Graduate Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook outlines curricular components and student performance expectations.

A PDF version of the Graduate Handbook is available here

I. GENERAL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

1. Scope of Application

The terms of the most current Graduate Student Handbook applies to students who entered the graduate program in 2016 and all years since. 

Students who entered the program between 2012 and 2015 are subject to the requirements in the 2012 Graduate Handbook. Students who entered the graduate program in 2011 or earlier are subject to the requirements specified in the 2006-2007 Graduate Handbook.

2. Annual Review of Students

Graduate students are reviewed annually (spring quarter) by the Graduate Program Committee (GPC), and, if the committee so recommends, by the Graduate Group faculty (see Sociology Graduate Group Bylaws, Article VIII). GPC members are appointed by the Department Chair and oversee graduate student progress, program requirements, student petitions and support for continuing students.

Students’ entire record plus a letter of appraisal from their Major Professor are taken into consideration. The GPC makes a determination as to whether or not a graduate student’s progress at that time is satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory. In rare cases when the student’s record and therefore performance requires it, the GPC can recommend to the faculty that the student be disqualified. If the GPC recommends disqualification, the faculty shall vote to accept or reject that recommendation. If a majority votes for disqualification, that decision is then passed on as a recommendation for disqualification to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

3. Continuous Enrollment and Leaves

Upon matriculation in Sociology, graduate students are expected to register continuously until completion of the degree. However, student leaves may be granted for health, family, or personal reasons (see section on PELP below). If students do not register, and fail to have their leave approved, they are not guaranteed readmission at a later date.

II. MASTER'S PROGRAM

Overview

The Department provides a course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. There is currently no program targeted at the M.A. degree; however, students who enter the program without an M.A. degree are eligible to apply for it once they have completed all the M.A. requirements successfully by using the Master’s Report Form (available from the Office of Graduate Studies).

Students who enter with a non-Sociology M.A. can apply for the Sociology M.A. from UCD. Students with an M.A. in Sociology can apply for a second M.A. from UCD Sociology but the focus of study for the second M.A. must be different from the focus of study for the first M.A. The latter request must be accompanied by a letter of support from the Department Chair or Director of the Graduate Program, and required forms.

1. Admissions Requirements

Admission decisions are based upon:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA in any field from an accredited college or university
  • A complete application submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores (there is no required minimum GRE score; GRE scores are considered along with other required materials)
  • TOEFL scores if applicable) (per Graduate Studies regulations, the minimum scores required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis are: 550 on the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT), or 80 on the TOEFL internet-based test (iBT).

Although an 80 iBT score is the minimum required for admission, students with iBT scores of 104 or below will be required to take an additional ESL examination once they start their graduate program here to determine their level of English ability and whether they would benefit from additional ESL coursework at UC Davis.

  • One sample of recent written work
  • Official transcripts

Applications are accepted through December 15 for the following fall. Once the completed application, all supporting material, and the application fee have been received, the application will be submitted to the Admissions Committee (see Section III.4.A).

2. Master’s Degree Requirements

The Department of Sociology offers a Plan II Master’s degree that requires a minimum of 36 units of graduate and upper division coursework, of which at least 18 units must be graduate courses in the major field. Note that Sociology requires more than this minimum for a total of 44 units. Not more than 9 units of research (299 or equivalent) may be used to satisfy the other 18-unit requirement. Each candidate will submit a portfolio of coursework at the end of the first year. There is no thesis required.

3. Course Requirements - Summary

44 units are required for the M.A. degree: 28 in core courses, and 16 in electives. No more than 8 units (Sociology 106, plus 4 additional units) can be upper-division undergraduate courses. At least 36 units must be graduate-level courses. A minimum course load is 12 or more units per quarter. These 12 units can be made up of required courses and 299s.

REQUIREMENTCOURSE NUMBERS & TITLESUNITS

Statistics (4 units)

SOC 106: Intermediate Statistics

4

Methods (8 units)

Both courses required

SOC 201: Social Research

SOC 206: Quantitative Analysis

8

Theory (8 units)

Both courses required

SOC 265A: Classical Theory

SOC 265B: Contemporary Theory

8

Advanced Methods (4 units)

Choose 1 course

SOC 207A: Methods of Quantitative Research

SOC 242A: Methods in Historical Sociology

SOC 292: Field Research Methods

4

Teaching (2 units)

SOC 390A: Teaching in Sociology

2

Capstone (4 units)

SOC 288: Integrative Research Practicum 4

Pro-seminar (2 units)

SOC 293: Pro-seminar in Sociology

2

Substantive Sociology Seminars (8 units)

Choose 2 courses

See Course Descriptions and Courses for upcoming and current offerings.

