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Social Science Methods Certificate

The Social Science Methods Certificate Program aims to expand the breadth and depth of methodological training available to UNLV graduate students in the social sciences. The Certificate Program provides advanced interdisciplinary methodological training for graduate students in relevant disciplines. This program encompasses the full range of empirical social science methods and is interdisciplinary by design. Students will gain a broad understanding of the role and forms of method and methodology in the social sciences. Students will gain expertise in the methods most relevant to their research, both in and outside their discipline. An interdisciplinary perspective is emphasized, allowing students the opportunity to make connections with and draw upon the methods and methodologies of other social science traditions. The Certificate Program offers a certification for UNLV graduate students who complete 15 credit hours of advanced graduate research methods courses in the social sciences, at least three credits of which are taken outside of their home department. The Certificate Program is housed in the College of Liberal Arts, but participation is open to graduate students in other UNLV colleges.

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Goals

  1. Providing a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of social science research methods.
  2. Tailoring research methods training to individual student needs.
  3. Credentialing students who have achieved mastery in social science research methods.
  4. Encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to the substantive research questions in the existing social science disciplines.
  5. Developing a reputation for producing scholars who excel in the innovative use of the most relevant and cutting-edge research methods.
  6. Creating a culture of interdisciplinary conversation among UNLV’s students and faculty with the aim of developing formal centers for interdisciplinary social science research.

Admission Requirements

Applications are available on the UNLV Graduate College website, along with application deadlines. To be admitted to the program, students must:

  • Be admitted to a masters or doctoral program at UNLV for which social science research methods are an appropriate tool of inquiry.
  • Have earned at least a B+ in an approved research methods course or equivalent prior to admission to the program.
  • Submit a completed application and the required application fee.
  • Submit a proposed plan of study that has been approved by the home department’s graduate coordinator.

Plan Requirements

Completion of the Certificate Program requires 15 credits to be distributed as follows:

  • Core Discipline Methods Coursework I (3 credits).
  • Core Discipline Methods Coursework II (3 credits).
  • Elective Methods Courses (6 credits). Complete 6 credits of advisor-approved methods course electives.
  • Outside Department Methods Course Elective (3 credits). Complete 3 credits of advisor-approved methods course electives from outside the home department.

Please consult the UNLV Graduate College website or the SSMC Program Handbook for more details.

GPA Requirement

The grade point average for all courses counted toward the Certificate requirements must be at least 3.00. No grades lower than a B- are counted toward the Certificate requirements.

Proposed Plan of Study

As part of the admissions process, Certificate students must submit a proposed plan of study that has been approved by the home department’s Graduate Coordinator. Any changes to the proposed plan of study must have prior approval of the Certificate Coordinator. Students and their advisors should use the Proposed Plan of Study Form, which should be forwarded to the Certificate Coordinator.

Faculty

The Social Science Methods Certificate Program was created in the fall of 2016 to provide graduate students additional opportunities for methodological training beyond what is offered within their home department. The interdisciplinary methods certificate will:

  • Help students develop and execute high-quality research projects.
  • Signal to potential employers a mastery of a diverse set of methodological techniques.

This program is based on the premise that the various social science disciplines share many common themes and often use similar methodological approaches. The certificate program also aims to benefit faculty by developing bridges across departments, which can foster collaboration in both graduate training and faculty research. Also, note that this certificate program is not limited to students and faculty in the College of Liberal Arts.

There are a few ways that faculty can help the program succeed:

  • Encourage students who you think would benefit from this program to apply.
  • Contact me if you would like to be affiliated with the program and have your courses advertised to students in the program.
  • Let me know if you are interested in future brown bag-type presentations or are interested in sharing your research with other UNLV social scientists.