About the PhD Program

While all sociology departments agree on many features of training that reflect the fundamentals of the discipline, each chooses certain specialties for emphasis, and each reflects the particular traditions of its university. This department issues this summary to aid the prospective student in understanding its structure and its procedures.


As preparation for academic and other high-level professional careers, the successful completion of the Ph.D. assumes that the student will develop competencies, based in, but extending well beyond, what is covered in course work. These competencies include: 1) broad knowledge of sociological theory and perspectives; 2) in-depth knowledge about specific substantive areas with sociology; 3) detailed skills that will enable the candidate to design, execute, defend, and publish his/her independently conducted research; 4) the ability to update one's competencies over the course of one's career; and 5) the ability to effectively convey this information and these skills to students of sociology.

Requirements for Admission to the Ph.D. Program

Students with either an MA (or equivalent) or BA degree are eligible to apply. Students entering with a BA as their highest degree will earn an MA degree while progressing towards the PhD (see below). The requirements for Ph.D. students entering in August 2012 and beyond are:

Requirements for Attaining the Ph.D. Degree

The requirements described below apply to all students entering the doctoral program on or after August 1, 2012.

Credit Hour Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 90 hours of graduate credit (beyond the baccalaureate degree) or 60 hours beyond the M.A. degree with an overall B average is required by the Graduate Division. For students with previous graduate study, the department's Graduate Program Committee determines the number of graduate hours from the previous program that is applicable to this requirement.

Course Work

Students will take a mixture of required and elective courses as part of the program. Students who have already done graduate work at another institution or discipline may request, via a petition to the Graduate Program Committee, that some of that work be counted towards the PhD degree.

Required Courses

SOC7005 Intermediate Graduate Statistics
SOC7010 Introduction to Social Inequality
SOC7011 Logic of Inquiry
SOC8040 Qualitative Sociology
SOC8075 Classical Sociological Theory
SOC8076 Contemporary Sociological Theory

Two advanced methods courses to be selected among the following:
SOC7013 Advanced Quantitative Methods
SOC7042 Demographic Techniques
SOC8041 Ethnographic Research Methods
SOC8042 Historical and Comparative Sociology
SOC9010 Advanced Regression Analysis

Teaching Preparation Requirement, which can be satisfied in one of the following ways:
SOC8006 Teaching Sociology or
SOC8007 Teaching Practicum or
Documented teaching experience at the college level, as approved by the Graduate Program
Committee. Such documentation should include syllabi, evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g.student evaluations or peer reviews), and a statement outlining the student's approach to teaching.

Elective Courses

Students must take at least 6 elective courses at the 7000 level or above. No more than 2 of these courses can be taken outside of the department and they must be approved beforehand by the Graduate Program Committee. Independent work does not count as elective courses.

Independent Work

Students have several opportunities to work independently with faculty supervision throughout the program. The student and the faculty member will decide jointly about the work to be done during the term. Students are required to get explicit faculty permission before signing up for the following independent work courses:
SOC7003 Independent Study
SOC7006 Thesis Research
SOC8002 Prelim Preparation
SOC8007 Teaching Practicum
SOC9030 Dissertation Research

Transfer of credits

Graduate students entering the Ph.D. program with graduate work in other programs or departments may receive a transfer of hours to count toward Ph.D. level work in the department. Students must petition the Graduate Program Committee requesting the transfer of credit and provide supporting documentation.

Master's paper

All students in the PhD program must have completed an original research paper prior to beginning work on the dissertation. Students entering with a BA will do this work as part of the MA requirements. Students entering with an MA in sociology (or equivalent) who did a thesis or Master's paper as part of the MA program may request that the thesis or Master's paper satisfy this requirement. Students entering with an MA who did not do a research paper are required to do an original research paper equivalent to an MA paper prior to beginning work on the dissertation.