8

Elective Units (4 units)

Upper-division or Graduate Seminar 4

TOTAL UNITS

44

3. Course Requirements - Detail

A. Core Courses (28 units total)

1. Sociology 293, Proseminar in Sociology, serves as an introduction to specialties/perspectives of individual faculty members (2 units).

2. Two courses in theory [Sociology 265A, Classical Theory, and a second course approved by the department]. The second course currently approved by the department is Sociology 265B, Contemporary Theory (8 units).

3. Sociology 106, Intermediate Statistics. Students with an equivalent course at another institution may fulfill the requirement by passing the final examination in Sociology 106, and submitting a petition to GPC to waive the requirement (4 units).

4. Two courses in basic methods [Sociology 201, Social Research, and Sociology 206, Quantitative Analysis] (8 units).

5. Capstone seminar, Sociology 288, Integrative Research Practicum, to be taken following completion of one of the three methods courses listed under B.3 (4 units).

6. Students are required to take Sociology 390A, Teaching of Sociology (2 units), or comparable training provided by UCD’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, or an alternative approved on an ad hoc basis by the Graduate Program Committee. The department recommends students complete the training by the end of the spring quarter of their first year of study (2 units).

B. Elective Courses (16 units total)

1. All students are required to complete a minimum of two graduate substantive seminars in Sociology (8 units total) beyond coursework taken to fulfill other requirements. Units of Sociology 298 or 299 and advanced methods courses are not normally counted as seminars (8 units).

2. Elective Units: Four (4) units of upper-division or graduate courses/seminars in sociology or in another UCD department. Units of Sociology 298 or 299 are not normally counted toward this requirement (4 units).

3. One of the following three methods courses. The second course of each method is the shared capstone research seminar list under A.5 (4 units):

a. Sociology 207A, Methods of Quantitative Research.

b. Sociology 242A, Comparative Methods in Historical Sociology.

c. Sociology 292A, Field Research Methods.

C. Definitions, Petitions, Exceptions

1. To satisfy the seminar requirement, a seminar must provide at least four units of credit at UCD, it must require some form of oral presentation by the student, and it must result in substantial written work involving research and literature review.

2. “Graduate seminars in Sociology” refers to graduate seminars taken in the Sociology Department at UCD or taught by regular faculty of the Sociology Graduate Program at UCD.

3. Exceptions may be requested by petition to the GPC. Exceptions for courses taught by non-graduate-program-faculty sociologists in other departments or at other universities may be granted, but not automatically. Other exceptions will be considered more carefully and granted less liberally. In all cases, petitions for a second exception will be looked upon much less favorably than petitions for a first exception. Petitions seeking approval in advance will be looked upon more favorably than petitions seeking retroactive approval of a course already completed.

a. Petitions for exceptions to the seminar requirement must include a justification in terms of the student’s academic goals, a statement of how the student plans to satisfy the full seminar requirement (i.e., what other seminars have been or will be taken), a description of the substitute seminar (e.g., syllabus, outline, or catalog description), and a letter of support from the student’s major professor.

b. Students who believe they have completed one or more equivalent required graduate courses/seminars at a previous school (e.g., equivalent to Sociology 206) may petition the GPC for exemption. The petition must include the following:

1. A statement of where, when, and with whom the course/ seminar was taken and a summary of the material covered;

2. A copy of all material distributed in the course/seminar, including the syllabus, and a copy of all written work produced;

3. A letter of support from the student’s major professor.

c. The GPC may ask a recent instructor of a course similar to the one for which exemption is sought to inspect and evaluate the student’s petition. The instructor’s inspection may include a detailed discussion of the course with the student (or in some cases, an oral or written examination). The instructor will then submit the evaluation to the GPC, which will make the final decision. An approved exemption will be noted in the student’s file.

d. “Graduate-program transfer credit”: Graduate faculties are distinctive in their offerings. Therefore, incoming students ought not easily assume they have mastered a given field or are up-to-date in a given area simply because they have completed a similar-sounding course or seminar elsewhere. 

4. Special Requirements

All first-year students are required to attend the campus-wide Teaching Assistant (TA) Retreat and the department’s SOC 390A: Teaching of Sociology (if offered).

5. Committees and Advising

A. Admission Committee

Once the completed application, all supporting material, and the application fee have been received, the application will be submitted to the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee consists of at least 5 graduate group faculty and at least 2 graduate group students. Based on a review of the entire application, a recommendation is made to accept or decline an applicant’s request for admission. That recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval of admission. Notification of admissions decisions will be sent by Graduate Studies.

B. Advising and Mentorship

Each entering student is assigned a faculty advisor who will meet with the student to develop a curricular plan. At the end of the first year (3rd quarter), each student must choose a Major Professor. Major Professor duties include: helping develop a curricular plan; discussing graduate program reviews; and 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 Major Professor, the student must submit a “Major Professor Change” form to the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator.

C. Portfolio Review Committee

The Committee that reviews the portfolios will consist of four faculty members and one committee chair (a faculty member). The Graduate Program Director and Graduate Program Coordinator will serve ex officio. Members will serve one-year terms. There are no graduate student representatives on this committee. The Department Chair does not vote but is available for consultation.

6. Advising Structure and Mentoring

Students are encouraged to consult with the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator for clarification of questions regarding the program. The Major Professor is the faculty member who supervises the student’s research and progress. The Chair of the Sociology Graduate Program and designated Graduate Advisor are resources for information on academic requirements, policies and procedures, and registration information. The Mentoring Guidelines are available on the Graduate Studies website.

7. Advancement to Candidacy

To receive the M.A. degree, students must file an “Advancement to Candidacy for a Master’s of Arts Degree” form with Graduate Studies. This form may be filed after completion of at least one-half of the course requirements for the degree and at least one quarter before completion of all degree requirements.

Students are expected to advance to candidacy for the M.A. degree by the end of their first year (3rd quarter) in the program. A completed form includes a list of courses the student will take to complete degree requirements. Students must have the Graduate Advisor sign the candidacy form before it can be submitted to Graduate Studies.

If the candidacy is approved, the Office of Graduate Studies will send a copy to the Graduate Program Coordinator and the student. If the Office of Graduate Studies determines that a student is not eligible for advancement, the department and the student will be told the reasons for the application’s deferral. Some reasons for deferring an application include: grade point average below 3.0, outstanding “I” grades in required courses, or insufficient units. Receiving the M.A. degree depends on the successful completion of 44 units as specified in Section II.3A and II.3B, and on passing the portfolio (Section II.8).

8. The Portfolio

A. Purposes and Grading

1. The purpose of the portfolio review is to assess the students’ sociological competency (in theory, methods, and substantive areas), and strengths and weaknesses in their academic work, as evidenced in their first-year record. By reviewing the entire first-year record, the Portfolio Review Committee will provide each student with invaluable feedback on their academic performance, including about how to improve and succeed in the program.

2. The portfolio is due the day after final grades are due, end of spring quarter, Year 1. (See the UC Davis Academic Calendar for specific dates by year.)

3. Each portfolio will include all course grades, graded exams and papers, written comments from instructors on performance in first-year courses, and a two-page (maximum) personal statement in which the student can explain any difficulties they encountered in Year 1 that impeded their progress and/or performance, outline plans for Year 2, and specify a general plan for the Qualifying Paper (undertaken in Year 2).

4. Each portfolio will be rated either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. Each student will receive a letter that provides general feedback about strengths and weakness of the portfolio, and advice about advancement through the program. Students receiving an Unsatisfactory will have the opportunity to improve their record in Year 2 of the program. If, at the annual review at the end of Year 2 the student receives a second Unsatisfactory, the faculty may vote to recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be disqualified from the program.

5. Portfolios will be assessed by the Portfolio Review Committee (PRC). The department chair will appoint four faculty members and a faculty chair to the committee. The Graduate Program Director and the Graduate Program Coordinator will serve ex officio. Membership on the committee will rotate among all faculty from year to year.

6. Students must sign off on their review. Signatures will be submitted electronically if students have left campus.

7. Students are required to meet with their major advisor in Fall quarter, Year 2, to discuss their portfolio review.

9. Normative Time to Degree

Students are expected to complete the requirements for the M.A. degree within 2 academic years or 6 quarters of study. See Time to Degree Policy (GC2000-01)

10. Typical Timeline and Sequence of Events

Students making steady progress should be able to complete all requirements for the M.A. within two years (6 quarters) of enrollment in the program and are expected to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years (21 quarters).

This timeline is for reference only. Actual schedules and progress are contingent upon course offerings, the requirements of a student’s research agenda, and other factors. Students typically take two to three seminars/classes (12 units) per quarter.

YEARFALLWINTERSPRING

1

SOC 106
SOC 201
SOC 293
Portfolio Review
SOC 206
SOC 265A
Portfolio Review
SOC 265B or SOC 295
SOC 390A or equivalent
SOC Seminar
Portfolio Review

2

Methods Elective
SOC Seminar or Elective
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep

3

SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
Multicultural Course
Qualifying Paper (QP) Completion
Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep

4

Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep

5-7

Dissertation Research/Writing Dissertation Research/Writing Dissertation Research/Writing

11. Sources of Funding

Students are typically funded through a combination of TAships, Readerships, Graduate Program Fellowships (“Block Grants”) and GSRships. In addition, some students obtain fellowships through other UCD units and/or external foundations. Students will be considered for departmental teaching-related employment if they have not exceeded the 18-quarter limit of funding for such positions currently set by the Office of Graduate Studies. Contingent on University funding for graduate student support, priority of funding through the award of TAships and readerships by the Department of Sociology will be given:

  • First, to Sociology students making satisfactory progress for whom the Graduate Program’s commitment of support at the time of the student’s admission to the program has not been fulfilled;
  • Second, to all other Sociology students making satisfactory progress;
  • Third, to Sociology students making progress that has been designated as marginal by the GPC;
  • Fourth, to any other graduate student in Sociology or a related field who applies for support.

All decisions will be made on the basis of the availability of positions and teaching needs, fit of the applicant to the course, and the quality of the applicant’s previous record as a TA or reader.

12. PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee

Information about PELP (Planned Educational Leave), In Absentia (reduced fees when researching out of state), and Filing Fee can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

III. Ph.D. PROGRAM

1. Admissions Requirements

Admission decisions are based upon:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA in any field from an accredited college or university
  • A complete application submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores ( there is no required minimum GRE score; GRE scores are considered along with other required materials)
  • TOEFL scores if applicable) (per Graduate Studies regulations, the minimum scores required for admission to graduate study at UC Davis are 550 on the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT), or 80 on the TOEFL internet-based test (iBT).

Although an 80 iBT score is the minimum required for admission, students with iBT scores of 104 or below will be required to take an additional ESL examination once they start their graduate program here to determine their level of English ability and whether they would benefit from additional ESL coursework at UC Davis.

  • One sample of recent written work
  • Official transcripts

Applications are accepted through December 15 for the following fall. Once the completed application, all supporting material, and the application fee have been received, the application will be submitted to the Admissions Committee (see Section III.4.A).

2. Dissertation Plan

The Sociology Ph.D. plan is Plan B, described under Section 520 in the Davis Division Academic Senate Regulations. Plan B specifies a three member (minimum) dissertation committee and an optional final oral examination (decision made on an individual student basis by the dissertation committee). A four-member dissertation committee is recommended. An exit seminar is not required.

3. Course Requirements - Summary

56 units are required and the dissertation. No more than 12 units (Sociology 106, plus 8 additional units) can be upper-division undergraduate courses. At least 44 units must be graduate-level courses. A minimum course load is 12 units per quarter. 

REQUIREMENTCOURSE NUMBERS & TITLESUNITS

Statistics (4 units)

SOC 106: Intermediate Statistics

4

Methods (8 units)

Both courses required

SOC 201: Social Research

SOC 206: Quantitative Analysis

8

Theory (8 units)

Both courses required

SOC 265A: Classical Theory

SOC 265B: Contemporary Theory

8

Advanced Methods (4 units)

Choose 1 course

SOC 207A: Methods of Quantitative Research

SOC 242A: Methods in Historical Sociology

SOC 292: Field Research Methods

4

Teaching (2 units)

SOC 390A: Teaching in Sociology

2

Capstone (4 units)

SOC 288: Integrative Research Practicum 4

Pro-seminar (2 units)

SOC 293: Pro-seminar in Sociology

2

Substantive Sociology Seminars (12 units)

Choose 3 courses

See Course Descriptions and Courses for upcoming and current offerings.

12

Multicultural Requirement (4 units)

Upper-division or Graduate Seminar in the Social Sciences on some aspect of U.S. racial or ethnic issues (e.g., Sociology 230, 134)

4

Elective Units (8 units)

Upper-division or Graduate Seminar 8

TOTAL UNITS

56

3. Course Requirements - Detail

A. Core Courses (28 units total)

1. Sociology 293, Proseminar in Sociology, serves as an introduction to specialties/perspectives of individual faculty members (2 units).

2. Two courses in theory [Sociology 265A, Classical Theory, and a second course approved by the department]. The second course currently approved by the department is Sociology 265B, Contemporary Theory. (8 units)

3. Sociology 106, Intermediate Statistics. Students with an equivalent course at another institution may fulfill the requirement by passing the final examination in Sociology 106, and submitting a petition to GPC to waive the requirement (4 units)

4. Two courses in basic methods [Sociology 201, Social Research, and Sociology 206,Quantitative Analysis] (8 units).

5. Capstone seminar, Sociology 288 Integrative Research Practicum, to be taken following completion of one of the three methods courses listed under B.3 (4 units).

6. Students are required to take Sociology 390A, Teaching of Sociology (2 units) or comparable training provided by UCD’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, or an alternative approved on an ad hoc basis by the Graduate Program Committee. The department recommends students complete the training by the end of the spring quarter of their first year of study (2 units).

B. Elective Courses (28 units total)

1. All students are required to complete a minimum of three graduate substantive seminars in sociology (12 units total) beyond coursework taken to fulfill other requirements. Substantive graduate seminars are non-lecture courses other than required graduate program courses (e.g., Sociology 265A and 265B) covering a particular specialty area of sociological research, numbered in the course catalog between Sociology 210 and 295, or offered by non-departmental members of the Graduate Program Faculty. Methodology courses (e.g., Sociology 242A) and units of Sociology 298 or 299 are not normally counted as substantive graduate seminars.

2. Eight (8) units of additional upper-division or graduate courses/seminars in Sociology or in another UCD department. Units of Sociology 298 or 299 are not normally counted toward this requirement.

3. One of the following three methods courses. The second course of each method is the shared capstone research seminar list under A.5 (4 units):

a. Sociology 207A, Methods of Quantitative Research.

b. Sociology 242A, Comparative Methods in Historical Sociology.

c. Sociology 292A, Field Research Methods.

4. The “multicultural requirement”: Completion of a 4-unit graduate or upper-division undergraduate course/seminar in the social sciences on some aspect of U.S. racial or ethnic issues (e.g., Sociology 230, 134), with a grade of B or better. This is a “distributional” requirement, not a unit requirement, i.e., it may be fulfilled by other required coursework. Students who wish to meet this requirement with previous coursework at another university or with an independent reading course must submit a petition to the GPC, according to the procedures for graduate course exemption or satisfaction as described in Section III.3C.

C. Definitions, Petitions, Exceptions

1. To satisfy the seminar requirement, a seminar must provide at least four units of credit at UCD, it must require some form of oral presentation by the student, and it must result in substantial written work involving research and literature review.

2. “Graduate seminars in Sociology” refers to graduate seminars taken in the Sociology Department at UCD or taught by regular faculty of the Sociology Graduate Program at UCD.

3. Exceptions to the course requirements may be requested by petition to the GPC. Exceptions for courses taught by non-graduate-program-faculty sociologists in other departments or at other universities may be granted, but not automatically. Other exceptions will be considered more carefully and granted less liberally. In all cases, petitions for a second exception will be looked upon much less favorably than petitions for a first exception. Petitions seeking approval in advance will be looked upon more favorably than petitions seeking retroactive approval of a course already completed.

a. Petitions for exceptions to the seminar requirement must include a justification in terms of the student’s academic goals, a statement of how the student plans to satisfy the full seminar requirement (i.e., what other seminars have been or will be taken), a description of the substitute seminar (e.g., syllabus, outline, or catalog description), and a letter of support from the student’s major professor.

b. Students who believe they have completed one or more equivalent required graduate courses/seminars at a previous school (e.g., equivalent to 206) may petition the GPC for exemption. The petition must include the following:

1. A statement of where, when, and with whom the course/ seminar was taken and a summary of the material covered;

2. A copy of all material distributed in the course/seminar, including the syllabus, and a copy of all written work produced;

3. A letter of support from the student’s major professor.

c. The GPC will ask a recent instructor of a course similar to the one for which exemption is sought to inspect and evaluate the student’s petition. The instructor’s inspection may include a detailed discussion of the course with the student (or in some cases, an oral or written examination). The instructor will then submit the evaluation to the GPC, which will make the final decision. An approved exemption will be noted in the student’s file.

d. “Graduate-program transfer credit”: Graduate faculties are distinctive in their offerings. Therefore, incoming students ought not assume they have mastered a given field or are up-to-date in a given area simply because they have completed a similar-sounding course or seminar elsewhere. Indeed, the course-unit-credit mentality is inappropriate at the Ph.D. level. The emphasis, rather, is on creative scholarship, an achievement that is not signaled by course completions or unit accumulations alone.

