Graduate Studies


“The Graduate Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Western Illinois University has helped me excel in the workplace. The statistical, objective, and analytical component of Sociology helps me everyday in my work. As a social and political activist where numbers and quantitative measures often drive the terms of success, my education and experience gained in qualitative research methods has given me the edge in the competitive political job market. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has great professors who are dedicated to seeing you succeed. I'm so glad I continued on to graduate school and I'm even more happy I chose the Graduate Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Western Illinois University.” --Jessie Kallman Lizak, M.A. ‘09

"Western Illinois University's graduate program in sociology prepared me for continuing my graduate education in four primary ways.  First, the classroom experience encouraged engagement with professors and colleagues to wrestle with key sociological theories, concepts and ideas.  This fertile environment challenged me to be creative in integrating established ideas with observable phenomenon.  Second, the program provided time and space for me to explore how a sociological perspective interacts with my specific research interests (i.e., religion, technology, and media).  Third, the benefits of the program would not have been possible without the expert tutelage that shaped my critical thinking skills that gave me confidence and skills for improving my academic writing.  Finally, the graduate program in sociology provided me with opportunities to present my research at regional conferences.  All of these experiences prepared me for the rigors of a doctoral program at a research university." --Rob Shelby, M.A. '11

Program Overview

Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. It focuses on the influence of social relationships upon people's attitudes and behavior and on how societies are established and how they change. The scope of sociology is broad. Students of sociology study social groupings such as families, gangs, business firms, political parties, schools, religions, and work. Sociology students are also concerned with social issues such as poverty, conformity, discrimination, alienation, overpopulation, and community. Their common objective is to identify the underlying and recurring patterns of and influences on social behavior.

Possible Careers

  • Community college instructor
  • Social Services case worker
  • Survey research assistant

Why Choose Sociology at WIU?

The graduate program in sociology at Western is focused on preparing students for a multitude of possibilities. Students will be instructed on both qualitative and quantitative methods as well as both contemporary and classical theory. We have two options for graduate students to complete their degree: thesis and non-thesis. Students will be able to work closely on whichever degree completion program on which they prefer to work.

Our Faculty

The Sociology faculty conduct research and teach in a variety of sociological areas including but not limited to: criminology, social  stratification, social psychology, gender, medical sociology, military sociology, and political sociology. Faculty present research at regional, national, and international conferences and publish in a variety of journals.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Graduate students have a student centered organization, Sociology Graduate Student Association that participates in not only academic, but social activities. This is a student run and centered organization with leadership positions being filled by graduate students.

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts
  • Goals Statement/Statement of Purpose (at least 2 pages)
  • 3 Academic Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample
  • GRE (not required, but suggested)

Interesting Facts: Fall 2018

  • Currently enrolled: 12
  • International: 4
  • Minority: 3
  • Male: 6
  • Female: 6
  • Students with Assistantships: 7

Department Contact Information:

Morgan Hall 406