and brightest with an online Master’s in Sociology.

We may not realize it on a day-to-day basis, but there are certain codes to social life that we all seem to follow. For instance, we assign the color blue to boys and pink to girls. Have you ever wondered why? Or consider traffic laws. As a society, we all just agree (for the most part) to stop when we see a stop sign. No one really questions it.

Sociology gets to the heart of all that holds a society together — religion, politics, culture, and ecology. This degree will make you question everything . . . and then help you put the pieces back together.

What is a Sociology degree?

A sociology degree is far-reaching in the sense that it intermingles with lots of other disciplines — anthropology, psychology, history, political science, and more. Your classes will include not only social theory concepts but also research methodologies and data analysis.

This means that your degree in sociology will make you highly marketable. You can take this degree in lots of different directions: public research, academia, journalism, human resources, social work, criminology, and beyond.

How much can you earn with a Sociology degree?

Since you’re completing an advanced degree with your online Master’s in Sociology, you can expect to earn a significant paycheck. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for sociologists is around $82k.

This salary figure is sociology graduates who go on to jobs in research. That might not be your thing! For folks who pursue work in areas like criminology, education, or journalism, your income might be different. But for the most part, you can count on a comfortable salary.

What is required for a Sociology degree?

Most of the sociology programs below require 30-36 total credit hours. One thing they all share in common is that they can be completed fully online (with perhaps a few campus visits for special events). Your coursework will likely include a handful of core classes followed by elective classes. The degrees culminate in either a capstone project, a cumulative exam, or a thesis.

The admissions process for each program is unique. However, most do not require you to take the GRE. It is crucial that you have completed an undergraduate degree, but students will be admitted from a wide variety of academic backgrounds.

What are the best online Sociology degrees?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

  1. Arizona State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $6,144(in state) / $6,144(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (10 courses)
    • GRE scores not required
    • Complete program in 15-18 months

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate63%
    Programs offered online45

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School9.72%
    100%
    OSR Score

    The 30-credit-hour MA in Sociology program at ASU incorporates core classes, research, and a capstone. This is a non-thesis degree that features classes like Social Change, Sociological Theory, and Research Methods. Graduates go on to work in HR, government, social agencies, and more.

  2. Texas A & M University-Commerce

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $3,630(in state) / $11,100(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours
    • Final requirement is a comprehensive exam
    • No GRE required if undergraduate GPA is above 3.0

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate35%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School2.52%
    80%
    OSR Score

    The online MS in Sociology at Texas A&M is delivered through the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. The curriculum dives deep into sociological theory, research writing and methodology, data analysis, and more. It also leaves room for 12 credits of elective coursework.

  3. Sam Houston State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,391(in state) / $12,861(out of state)
    • 37 required credit hours
    • Choice between thesis-track or comprehensive exam
    • Fall and Spring enrollment options

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76.00%
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School3.03%
    77%
    OSR Score

    Online sociology students at Sam Houston State University will have the choice between a thesis option and a comprehensive exam option. Both require a total of 37 credit hours. Students can also specialize in the following areas: Environment & Social Change, Stratification, Culture & Institutions, or Applied Sociology.

  4. University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,866(in state) / $17,910(out of state)
    • 30 required credit hours (9 courses)
    • No extra out-of-state tuition costs
    • GRE / GMAT are not required for admission

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction77.80%
    Admission Rate92%
    Programs offered online12

    Program Level

    Median DebtNot Reported
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.65%
    76%
    OSR Score

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a fully online MA in Applied Sociology that includes just nine courses. This non-thesis curriculum covers 18 required credits and 12 elective credits. The degree culminates in a six-hour applied capstone project that can be completed online.

  5. New Mexico State University-Main Campus

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $4,390(in state) / $15,309(out of state)
    • 36 required credit hours (12 courses)
    • Degree can be completed within 2 years
    • Online students take non-thesis track

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate64%
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$33,096
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School4.39%
    74%
    OSR Score

    The online MA in Sociology at New Mexico State University is a non-thesis degree that requires 36 total credit hours. After taking five required core courses (such as Classical Social Theory and Advanced Quantitative Analysis) students will complete 7 additional elective courses. Students must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.