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Optional and Required Activities of Master's Degree Candidates

Participation in Required and Optional Activities by Master's Candidates Expecting to Graduate in 2009


About half of the respondents who expected to graduate by 2009 reported that completing a master’s thesis was a requirement in their program. Aside from taking courses, writing a thesis is the most characteristic activity of master’s programs, regardless of type of program or future plans of students. Although 54 departments are labeled as applied, clinical, or professional, a master’s thesis is as likely to be a requirement in these programs as it is in a traditional master’s program that leads to the PhD. The next most common requirement is taking comprehensive exams, with more than one-quarter reporting this as a requirement, while a relatively small percentage participate in this activity voluntarily. For the remainder of the activities shown in this graph, fewer than 20% of respondents are required to participate in them, although many more participate than are required. 
Source: ASA Research Development Department, What Can I Do With a Master's Degree in Sociology? 2009