4. Committees

A. Admissions Committee

The Admissions Committee consists of at least 5 graduate group faculty and at least 2 graduate group students. Based on a review of the entire application, a recommendation is made to accept or decline an applicant’s request for admission. That recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval of admission. Notification of admissions decisions will be sent by Graduate Studies.

B. Course Guidance or Advising Committee

Each entering student is assigned a faculty advisor who will meet with the student to develop a curricular plan. At the end of the first year (3rd quarter), each student must choose a Major Professor. Major Professor duties include: helping develop a curricular plan; discussing graduate program reviews; and 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, the student must submit a “Major Professor Change” form to the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator.

C. Qualifying Paper, Qualifying Examination, and Dissertation Committees Eligible Faculty

Faculty eligible to serve on qualifying paper and qualifying examination committees and the dissertation committee are defined as follows: tenure- track faculty who are members of the Sociology Graduate Program Faculty are considered “from the department (program)”; all other faculty are considered “outside the department (program).” The outside faculty member(s) may be drawn from outside the Graduate Program Faculty on the Davis campus or from a Sociology department on another University of California campus. With prior approval from the Department and the Chair of Graduate Council, professional researchers who hold the Ph.D. and who are employed by the University are also eligible to serve as outside members of dissertation committees, as are faculty members on campuses outside the UC system.

5. Advising Structure and Mentoring

Students are encouraged to consult with the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator for clarification of questions regarding the program. The Major Professor is the faculty member who supervises the student’s research and progress. This person may serve as the Chair of the student’s Dissertation Committee. The Graduate Advisor is a resource for information on academic requirements, policies and procedures, and registration information. The Mentoring Guidelines are available on the Graduate Studies website.

6. Ph.D. Candidacy Requirements

Each student is required to complete a qualifying paper, a dissertation prospectus, and a qualifying examination in order to advance to Ph.D. candidacy.

A. Qualifying Paper

1. Each student is required to complete one original research paper as a qualifying paper. The paper may cover any substantive problem chosen by the student (e.g., stratification, sociology of science, race relations, family), and should have a clear research question, literature review, data, and conclusions. The paper should demonstrate competence in one or more of the major methodologies of sociological research: field methods, comparative-historical methods, or advanced quantitative methods. This paper is an article-length, professional-quality paper.

Acceptable papers will analyze new data or develop a new analysis of existing data. Qualifying papers often originate in graduate seminars or courses, and are then substantially revised before submission to the committee.

2. Each paper is evaluated by a faculty committee of three persons chosen by the student. At least two of these must be from the Sociology Graduate Program Faculty. The committee should be formed in the student’s second year (during the 4th to the 6th quarter) and by the beginning of the third year (7th quarter) at the latest. See below for submission dates for the qualifying paper.

3. Procedures for Paper Submittal:

a. When the paper is ready for formal submission, it is given to the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator who distributes it to the committee members, collects the evaluations, and reports to the committee chair. The chair informs the student of the committee’s decision.

b. The paper is graded Pass, Pass With Suggested Changes, Revise and Resubmit With Suggested Changes (Chair will review revised version and pass if changes are successfully made), Fail (even a revised version will not be acceptable). A student who fails the Qualifying Paper has the option of seeking to form a new committee and embark on a different topic.

c. Passing papers are kept in each student’s file and on file for review by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

d. Students are strongly encouraged to present their papers orally as part of a seminar series for faculty and students, in order to gain practice in oral presentations and to obtain feedback for revising the paper for submission for publication. Contact the faculty member in charge of departmental colloquia and research workshops or the department chair to arrange your presentation.

4. Timely Completion of Qualifying Paper

a. Students are expected to complete the qualifying paper by May 15th of their third year (9th quarter) of graduate study. If students have not completed and filed the qualifying paper by this date they may be designated “Marginal.”

b.1. If students have not completed and filed the qualifying paper by May 15th of their fourth year (12th quarter) of graduate study, they may be designated “Unsatisfactory.”

b.2. If students have not completed and filed the qualifying paper by May 15th of their fifth year (15th quarter) of graduate study, the GPC may recommend that the faculty vote to disqualify the student from the program.

B. Dissertation Prospectus

1. Each student is required to submit a dissertation prospectus. A prospectus is typically the length of a grant application (i.e., 10-25 pages, double spaced, excluding bibliography).

