The PhD program in Sociology exposes students to substantive areas of specialization within the discipline and emphasizes the development of greater depth of knowledge within the area that will be the subject of a student's major research product, the dissertation.
The PhD represents a minimum of 60 hours of coursework and research credits beyond the MA/MS degree. Students complete at least 24 credits of coursework: four required courses and four elective courses. Required courses include SOC 680 "Advanced Social Research Methods" (Multivariate Statistics) or SOC 686 "Qualitative Research Methods", one semester of SOC 681 "Selected Problems of Social Research" (Longitudinal Analysis, Categorical Analysis or Structural Equation Modeling) and two advanced seminars in two of the substantive areas of Sociology.
Each student writes a dissertation in an area of specialization within Sociology under the direction of a major professor and in consultation with members of an advisory committee. A PhD student selects a major professor by the end of the first semester in the program, and develops a dissertation proposal during the second year in residence. Following the submission of the dissertation proposal, the student's advisory committee writes and administers the doctoral preliminary exam. This preliminary exam is designed to prepare students for independent work on their dissertation project. Students are encouraged to publish and to teach as they work toward the doctorate.
The summary below shows a schedule for completing coursework, the preliminary examination, the dissertation research, and the final oral examination.
The PhD requires a minimum of 24 semester hours of course and seminar credits beyond the required 36 hours for the MS degree. A maximum of 9 hours (3 courses) may be taken toward the PhD before the MS degree is completed. Only one SOC 590 (for 3 credits) may be included on the PhD POS. Students must complete two required methods courses (SOC 680 and either SOC 681 or SOC 686) and two advanced seminars. The advanced seminars in Sociology must be 600 level seminars completed in two of the following fields in Sociology:
a. Family and Gender
b. Health, Aging, and Life Course
c. Law and Society
d. Social Inequality
e. Social Movements and Political Sociology
f. Sociology of Religion
The remaining course credits (15 credits) are electives. The student’s advisory committee may require specific coursework.
For detailed information regarding the PhD requirements, please see our Graduate Student Manual for Sociology.