Catalog Year



Master of Science





Sociology Human Service Planning & Administration (MS)

Thesis Plan - 33 credits
Alternate Plan Paper – 34 credits

The Master of Science in Sociology: Human Services Planning and Administration is designed for a person seeking a leadership role as an administrator in the field of human services. The graduate of this program will have a solid grounding in the knowledge, values, and skills appropriate for a broad range of human services programs. The program especially encourages creative and critical thinking skills which enable the graduate to produce positive changes in organizations.

Student expectations

Students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average for the entire degree program. Half of all graduate credit applied toward the degree must be earned in courses at the 600 level. Up to six credits may be taken outside of the department with the approval of a student's advisor. The student must complete all graduate degree requirements within six years.

Alternate Plan Paper or Master's Thesis

The alternate plan paper or master’s thesis is written under the supervision of the student's advisor and examining committee. Requirements for the paper or thesis include an oral defense of a proposal at the beginning of the project and a successful oral defense of the product upon completion of the work.

An alternate plan paper may take one of two forms. An academic APP is a critical, comprehensive review of empirical research that applies relevant theory, identifies gaps in our knowledge, and offers original insight. An applied APP uses existing theory to identify practical or community problems and empirical research to identify possible solutions and is accountable to both the academy and the community.

A master’s thesis is written under the supervison of the student's thesis advisor and examining committee. The thesis may be original research, an historical review, replication of an existing study, secondary analysis of available data, or applied research. Thesis requirements include an oral defense of the thesis proposal at the beginning of the project and a successful oral defense upon completion of the work.

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Program Requirements

Common Core

Implications of sociological knowledge for the administration of Human Services programs. Theoretical and practical aspects of administration with the social service systems.

Prerequisites: none

This course will address theoretical and practical aspects of the planning and evaluation process within social service systems. Evidence-based methods of developing programs and measuring their effectiveness in the human services will be addressed.

Prerequisites: none

Proseminar is an introduction to the sociology graduate programs at MSU Mankato and broader issues related to graduate education. Students will learn about program requirements; differences between capstone options (thesis or alternate plan paper) how they are structured and time-lines for completion; department plagiarism policy and how to avoid plagiarism; become familiar with library resources; become familiar with the policies and procedures of the IRB; meet department graduate faculty and become familiar with their areas of expertise, scholarship, and graduate courses they teach. Proseminar is an important course that prepares students for a timely completion of their graduate degree.

Prerequisites: none

A survey and analysis of major scientific approaches to human social behavior.

Prerequisites: none

Appreciation of basic multivariable methods in the analysis of sociological data. Includes computer applications using SPSS and application to various social issues.

Prerequisites: none

An overview of sociological theory that spans the classical and contemporary traditions within the discipline and focuses on current theoretical issues and controversies within the field.

Prerequisites: none

This course is an analysis of the meaning, social construction and significance of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and other boundaries within the pluralistic culture of the United States and in a global world. The course unpacks the mechanisms by which inequalities are maintained in organizations of education, politics, labor market, criminal justice system, sports, neighborhood boundaries, marriage and family, migration, nation, and citizenship. The course explores the matrix of domination and structural dimensions of life by considering sociological critiques of social institutional analyses.

Prerequisites: none

Research/Methods Course(s)

Advanced-level introduction or review of social science research methods, including entire research process: problem definition, literature review, hypothesis development, method development, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication; focuses on quantitative methods.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Choose 6 - 9 Credit(s). Any 500/600 level Elective courses selected in consultation with an advisor.

Capstone Course

Select either Thesis or Alternate Plan Paper (APP)

Preparation of an alternate plan paper under supervision of the student's graduate advisor. Prereq: must be enrolled in the MS program in Sociology.

Prerequisites: none


Prerequisites: none