Houston Online Sociology Graduate Programs & Schools

Online sociology graduate programs use quantitative analysis to study social structures. They aim to help students understand those systems in a scientific way. Programs may cover research methodologies, and principles of psychology, politics, and anthropology. In many cases, programs aim to establish a foundation of academic skills, to support students as they pursue sociology research and higher education. However, some might also look toward application in business, human services, government or policy. Online sociology degree programs also offer a unique combination of intellectual rigor, technology, and flexibility. Degree and certificate programs may be available at the masters and doctoral level.

What Are Online Sociology Graduate Programs?

Earning a sociology degree online may have a few advantages. For one, online sociology graduate programs are designed to offer flexibility. This enables schools to meet students when and where they are, on their terms. After all, a diverse student population has diverse needs. Whether you’re looking at studying online because that’s how you prefer to learn, or because you’re trying to balance career or family obligations, online programs aim to support your education in a way that fits in with your life.

Students in online sociology graduate programs may access courses online from their own computer, usually in a web browser. There’s often have a degree of freedom with respect to the exact scheduling, so long as students meet various course deadlines. Most programs offer online support. Examples include things along the lines of research materials (e.g. online library access or research databases), academic and career counseling, tutoring, and social networking opportunities. However, the specifics may vary by program.

What Is Sociology?

Sociology is the study of human society. It seeks to understand the different social structures that determine how groups are comprised and behave This is accomplished using a combination of quantitative analysis and psychology, social theory, political science, and anthropology. In other words, it’s a diverse field that unites a broad range of knowledge and skills.

At the graduate level, online sociology degree programs may vary considerably, depending on their central topic of study and how they choose to approach it. Topics of interest may include multicultural communities, religious traditions in different societies, race, socioeconomics, class disparity, different types of family units, and policy issues.

What Is Human Development?

Online human development graduate programs focus on how people grow and change over time, and how those changes impact the way they interact with society. That means looking at the ways people at different stages interact with family groups, their roles in society, etc. It could also entail discussing the ways society views people in different stages of life, how people are treated, and related legal mechanisms. Human development programs may touch on sociological concepts, as well as psychology, neuroscience, and law and policy.

Types of Online Sociology Graduate Programs

A few different varieties of online sociology graduate programs may be available. The type of program you choose to attend could have an impact on everything from curriculum to graduation requirements to potential offline elements. While the terminology describing these program types may vary, they can generally be broken down into two basic categories.

  • Scholarly programs focus on research practices, methodology and analysis. They may aim to facilitate careers in research or academia, or as sociology teachers at the secondary or postsecondary levels.
  • Practitioner-based programs focus on applying the knowledge gained from that sociology research in a professional context. This involves developing a thorough understanding of contemporary social issues, social theory, and research practices.

Scholarly programs tend to have graduation requirements along the lines of a thesis or dissertation. Even if the program is primarily online, students may sometimes be expected to appear on campus to present these types of projects or meet with faculty in the service of completing them.

Similarly, practitioner-based programs may have capstone projects or even potentially field experience. This could mean students need to visit campus or organize these experiences on their own.

For more information about program types, graduation requirements, and offline elements, reach out to the program in question.

Example Curriculum

The curriculum at each online sociology graduate program may be unique, impacted by factors like the approach, what area of sociology they concentrate on, the goals of that program, and the type of university. What follows are some examples of the types of courses you might expect to find.

  • Collective Behavior: In sociology, collective behavior refers to routine and non-routine behaviors enacted by people in (usually large) groups. This is often spontaneous, and may conflict with existing social structures, systems and laws. Courses might look at demonstrations, protests, strikes, and riots, to name a few examples.
  • Social Stratification: As a term, social stratification refers to the different ways a society might divide up into formal or informal class systems. It describes the social power held by some groups over others. Courses might talk about how this interacts with race, wealth, religion, family, and more, depending on the values and history of the stratified society in question.
  • Urbanization: This type of course focuses specifically on the social, political and economic issues regarding cities. It also may include studying the movement of different groups in and out of cities, suburbs, and exurbs. Some courses may also examine cities as microcosms of group behavior on a larger scale.
  • Socioeconomics: This course topic centers on the relationship between society, social behavior, and the economy. Classes may discuss not only how social processes impact the economy as a whole, but also how social stratification of different groups is impacted by socioeconomic status.
  • International Migration: This subject examines the movement of people between states. Topics discussed include nationality, citizenship, and social membership, and how those membership statuses might change over time for individuals and groups.
  • Political Sociology: Because politics and society are so closely intertwined—in fact, sociology can sometimes inform law and policy—many programs dedicate time to studying this relationship. Courses like this would discuss state, public and social organizations, the relationship between social structures and political processes, political action and revolution, and the ways that law and policy can impact social groups.
  • Sociology and Education: The education system is integral to many aspects of society, especially in communities with comparably fewer resources, who depend on their school system to provide important services. Sociology and education courses examine this complex relationship, and the ways in which the education system and educational policy impact different groups within a community.
  • Religion and Society: Religious beliefs and traditions are central to many communities around the world, at the family level as well as on a societal level. Many sociology degree programs will therefore touch on the relationship between religious beliefs, institutions and traditions and the societies they exist within. Some programs may even study specific religious traditions and communities.

