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  • Program Overview

    Description of Sociology Department

    The Department of Sociology, in the College of Arts and Sciences, has a nationally ranked graduate program offering both the M.A. and Ph.D. degree.

    The Department provides graduate training in sociology that is informed by a global perspective. Whether a sociological question addresses individual-level processes, ideas, or organizations, there are often global influences and implications connected to that phenomenon. Students pursuing an advanced degree in sociology will have opportunities to focus on global sociology and to learn how sociological methods and theories can be applied to the study of global social, cultural, political, and economic processes.

    The sociology program grants the doctorate to three to six students per year. Most of these go on to university or college teaching positions or postdoctoral programs at other universities. A few enter government service, business, or applied research.

    Sociology Department

    Tim Liao (631) 632-7755

    Graduate Program Director
    Rebekah Burroway, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building N-419 (631) 632-7700

    Graduate Program Coordinator
    Kelly Haller, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building S-401 (631) 632-7730

    Degrees Awarded
    M.A. in Sociology; Ph.D. in Sociology


  • Admissions

    Admission to the Ph.D. and M.A. Program in Sociology

    Applicants should specify on the application which degree program they wish to enter. Applicants seeking a Ph.D. degree should apply directly for acceptance to the Ph.D. program. (Applicants need not have an M.A. degree to apply to the Ph.D. program.) For admission to graduate study in sociology, the following, in addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, are normally required:

    A. A bachelor's degree or its equivalent, as attested to by transcripts of previous academic work. Official transcripts are required and must be sent electronically  to or mailed to Stony Brook University, Office of Graduate and Health Sciences Admissions, Health Sciences Tower, Level 2 – Rm. 271, Stony Brook,, NY 11794-8276. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to the online application by the Official transcripts from international colleges or universities are preferred to be evaluated by World Education Services.

    B. Undergraduate statistics course.

    C. Undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or above.

    D. If your native or primary language is not English, English proficiency must be established based on the results of the TOEFL exam.  A score of 90 is required for admission to the doctoral program and to be eligible for consideration for TA support.  The TOEFL is not required for international students who have a degree from an English-speaking school.

    E. Three strong recommendations from former

    F. Acceptance by both the Department and the Graduate School.

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Sociology

    In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the following are required:

    A. Courses
    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 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.

    Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Sociology

    In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the following are required:

    A. Residence
    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 9 graduate credit hours per semester. 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.

    B. Courses
    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.

    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 1) 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.

    1. 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.
    2. 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.

    3. 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 second year, students enroll in a teaching practicum to prepare them to teach their own course, under supervision, the following summer or in the Fall semester of their third year.

    F. Preliminary Examination
    This takes the form of an oral examination in the student's  specialty area 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.

  • Facilities

    Facilities of Sociology Department

    The Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building is networked by computers to a divisional network, University mainframes, and the Internet. The Department as well as the University provides access to computers and printers as needed. The department also has a Sociology Reading Room.

  • Faculty

    Faculty of Sociology Department

    Distinguished Professors

    Kimmel, Michael, retired, Ph.D., 1981, University of California , Berkeley: Gender and Sex; Masculinity Studies; Comparative and historical development; social movements.

    Distinguished Service Professors

    Arjomand, Said, Emeritus, Ph.D., 1980, University of Chicago: Comparative; historical; political; religion.

    Goodman, Norman, Emeritus, also a Distinguished Teaching Professor, Ph.D., 1963, New York University: Social psychology; family; socialization; emotions.

    Distinguished Teaching Professor

    Schwartz, Michael, Emeritus, Ph.D., 1971, Harvard University: Methodology; historical; political economy; business structure; social movements.

    Tanur, Judith, Emerita, Ph.D., 1972, Stony Brook University: Statistics; methodology; survey research; social psychology.


    Barthel-Bouchier, Diane, Emerita, Ph.D., 1977, Harvard University: Culture; community; historical; gender.

