In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the following are required:
Course requirements for an M.A. in sociology include four designated courses, two in sociological theory and two in statistics, and an additional six elective courses totaling thirty credits. Students must achieve a minimum 3.0 grade point average for 30 credits of graduate level courses.
B. Writing Requirement
Students are required to write a theoretical/empirical research paper as described in the writing option (Section D, Option 2.1, Mandatory Theoretical/Empirical Paper) for the Ph.D. program. This paper will constitute an original piece of social science research evaluated formally by two faculty members.
In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the following are required:
Minimum residence is one year of full-time study. Students may be admitted to the Ph.D. program on a part-time basis, but these arrangements usually require that the students appear on campus during certain periods of the normal working day. Full-time study entails 12 or more graduate credit hours per semester for those students entering without prior graduate study or fewer than 24 graduate credit hours, and nine or more graduate credit hours per semester for those students entering with more than 24 graduate credit hours or with advanced standing provided by prior graduate work. Since a graduate traineeship is considered part of the academic program, credit hours will be given for teaching or research assistantships as well as supervised teaching. Under specific conditions credit may be given for individual research work outside formal courses but under the supervision of faculty members.
Course requirements for a Ph.D. in sociology include five designated courses, two in sociological theory and three in statistics and methods. Of an additional 10 required courses, one must be taken in introduction to global sociology and another, which must provide additional methodological training, can be chosen by the student from a variety of suitable offerings specified by the department. Three of the remaining eight required courses may be taken outside the department, upon written approval from the department’s graduate committee. These three courses must be completed with at least a B average.
During the first year of study full-time students who have fewer than 24 graduate credit hours take eight courses; full-time students who have 24 or more graduate credit hours from prior graduate study take six courses. These must include two two-course sequences, one in sociological theory (SOC 505 and SOC 506) and one in statistics (SOC 501 and SOC 502), plus a methods course (SOC 504) and one elective course. For those holding graduate traineeships, a teaching assistantship under the supervision of a faculty member would consist of two of the eight courses (one each semester).
C. M.A. Degree
A student is awarded the M.A. degree as a sign of progress toward the Ph.D. To receive the M.A. a student must complete:
1. Two consecutive semesters of full-time study, achieving a 3.0 grade point average for 30 hours of graduate work.
2. One of the two papers required by the writing option (Section D, Option 2) for the Ph.D. program.
D. Professional Competence Requirement
The Two Papers: In this option, a student can meet M.A. requirements and proceed to the second half of doctoral work through the submission of two papers written under faculty supervision. These should normally be completed by the end of the third academic year, and each of the two papers is designed to allow students to demonstrate a different competence. Each paper should be more substantial than a seminar paper and less substantial than an M.A. thesis; two different substantive areas must be represented in the papers. The two papers are designed to demonstrate competence in the kinds of skills that students will need in the profession of sociology. One of these papers must be a theoretical/ empirical paper and the second can be either a second theoretical/empirical paper, an analytical review of the literature, or an analytical review of the literature embedded in a grant proposal. In other words, one paper must be theoretical/empirical and the second may be chosen from among the three possible kinds of papers described below.
- Mandatory Theoretical/Empirical Paper: The majority of sociological articles use empirical data to answer theoretical questions. Such questions often arise from previous research. They can also be the result of juxtaposing two or more theories, or finding that a theory could use further development or clarification on a point, and then showing how the proposed development or clarification better explains some specific aspect or aspects of social reality.
The empirical data explained or clarified by the theory or theories can take a number of forms. It can be the product of ethnographies, comparative and/or historical research, social surveys, small group or experimental laboratory research, content analyses, etc. The important point is to combine theory and empirical research.
- Analytical review of the literature: This paper is to be an assessment of the state of the art in some substantive area of sociology. This paper can take various forms. One possibility is a review essay and examples of this form can be found in the Annual Review of
Sociology, the Psychological Bulletin, or the Journal of Economic Literature. A second approach could be a review of a field that could serve as the substantive underpinning for a graduate seminar.
Analytical review of the literature embedded in a grant proposal: This is to be a major grant proposal. It should normally include a review of the relevant literature, statements of the theoretical framework being used, the hypotheses to be tested, and the methodology to be . employed in the project. The proposal does not have to be submitted to a funding agency, but all the materials required by a particular agency or foundation must be completed and, in addition, the project must receive CORIHS (Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects) approval, if human subjects are involved. This proposal must also be of substantial size. A very short proposal of just a few pages is not adequate even if that is acceptable to some particular agency.
Upon successful completion of all of the above requirements, along with completion of 30 hours of graduate credit, the student may proceed to the advanced stage of his or her doctoral work.
E. Teaching Requirement
Graduate training includes supervised teaching experience. In the fall semester of their third year, students enroll in a teaching practicum to prepare them to teach their own course, under supervision, the following semester or in the Fall semester of their fourth year.
F. Preliminary Examination
This takes the form of an oral examination in the student’s specialty to be given only after all the above requirements have been met. It is designed to appraise the depth of knowledge in the broad area from which the student has selected a dissertation topic. The content of this area is to be defined individually for each student. It consists of a generally recognized, broad subfield and must deal with related materials from other subfields.
G. Advancement to Candidacy
The department’s recommendation that a student be advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. is based on passing the preliminary examination and approval of a dissertation proposal.
H. Doctoral Dissertation
This must be an independent piece of research and scholarship representing an original contribution, the results of which are worthy of publication. Upon oral defense and acceptance of the dissertation, the department will recommend to the dean of the Graduate School that the student be awarded the Ph.D. degree.
The progress of every student will be evaluated by the department at the end of the first full year of graduate study. Those whose performance and ability are clearly below the standard established by the department for the Ph.D. will be asked to withdraw before they have made a costly investment of time. If more than seven years have elapsed since the student completed 24 hours of graduate courses in the department, the student’s Ph.D. candidacy will lapse. After the first year, a progressively larger proportion of a student’s time will be spent as a participant in research activities, under the supervision of faculty members. Ordinarily, a student with adequate preparation and involved in full-time study should be able to earn a Ph.D. within five to six years from the start of graduate work.
Students who arrive with an M.A. degree in sociology or with three semesters of work in the discipline will be expected to complete some of the requirements above more quickly than indicated.