Sociology Doctoral Programs

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Doctor of Philosophy

To earn the Ph.D. degree, the student must complete at least 90 hours of graduate hours inclusive of electives, required classes, and dissertation hours, pass the general examination, and write a doctoral dissertation. All students admitted to the Ph.D. program must complete the following required courses: SOC 5293, SOC 5283, SOC 5933, SOC 6233, SOC 5313 or SOC 6243 or another research course, SOC 6903, and 18 hours of coursework in the social sciences. A maximum of 24 dissertation preparation hours (SOC 6980) may be applied to the dissertation. A maximum of 44 credit hours may be transferred from other universities with the permission of a student’s advisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate College. The purpose of the coursework is to prepare the student for the general examination and the dissertation. The accumulation of coursework, in and of itself, does not constitute progress toward the degree.

With few exceptions, the student seeking this degree anticipates a career in teaching and/or research. Departmental requirements emphasize professional competence in sociology as a whole, especially research methodology, and expertise in two fields within sociology. At the PhD level, the student should acquire a broad knowledge of the fundamentals of sociology and a focused specialization in two substantive areas of expertise.

A plan of study, filed formally with the Dean of the Graduate College, should develop the student’s knowledge of and expertise in sociology broadly defined, as well as two substantive areas of sociological expertise. The plan of study must include the core requirements for the MA plus one additional theory course. This is especially important to highlight for students who are transferring credits from other universities or entering the doctoral program with a Master’s degree in a related field. The plan of study must contain sufficient coursework to prepare a student for the general examination. The program of coursework and the committee can be amended as needed.

The general examination in sociology consists of a written component and an oral component. It usually is taken in the fall semester of the third year of the program. Once the relevant elements of the written component of the exam are considered satisfactory, then the student may proceed to the oral component of the general exam. In cases where the student’s written answers were considered satisfactory but the performance on the oral component of the exam was not, he/she will retake the oral component of the general exam in the following semester (timing to be determined in consultation with the student’s committee). A second unsatisfactory performance on the oral component of the general exam will result in dismissal from the program.

The doctoral dissertation is written and defended under the guidance of the student’s doctoral committee consisting of five members of the graduate faculty, at least one of whom is from outside the Department of Sociology.

Ph.D. students having sole responsibility for teaching a course in the Department also are required to take Professionalization Seminar (SOC 5832) and the Teaching Seminar (SOC 5831).