For Prospective Students

Is This the Graduate Program for You?

The goal of the Sociology graduate program is to produce first-class researchers and teachers. We consistently rank at or near the top in studies of U.S. sociology doctoral programs and place our graduates at top universities. With over 60 faculty and affiliated faculty, all major areas of sociological inquiry are represented in the curriculum.

The Department of Sociology and the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology conduct a combined graduate program designed to prepare students for scholarly research, teaching, or applied work. In this regard, our program is unique in integrating what are often separate programs in sociology, community and environmental sociology, demography, and social psychology.

One flexible set of requirements permits students to create individualized programs to suit their particular interests and goals. Some students work entirely within one subspecialty, while others create a broad and diverse course of study for themselves.

We emphasize both quantitative and qualitative research and represent a wide variety of theoretical traditions. We are known in the discipline for our climate of civility and openness, which creates an exciting and diverse intellectual atmosphere.

If you have questions, please e-mail our Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Alice Justice, at

Degrees and Career Goals

Students in our program are working toward a Ph.D. (including either the completion of the master’s degree as part of their work or receiving a waiver of our MS requirements based on previous work). We only admit students who intend to complete a Ph.D.

Our Ph.D. graduates can be found in academic teaching and research, and in research or administrative posts in government and the private sector.

Pedestrians make their way past the Carillon Tower and the Sewell Social Sciences Building during autumn

Students lying of the ground during spring enjoying the sun

Students walking in front of Agriculture Hall with flowers blooming in front.

Program Requirements

For the Master’s Degree: Graduate course work (30 credits in Sociology or Community and Environmental Sociology) and a master’s thesis are required. The course work includes requirements in statistics, methods, and theory. Upon completion of the requirements, MS candidates take a two-hour oral exam. Details here.

For the Ph.D. Degree: Courses in advanced statistics, methods, and theory are required, along with four graduate seminars in sociology. The student must also complete a minor in an area (or areas) outside Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology. Additional courses are selected according to the student’s interests. Students must complete preliminary exams in two areas before the student becomes a dissertator (ABD). Dissertators may work with the many data sets available in connection with faculty research projects, or they may collect their own quantitative or qualitative data. A final oral defense is held upon completion of the dissertation. Details here.

See the Graduate School Guide for more information.