    Chase, Ivan, Emeritus, Ph.D., 1972, Harvard University: Social organization; behavioral processes in small groups; resource allocation; collective action; cross-species comparisons.

    Fallon, Kathleen, Ph.D., 2002, Indiana University: Global sociology; gender and development; political sociology; social movements; health.

    Feldman, Kenneth, Ph.D., 1965 , University of Michigan: Social psychology; higher education; socialization. Fleming , Crystal, Ph.D., 2011, Harvard University: Cultural sociology; race; racial and ethnic relations.

    Levy, Daniel, Co-Chair, Ph.D., 1999, Columbia University: Political sociology; comparative/historical sociology; global sociology; memory studies.

    Oyewumi, Oyeronke, Ph.D., 1993, University of California, Berkeley: Gender; race; family; culture; knowledge; social inequalities; globalization.

    Roxborough, Ian, Emeritus , Ph.D., 1977, University of Wisconsin-Madison: War and military; historical; revolutions; economic.

    Rule, James B., Emeritus, Ph.D., 1969, Harvard University: Theory; political; technology.

    Shandra, John, Co-Chair, Ph.D., 2005, Boston College: Quantitative methods; environmental sociology; political economy.

    Tyree, Andrea, Emerita, Ph.D., 1968, University of Chicago: Demography; social stratification; ethnicity; marital violence.


    Associate Professors

    Burroway, Rebekah, Graduate Program Director, Ph.D., 2011, Duke University: Global health; women's rights and empowerment; inequality; international development.

    Collver, 0. Andrew, Emeritus, Ph.D., 1964 , University of California, Berkeley: Human ecology; urban community; demography.

    Heerwig, Jennifer, Ph.D., 2013, New York University: Political sociology; elites; public opinion; quantitative methods; computational sociology. Jones, Jason, Ph.D., 2011, University of California, San Diego: Computational social science; social networks; political behavior.

    Moran, Timothy, Ph.D., 2000, University of Maryland: Social inequality; global political economy; contentious collective action; quantitative methods.

    Shandra, Carrie Ph.D., 2009, Brown University: Disabilities; gender; work and occupations; families and households; quantitative methodology

    Assistant Professors

    Shorette, Kristen, Ph.D., 2013, University of California - Irvine: Global and transnational sociology; environmental sociology; economic sociology; health; human rights; culture; political economy.

    Wilson, Nicholas Hoover, Ph.D., 2012, University of California - Berkeley: Theory; comparative and historical methods; culture; empire and imperialism; sociology of morality; sociology of knowledge.

    Zhang, Yongjun, Ph.D., 2020, University of Arizona; Political Sociology, organizational behavior, social networks, computational  social science.

    Advanced Senior Lecturer

    Marrone, Catherine, Ph.D., 1995, Stony Brook University: Medical sociology; gender; work and professions; sociology of human reproduction; sociology of aging.

    Affiliated Appointment

    Gootenberg, Paul, E, Professor Ph.D., 1985, University of Chicago: Religion; colonial and modem, Andes, comparative economic.

    Nancy Hiemstra, Associate Professor, Ph.D., 2011, Maxwell School, Syracuse University: Global migration, immigration enforcement practices, detention and deportation, homeland security, borders, gender, race, Latin America, feminist epistemology and methodologies.

    Rosenthal, Naomi, Visiting Professor, Ph.D., 1978, Stony Brook University: Social movements, gender, historical sociology, culture.

    Research Faculty

    Schwartz, Joseph, Professor, Ph.D., 1978, Harvard University: Quantitative methods; social stratification; sociology of work and occupations; social networks.

  • Contact

    Sociology Department

    Tim Liao (631) 632-7755

    Graduate Program Director
    Rebekah Burroway, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building N-419 (631) 632-7700

    Graduate Program Coordinator
    Kelly Haller, Ward Melville Social and Behavioral Sciences Building S-401 (631) 632-7730

    Degrees Awarded
    M.A. in Sociology; Ph.D. in Sociology