PhD Requirements

Requirements for the PhD consist of a core curriculum, elective courses, research apprenticeship experience, a one-semester teaching assistantship, residence requirement and a dissertation with a departmental and university defense. Beyond these requirements, students are free to tailor their graduate training under the supervision of their advisors. Students are expected to complete all University and departmental requirements other than the dissertation by the end of the spring semester of their fourth year in the program (this includes the departmental defense of the dissertation proposal).

The Master’s degree is granted as part of the doctoral training sequence to students successfully completing the core curriculum and meeting the residence requirement.

Download the PhD Handbook for more details.

  • Social Theory
    A student must demonstrate competence in social theory. Such competence will be demonstrated by obtaining a grade of B- or higher in two courses: 230.602 Theories of Society, and 230.603 Contemporary Social Theory.
  • Sociological Analysis
    This seminar (230.643) is designed to acquaint the student with how sociologists deal with important theoretical issues, using a variety of methods and sources of data. It must be passed with a grade of B- or higher. This is the core methods course taken by all Sociology graduate students.
  • Methods and Statistics
    The student must pass an approved three-semester sequence in methods and statistics with a grade of B- or higher. The required courses are 230.600 Introduction to Social Statistics and 230.604 Linear Models for the Social Sciences. The third course should be selected from the following options. Additional courses from this list beyond the ‘required third course’ count toward the nine elective courses required for the PhD.

    • 230.649 Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (biennial)
    • 230.650 Macro-Comparative Research Methods (biennial)

    Courses for which 230.600 and 230.604 are prerequisites:

    • 230.605 Categorical Data Analysis and Selected Topics (annual)
    • 230.636 Research Designs for Causal Inference and Mixed Methods (biennial)
    • 230.6xx  Quantitative Research Workshop (biennial – new course)

    Courses for which 230.605 is a prerequisite:

    • 230.623 Hazard Models & Causal Analysis (biennial)
    • 230.6xx Survey Methodology (biennial – new course)
    • 230.615 Panel Data Analysis (biennial)
  • Pro Seminar
    This course is designed to acquaint new students with the sociology faculty and their research interests. It is taken Pass/Fail in the student’s first semester.
  • Electives
    In addition to the core curriculum, graduate students must enroll in seven additional graduate-level courses, up to three of which may be taken outside of the department. All must be passed with a grade of B- or higher. While students are free to select these courses, the department strongly recommends that they be taken from diverse fields of specializations so as to maximize the breadth of exposure to core areas of sociology and other disciplines.
  • Research Apprenticeship
    Graduate students must serve as a research assistant on two research projects in the department. This requirement is satisfied by certification from two different faculty members of professional-level work in research projects under their direction for a period of no less than one semester.
  • Teaching Assistantship
    As part of their preparation for future academic work, graduate students are required to serve as teaching assistants for at least one semester.
  • Trial Research Paper
    The Trial Research Paper (TRP) affords students the experience of planning and executing a research project that leads to a scholarly paper.  The TRP is expected to be a serious, complete work of scholarship, suitable for conference presentation or journal submission. By the end of the fall semester of their second year, students should invite a faculty sponsor to supervise the design and execution of the TRP project. A TRP proposal must be approved by the faculty sponsor by the end of the spring semester of the second year. By the end of the fall semester of the third year, the faculty sponsor must approve a draft of the paper which will then be reviewed by another department faculty member, except that the faculty sponsor, at her or his discretion, may extend this deadline to the end of the intersession period following the fall semester. The faculty reviewer will evaluate the paper and, if necessary, recommend revisions that should be made before the paper is certified. The faculty sponsor will determine required revisions and must certify a final TRP by the end of the spring semester of the third year.
  • Dissertation
    The student must propose and conduct original research which is presented in a dissertation suitable for publication. The department administers an oral examination which must be passed before the student is allowed to defend before a university board. The dissertation must then be defended either at a Graduate Board preliminary oral examination, based on the dissertation proposal, or at a Graduate Board final oral examination, based on the completed dissertation.
  • Residence
    A minimum of two consecutive semesters of full-time residence is mandatory for all degrees. However, at least six semesters of full-time residence is recommended by the department for completion of the core curriculum, electives, and certifications in the two different research projects. By the end of the fourth year in the program, the student is expected to have written a dissertation proposal, and have defended it successfully before the appropriate examining committees.