2018-2019 General Catalog 
    Mar 22, 2018  
2018-2019 General Catalog

Sociology, M.Stat.

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Sociology, M.Stat
Social and Behavioral Science Building 301

Minimum Master Hours: 37

The Department of Sociology at the University of Utah offers a M-Stat in Sociology. This applied
masters program is offered in several disciplines throughout the University of Utah campus:

Program Purpose

The program is designed for students whose interest lies in the application of statistical methods to
sociological and social problems. The program prepares students to be broadly knowledgeable in
statistics and probability theory. Students learn state-of-the-art programming and applications in the
Sociology area of concentration. Graduates are trained to pursue careers in industry, the public sector, or to continue doctoral studies.

Program Requirements

Prior to applying for admission to the M-Stat program, students must have completed a four-year bachelor degree from an accredited university with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and taken the GRE exam (and TOEFL for international applicants; minimum score of 600). M-Stat students are expected to have the following prerequisite knowledge and training prior to completing the required “math” curriculum, which may extend the time to degree completion or delay a student’s ability to apply for the program:

  • At least 2 semesters of calculus, including calculus with multiple variables (Math 1260, 1280, and 2210 or equivalent)
  • 2 semesters of basic statistics
  • Knowledge of matrix theory

Once admitted, students in the M-Stat in Sociology program must complete the required coursework (program of study), as well as a mentored capstone research project. See next pages for expectations about each.


A Supervisory Committee consisting of three faculty members, the majority of whom must be tenure-line faculty in the student’s major department, is appointed no later than the second semester of graduate work. One of the committee members should be appointed as a chair. All course work counted toward the degree must be approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee. One semester prior to graduation, a complete program of study should be entered into the Graduate Records Tracking System by the department graduate coordinator and then approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Research Project

This requirement is intended to help students develop and execute an independent research project. It is an opportunity to conduct a research project that is closely mentored by a faculty member and that applies statistical training to a problem or question of sociological value. It is a “capstone” project that integrates and applies the learning of the full M-Stat program.


This is an independent research project in which a student produces a publishable-like manuscript that uses statistical analysis to answer a specific research question within the traditions and theoretical perspectives of Sociology. Although the paper does not have to be published in order to complete this requirement, the manuscript produced typically leads to the student’s first solo-authored publication. The paper should be of a scope that can be completed in one year, given the students’ current capabilities, access to data and any other resources needed to complete the project.

Students are encouraged to use a topic they have already considered in graduate coursework. Students, for example, might implement the proposal they developed in Research Methods. The project can also draw on a topic discussed in the Theory seminar. Or, students may choose to complete and/or expand an analysis started in one of the required Stats classes. The paper produced for this requirement has to be unique, not identical to something that has already been graded in the context of another course. It is customary for students to use secondary (already existing) data to complete this project.


It is the student’s responsibility to select a Primary Reader (faculty advisor) for this project before enrolling in SOC 6940. When asking a faculty member to be the advisor of your project, you should be prepared to discuss the general direction and plan for this project, including the type of data to be used. The faculty advisor for the capstone research project is typically a tenure-track faculty member from the Department of Sociology who is the chair of the student’s Supervisory Committee. Please consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology, if you want to select an advisor outside of Sociology or outside of your Supervisory Committee.

In addition to the faculty advisor on record, students are welcome to consult with additional faculty advisors (within and outside of the Sociology department) should additional substantive or methodological advice and guidance be needed to complete the project. As well, the chosen faculty advisor will often consult - formally or informally – with the members of the student’s Supervisory Committee during the completion and approval of the final project.


The final product will consist of a well-developed and polished empirical manuscript written by the student. An empirical paper typically includes an abstract, introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion, and references sections. Generally, the length of the paper should follow subdisciplinary or genre-specific guidelines used by sociology journals. Students should work with their faculty advisor to identify a potential target journal for the topic and type of analysis selected for the project. Students are expected to produce a manuscript that follows the “author guidelines” for the selected target journal.

No formal presentation (defense) is required; however, students are encouraged to present their work (completed or in-progress) during a Department of Sociology brownbag presentation.


Students will enroll in SOC 6990 for a minimum of 3 credit hours during the semester in which they are completing their research project.

A separate section of SOC 6990 will be created, upon student request, with the chosen faculty advisor listed as the instructor. Students may receive a “T” grade if the project is not completed during the semester enrolled, showing that they are making progress on the project but it is not yet complete. The “T” grade will be changed when the project is completed and approved by the faculty advisor.

Timing & Completion

M-Stat students are expected to complete the project during a single semester, often their final semester of the M-Stat program. At the end of the semester, the faculty advisor will review the produced manuscript and consider whether it should receive one of the following grades:

  • Pass – the student is encouraged to consider submitting the paper for publication review and has finalized the “capstone research project” requirement of the M-Stat degree.
  • Conditional Pass – the student should work with the faculty advisor to outline expected revisions. Revisions and final faculty approval must be completed before the M-Stat is completed.
  • Fail – the student will be dismissed from the program and not allowed to continue in the program. This is a rare outcome.

The faculty advisor will report the outcome (grade) to the student’s Supervisory Committee. If the completion of the project is stalled or delayed (i.e., taking more than two semesters to complete), the student’s faculty advisor will work together with the student’s Supervisory Committee to provide specific timelines and expectations for the student to finish the project in a timely and successful manner. If progress remains stalled or lacks the minimum expectations for quality (as assessed by the student’s Supervisory Committee), the student’s overall progress in the program will be evaluated by the Graduate Committee. A student failing to make steady progress could be dismissed from the program.

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • GRE score (no minimum requirement)
  • TOEFL score of 600 or better (for international students only)
  • Three academic letters of reference
  • Statement of interest
  • Completion of Calculus I, II, III; 2 semesters of basic statistics; Knowledge of Matrix Theory.

Graduation Requirements:

  • Complete of 37 credit hours in MSTAT courses consisting of courses related to the research foundations and theories of Sociology, Math/Statistics, and an independent research/capstone project. 
  • A student must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Maintain minimum continuous registration from formal admission to end of program.

Master of Statistics for Sociology Requirements


Complete 6 credits. Choose 2 electives from special topics in Statistics and the list of graduate courses in Sociology with a quantitative component.

Project & Capstone

Complete a minimum of 6 credits

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