Skip to main content

Desired Student Learning Outcomes - Graduate


Table of Contents:


Broad Program Learning Goals for the M.A. Degree in Sociology

A. To understand, critique, and be able to note research applications of insights from the classical sociological theories of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.

B. To explain the meaning of terms used to capture elements of sociological theory, describe at least four perspectives in contemporary theory, and note research applications of at least two of those perspectives.

C. To understand the nature of sociological research methods, and how they may be used in examining sociological issues.

D. To understand how some contemporary statistical procedures may be used to examine research issues in contemporary sociology.

Click for List of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Sociology MA Degree Program


A. Classical Theory SLOs
A.1. Students will be able to explain the major themes of a Marxian, Weberian, and Durkheimian perspective on the social world.
A.2. Students will be able to discuss the differences, merits, limitations, overlapping characteristics, and possible ways to integrate two or more of the three classic perspectives.
A.3. Students will be able to derive at least two research hypotheses from two of the perspectives that may be applicable to an area of their own interest. They will also be able to provide a brief description of a possible research project that investigates the hypotheses.

B. Contemporary Theory SLOs
B.1. Students will be able to explain how concepts, relationships, middle-range theory and general theory relate to one another in comprising what we mean by theory (note: there are several alternative terms to middle-range and general theory that are not noted here). They will be able to note some major concepts, relationships, and perhaps middle-range theory found in a major perspective in contemporary sociological theory.
B.2. Students will be able to explain and critique at least two theoretical perspectives that are part of contemporary sociological theory.
B.3 Students will be able to explain two research hypotheses that are associated with the two perspectives described above. They will be able to provide a brief description of a possible research project that investigates the hypotheses.

C. Research Methods SLOs
C.1. Students will be able to explain the major characteristics of the scientific method, and how it differs from other ways of knowing the world.
C.2. Students will be able to explain the major approaches to research design, data collection, and data analysis in contemporary sociological research.
C.3. Students will be able to explain how a research topic important to them may be investigated using a particular research design, mode of data collection, and mode of data analysis.

D. Statistics SLOs
D.1. Students will be able to describe the idea of fitting a line to a scatterplot of points and the least squares concept. They will be able to explain the “ordinary least squares” regression assumptions and their implications, and illustrate the use of OLS regression. They will be able to interpret OLS results, including summary measures of model fit, estimated coefficients, and statistical significance of effects.
D.2. Students will be able to explain situations in which OLS regression can and cannot be reasonably applied, and the benefits and limitations of using OLS regression in sociological research.
D.3. Students will be able to describe, for at least two of the methods listed below, research problems or types of data for which the method is useful. They will also be able to explain the method in a non-technical way, and be able to interpret its main results. Possible methods include generalized least squares, logistic regression, Poisson and negative binomial regression, principal component and factor analysis, correspondence analysis, even history analysis, time series analysis, social network analysis, and analysis of hierarchical or clustered data.

Broad Program Learning Goals for the Ph.D. Degree in Sociology

The Ph.D. program INCLUDES ALL THE LEARNING GOALS FOR THE M.A. program plus three additional goals that represent skills representative of professional sociologists whose careers will be largely in education and research. Only the leaning goals that are exclusive for the Ph.D. program are listed below, and it is those goals that will be the focus of concern for assessment of the Ph.D. program. However, a full assessment report for the Ph.D. program would properly contain information garnered from assessment of the M.A. program.

A. Develop the knowledge and skills appropriate for a specialist in a sub-discipline of sociology.
B. Develop teaching skills appropriate for a college and university teacher.
C. Develop the skills of a professional research sociologist.

Click for List of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for Sociology Ph.D. Program


A. Specialized Knowledge SLOs (Ph.D.focus)
A.1. Students will be able to explain the major characteristics of four sub-disciplines of sociology, note how the sub-disciplines may overlap, and the advantages and disadvantages of disciplinary sub-divisions.
A.2. Students will be able explain and critique the major theoretical and empirical materials in a sub-discipline of sociology.
A.3 Students will be able to discuss research applications of major theoretical perspectives in a sub-discipline of sociology.

B. Pedagogical SLOs (Ph.D. focus)
B.1. Students will be able to organize a class in sociology and engage in evaluation of student performance in a class in sociology.
B.2. Students will be able to organize, instruct, and engage in evaluation of student performance in a class in sociology.
B.3. Students will be able to distinguish between micro- and macro-level correlates of crime and related explanations.

C. Original Research SLOs (Ph.D. focus)
C.1. Students will be able to define and organize a research project.
C.2. Students will be able to carry out data collection and analysis for an original piece of research.
C.3. Students will be able to write a professional report of the empirical and theoretical results of a research project.