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Job Opportunities with a MA in Sociology

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Hi everyone, 

I am a current graduate student in a Masters program in Sociology and will graduate this December. I am looking into employment opportunities for those with a masters degree in Sociology. I am most interested in research, data collection/analysis, and statistics. I have a few questions regarding employment and am hoping a few of you could help me. I have already contacted my program advisor and a few faculty within my department. 

I understand most universities, anywhere, require PhD's for research positions. Does this mean I would be able to conduct research within a large research company or with a private company? 
 
Do you know if companies require a PhD as universities do, or is it a preference of each company? I have already contacted a few research companies locally and was not provided with detailed information as they are not hiring and do not have any available positions.
 
I am also interested in medicine and the medical field. Would I be able to conduct or assist with research within a hospital, or would a MD/PhD degree be required? 
 
Finally, I am aware of companies whose primary focus is not research but have a research department. Is this an opportunity available to those with a masters degree in Sociology?
 
I have already tried to research my questions, but I am having a hard time finding information. I am new to this field and really enjoy research and statistics, so I am looking for more information that will allow me to gain research employment after graduation. 
 
Please, please, please direct me to other helpful information that can assist me with my questions. I appreciate it. Thank you. 

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I have a research-focused MS in psychology so we may be in a similar boat in terms of our employment prospects. 

 

I would consider looking into state government research positions. Many hire research analysts for program evaluations. Otherwise consider market / human factors research with market research agencies. Organizational development may be a shot in the dark but may be worth exploring. Otherwise you could consider research assistant for medical colleges / hospitals depending on your previous experience. 

 

good luck! 

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You may not have much luck conducting independent research with an MA, but you would likely be qualified for research coordinator positions in academic research or research assistant/associate positions in consulting firms (RTI, JSB, etc.). Depending on your previous experience, you might also look for positions in public health departments (state or local) that focus on evaluation or program management. If you're looking outside your area of expertise, you may want to look for positions with "Bachelors required, Masters preferred."

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Thanks @Psychologyandpizza and @iwearflowers. I appreciate the helpful information. I'm really interested in research, but I'm new to the field of Sociology. I feel like sometimes I don't even know what key words to search for when looking for employment opportunities as I'm not familiar with options and how I can use a MA degree in Sociology. 

I graduate in December and am hoping to find something soon. I really want to start working in research, use my degree, and actually do something I will enjoy doing. I've been in the pharmaceutical field for 10 years now and it's time for something new. 

Any other tips or suggestions you can provide? Thanks! 

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In private for-profit industry, you can certainly conduct research with an MA in sociology. Most researchers in the social sciences in industry hold master's degrees, actually.

Companies vary a lot in their preference. Many top companies will prefer PhDs if they can get them, and they do tend to - but that doesn't mean they won't take an MA, especially one with experience. My team is made up of mostly PhDs (mostly in psychology and neuroscience) but we do have some folks with just an MA and even one or two with a BA only, albeit these people have many years of experience and are truly excellent at their jobs.

You could also definitely conduct or assist with research in a hospital. You'll want to look at research coordinator positions - lots of researchers conducting clinical trials hire MA holders to do research tasks for them, especially research administration tasks. Sometimes the hospital has a whole research wing and the administration of such, as well as lower-level and intermediate research tasks, are done by MA (or MPH) holders. Often these positions are also called research associate, so I'd look that up. As someone else mentioned, you could also get research associate positions with think tanks like RTI or Mathematica.

Research consultancies are another place to look; one place that comes to mind is Advisory Board, which hires master's holders as research associates.

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On 10/20/2018 at 4:00 PM, juilletmercredi said:

In private for-profit industry, you can certainly conduct research with an MA in sociology. Most researchers in the social sciences in industry hold master's degrees, actually.

Companies vary a lot in their preference. Many top companies will prefer PhDs if they can get them, and they do tend to - but that doesn't mean they won't take an MA, especially one with experience. My team is made up of mostly PhDs (mostly in psychology and neuroscience) but we do have some folks with just an MA and even one or two with a BA only, albeit these people have many years of experience and are truly excellent at their jobs.

You could also definitely conduct or assist with research in a hospital. You'll want to look at research coordinator positions - lots of researchers conducting clinical trials hire MA holders to do research tasks for them, especially research administration tasks. Sometimes the hospital has a whole research wing and the administration of such, as well as lower-level and intermediate research tasks, are done by MA (or MPH) holders. Often these positions are also called research associate, so I'd look that up. As someone else mentioned, you could also get research associate positions with think tanks like RTI or Mathematica.

Research consultancies are another place to look; one place that comes to mind is Advisory Board, which hires master's holders as research associates.

Thanks for this information. It's definitely helpful. 

I would be interested in research within a hospital. I did a quick search just now for 'hospital research associate' and 'hospital research coordinator' positions at several local hospitals, but haven't found anything. I assumed most hospital research positions would require knowledge in a specific area of medicine. I will definitely keep looking for possibilities. 

As I don't have a Bachelors degree in Sociology, I don't have the amount of experience most larger companies are probably expecting. I'm hoping I will be able to find something with the little experience I have. It's always hard to gain experience without experience - if that makes sense. 

You mentioned places such as the advisory board. I did another quick search with 'advisory board' and I didn't find anything. 

I will continue to use the information you provided and I'm hoping I find some opportunities soon. 

Any other tips or suggestions? 

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On 10/27/2018 at 11:55 AM, juilletmercredi said:

Might be your location? When I search 'Advisory Board' they're the first result, but likely because I've clicked on them before.

https://www.advisory.com/careers

I just checked this website. It seems like an interesting opportunity, but nothing available where I currently live. I understand I may need to move if I plan to obtain a position with a large company. I'm looking for opportunities for now. 

Any other suggestions? I'm trying to ask as many people as I can as I'm unfamiliar with opportunities. 

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Does anyone else have any tips or suggestions for me? I have graduated and now have my Masters degree in Sociology. I completed my degree through an online program and did not complete the research experience I should have. I am looking for many research opportunities, but it's difficult since I don't have experience. It's hard to get experience without having any experience. I have submitted close to 20 applications already and haven't received any calls. I will follow up with companies, but I'm getting worried. 

Please help!!!!

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Does anyone have any suggestions for me? My Master degree will be arriving in the mail sometime this week and I don't even want to see it. I'm so bummed and depressed about companies not calling me. I don't have research experience, but it's hard to gain experience without having any experience. 

I'm continually looking for research opportunities at a local university. Maybe I'll get lucky with one of those positions. 

Any suggestions or tips are appreciated.....

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The way to get experience in research, especially in the jobs you are looking for, is in grad school. (Then the competition just gets harder).

Unfortunately, the world is flooded with PhDs that can't get into/don't want to be in academia --so they are your competition . Your research jobs with a master's, and specifically an MA (which probably made you better suited to teach), are difficult to find. As others have said, research assistant (what most people do in grad school), is something you could look at as an "entry level" position to get experience. Other positions may include program/project coordinator/manager of research projects/departments. These are probably administrative, but could get you in.
If you are not able/willing to move, research jobs are not easy to find/get. 

So the advice? 

Bluntly, look elsewhere, you want to enter a very competitive field and start with some real disadvantages. It wouldn't be impossible, but you must be prepared to start outside of direct research at the very least (as in doing administrative work).
 

I know this isn't happy advice but its realistic advice, and I wish people had given me realistic advice before going to graduate school.

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