Jumping the Hurdles - procedures and paperwork

The Master's Degree

For Graduate School deadlines, master's thesis formatting, and thesis deposit procedures, see the Graduate School's Masters Degree Requirements and Masters Thesis Guidelines pages. Note: Our department has no specific bibliography requirements, other than that you pick a generally accepted academic journal style (such as the ASR style) and stick with it.

Department procedures for setting up the master's oral are as follows:

  • Student sees or emails graduate advisor for review to see that all MS requirements have been met:
    • 30 credits of graduate work in sociology (including at least 6 credits of grad-only courses)
    • Soc 361: Statistics for Sociologists II
    • An approved graduate level methods course:
      • 735. Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis
      • 750. Research Methods in Sociology
      • 751. Survey Methods for Social Research
      • 753. Comparative and Historical Methods in Sociology
      • 754. Qualitative Research Methods in Sociology
      • 756. Advanced Demographic Methods
    • Soc 773 Intermediate Classical Theory
    • Thesis
  • Student tells graduate advisor the names of the three oral exam committee members (major professor chairs the committee).
  • Student tells graduate advisor the approximate exam date.
  • Graduate advisor orders warrant from Graduate School.
  • Student arranges exact time and date for exam and informs graduate advisor.
  • Graduate advisor reserves room and informs student.
  • Student prepares announcement including abstract (which has been okayed by major professor) and emails announcement to graduate advisor: Charlotte Frascona
  • Faculty committee decides whether or not the student passed the oral exam and whether the student may advance toward the Ph.D. and signs provided paperwork.
  • Student makes any suggested revisions and prepares final thesis document. Student prepares an "approval page" which consists of the word "Approved" on the lower right side of a page, followed by a line to be signed and dated by the faculty advisor (with faculty advisor name and the word date typed below the line).
  • Faculty advisor approves and signs off on the final version of the thesis.
  • Student deposits unbound thesis, in person or by a designated person, at Room B137 Memorial Library.

Dissertator Status and the Continuous Registration Requirement

The Graduate School will authorize dissertator status for the next semester after the department has certified (on the warrant for the oral preliminary examination) that all Ph.D. requirements but the dissertation have been met. The student must complete a departmental Petition to Become a Dissertator in order to start the process.

Ph.D. requirements include:

  • Course requirements
    • Soc 361: Statistics for Sociologists II
    • Soc 362: Statistics for Sociologists III
    • Soc 750: Research Methods in Sociology
    • Soc 773: Intermediate Sociological Theory
    • Four seminars in Sociology
  • Two six-hour written preliminary exams
  • Minor
    • Option A: 9 credits in single department
    • Option B: 9 credits in two or more departments
  • Oral preliminary exam (meet with major professor to discuss plans for proposal)

Once a student becomes a dissertator, the university's Continuous Registration Requirement goes into effect. Under the Continuous Registration rule, the student must register for three credits for each Fall and Spring semester until the Ph.D. requirements are met--including the Final Ph.D. Oral Examination and the deposit of the dissertation with the Ph.D Coordinator at the Graduate School. If a dissertator registers during a summer session, the minimum number of credits is 3 (rather than the 2 credit minimum for other graduate students).

Dissertation Proposal Hearing

When the student, mentored by the major professor, has completed a dissertation proposal, a meeting is held to formalize acceptance of the proposal. The major professor and two other faculty members serve on a Dissertation Advisory Committee and are usually the faculty who end up being the three readers for the student's Ph.D. Final Oral Examination. These three individuals meet with the student and discuss the proposal. The major professor completes a Dissertator Proposal Hearing form to indicate that the proposal was approved, approved with attached revisions, or was not approved. A copy of the proposal is attached to the form. This agreement serves as a "contract" with the student concerning the topic of the dissertation and the types of research and analysis that will be involved.

The Final Ph.D. Oral Exam

The student (assisted as necessary by the major professor) must ask individual faculty members to serve on the committee and must coordinate a specific time and date. The graduate advisor will reserve a room and announce the exam, including in the announcement an abstract prepared by the student and approved by the major professor. The student should email the approved abstract , with title, to the graduate advisor.

At least three weeks before the proposed date of the exam, the student should provide to the graduate advisor the names of the five committee members (including one UW-Madison faculty member from a department other than Sociology or Community and Environmental Sociology), the proposed title of the dissertation, and the proposed date of the exam. A Ph.D. Final Oral Committee Approval Form must be completed and must be signed by the faculty advisor and the department chair and sent to the Graduate School for the dean's signature. The Graduate School will return to the department a warrant for the exam, a committee page which must be signed by all the members of the committee, and a packet of materials for the student's use in preparing the dissertation for deposit.

After the exam, the major professor will return the warrant to the graduate advisor, either signed or unsigned pending revisions. For information on formatting and then depositing the dissertation, see the Graduate School's Doctoral Degree Requirements and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines pages.

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