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Introduction to the Sociology Graduate Program

The graduate program in Sociology at Purdue University is designed to prepare students to become researchers, scholars and teachers. The program offers students a well‐balanced theory and methods core curriculum and an individualized plan of study designed to enable students to conduct sociological research at the forefront of the field. We also offer a number of opportunities to help graduate students become first‐rate classroom instructors.

The first two years of the program, leading to an MS degree, focus on the core curriculum and one field of research specialization, and culminate in each student producing an original research product, the analytic project. Further study toward the PhD introduces students to other areas of specialization 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. In order to be successful on the job market, students are strongly encouraged to publish and to teach as they work toward the doctorate.

A low student‐faculty ratio provides graduate students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty members in their research, teaching, and publication activities. The department sponsors travel to professional meetings and a colloquium series featuring outstanding sociologists. The Graduate Committee organizes informal professional seminars and meetings to assist students in developing their plans for conducting research and teaching. The department maintains up‐to‐date computer hardware and software to assist the research process. Students entering at any level are required to do CITI training (protection of human subject in research) within their first two semesters.

 Most students in the PhD program teach their own classes at some point while pursuing their degree. Some teaching experience is nearly a requirement for the academic job market.  Students prepare to teach in part by assisting faculty as teaching assistants during the MS program and by taking SOC 610 “Seminar on Teaching Sociology” as an elective. In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of graduate teaching certificates offered through Purdue’s Center for Instructional Excellence.


 All students entering the graduate program in sociology must take SOC 591: Pro-seminar in Sociology during their first year. The Pro-seminar, which is organized by the Graduate Director, socializes students into the discipline of Sociology. A wide range of topics are included, such as teaching, time management, choosing a thesis topic, and writing for publication.