Recommended Timeline for Developing and Completing Sociology MA Proposals and Papers

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • this timeline sets out general guidelines and assumes full-time enrollment; individual circumstances may lead to reasonable deviations from it. Communication with the Director of Graduate Studies or the interim/capstone advisor is crucial for the development of a place of action that suits your needs.
  • proposals and papers typically require multiple drafts. You must anticipate that it takes time for advisors to read your work and give you comments and for you to respond to those comments via your own revisions.
1st Semester of the 1st Year
  • begin exploring topics via Sociol 701–Professional Seminar and Sociol 750–Research Methods, course assignments, elective course work, and your own reading
  • investigate and research research of UWM Sociology Graduate Faculty to begin thinking about choosing capstone advisor, tailored to your areas of interest
2nd Semester of the 1st Year
  • begin narrowing the range of possible MA paper possible topics
  • discuss possibilities with any and all faculty who might be relevant
  • consider taking an independent study course–Sociol 799 to focus your research interests
  • use final paper of stats course–Sociol 760 to explore potential quantitative projects
  • before end of semester choose a topic and a capstone advisor
Summer after 1st Year
  • work on a thorough reading of literature related to topical area and drafting a proposal
  • have draft completed and handed in to advisor in August
  • discuss potential committee members with advisor
  • conduct preliminary data analysis, if using secondary data for a quantitative paper

 1st Semester of the 2nd Year

  • work on human subjects approval of project through the IRB
  • have committee completely composed
  • work on revising proposal (acceptable proposals often require multiple drafts!) at the beginning of the semester
  • once advisor is satisfied with the revisions, submit drafts to rest of committee
  • schedule a proposal oral defense for September or October; complete MA Thesis or Paper Proposal Hearing Form in advance of the proposed defense date
  • once the defense is completed, begin research and analysis
  • by late in semester, begin drafting MA paper
2nd Semester of the 2nd Year
  • plan to have a draft of the paper completed by early February to submit to advisor
  • apply for graduation with the Graduate School
  • redraft paper in February and March
  • once advisor is satisfied with draft, submit draft to the rest of committee
  • complete any revisions requested by committee
  • once revisions are complete, schedule an oral defense of the paper for sometime in April (defense must occur before the last of semester classes)
  • complete the required Student Assessment
  • bring the MA Capstone: Thesis or Paper Defense Hearing Form with you to the defense to graduate in May