Waiver Policy

The master’s thesis requirement is never waived for students who do not have master’s degrees. Completing the master’s thesis and passing the master’s oral, after completing master’s course and credit requirements, is the means whereby a student is passed into the PhD portion of the program.

Students who enter the program with a master’s degree in sociology or a related field are not automatically waived into the PhD program, but they may petition to be advanced into the PhD program without completing a master’s degree in this department.

There are two types of waiver petitions:

(1) A primary master’s waiver is granted if a faculty committee judges that the student’s prior preparation and master’s thesis or paper meets the standards for advancement into the PhD program in content and quality. Primary master’s waivers must be requested during the student’s first year of enrollment in the sociology program. Students may apply only once for a primary master’s waiver. To request a primary master’s waiver, the student fills out this waiver petition form and submits the master’s thesis or paper(s) for review. The chair of the ASC appoints a three-person committee to review the submitted work. Submitted theses and papers must be in English. The English requirement may be waived if three faculty members certify that they are competent and willing to read the submitted work in the language in which it is written.

(2) A secondary master’s waiver may be granted on the basis of additional work supplementing the master’s thesis or papers. Students whose theses are not in English may submit for review a paper written in English that is based on the thesis research. Students whose theses or papers are rejected in a primary waiver review may submit revised papers or additional papers that remove the deficiencies identified by the faculty in the primary review. [Any student preparing for a secondary master’s waiver should work closely with an advisor who can help the student ensure the quality and acceptability of the presented materials.]

To request a secondary master’s waiver, the student fills out this waiver petition form and submits the papers to be reviewed to a faculty committee. The faculty committee will review the papers and conduct a master’s-level oral examination to determine whether the student may be advanced into the PhD program. If the result of this review and examination is negative, the student will be required to complete a master’s degree within the sociology program. Students may apply only once for a secondary master’s waiver, and such a waiver must be obtained within the first two years of the student’s enrollment in the sociology program.  Note: It is possible under this provision to write an entirely new thesis-like paper for submission. In this case, the student may choose to complete the formalities of receiving a second master’s degree or to receive a secondary waiver. Individual circumstances will determine which choice is preferable for the student.