Master of Arts in Social Sciences and Globalization

The objective of the M.A. in Social Sciences is to provide students with a survey of the concepts and ideas social scientists study with emphasis placed upon the domestic and international impact of global processes and global connectivity. While the program provides course work in each of the contributing disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology, the program also supports interdisciplinary learning and research through a colloquium series. This program is especially attractive to those pursuing a career in or seeking advancement in secondary school and community college teaching in the social sciences. Those interested in work in other types of educational and social science related fields, such as non-profit or non-governmental work, applied social sciences, and those interested in pursuing advanced degrees (Ph.D., J.D., etc.) may also benefit from this program.

Admission to the Program

In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified status are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in a social science discipline or in social science itself, or another baccalaureate degree with course work that satisfies the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences that the student has received adequate preparation to undertake the program;
  2. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 overall and at least 3.0 ("B") in the major (preference will be given to applicants who have at least 3.0 overall);
  3. A brief 1 to 2 page statement of purpose (not to exceed 1,000 words), describing the applicant's preparation for graduate study and academic and professional goals, to be submitted to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences;
  4. A writing sample (at least 10 pages but not to exceed 25 pages) that demonstrates the applicant's ability to write analytical prose, to construct a reasoned argument based upon evidence, and to create a context for assessing the significance of what has been presented. Writing sample should demonstrate preparation for the applicant's proposed field of study;
  5. Three letters of recommendation, with at least two from former professors. Letters should come directly from the recommenders or be included in a placement file. It is the applicant's responsibility to determine if letters have been received. It is assumed that students who request confidential letters to be submitted on their behalf have waived their right to view those letters as per FERPA (1974) requirements to maximize the confidentiality and integrity of the letters of reference. Applicants who do not wish to waive their right to view those letters are responsible for letting their letter-writers know in advance that they retain their right to view the letters. 

Applicants who meet the general requirements of the university for admission to graduate study but do not meet the additional requirements listed above may be admitted to the university in the unclassified postbaccalaureate status. Unclassified postbaccalaureate students may enroll, when space permits, in elective graduate courses in the program but not the required graduate proseminars. An unclassified postbaccalaureate student should consult with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to determine what steps would be necessary to advance to classified status.

Advancement to Candidacy

In order to be formally advanced to candidacy, a student must have:

  1. Achieved classified status;
  2. Secured a graduate advisor to supervise the course of study; 
  3. Completed, with the approval of the advisor, at least 9 semester units of graduate course work at this university and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in those courses; 
  4. Satisfy the Graduate Writing Requirement with completion of at least one paper in the program that satisfies the program-specific Graduate Writing Requirement (GWR) rubric at the "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" level (see graduate coordinator for more information);
  5. Filed an approved program which must have the approval of the student's advisor and the coordinator of the program.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. Completion of a minimum of 31 semester units (46 quarter units) of acceptable graduate-level work, with at least 23 semester units (33 quarter units) completed in residence at this university;
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses taken as part of the program;
  3. To provide a breadth of content in this graduate program, students are allowed to take a 5000- or 6000-level course as an elective from any University department with the approval of the program coordinator;
  4. Satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement with completion of at least one paper in the program that satisfies the program-specific Graduate Writing Requirement (GWR) rubric at the "meets expectations" or "exceeds expectations" level (see graduate coordinator for more information);
  5. In addition to completion of the graduate writing requirement, classified students enrolled in the M.A. in Social Sciences must satisfy the program's writing requirements by:
    1. Successful completion of the M.A. in Social Sciences with a grade point average of "B" or better in Social Sciences core courses requiring students to write in a manner appropriate to the relevant social science disciplines; and
    2. Successful completion of the Social Science Comprehensive Examination (SSCI 6970) requiring acceptable writing skills, or preparation of an acceptable graduate thesis (SSCI 6990);
  6. At least 23 units of 600-level courses;
  7. Any additional requirements not cited above and listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.

