Accelerated Master of Arts

Description of program

The Department of Sociology offers two accelerated Master of Arts programs, one in criminal justice studies, the other in sociology. Both accelerated programs allow undergraduate students to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a master's degree in either criminal justice studies or sociology while still enrolled in the Department of Sociology as undergraduate majors. Students participating in this program are allowed to take a maximum of 12 graduate credit hours during their senior year that will count towards completion of their bachelor's degree. After completing the undergraduate degree, students are admitted to their master's program (either criminal justice studies or sociology), at which point the graduate credits they earned as undergraduates are credited towards the completion of their master's degree.

An undergraduate degree in sociology, criminal justice or social psychology concentration requires a total of 122 credit hours. The master's degrees offered by the Department of Sociology require a total of 36 hours. Students enrolling in the accelerated program for the maximum of 12 graduate credits would earn 146 total undergraduate and graduate credits, in contrast to the typical 158 undergraduate and graduate credit hours under the usual progression to degree(s). In addition, students enrolled in the accelerated M.A. program pay undergraduate tuition for the 6000-level graduate courses they take as undergraduate students and these courses are included in the flat tuition rate. On completion of the undergraduate degree, the student is reclassified as a graduate student and must pay graduate tuition rates for the remaining classes in the M.A. program.

Admission criteria for this program is available for all undergraduate majors in the Department of Sociology. Students must have senior status, have earned a minimum of 15 credit hours at WMU, and have taken 20 hours in their major, including SOC 2820–Methods of Data Collection, SOC 2830–Methods of Data Analysis, and SOC 3000–Sociological Theory or SOC 3620–Criminology. They also must have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.5. In addition, students must meet all admission requirements for the M.A. in sociology and be accepted for admission by the Central Graduate Committee.

Students who have received their bachelor's degrees will be ineligible to apply for this program and retroactively claim credits to apply toward the M.A. degree.

Students applying for these accelerated Master of Arts programs in the Department of Sociology at Western Michigan University should follow the application deadlines and instructions.


Admission procedures

1. Early in the junior year, potential accelerated M.A. students should contact the graduate program director to discuss the accelerated M.A. option and review admission requirements, timelines and application procedures.

2. Students must submit an online application, using the Apply buttons below.

3. Upon acceptance to the accelerated M.A. program of their choice, the Central Graduate Committee approves a conditional admission to that M.A. program pending completion of the bachelor's degree. The effective term of admission to the M.A. program is the term following receipt of the bachelor's degree.

4. Upon acceptance to the accelerated M.A. program, the student must complete their undergraduate graduation audit online and meet with an advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences advising office.

5. After acceptance to the accelerated M.A. program, the student must have a joint meeting with the graduate program director and an advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences advising office to prepare a program of study that meets the requirements for the bachelor's and M.A. degrees. The student must complete and have approved the M.A. program of study form. This completed form and the undergraduate audit from the College of Arts and Sciences must be submitted to the registrar's office to become part of the student's permanent file.

Domestic applicants

Applicants are asked to include some program-specific information, with a summary for these requirements for the Master of Arts in sociology found here. Applicants are encouraged to bookmark this information for quick reference while working through the graduate application process.

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International applicants

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Thank you for your interest in applying to this graduate program.

Requirements for continuing eligibility and graduation

1. The bachelor's degree must be awarded within one calendar year after initial enrollment in the accelerated M.A. program. Students who fail to complete the bachelor's degree in this time frame must reapply to be admitted to the M.A. program.

2. In order to move automatically into the M.A. program, students must achieve a grade of B or better in each graduate course being counted toward the bachelor's degree. Students who do not meet this requirement will have the earned grade applied to their undergraduate degrees only and must reapply for admission to the M.A. program. Students who meet this requirement will be admitted as M.A. students (with the relevant graduate credits) in the next semester or session after receiving the bachelor's degree.

3. Students must follow the program of study on file with the registrar's office. Failure to do so may result in ineligibility for the accelerated M.A. program.

4. A student completing the undergraduate degree with a GPA within the major of less than 3.0 automatically will be ineligible for the accelerated M.A. program.

5. Students must complete the requirements for the M.A. degree within 24 months after completion of the bachelor's degree. Students unable to meet this requirement must apply for an extension from the Central Graduate Committee.

6. Students who have completed the accelerated M.A. program will have this noted on their undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

7. Any student who becomes ineligible for the accelerated M.A. program will be notified in writing by the graduate program director at the time of annual review.

Requirements and course descriptions


A student may withdraw from the accelerated M.A. program by informing the graduate program director in the Department of Sociology in writing. A copy of the request to withdraw must also be submitted to the registrar's office.


Words from some of our master's students:

"My research interests include criminology, the sociology of animals, gender, and quantitative methods. My most recent work examines the mental health of inmates at the Clark County Jail, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and the hegemonic structure of all-male acapella groups." —Katherine B.

"I am the coordinator of the WMU Wrongful Conviction Program, a WMU extension of a non-profit organization which seeks to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals through post-conviction DNA testing. My other interests include online self-disclosure, and social capital formation accrual in online contexts. I graduated from Lake Superior State University with a B.A. in sociology and a minor in geography." —Ryan C.