In this article, we list the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in sociology degree programs.
We reviewed a total of 42 accredited institutions that offered an online master’s in sociology, social work, social science, or closely related program. This initial pool of schools was collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. We then narrowed this group to only those colleges and universities with rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, or U.S. News and World Report. From the resulting list we selected the most affordable schools based on in-state graduate tuition/fees published by NCES College Navigator. We listed our top 5 schools in order of affordability.
Below are the resulting selections for the top 5 most affordable online master’s in sociology degree programs.
1. University of Alabama
Alabama’s flagship public college, UA hosts a variety of distance education programs, including an online master of arts in applied sociology. Comprising 30 credits and nine total courses, this online sociology master’s degree includes four required core courses: applied sociological research methods, applied sociological theory, applied sociology, and applied social psychology. Student fulfill remaining credit requirements with several elective courses, including options such as consumer culture and the sociology of death and dying. Degree candidates can also complete an applied sociology practicum that stresses innovation and creativity in professional practice. All students conclude the program with a six-credit, research-based capstone that synthesizes overall program learning.
2. New Mexico State University
A major public college based in Las Cruces, NMSU offers a fully online master of arts in sociology. This 36-credit degree explores the relationship between individuals and society, offering tools to better understand and improve human relationships. The program covers topics such as research design, organizational analysis, the assessment of social change, and diversity management. The curriculum examines a variety of sociological perspectives and includes courses in sex and gender, the sociology of pop culture, sociology of the family, and social issues of the rural Americas. Students complete all courses online, with no campus visits required.
3. South Dakota State University
The largest and oldest public college in South Dakota, SDSU hosts an assortment of online programs, including a unique master of science in sociology – community development. This interdisciplinary degree applies the principles of sociology to practices of community development, training students to address economic, cultural, social, and environmental challenges in communities. Offering a flexible modular course format, the fully online sociology master’s degree caters to the needs of working students, making it easy to complete coursework alongside personal and professional obligations. The program includes four unique emphasis areas: working with Native communities, building economic capacity, natural resource management, and nonprofit management.
4. Ohio University
Based in Athens, Ohio University offers a unique, fully online master of social sciences degree. Geared toward teachers and public administrators, the program emphasizes both social science content and teaching methods, enabling graduates to teach dual enrollment courses that count for both high school and college credit. This interdisciplinary degree covers social science topics from five main perspectives: history, geography, political science, anthropology, and gender and sexuality studies. Courses use a fully online, asynchronous format that enables students to complete coursework at their own pace. At the end of the program, all candidates must complete a proctored final exam at an approved testing center.
5. Morehead State University
Based in Morehead, Kentucky, MSU offers a master of arts in sociology with four concentrations: criminology, chemical dependency, interdisciplinary social sciences, and general sociology. Each track requires a total of 30 credits, split between 15 credits of core courses and 15 credits of concentration courses. The 15-credit masters in sociology online core includes five courses: quantitative research for social sciences, globalization, social thought and theory, quantitative research methods, and proseminar in social science. Each concentration track offers a different selection of electives, and most tracks include both thesis and non-thesis completion options. Candidates complete either a six-credit research thesis or an additional two elective courses.