A minimum of 48 credit hours beyond the master’s degree is required for the PhD degree: 24 hours in course work (8 courses) that includes advanced courses in sociological theory and in research methods; and 24 hours in doctoral research. At least 12 hours (4 courses) must be completed at the 600 level. Six hours are permitted outside the Sociology Department. Doctoral students should complete Qualifying Examinations in sociological theory and research methods at the end of their first year of study, if possible. At the completion of course work and prior to dissertation work, students must complete one Specialty Examination in their interest areas. Students who did not complete SOCI 506 , SOCI 521 and SOCI 531 must complete them without the hours counting toward the minimum number of hours required for the PhD. All PhD students must take three core courses (9 hours): SOCI 622 ; SOCI 631 ; one from SOCI 534 , SOCI 633 , SOCI 636 . Students pursuing a dissertation in an area requiring statistical competence beyond forms of regression are strongly encouraged to take appropriate advanced methods and/or statistics courses from other departments.
Qualifying Examinations in Theory and Research Methods
Qualifying Examinations in methods are offered each May, and in theory each August. The methods examinations will take place on the first Thursday after finals week; the theory examination on the first Thursday of August. Students failing an examination must retake the exam in methods on the first Thursday of the following August, in theory on the first Thursday after finals week of the following December. All students completing their first year of doctoral studies are required to take the methods examination in May, and the theory examination in August (If extraordinary circumstances prevent a student from taking the exams, she/he must petition for an extension, addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies.) All incomplete grades in methods and theory courses must be eliminated by the date of examination. A 3-hour S/N readings course is available for each exam (SOCI 629 for sociological theory and SOCI 639 for research methodology). The hours count toward the 18 hours/year requirement for funded students but do not count toward the 24 hours of course work required for the degree. The courses are intended to allow adequate time for exam preparation. Copies of earlier theory and methods exams are available from the graduate secretary to aid in preparation for the exams.
After passing the qualifying examinations in theory and research methods and completing all required course work, a student asks a faculty member to serve as chair of the specialty examination committee. Three members make up the specialty examination committee. Together, they devise a plan for the completion of the Specialty Examination and file the plan with the Director of Graduate Studies. Students select the format of the examination from two options. Detailed information on these options may be obtained from the Sociology Department’s Graduate Student Handbook.
Students may not enroll in SOCI 600 (Doctoral Research and Dissertation) until they pass all qualifying and specialty examinations. Once a student enrolls in SOCI 600 , she/he must maintain continuous enrollment (Fall, Spring and Summer terms) until graduation. The dissertation process involves: admission to doctoral candidacy, selecting a dissertation committee, holding a dissertation proposal hearing, completing the dissertation project, and the oral defense of the dissertation.
Written examinations in four areas are required (sociological theory, research methodology, and two substantive areas). Doctoral students are eligible to take the theory and methodology examinations whenever offered. Substantive examinations may be taken upon completion of theory and methodology examinations. Detailed information on examinations and examination options may be obtained from the department.
Dissertation and Final Examination
A dissertation based on original research must be completed (24 hours). The candidate must pass an oral defense of the dissertation, including the theory and methodology related to the research, in accordance with the deadlines specified by the Graduate School.