Online Sociology Graduate Program Degree Levels

Online sociology graduate programs may serve a wide range of students. As such, they may be designed to accommodate those diverse needs. That especially includes students at different levels of experience. Whether you’re a recent graduate from a bachelor’s program or have some related professional experience—or even a graduate degree—there may be online sociology degree programs designed with students like you in mind.

Online Masters in Sociology

Interested in earning your masters in sociology online? A variety of online programs may be available. In most cases, these programs award either a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA) once students successfully complete the program, and the difference between the degree types is often nominal. However, when there is a significant difference, it may be that the MS may emphasize quantitative analysis over softer skills like communication.

When earning a masters in sociology online, it may be important to review the graduation requirements in advance. That’s because many masters programs require either a thesis or capstone project, which could require a visit to campus or other offline work, or even field experience.

Online PhD in Sociology Programs

If you’ve already earned your masters and begun your sociology career, earning a doctorate in sociology online could be your next step. Online sociology doctoral programs are often scholarly in nature. Those programs may center on research practices, and support doctoral candidates as they pursue original research. Some other programs are more practitioner-oriented. While practitioner-based sociology programs might also incorporate research elements, they’re generally designed to support other roles in the field, putting that research data into practice.

Two important questions to ask when deciding on an online sociology doctoral program are what type of graduation requirements there are, and what type of in-person requirements may be asked of you, if any. If you’re attending a more academic online sociology doctoral program, one centered on research or teaching, you’re likely to be asked to complete a dissertation. Some online programs might require students to visit campus periodically for things like proposing a topic, meeting with dissertation advisors, or presenting and defending a dissertation.

Online Sociology Graduate Certificate Programs

Online sociology graduate certificate programs are usually topical, meaning they center on a certain issue, role, or studying one segment of society. For example, one might study child welfare, social justice, or rural development. Graduate certificates might be offered at the masters or post-masters level, making them an option for anyone who wants to get a taste of graduate sociology education or build on the education they already have. Graduate certificates generally have a fairly short curriculum, meaning fewer credits might be needed to finish as compared to a full degree program.

Example Sociology Career Info

The skills and knowledge covered in pursuit of an online sociology degree could support a variety of roles. From engaging in sociology-related research and educating others about it, to using sociology research to inform business or government activity, graduates may have a variety of paths they could take. Entry level education requirements may vary considerably, depending on the type of career sought. In some cases, only a bachelors degree might be necessary to get started, though graduate education could enhance a career or support advancement.

Below are a few example careers sociology graduates may be interested in, along with relevant salary data.

  • Sociologist: 2016 Median Salary $79,750i
  • Postsecondary Teacher: 2016 Median Salary $75,430ii
  • Political Scientist/Policy Researcher: 2016 Median Salary $114,290iii
  • Social Work: 2016 Median Salary $46,890iv
  • Survey Research: 2016 Median Salary: $574,470v

Depending on the career in question, there may be additional prerequisites, like experience or professional certification. This could be a requirement or down to employer preference. For more information on how you might need to prepare, reach out to the career advisement services at your selected university.

Search for Online Sociology Graduate Programs

If you’re ready to begin searching for online sociology graduate programs, GradSchools.com is here to help! Narrow your choices down by using the menu to select your preferred degree level and specialty (if any). Then read more about what to expect in those programs and review the sponsored program listings that match! Click on the program names to find out more and request information. Then start your application!


[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm

[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm

[iii]< bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm

[iv] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm

[v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/survey-researchers.htm


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