This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

This certificate program is designed to enable practitioners to acquire additional knowledge and skills in applied social research without necessarily pursuing a graduate degree and provide marketable job/career skills for graduate degree-seeking students in sociology as well as other graduate programs. Because the certificate program involves a limited number of credit hours and coordinates with the type of statistics and methods courses offered in a number of graduate degree programs, it may be pursued simultaneously with other graduate programs such as sociology, social work, public administration, social policy and urban services. At the same time, individuals seeking more limited, specialized training may pursue the certificate independently.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of applied social research methodology.

  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to produce data-based social scientific research reports for relevant audiences.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallJul 1

Note: Students may not be able to enroll full time or complete the certificate in one year given the limits on course scheduling.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Students possessing a B.A. or B.S. degree and beginning level skills in statistics/research methods are eligible for admission into the certificate program.
  2. Relevant course or research experience will be considered in evaluating admission and substitution of courses. Equivalency tests are available for required courses in statistics and methods.

Degree requirements

In addition to the VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students in the applied social research certificate program are required to earn a minimum of 18 graduate-level credit hours beyond the baccalaureate.
  2. Grade requirements: An overall GPA of 3.0 is required for award of the certificate, and no more than three credit hours of C may be earned in the certificate program curriculum.

Curriculum requirements

Required courses
SOCY 601Sociological Research Methods3
SOCY 602Applications of Sociological Research Methods3
SOCY/STAT 608Statistics for Social Research3
SOCY 699Seminar in Sociological Practice3
Students select six credits of electives, as approved by the sociology department’s graduate program director prior to registration; the courses shown below are recommended electives and may be taken without the approval of the sociology graduate program director.
Public Policy Analysis
Workshop in Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Evaluation Research: Psychological Perspectives
Principles of Psychological Measurement
Program Evaluation
Applications in Qualitative Research Methods
Seminar in Population Studies
Survey Research Methods
Social Network Analysis
Digital Research Methods and Design
Special Topics (Data Visualization)
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Community Socioeconomic Analysis Using GIS
Total Hours18

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 18.

Tara M. Stamm, Ph.D.
Graduate program director
(804) 828-9432

Program website: