Sociology (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation 
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Social Inequality
    ❱   Medical Sociology

Research Areas & Interests 

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Effect of racial bias and interracial anxiety on medical judgment
  • Investigations of how social, commercial, and political institutions interface with new technology and shape properties of technological affordance 
  • The historical relationship between forms of penal confinement and the accumulation of profits under economic systems
  • Africana/black feminist theory and intersectionality
  • Implications of violence (structural, spatial, and interpersonal) on reproductive and sexual health injustice for Black women
  • Social impacts of severe weather and protective action and evacuation responses of disaster victims
  • Public outreach in archaeology
  • Lived experiences of children of incarcerated parents
  • Coloniality and resistance concerning counter-memory and decolonial knowledge

Research Subfields

Social Inequality

This concentration focuses on the forces that produce and reproduce the various aspects of social inequality in the U.S. and global society. It analyses historical systems and structures of global capitalism and economic exploitation, political oppression, and domination, including white supremacy and patriarchy, and ideological and cultural hegemony and their contemporary expressions in the 21st-century globalized electronic-based society. It also examines agencies of transformation and social movements, the theory-practice nexus, and public sociology that seek to change policy and/or eliminate the systemic roots of social inequality. Students apply theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical skills to study various issues and problems related to social inequality and social change.

Medical Sociology

Medical Sociology focuses on the social contexts of physical and mental health. It examines the subjective aspects of illness, the interplay of social inequality and health and health behaviors, and physician-patient relationships, focusing on gender and race. In addition, it presents a discussion on the organization and structure of the healthcare system and the social forces that influence that system. Core courses also stress the dynamics of health populations, the etiology of diseases, the distribution of health conditions resulting from socio-demographic and related disorders, and health services research. Students apply their theoretical and analytical skills to investigate topics relevant to health, illness, and healthcare.

Program of Study* 


SOCI 300   Sociological Theory I

SOCI 301   Sociological Theory II

SOCI 310   Sociological Research I

SOCI 311   Sociological Research II

SOCI 219   Advanced Statistics I

SOCI 319   Advanced Statistics II

Any two of SOCI 250, 302, and 303: Race, Inequality, and the Black Experience

**Students admitted into the program who have not completed undergraduate coursework in Sociological Theory, Sociological Research Methods, or Statistics must complete departmental prerequisite course requirements (SOCI 200, 210 and/or 211).

All students must earn a grade of B or better in each course designated as a core requirement.


All students must also take six (6) credit hours in electives in methodology and nine (9) credit hours in a cognate minor outside of Sociology

A sampling of elective courses

SOCI 430  Demographic Method I

SOCI 431  Demographic Method II

SOCI 510  Experimental Research

SOCI 511  Survey Research I

SOCI 513  Qualitative Research

SOCI 514  Evaluation Research

SOCI 520  Research Methods in Social Psychology

SOCI 610  Seminar: Interdisciplinary Research

SOCI 622  Attitude Scale Construction 

SOCI 740  Seminar: Methodological Issues in Urban Research

SOCI 910  Readings in Research Methodology I

SOCI 670  Seminar: Research in Crime and Deviance

SOCI 681  Seminar: Research on the Black Family

SOCI 201  History of Social Thought

SOCI 204  Language and Society

SOCI 471  Race, Ethnicity, and Crime

All students must earn a grade of B or better in each course designated as a core requirement.


*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.