Program goals

The purpose of the M.S. in Sociology with a concentration in digital sociology is to teach students to analyze digitally native data through the lens of social justice. The program aims to prepare graduates to shape emerging local, national and global conversations about big data, privacy, algorithms, inequality and social movements. The sociology department believes in the importance of developing new ways of doing sociology that are both public and critical. The program brings together a cross-disciplinary course sequence in methods, theory, big data analysis, data visualization, social network analysis, digital sociology, public sociology and digital social problems, culminating in two practicums. Students create meaningful projects from the beginning of the program, building a digital portfolio exhibiting their proficiency in applying sociological theory, methodology and critical analysis skills to the digital world.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate a mastery of the key concepts, including diversity and inequality, developed by classical and modern sociological theorists.
  2. Students will organize and integrate information into a cohesive overview of current knowledge and demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the meaning, value and contribution of published literature in the field.
  3. Students will demonstrate the ability to design and implement an appropriate collection and analysis of data, which is a critical response to theory and current literature in the field of sociology.
  4. Students will demonstrate the ability to draw reasoned conclusions based on qualitative and/or quantitative evidence relevant to the discipline of sociology.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to present their work as a cohesive artifact to their relevant publics.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.