2. The dissertation prospectus should:

a. Provide an abstract of not more than 250 words stating concisely and clearly the problem to be investigated.

b. Describe the relationship of the projected research to the relevant theoretical and empirical literature, present a plan of research, and append a bibliography of works central to the research.

3. The chair of the student’s dissertation committee, in consultation with chair of the QE committee, must approve the prospectus 14 days prior to the Qualifying Examination. When the prospectus is approved, the qualifying examination committee chair will file an approval letter with the Department of Sociology’s Graduate Program Coordinator. Any approved prospectus is to be placed on file with the Graduate Program Coordinator. The student will also provide an abstract to the Graduate Program Staff Coordinator.

C. Qualifying (Oral) Examination

1. Upon successful completion of required coursework, a qualifying paper, and a dissertation prospectus, the student would take the Qualifying Examination. The qualifying examination committee consists of five faculty members with a minimum of one and a maximum of two members appointed from outside the Graduate Program Faculty. The department recommends that one of the members be the student’s anticipated dissertation chair. Questions are composed by committee members. It is the student’s responsibility, in consultation with their Major Professor, to recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies a qualifying exam committee chair and the additional four members.

2. The examination covers two broad fields of Sociology, chosen from the following list:

Community and Urban Sociology

Complex Organizations

Culture, Religion and Ideology

Demography and Ecology

Environmental Sociology Family and Kinship

Law, Deviance, Criminology and Social Control Medical

Sociology/Sociology of Health and Illness Migration

Political Economy Development and Economic Sociology

Political Sociology

Race and Ethnic Relations

Sex and Gender

Social Movements and Collective Behavior

Social Psychology

Social Stratification

Work, Occupations and Professions

NOTE: Students may petition the GPC to be examined in an area not included in the above list.

3. Students will develop their own reading lists for these fields in consultation with their committee members.

4. Additionally, it is in the student’s interest to provide committee members with a portfolio containing samples of written work, including the final, approved Qualifying Paper.

5. The qualifying examination performance is evaluated in accordance with rules and regulations of the Graduate Council and the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition, the examination provides an opportunity for the committee to provide important guidance to the student regarding her or his chosen dissertation topic.

6. The chair of the qualifying examination committee may not serve as chair of the dissertation committee (see below).

7. Students must file an “Application for Qualifying Exam” (available on the Graduate Studies website) with Graduate Studies at least four weeks prior to the exam for approval by the Graduate Council Chair of the committee composition.

8. Changes in the composition of the qualifying exam committee may be requested by completing a “Reconstitution of Committee” form (available on the Graduate Studies website) at least two weeks prior to the exam.

9. Upon successful completion of the exam, the chair of the committee will submit the “Report on Qualifying Examination” to Graduate Studies notifying them of the result of the exam.

10. Timely Completion of Qualifying Examination

a. Students are expected to take the qualifying examination no later than May 15th of their fourth year (12th quarter) of graduate study.

b. If students have not passed the Qualifying Examination by May 15th of their fourth year (12th quarter) of graduate study, they may be designated “Marginal.”

c. If students have not passed the Qualifying Examination by May 15th of their fifth year (15th quarter) of graduate study, they may be designated “Unsatisfactory.”

d. If students have not passed the Qualifying Examination by May 15 th of their sixth year (18th quarter) the GPC may recommend that the faculty vote to disqualify the student from the program.

c. If, by these standards of progress described in sections III.6.A2 and III.10a above, as applied by the GPC, a student’s progress is unsatisfactory, status in the Ph.D. program will be reevaluated by the committee. Any student who is evaluated negatively by the committee shall have the opportunity to provide information about progress and evidence of any extenuating circumstances to the committee. The committee may make a recommendation to the faculty about the continuance in or disqualification from the program of any student who has been evaluated because of unsatisfactory progress in the Ph.D. program. If the committee recommends disqualification, the faculty must vote on whether or not to recommend to the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student be disqualified from the program. These deadlines may be extended by petition to the GPC, and they do not include approved leaves of absences and part-time status.

7. Advancement to Candidacy

Upon successful completion of all required courses, the qualifying paper, the dissertation prospectus, and the qualifying examination, the student applies for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. A student is expected to advance to candidacy within four (4) years, or twelve (12) quarters, of beginning the program. The Application for Advancement to Candidacy fee is payable at the Cashier’s Office. Refer to the Graduate Council website for additional details regarding the Doctoral Qualifying Examination.

