PhD Requirements

Requirements for the PhD

The PhD program in sociology is a five to six year program, in which students may receive an MA in sociology as part of their work toward the PhD. The program does not accept students for a terminal MA degree. Please see below for general information about the graduate program. For answers to more specific questions, please consult the Graduate Student Handbook or email the Graduate Administrator, Meg Caruso.

Credit and Course Requirements:

  • Students must earn at least 72 credit hours 
  • Students must complete five required courses:
    • Research Design
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Introduction to Social Statistics
    • Applied Regression Analysis
    • A Sociological Theory course 
  • Students must complete six elective courses in sociology
  • Students must complete two additional courses inside or outside the Department of Sociology

Second-Year Paper Requirement: All students (even those entering the program with an MA degree in Sociology) complete a Second-Year Paper. Most often, this paper will be an extension or revision of a seminar paper (or papers); it may also serve as a pilot or set-up for the dissertation. For these mentored research projects, students work with an advisor and a reader to produce by the end of the second year of graduate study a paper that will eventually be suitable for publication.

Comprehensive Examination Essays: To qualify for PhD candidacy, students must complete three comprehensive examination essays, approximately 20-25 pages each. Through the comprehensive examination, students are expected to identify, analyze, and integrate conceptual, methodological, and empirical literature to answer questions relevant to sociological study.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student files an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. At this stage the student produces a proposal that outlines the topic for doctoral research and a research design for its execution to be reviewed by the dissertation committee. After the overview hearing, the student will give a brief presentation on their proposed dissertation research to the departmental community.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.