Students must earn a grade of "B" (3.0) or better in the program’s required courses. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade; however, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their program of study.
Required Courses—18 Credit Hours
Core—15 Credit Hours
- SYA 7019 Advanced Sociological Theory (3 credit hours)
- SYA 7309 Advanced Sociological Research Methods (3 credit hours)
- SYA 7407 Advanced Data Analysis (3 credit hours)
- SYA 6657 Program Design and Evaluation (3 credit hours)
- SYA 7658 Social Policy and Research Analysis (3 credit hours)
Research Methods—3 Credit Hours
Select one course from the list below.
- SYA 6315 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours)
- SYA 6425 Design and Conduct of Social Surveys (3 credit hours)
- SYA 7457 Topics in Data Analysis (3 credit hours)
Elective Courses—27 Credit Hours
Major Area of Concentration Electives—12 Credit Hours Minimum
Students will select a minimum of 12 credit hours of unrestricted electives in one of the department’s four areas of concentration.
- Sociology of Crime/Deviant Behavior
- Domestic Violence
- Social Inequalities
- Health, Families and Communities
Unrestricted Electives—15 Credit Hours Minimum
The unrestricted electives provide students with an opportunity to expand their doctoral training beyond the program’s core courses and the electives in the student’s major area of concentration. Unrestricted electives may include formal course work, graduate-level courses in programs outside the Sociology Department, independent study courses with a highly focused student/faculty research component, directed research, doctoral research and a research practicum, which enable students to gain valuable research experience in a nonacademic setting. At least 9 hours from concentration electives and unrestricted electives must consist of formal course work, exclusive of independent study. Unrestricted electives may be taken at any point in the student’s program of study. The research practicum and courses from other departments must be approved by the student’s adviser and the graduate program director.
Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum
- SYA 7980 Dissertation Research (15 credit hours)
After completing the program’s required courses, a student will take two qualifying examinations. The qualifying examinations will be designed by a faculty grading committee and reflect the course work in the areas of Theory and Methods/Statistics. The qualifying examinations will be used to determine the student’s eligibility to complete the doctoral degree. The exams will screen for research ability, technical skills, and mastery of the discipline's core content. Each examination will be a five hour examination that will be used to determine the student’s eligibility to complete the doctoral degree. Qualifying examinations will be administered in December and August, at a date arranged by the graduate committee and a student must notify the Graduate Program Director in writing of their intent to take the qualifying examinations at least one month before the date fixed for examination. Students passing the qualifying exams will continue with their program. If an exam is failed a second time, the student will be dismissed from the Sociology doctoral program.
Major Area Examination
After completing the program’s two qualifying examinations and 12 credit hours in their major area of concentration, a student will take a major area examination. The student’s adviser and faculty who teach in the selected area will design and administer the examination, which will be based on course work completed in the student’s major area of concentration.
The dissertation proposal hearing constitutes the program’s candidacy examination, and students who successfully pass their proposal hearing along with other requirements shall be admitted to candidacy. The proposal will encompass an overview of the dissertation topic that includes an in-depth review of relevant literature, a precise statement of the research question, and specific research design (planned methodology and analysis). The student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee will supervise the preparation of the dissertation proposal and the proposal hearing.
Admission to Candidacy
The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:
- Completion of all course work, except for dissertation hours.
- Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
- Successful defense of the dissertation proposal.
- The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
- Submittal of an approved program of study.
A dissertation is required for completion of the PhD, along with an oral defense of the dissertation proposal and completed dissertation through a minimum of 15 credit hours, which students use to accomplish original research on a topic approved by their adviser and three committee members. One committee member must be from a relevant field outside the Department of Sociology. The dissertation must conform to standard disciplinary, institutional, and departmental practices. Students may not enroll for dissertation credit until they have completed all examinations in their program of study.
Applied Research Practicum (Optional)
An important component of the Sociology PhD program is the research practicum. The practicum is a three to six credit hours of directed research experience in a nonacademic setting, which will provide a “hands-on” approach for advanced doctoral students. Although completion of a research practicum will not be required for all doctoral students, it is expected that some students, including most of those seeking employment in research positions in public and private agencies, will take advantage of this opportunity. Doctoral students must pass their qualifying examinations before being eligible for a research practicum. The student’s graduate adviser and the department’s graduate program director must approve the research practicum. Hours completed in a research practicum will count as unrestricted electives in the student’s program of study.
Full-time students in the Sociology PhD program pay a $39 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $19.50 per semester.