Applied Sociology


Degrees Offered


Clemson’s Applied Sociology program has been recognized by the American Sociological Association as a program with " exemplary practices" in the training of applied sociologists.

The program is uniquely focused on the concerns of businesses and public sector organizations. Our graduates are trained to analyze governmental and organizational policies. Successful graduates can facilitate the interaction between organizations and their surrounding environments, as well as to promote internal organizational efficiency. These same skills can be used in working with local Chambers of Commerce, private business, governmental planning agencies, health care systems and other organizations.

Our program offers a four-pronged approach to student development. First, our students receive a grounding in policy analysis, organizations, and theory. This knowledge develops an understanding of intra-organizational patterns such as decision making, communication, and resource allocation. Second, our students are trained in the methods of data gathering and analysis, including computer applications. Emphasis is upon constructing, managing, and analyzing data sets that provide information crucial to organizational success. Third, students select an area of specialization related to their preferred work settings. The range of possibilities include, but are not restricted to, criminal justice, environmental sociology and developmental policy, business administration and management, health care delivery, public service, and education. Students select their area of specialization with the guidance of the graduate advisor. Finally, our students have the opportunity to gain "hands on" experience working in a private business or public service agency.

This program will consider applicants for conditional letters of admission (CLA’s) pending successful completion of an approved English as a Second Language (ESL) program. More information can be found on the Conditional Language Admission page.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

The M.S. degree program in applied sociology emphasizes practical and theoretical knowledge in the areas of policy analysis, evaluation research, and organizational sociology. It focuses on the acquisition of social research skill, theory application, and practical experience. Students are prepared for employment in industry, government agencies, and to pursue a doctorate.

The degree is made up of 34 hours of graduate credit and typically takes two years to complete. The core curriculum includes theory, research methods, survey design, evaluation research, statistics, organizations, and a 6-hour field placement in an applied context. Students also design a study area from classes offered in the department from other graduate programs. Study areas are designed to enhance the student’s professional skills. Study areas could potentially include marketing research, educational research, organizational counsulting, criminal justice, health science, or policy analysis. The program is designed to ensure close and informal associations with the faculty.

Our Students

Graduates of our program are highly marketable and have an excellent employment record. They have been hired by government, public and private organizations, including the National Opinion Research Center, Nielsen Media, Arbitron, Research Triangle Institute, United Way, Society for Human Resource Management, National Restaurant Association and US Bureau of the Census. Graduates are data analysts, evaluation researchers, policy analysts, statisticians and management consultants. Graduates have also pursued doctoral studies at outstanding universities, including Brown, Duke, Emory, Iowa State, Ohio State, SUNY Albany, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Washington State universities.


Application Information

The department seeks applicants who have a desire to use their social science research skills in an applied setting. Prior coursework in research methods and statistics is encouraged, although not required. All material for admission should be received by the University by February 1. The application deadline for departmental assistantships also is February 1. Since these positions are competitive, you are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Required Documents


The Department of Sociology offers several teaching and research assistantships. Assistants devote 20 hours of service per week to the department.

The application deadline for an assistantship is March 15: however, students should apply early since these positions are competitive.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)