ASA Study of Master of Arts Graduates: Survey of Directors of Graduate Studies

In response to many requests for help in developing Master's Programs in sociology, the American Sociological Association's Task Force on the Master's Degree in Sociology will identify best practices for developing the knowledge base and skills that Master's candidates need. The 6 questions that we are asking graduate program directors to answer are designed to identify characteristics of your graduate program and to request that you to provide a list of Master's candidates names and email addresses.

Once we have this information, the Task Force, in cooperation with the ASA Research Department, will conduct a longitudinal survey of these candidates. We will send all of the students on your list an invitation to complete an on-line survey about their experiences in your program and their future goals (see a draft of this questionnaire at http://www.asanet.org/galleries/default-file/MAtskfcSurvey_students08.pdf. In 2010 we will send a follow-up questionnaire to those who graduated to learn if they have gone on for another degree, their employment status and position, and whether they use the knowledge and skills they learned in the Master’s program. Findings will be made available to you (and your students) on an ongoing basis. The first phase of this research has undergone Human Subjects Review and has been granted exempt status as it seeks to address questions typically treated by institutional research office.

In many cases sociology departments have not had the knowledge or support to build programs in which graduates can take advantage of their schooling and obtain positions that are close to their sociological training. One area of weakness is the lack of information about the career trajectories of Master’s degree recipients. Few departments track their Master’s students, especially those that do not go on for a PhD degree in sociology. We believe this longitudinal survey will help close the information gap, and will better position programs to help their students.

By providing the names and email addresses of your Master’s students, we can learn more about their program experience and their career trajectories and, ultimately, help build programs that allow sociological knowledge in the science workforce. In addition, we hope that you will allow us to send out the student survey under your name.

If you are unsure as to whether your department offers a Master's program (some PhD programs do not), please contact Roberta Spalter-Roth at spalter-roth@asanet.org.

Please send any questions to Roberta Spalter-Roth at spalter-roth@asanet.org (Ph: 202-383-9005, ext. 317) or Bob Shelly at shelly@ohio.edu, the co-PIs on the project. Those who participate in the survey and send us an email list of students will receive a free copy of the newly published report Thinking About a Master’s Degree in Sociology: Academic, Applied, Professional and Everything in Between developed by the Task Force.



Sincerely yours,


Sally T. Hillsman, PhD,
Executive Director

And the Task Force on the Master’s Degree in Sociology: Mellisa Holtzman, Ball State University; Clara Rodriguez, Fordham University (Council liaison); Carole Seyfrit, Radford University; Robert Shelly, Ohio University; James Sherohman, St. Cloud University; Roberta Spalter-Roth (ASA staff liaison); James Wilson, Russell Sage Foundation.



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