Fall 2014 Cohort


Our course requirements for the PhD in sociology are designed to prepare students to do research by providing a sound foundation in sociological theory, research design, and both qualitative and quantitative methods. We support students in the process of writing and publishing their work while they are still in graduate school. And we take seriously the importance of mastering the art of teaching.

Below you will find a list of our requirements. The Pro-seminar, which is designed to introduce you to the department, the university and the discipline, is a one-credit class which meets once a week during the first year and does not have outside assignments. All other courses are three credits. In the first year, students usually take 2 or 3 courses, plus the Pro-seminar, as well as holding a 20-hour per week assistantship.

Course Requirements

SOCIOL 701 Sociological Theory 3 credits  
SOCIOL 710 Research Methods 3 credits  
SOCIOL 711 Graduate Statistics I 3 credits  
SOCIOL 712 Graduate Statistics II 3 credits  
SOCIOL 796P Pro-seminar (Fall) 1 credit  
SOCIOL 796P Pro-seminar (Spring) 1 credit  
SOCIOL 797A Teaching Sociology 3 credits Required year 1 or 2
SOCIOL 797W Writing Seminar 3 credits Required year 2 or 3
  Theory Elective 3 credits Suggested year 1 or 2
May be taken in another department with approval
  Qualitative Methods Elective 3 credits Suggested year 2 or 3
May be taken in another department with approval
  Eight (8) Graduate-Level Electives 24 credits Up to 4 may be taken in another department, approval not required
Majority must be actual courses, not independent studies



2 Comprehensive Exams

  • Though called “exams,” these are most commonly papers—one empirical research paper, and a second paper which may be a review of the literature, another empirical research paper, or a written exam.
  • Each paper or exam must cover a different subfield (or subfields) within sociology.
  • Students research and write papers or prepare for exams with the guidance of a faculty advisor and committee of their choosing.
  • When the committee feels the student is ready, they “defend” the paper – presents it to the committee and others who wish to attend, and answers questions about their work. Written exams require only a discussion with the student’s committee.
  • The committee must approve the exam or paper for the student to pass their Comprehensive Exam.
  • In the case of empirical research papers, it is expected that the student will subsequently revise and submit their work for publication.

Dissertation Prospectus

  • This is a dissertation proposal which summarizes relevant literature, discusses your theory, and the data and methods you plan to use, as well as any preliminary findings.
  • It must be approved by the Dissertation Advisor and Committee chosen by the student, and then “defended” in a public presentation, similar to the defense of the Comprehensive Exam.
  • Committee members comment and usually recommend changes before giving final approval.


  • Students are required to register for 18 dissertation credits, which are intended to give you time to work on your dissertation. We encourage you to take these credits while you are funded and have a tuition credit.
  • Once your committee has given tentative approval to the next-to-final draft of the dissertation, the Graduate Programs Manager will schedule an oral defense.
  • The defense will focus primarily on the contents of the dissertation, though it may also include the general area of the dissertation topic. The University community is invited to attend.

Please note: You may also earn an optional master’s degree in sociology as part of your doctoral program.


If you have questions that we have not covered please contact the Graduate Program Director or the Graduate Programs Manager.