Degree Requirements (31 units)

ANTH 6000Proseminar in Anthropology3
GEOG 6000Proseminar in Geography2
HIST 6000Proseminar in History2
PSCI 6100Proseminar in Political Science2
SOC 6000Proseminar in Sociology3
ECON 6000Proseminar in Economics2
SSCI 6010Social Science Colloquium4
SSCI 6020Professional Development and Portfolio1
Culminating Experience (3)3
Concentration (9)
Students must satisfy the requirements of one of the concentrations listed below9
Total Units31

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Students must select either the Comprehensive Exam Option or the Thesis/Project Option as their Culminating Experience.

Comprehensive examination Option

SSCI 6983Comprehensive Examination3
Total Units3

Students who choose the comprehensive examination option must take that examination no earlier than in the second to the last quarter of program course work. These students must enroll in SSCI 6970. Students with less than a 3.0 grade point average in the program will not be permitted to take the examination. The comprehensive examination committee for each candidate will consist of the program coordinator and the student's advisor. The comprehensive examination will have two components. The first will be a general examination that covers the areas of social science treated in the course requirements with a special focus on globalization. The second will be a specific field and focus on the student’s specialization. The examination will be graded pass/fail, and candidates failing the examination may take it a second time within one year. If a second examination is needed, the student, coordinator and advisor should discuss what actions may be necessary to remedy the student's shortcomings. No student will be permitted to take the comprehensive examination more than twice.

Thesis or Project Option

SSCI 6973Graduate Project or Thesis3
Total Units3

A student selecting the thesis or project option must complete a thesis or project that is approved by his or her faculty committee. The thesis or project must reflect original work and show a level of competence appropriate for a master's degree. The faculty committee shall consist of two or three faculty members, including the student's advisor, mutually agreed upon by the student and faculty. By mutual agreement between the student and advisor, an additional member may be added to the committee. At least one member of the thesis committee must also be affiliated with the Graduate faculty. The student must enroll in SSCI 6990, Thesis or Cumulative Project, in the quarter when completion of the thesis is anticipated.

Concentrations (9 units)

Disciplinary Concentration (9 units)

(Program Code: SSDI)

  1. Nine semester units (twelve quarter units) chosen from one of the following six disciplines at the 5000-level or above, or as approved by the major advisor and program coordinator. 
    1. Anthropology
    2. Economics
    3. Geography
    4. History
    5. Political Science
    6. Sociology
  2. Only six semester units (eight quarter units) may be taken as independent study or Directed Readings/Directed Research. Independent Study or Directed Readings/Research courses will involve research which builds on the methods and theories of the student's disciplinary concentration and contribute to the student's thesis/special field.
  3. All coursework must be chosen in consultation with the disciplinary advisor (members of the affiliated faculty representing the corresponding disciplines). All electives must be 5000-level courses or above unless approved by the coordinator.

Thematic Concentration (9 units)

(Program Code: SSTH)

  1. Nine semester units (twelve quarter units) of elective coursework must consist of courses related to a program theme (social justice, sustainability, migrations and social movements, or global analysis). Six semester units (eight quarter units) can consist of an independent study, directed readings or directed research. Independent Study, directed readings/research courses will involve research which focuses on the student's regional emphasis and contribute to the student's thesis/special field.
  2. Select one emphasis from the following, or develop one not on the list in consultation with faculty advisor and program coordinator: 
    1. social justice
    2. sustainability
    3. migrations and social movements
    4. global analysis
  3. All coursework must be chosen in consultation with the coordinator of the program.
  4. All electives must be 5000-level or above.   

Applied Social Science Concentration (9 units)

(Program Code: SSAP)

  1. Nine semester units in an area of applied Social Science selected in consultation with faculty advisor and program coordinator.
  2. Select one emphasis from the following, or develop one not on the list in consultation with faculty advisor and program coordinator: 
    1. GIS and Spatial Analysis
    2. Public History
    3. Museum Studies
  3. All coursework must be chosen in consultation with the coordinator of the program.
  4. All electives must be 5000-level or above.