University of Massachusetts Amherst

Department of Sociology



Graduate Program Guide

Department of Sociology M.A./Ph.D. Program
University of Massachusetts Amherst


Welcome to the Sociology Graduate Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. We have created this guide to outline and clarify the basic requirements for obtaining the Ph.D. through our program. If you have any questions that are not covered in this guide, please contact the Graduate Program Director (GPD), Millie Thayer.

These requirements are formalized by the Graduate Policy Committee (GPC) after faculty voting where necessary. The committee is composed of the GPD, other faculty members appointed by the department chair, and two graduate students selected by the Sociology Graduate Student Association (SGSA). The GPC meets two or more times each semester to consider matters of policy and changes in policy to be recommended to the faculty as a whole.

Degree Programs

The focus of our graduate program is on the Ph.D. It is possible to earn an M.A. along the way and many of our students choose to do so. It is possible also to terminate the program with an M.A. but this is rare.

There are three categories of requirements for earning the Ph.D.:
coursework and dissertation credits, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation.


Department of Sociology • Thompson Hall • University of Massachusetts–Amherst, MA 01003