The PhD Program
It is expected that students learn the skills necessary to produce valuable research and present its results. Typically this is done by developing a close working relationship with one or more faculty members and co-authoring research papers with them. In this way the student begins as an apprentice and finishes with a substantial research record. The goals of this apprenticeship include presenting papers at professional meetings, submitting papers to professional journals, and participating in the preparation of grant proposals for research funding.
The requirements in the right column are viewed as the milestones in terms of which student progress is evaluated. If accomplished in timely fashion, the student will merit continued funding. In the final two years the student is expected to gain experience teaching at the university level.
|First Year, fall||Coursework: Classical Theory (SOCL 7121), Methods (SOCL 7211), Statistics I (SOCL 7201), and Pro-seminar (SOCL 7903), for a total of 10 credit hours|
|First year, spring||Statistics II (SOCL 7203) and two Electives,* for a total of 9 credit hours|
|Second year, fall||In addition to nine hours of coursework: (1) Establish committee of three members, (2) Determine whether an empirical research paper or MA thesis will be written, and (3) Determine the content of the paper or thesis.|
|Second year, spring||Nine hours of coursework, possibly including six hours of SOCL 8900 for the empirical research paper or six hours of SOCL 8000 for the MA thesis. Complete the empirical paper or thesis.|
|Third year, fall||In addition to coursework, (1) Establish General Examination Committee of three members, (2) Determine whether the general exam will be a standard exam or an essay, and (3) Determine content of exam or essay.|
|Third year, spring||In addition to Pro-seminar (7903) and coursework, general exam or review paper.|
|Fourth year, fall||Dissertation proposal|
|Fourth year, spring||Writing dissertation|
* Although not required for MA degrees, SOCL 7213 (6 credits) and SOCL 7131 (3 credits) are required for PhD degrees. It is recommended that these courses be completed early in the program.
Admission to the Ph.D Program
Students may be permitted to transfer credits at the graduate level from another institution. The maximum number of transfer credits depends upon each student’s situation. Also, students who received a master’s degree at another institution may request for exemption from the empirical research paper or MA thesis requirement after their first two semesters in the program. The student’s committee will review the student’s request (and have meeting with the student, if necessary) and notify the graduate director of their decision in writing. If approved, the student is exempt from the empirical research paper or MA thesis and awarded 6 hours of Research in Sociology (SOCL 8900) or MA Thesis (SOCL 8000).
Graduate students, at the request of the graduate director, will submit an annual report summarizing their academic activities during the past year.
The general exam should enable Ph.D students to gain expertise in broad areas of sociology. Therefore, the reading list should be much broader in the coverage than the references of the student's Ph.D dissertation.
In consultation with the exam committee, the student may select either of two options to meet the requirement: a written examination or a review paper, as outlined below. Each requires an oral defense. For either option, it is recommended that the student and the entire committee agree on the area(s) of the exam, such as "Work and Family" or "Deviance and Mental Health."
Written Examination: For written examinations, students begin by selecting a target date for the exam and defense. In collaboration with a major professor and committee members, students create a reading list that helps organize their preparation for the exam. The exam will take up to eight hours, and will be all held during one day, or during two consecutive days. Once the exam and defense are completed, the committee will assign a pass/fail grade. In the event the student receives a failing grade, a second chance may be given at the discretion of the committee. The students should take no more than four months to prepare the readings and complete the written and oral exams.
Review Paper: Instead of the general exam, the student, with the approval of the advisor, may elect a paper option—see suggested guidelines below for procedure and content for the paper option. In the event the student fails the paper option, a second chance may be given, at the discretion of the committee. In that case, the student may be directed to take the written exam, as described above.
• In collaboration with their major professor and committee members, students create an initial reading list covering broad areas of sociology, organized in terms of the sections of the proposed paper.
• The committee reviews the bibliography and suggests revisions. After revisions have been made, the student revises and distributes copies of the working bibliography to the committee.
• It is assumed that additional sources will be discovered in the course of writing and that they will be used and cited in the paper.
• This paper should be a critical review of the literature in the areas of sociology.
• It should present and analyze the development of concepts, theory, methodology, and substantive issues in the areas.
• It should both analyze and synthesize the literature that addresses various issues in the areas of sociology.
• The concluding section of the paper should: a) Summarize the major points made in the paper, and b) Provide evidence of the author’s own unique perspective on the areas and her/his projections of the direction(s) in which research in the areas might proceed.
Committee for the General Examination and Dissertation
The student's PhD Committee is composed of a minimum of three graduate faculty members from sociology department and the Dean's Representative (designated by the Graduate School upon General Exam application). The student may substitute one of them for a graduate faculty member from another department, if it is decided appropriate by the committee chair and approved by the departmental chair or graduate advisor. At least two of the three committee members (other than the Dean's Representative) have to be a full graduate faculty. If the student declares an official minor, a faculty member in the minor field must be included in the committee (in addition to the two sociology faculty members).
Before a PhD student begins the dissertation research, approval of a proposal by the dissertation committee is required. The student should submit the dissertation proposal to each of the committee members at least two weeks prior to a scheduled meeting with the committee. Members of the committee may approve the proposal, suggest changes in the proposal, or reject the proposal. After the committee has approved the proposal, one copy with an approval sheet signed by all committee members must be placed in the student's file. This must be done at least one semester before the final oral exam on the dissertation. Any major changes in the research design must be approved by all committee members.
The proposal should generally include the following items:
Final Examination: Defense of the Dissertation
a. Application for Degree
Go to the Enrolled Student Forms page for required forms.
• Failed: The student is not recommended for the continuance of study toward the degree.
• Probationary Continuance: The candidate is required to remedy certain deficiencies in knowledge and/or to do further work on the dissertation. At least one semester must elapse before the granting of the second examination. The outcome of the second examination is restricted to Pass or Fail.