Sociology (PhD)

The Department of Sociology offers graduate work leading to a doctor of philosophy (PhD) and is intended for students seeking a professional career in research and teaching in both academic and nonacademic settings. The department does not offer a terminal master’s degree, although students enrolled in the PhD program will also receive a master’s degree as part of their training.

Students receive training in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, sociological theory, and major substantive fields within sociology such as gender, sexuality, environment, race and ethnicity, culture, social networks, labor, immigration, and political economy. The department places a strong emphasis on research, and many students will find opportunities to participate in projects conducted by faculty members.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of core sociological knowledge and knowledge of several sub-fields within sociology.
  • Become proficient in research design, primary or secondary data collection, and empirical data analysis.
  • Demonstrate independent scientific thinking and advance knowledge within the discipline of sociology.
  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills reflective of presenting, publishing, and writing standards in sociology and the broader social sciences.
  • Understand career practices, including, for example, ethical issues with regard to human subjects research, teaching, and related professional standards and responsibilities.
SOC 601Research: [Topic]1-16
SOC 603Dissertation1-16
SOC 605Reading and Conference: [Topic] 11-16
SOC 606Field Studies: [Topic]1-12
SOC 608Workshop: [Topic]1-16

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

Graduate-level sociology courses75
Total Credits93

Master’s-Level Requirements

Students typically complete 55 credits of master’s-level requirements in the first six terms of full-time work. Students are awarded a master’s degree if they have completed their required courses, achieved a mid-B or better average in their graded courses, and passed the master’s paper requirement. Students who enter with a master’s degree in sociology may request substitution of as many as five courses from their previous institutions to meet programmatic requirements.

Doctoral-Level Requirements

After earning the master's degree, students take an additional 20 credits of doctoral-level course work and prepare for a comprehensive examination in a sociological subfield chosen jointly by the student and the advisor.

Upon passing the comprehensive examination, the student is advanced to PhD candidacy and begins work on the doctoral dissertation. The final product is a book-length manuscript presenting empirical research that demonstrates originality and the scholar's ability to conduct independent investigation.