Requirements for the Master's and Ph.D. Degrees

Students in our graduate program complete a Master of Science degree on the way to the Ph.D.

Master's Degree Requirements

Total credits required: 30 credits of graduate work in Sociology and/or Community & Environmental Sociology.

These 30 credits must include the four required courses listed below plus at least 9 credits from courses and seminars restricted to graduate students (typically these courses are numbered 700-984). The 30 credits may include no more than 9 credits numbered 985 and above (i.e., brown bags, independent reading courses, and thesis credits).

Required courses for all students:

  • Sociology 700: Introductory Proseminar for Graduate Students
  • Sociology 361: Statistics for Sociologists II (also required for the Ph.D.)
  • One graduate-level methods course from the following list:
    • 735: Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
    • 750: Research Methods in Sociology (also required for the Ph.D.)
    • 751: Survey Methods for Social Research
    • 753: Comparative and Historical Methods in Sociology
    • 754: Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology
    • 756: Advanced Demographic Methods
  • Sociology 773: Intermediate Classical Theory (also required for the Ph.D.)

Additional courses required for students affiliated with the Center for Demography & Ecology:

  • Soc 663: Population and Society
  • Soc 674: Elementary Demographic Techniques
  • Soc 756: Advanced Demographic Techniques

Each semester, throughout the graduate program, CDE students also enroll in:

  • Soc 995: Demography Training Seminar (meets on Wednesdays)
  • Soc 997: Demography Seminar (meets on Tuesdays)

Thesis: This document is generally comparable in size and scope to a journal article (i.e., it's usually between 35 and 75 pages long, and its content and style are similar to those of articles published in sociological journals). A solid Master's thesis poses a problem or question, locates it within past empirical and theoretical scholarship, provides data or evidence relevant to the problem or question, and discusses the significance of the data for the research question and the larger literature within which it is embedded.

Comprehensive oral examination: The oral exam typically lasts for approximately two hours. Questions may cover general sociology, graduate work to date, and the thesis.

Time limit: Students have six semesters plus a summer to complete requirements for the Master's degree.

Ph.D. Requirements

Total credits required: 51

Required Courses for all students:

  • Sociology 361: Statistics for Sociologists II
  • Sociology 362: Statistics for Sociologists III
  • Sociology 750: Research Methods in Sociology
  • Sociology 773: Intermediate Classical Theory
  • Four seminars in Sociology taught by Sociology or Community & Environmental Sociology faculty. (These courses may or may not be labeled "Seminar," but they're typically numbered between 900 and 979; training research courses -- i.e., those numbered between 980 and 995 -- don't count toward the seminar requirement.)

Additional courses required for students affiliated with the Center for Demography & Ecology:

  • Soc 663: Population and Society
  • Soc 674: Elementary Demographic Techniques
  • Soc 756: Advanced Demographic Techniques

Each semester, throughout the graduate program, CDE students also enroll in:

  • Soc 995: Demography Training Seminar (meets on Wednesdays)
  • Soc 997: Demography Seminar (meets on Tuesdays)

Minor Requirement:

  • Option A, external: a minimum of nine graduate credits in one department or program (either single disciplinary or multi-disciplinary) outside of both Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology.
  • Option B, distributed: a minimum of nine graduate credits in two or more departments outside of both Sociology and Community & Environmental Sociology. The courses must be thematically unified and thus form a coherent topic. The nine credits for the Option B Minor may include one (but no more than one) course cross-listed with Sociology or Community & Environmental Sociology, but no courses may be taught by either Sociology or Community & Environmental Sociology professors.

Preliminary Examinations:

These consist of two written exams and one brief oral exam. Written exams are offered twice each year -- in August, before the start of the Fall semester, and in January, before the start of the Spring semester. The oral exam takes place after a student has passed both written exams, at any time that the student and his/her advisor agree upon.

Written exam: Typically, each written exam consists of a three-hour session in the morning and another three-hour session in the afternoon. (Students whose native language is not English and students with a documented learning disability may have additional time, however.) Some exceptions exist: prelims in AgroFood Systems and Environmental Sociology are 48-hour take-home exams; the prelim in Sociology of Culture consists of a paper, a field statement, and a one-hour oral.

Two options exist for completing the written prelim requirement:

Option 1, two conventional written exams: Students must pass one exam from Group I and a second exam from either Group I or Group II.

Option 2, one conventional written examination and one paper option exam: Students must pass one written examination from Group I and write two papers focusing on one of the areas in Group II.

Group I Exams:

  • Comparative-Historical Sociology
  • Demography and Ecology
  • Economic Change and Development
  • Economic Sociology
  • Gender
  • Organizational and Occupational Analysis
  • Political Sociology
  • Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Social Psychology and Micro-Sociology
  • Social Stratification

Group II Exams:

  • AgroFood Systems
  • Class Analysis and Historical Change
  • Communities and Urban Sociology
  • Crime, Deviance, and Social Control
  • Culture
  • Education
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Ethnography
  • Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
  • Family
  • General Social Theory
  • Law and Society
  • Medical Sociology
  • Methods and Statistics
  • Religion
  • Science and Technology

Oral exam: This "exam" is actually an informal conversation the student has with his/her advisor focusing on plans for the dissertation. Once the oral exam has taken place, the student has completed all requirements for the Ph.D. but the dissertation. He/she then submits a "Petition to Become a Dissertator" form, after which the Graduate School confers dissertator (or ABD) status.

Prelim time limit: Students must pass prelims before the end of their eighth semester in residence at the University.

Dissertation Proposal: A proposal for original research specifying the nature of a problem, topic, or hypothesis to be investigated; the type and sources of information to be gathered; the methods for gathering it; and the significance of the proposed research. The student defends the proposal at a hearing -- a meeting attended by the student, his or her advisor, and two other Sociology and/or Community and Environmental Sociology faculty members who have agreed to serve as a dissertation advisory committee.

Dissertation: An independent investigation that results in a book-length document involving original research and creative scholarship.

Final Oral Examination: This exam involves a defense of the dissertation and may also cover the general field of both the major and minor studies.

Dissertation time limit: Students must complete a dissertation and pass the final oral exam within five years of becoming a dissertator.

If your question is not answered here, e-mail Charlotte Frascona.