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Doctoral Program

Course requirements for the Ph.D. include all those for the MA plus two additional graduate seminars in sociology, one additional upper-division or graduate course/seminar in sociology or another field, and an upper-division/ graduate course covering U.S. multicultural issues. In addition to the required coursework, PhD students write one article length, professional quality paper. Acceptable papers will analyze new data, or develop a new analysis of existing data. Papers are evaluated (Pass, Pass With Suggested Changes, Revise and Resubmit With Suggested Changes, or Fail) by a three-person faculty committee selected by the students.

Each entering student is assigned a first-year advisor who will meet with the student to develop a curricular plan. At the end of the first year, each student must choose a major professor.  Major Professor duties include: helping develop a curricular plan; discussing graduate program reviews; providing committee, funding, and professional advice. Subsequently, changes of the major professor may be initiated (by the student or the faculty member) at any time. To change your major professor, please obtain a “Major Professor Change” form from the Graduate Staff Advisor.

Upon successful completion of all coursework and the professional quality paper, students prepare a doctoral dissertation prospectus and a qualifying examination is scheduled. The exam covers two broad fields of sociology chosen from a departmental list. It is graded Pass or Fail by a five person committee.  As the final step toward the degree, students complete a doctoral dissertation. It must be approved by a three-member faculty dissertation committee, one member of which must be from outside the department. Students should complete all requirements—except the dissertation—within 3 to 4 years.

Students entering with a Masters degree should consult with both their first year major professor and the Graduate Staff Adviser about possible exemptions from certain course requirements. Courses from other campuses may be, but are not automatically accepted and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Students who believe they have completed the equivalent of one or more required graduate courses may petition the Graduate Program Committee for exemption.

The mission to cultivate multiculturalism and diversity is a critical component of contemporary academic training. An important element of the educational experience of students in our Sociology Ph.D. program is the diverse environment in which we work, teach, and interact.  Diversity presents itself in many different forms: socioeconomic status, race or ethnicity, religion, gender, age, sexuality, nationality or place of origin, disability, unique work or life experience, etc.   Exposure to a broad range of experiences, perspective and values is key to fostering both breadth and depth in intellectual growth.  The Sociology Program is committed to maintaining an inclusive work environment that values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives to inspire collaboration, discovery, and innovation. Our graduate students work with an extremely diverse undergraduate population when they teach (as Teaching Assistants or Acting Instructors) and this has provided rich and meaningful professional development. Through research and teaching, our Ph.D. students are enabled and encouraged to become highly attentive to the importance of difference and diversity in higher education and in our society.

More information about requirements or expectations may be found in the graduate handbook.

Inquiries about our graduate program should be sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator at






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