Sociology Graduate Overview

The U.S. - Mexico Border

The U.S. – Mexico Border

 For instructions on how to apply click here.  If you have any questions about our Graduate Program, please contact Dr. Sandra Way at

The Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University has a mission to serve the University, state, United States/Mexico border region and beyond through:

  1. Courses and curricula based on a core value of theoretical and social diversity;
  2. Scholarship and creative activity that advances knowledge and promotes a more just society;
  3. Service to the university, the discipline, and the community; and
  4. Outreach activities focused on social, economic, and cultural issues of concern to people locally, nationally, and globally.

The department offers a diverse curriculum where all graduate students receive a thorough grounding in theory and methodology. Our specializations are in Borderland Studies, especially as they relate to Race/Ethnicity, Inequality, Alternative Economies, Social Movements, and Environmental Sociology; as well as Popular Culture.

The Graduate Program in Sociology offers a terminal Master’s Degree that can be pursued either on-campus or online. There are two tracks possible for the on-campus program: (1) thesis or (2) comprehensive exam. Online students are only able to participate in the comprehensive exam track. However, opportunities for research with faculty is an option.

The graduate program’s goal is to prepare students both professionally and personally to pursue further study in a doctoral program or a future career using sociological tools. Students routinely have the opportunity to work as research assistants on faculty grants, collaborate with faculty members to co-author publications, and present papers at professional meetings.

On-Campus vs. Online Programs

The on-campus and online MA programs are distinct. Once a student is admitted into the on-campus or online programs, the student is expected to remain in that program through degree completion. On occasion, online students may wish to take an on-campus course, visa-versa. The student must make a formal request to the Graduate Director in Sociology.

Admission Requirements

To apply for admission to the Sociology MA Program and the Graduate School, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Application form and fees
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • A record of professional, ethical, and collegial behavior.
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  • A well-written statement of purpose from the candidate addressing graduate school objectives and interests.
  • Three letters of recommendation describing personal qualities and achievements that suggest the applicant will be successful in the program. We prefer that letters of recommendation come from faculty members familiar with the academic work and professional conduct of the applicant.

Failure to meet any of the above criteria may result in the student not being accepted into our program. However, in cases when an otherwise outstanding student does not meet the GPA requirements, the student may be accepted provisionally into the program.

The GRE is not required for admission. Students may be required to take prerequisites prior to gaining admission.

For priority consideration for admission into our Master’s program, the deadline for application is March 15 for Fall admission.

Transfer of Credit

A student may transfer up to 9 total graduate credits taken at NMSU and/or graduate credits from another university to New Mexico State University. These credits need to be approved by both the Department of Sociology and the Graduate School.

Funding Opportunities

The Department of Sociology awards 6-8 Graduate Assistantships (GAs) each year to new and current on-campus students. Graduate Assistants can be funded for up to four semesters, and are employed as either 10 or 20-hour assistants. Certain fellowships and tuition waivers are available through the Graduate School that are associated with GAships. All awards require faculty nominations.

The Department considers a number of factors in awarding and renewing GAships, such as a graduate student’s overall GPA; graduate coursework; professional conduct; progress toward degree completion, faculty evaluations of GA work and effort; thesis proposal approval; and comprehensive exam timeline.

Evaluation of applicants for assistantships, fellowships and tuition waivers begins on March 10th.

Professional Communication Expectations

The department expects all graduate students or prospective graduate students to behave professionally in the classroom (on-campus and virtual), around departmental offices, and at department and university-sponsored events. Collegiality is a factor we seriously take into consideration. Thanks to a technologically savvy, social media-centered culture, students should also be aware that they are representatives of NMSU and the Department of Sociology even when they are not in classes, on university property, or engaging in graduate program duties. Online photos, discussions, comments, and the like reflect on both the student as well as the university. Students should actively engage in professional communication on the telephone, in person, and over email between faculty, staff, and fellow students.

What Sociology Students Are Saying

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“One of the best things about Sociology at NMSU is that it’s a small department. This allows for a great deal of individual attention from the professors. They make you feel like an individual, not just a number.”

“I came here because they allow me to pursue the research I am interested in. There is no pressure to follow any one paradigm or continue anyone’s research…”

“There are plenty of opportunities to work firsthand with professors. Almost all the Sociology students have the chance to be an assistant to a professor. This gives great firsthand research and classroom experience, plus the professors make our job challenging and fun.”

“For someone who is looking for diversity, NMSU is a really great place to study. It is situated in a region where lots of different cultures can be studied, such as American Indians and Mexican Americans.”


Images on this page are courtesy of Jon Williams.