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Thoughts on online MA programs in Sociology


julesevar
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I am in a situation where I will not be able to move from my current location for about 1 to 2 years. So, basically I can't apply for a PhD as the only University within 30 miles dropped their Sociology PhD program.  Under these circumstances I have looked at several online MA programs.  My basic question is would these be a waste of time and money?

My methods interests are qualitative and many of these programs require one statistics class in addition to a methods that (more than likely will focus on quantitative methods).  I kind of feel that I would prefer to not take more than one statistics/quantitative methods class in my graduate career. It's not that I can't do it, I just don't really want to!

If I had the choice I would probably stay in the Midwest for my PhD, unless I would go to somewhere on the East coast, but that may be a few years.

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Are you planning to use the MA to boost future PhD applications, or do you want to get the MA and not go further? If you want to use it for PhD applications, be aware you will most likely have to take additional statistics courses within the PhD program. Many require 2 semesters, and not all will allow you to transfer the course from your MA. I can't answer whether it will be a waste of time and money, because that depends on your personal goals and situation, but I personally wouldn't spend money on the MA if I later planned to get a PhD. (Remember that PhD programs will pay you to attend.) 

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I really discourage doing an MA unless it's funded, so if you want to get a PhD later, my advice is just wait and apply in 1-2 years and get some research experience in the meantime. (If you don't plan on getting a PhD, the MA serves no purpose whatsoever, so don't bother.) The online MA programs are also particularly not well suited to give you relevant research experience that would actually help your PhD applications.

Edited by lkaitlyn
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