Sociology and Criminology MA Program

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Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines Due February 15th

  • The final application deadline for admission in the fall semester is July 1st.
  • In order to receive full consideration for any of our departmental funding sources, a completed application (including transcripts, recommendation letters and personal statement) must be received by the Graduate School by February 15th.
  • Students are not admitted to the program in the spring semester.

Application Submissions

Applicants are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • An application for graduate admission.
  • Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate).
  • Three recommendations by individuals in professionally relevant fields; at least two must be from academics.
  • A writing sample in the form of a cover letter or statement of interest explaining how the MA in Sociology and Criminology may assist the candidate in meeting her or his personal goals.
  • Students must have a 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA
    • Students with a GPA below 3.0 but who have counterbalancing evidence to suggest potential for success may be admitted on a provisional basis, but are not eligible for funding from the department

Students may also take Master’s level classes in our program as non-degree students (special graduate status), which has its own application deadlines and requirements.

The design of the program is highly inclusive. I found the faculty to be accessible and eager to mentor.

-Travis Kadylak MA Sociology 2014

Message From The MA Program Coordinator

Dear Prospective Applicant:

Thank you for your interest in UNCW's Sociology and Criminology Master's Program.

Our program is designed for students who combine a passion for public service with the desire to develop the skills necessary to address contemporary social problems and issues. The program requires the completion of 34 credit hours of graduate level course work, which can be completed in four semesters of full-time study or six semesters of part-time study. Graduates of our program have moved on to careers as evaluators, researchers, planners, managers, advisors, program directors, and policymakers as well as PhD programs in Sociology & Criminology. 

While getting your MA in Sociology and Criminology, you can also earn a post-baccalaureate certificate in a variety of fields including women’s and gender studies and evaluation.

UNCW Department of Sociology and Criminology M.A. Program

What are the features that set this program apart from the rest of the country?

Seven Unique Features of Our Program

Please click on any of the following to reveal more information.

1. Expertise In Applied Research

One of the strengths of UNCW's Department of Sociology and Criminology is its expertise in applied research, also known as Public Sociology or Public Criminology. As a result, our faculty are involved in a range of different community-based research projects with practical implications for community members, policy makers, and the public writ large. For example, our faculty have evaluated the effectiveness of local drug treatment courts and mapped community resources, such as food access as well as education and youth programs. In addition, they have been involved in the founding of several organizations that address social problems with local relevance, including Feast Down East, Hillcrest Reading Program, Persistent Poverty in the South Project, and The Healing Justice Project. Master's students have the opportunity to engage in applied research through either the thesis or research internship option.

2. Excellent Faculty

Another strength of our program is our excellent faculty, who have won numerous teaching and research awards, including four recognized as Fulbright Scholars. Our faculty maintain diverse theoretical, methodological, and substantive interests allowing students to construct a program of study that is most relevant to them. Faculty expertise in Criminology includes: public/applied criminology; victimology; social/restorative justice; feminist/critical criminology; interpersonal violence (including intimate partner violence); and substance abuse. Faculty expertise in Sociology includes: public/applied sociology; poverty and wealth; stratification and inequality (race, class, gender); globalization; and social structure and organizational power.  

3. Hands-On Mentoring

As a relatively small program, graduate students are able to work closely with faculty members in a number of different roles. By working with faculty in the classroom through teaching assistantships, graduate students are able to hone their teaching skills for future careers in higher education. By collaborating on research projects and community outreach with faculty, students learn the skills necessary for future work as professional social scientists. By attending conferences and presenting with faculty, graduate students are able to cultivate their professional networks in practical and intangible ways throughout the student's career

4. Success In Placing Alumni

UNCW's Master's Program in Sociology and Criminology has had tremendous success in placing our alumni in a wide variety of careers, both academic and non-academic jobs. Graduates have continued on to PhD & J.D. programs, taught at the college level, and taken up work in the fields of criminology and sociology in a variety of capacities. We offer teaching and research assistantships to help students gain the experience they need to prepare for future jobs. See what our alumni have to say about their experience in our program.

5. Quality and Affordability

In addition to being ranked among the top 100 public national universities, UNCW is consistently recognized as one of the most affordable universities in the country to attend. Consumers Digest, The Business Journals, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Daily Beast, Military Advanced Education, and Washington Monthly.

6. Support Packages For Funding Graduate Study

Our program provides a number of ways that can help you to fund your graduate school experience. These include stipends for teaching/research assistantships, partial or full reimbursement of the out-of-state portion of tuition, and our New Scholar award for outstanding applicants. In addition, all graduate students have access to our graduate computer lab, a number of different software packages (Microsoft Office, SPSS, SAS, ArcGIS, etc.), and can apply for support to travel to professional conferences.

7. Location, Location, Location

UNCW is located in sunny Wilmington, North Carolina nestled on a peninsula between Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. The downtown area includes a number of historic sites dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil War, as well as a riverfront that was recently named among the best in the United States. The university campus itself is located only minutes away from Wrightsville Beach, just one of four beach communities in the immediate area. The campus, which can be seen in the video, Above Wilmington NC, was recently identified as one of the 30 Most Beautiful Coastal College Campuses.

I invite you to explore our website, especially the MA student handbook, to find more details on the program. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me Dr. Jennifer Vanderminden,