Typically, graduate students are required to Advance to Candidacy by the end of the 9th quarter of registration to maintain academic employment eligibility; Sociology has been granted an exception to this policy by Graduate Studies, and Sociology students have academic employment eligibility until the end of the 12th quarter even if they have not advanced to candidacy yet.

8. Dissertation Requirements

1. Committee Structure

a. A dissertation fulfilling the requirements of Graduate Studies is required for each Ph.D. candidate. The dissertation is supervised by a committee consisting of a minimum of three faculty members (a committee of four faculty members is recommended), with one of those members appointed from outside the Graduate Program Faculty (see Section III.4.C for definition of eligible faculty).

b. The outside faculty member may be drawn from outside the Graduate Program Faculty on the Davis campus or from a sociology department on another University of California campus. With prior approval from the Department and the Chair of Graduate Council, professional researchers who hold the Ph.D. and who are employed by the University are also eligible to serve as outside members of dissertation committees, as are faculty members on campuses outside the UC system.

2. Dissertation:

a. As specified by Graduate Studies’ Plan B for the dissertation, the candidate and the dissertation committee may hold such individual conferences and committee meetings as seem to the committee and candidate appropriate and necessary.

b. Ph.D. candidates’ progress will be reviewed annually and designated as satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory by the Graduate Program Committee based on feedback from the candidate’s dissertation chair. According to Office of Graduate Studies, the dissertation must be submitted within four years (12 quarters) of the date that the student passes the Qualifying Examination, or the student will face academic probation.

c. Submission of the Dissertation: All dissertations must be submitted electronically. Students must make an appointment with their assigned Senior Academic Advisor in Graduate Studies to file their dissertations. Instructions for formatting and filing your dissertation are available on the Graduate Studies website. 

9. Normative Time to Degree

It is anticipated that students will complete the requirements for the Ph.D. before the end of their seventh year (a total of 21 quarters) and no later than their eighth year (a total of 24 quarters). See Time to Degree Policy (GC2000-01).

10. Typical Timeline and Sequence of Events

Students making steady progress should be able to complete all requirements for the M.A. within two years (6 quarters) of enrollment in the program and are expected to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years (21 quarters).

This timeline is for reference only. Actual schedules and progress are contingent upon course offerings, the requirements of a student’s research agenda, and other factors. Students typically take two to three seminars/classes (12 units) per quarter.

YEARFALLWINTERSPRING

1

SOC 106
SOC 201
SOC 293
Portfolio Review
SOC 206
SOC 265A
Portfolio Review
SOC 265B or SOC 295
SOC 390A or equivalent
SOC Seminar
Portfolio Review

2

Methods Elective
SOC Seminar or Elective
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep

3

SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
SOC Seminar or Elective
Qualifying Paper (QP) Prep
Multicultural Course
Qualifying Paper (QP) Completion
Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep

4

Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep Dissertation Prospectus (DP) & Qualifying Exam (QE) Prep

5-7

Dissertation Research/Writing Dissertation Research/Writing Dissertation Research/Writing

11. Sources of Funding

Students are typically funded through a combination of TAships, Readerships, Graduate Program Fellowships (“Block Grants”), and GSRships. In addition, some students obtain fellowships through other UCD units and/or external foundations. Students will be considered for departmental teachingrelated employment if they have not exceeded the 18- quarter limit of funding for such positions currently set by the Office of Graduate Studies. Contingent on University funding for graduate student support, priority of funding through the award of TAships and readerships by the Department of Sociology will be given:

  • First, to Sociology students making satisfactory progress for whom the Graduate Program’s commitment of support at the time of the student’s admission to the program has not been fulfilled;
  • Second, to all other Sociology students making satisfactory progress;
  • Third, to Sociology students making progress that has been designated as marginal by the GPC;
  • Fourth, to any other graduate student in Sociology or a related field who applies for support.

All decisions will be made on the basis of the availability of positions and teaching needs, fit of the applicant to the course, and the quality of the applicant’s previous record as a TA or reader.

12. PELP, In Absentia and Filing Fee

Information about PELP (Planned Educational Leave), In Absentia (reduced fees when researching out of state), and Filing Fee can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

13. Leaving the Program

Should a student leave the program prior to completing the requirements for the PhD, they may still be eligible to receive the Masters if they have fulfilled all the requirements. Students should complete a Change of Degree Objective form available from Graduate Studies.

Revised: 1994, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2016. Graduate Council Approval: October 21, 2016.