Graduate Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy
The PhD program in Sociology is designed to produce independent scholars able to research, teach or serve in a variety of settings. We offer comprehensive training in the knowledge and skills which constitute professional competence in the field. The curriculum is designed to equip students with a broad foundation in general sociology and in more specialized knowledge related to students' career interests in teaching, research, governmental work, or public service.
For students entering the program with a BA degree, seven semesters of full-time work are usually minimally required to complete the course work for the PhD During the initial three semesters students take substantive, integrative course work in preparation for the qualifying exam and the doctoral review taken at the beginning of the fourth semester. This course work includes the required two semester introductory course (Sociology 403–404: Sociological Perspectives) and three methodology and research courses (The Logic of Sociological Inquiry, Qualitative Methods in Social Research, and Statistical Methods of Analysis I). The third and fourth semesters are taken up with more advanced course work and preparation of the MA thesis. The final three semesters involve specialized courses, individual study, the second required statistics course (415), and seminars in areas relevant for the student's scholarly and professional development. Written examinations in two related special fields are normally taken after coursework is completed, and the presentation of a dissertation proposal should follow shortly thereafter. In planning the more specialized phase of their graduate program, doctoral students are encouraged to take full advantage of the resources of the university and, where pertinent, to take courses in other graduate departments. Prior to passing the preliminary examination students normally take all of their courses within the Sociology Department, unless specific exception is made by the director of the graduate program.
Students pursuing the PhD in sociology must complete 60 semester hours of work (20 courses) beyond the BA degree, or 30 semester hours (12 courses) beyond the MA. Once enrolled, PhD students may be allowed to transfer up to 30 credit hours of graduate course-work in or related to sociology, completed at another university, based on the Graduate Director's evaluation of the student's transcripts. The student's MA thesis or research paper may also be certified at this time as meeting the department's Master's Thesis requirement for the PhD.
Master of Arts in Sociology
In addition to the PhD program, the Sociology department also admits students into its two MA degree tracks: a general track or the public and applied track.
Track 1: The general MA program in Sociology is designed to equip students with a broad foundation in general sociology and a particular focus in a more specialized field of relevance to the student's career interests in teaching, research, governmental work, or public service. Requirements for the Master's degree include: 30 hours of course work (10 courses, 5 required and 5 elective) selected with the approval of the Graduate Director or the student's faculty advisor, and the preparation of a Master's Thesis or a Portfolio (consisting of two class related papers, one of which must be empirical). All students are required to take the introductory two semester graduate course, Sociological Perspectives (403, 404), and three required methods and research courses: The Logic of Sociological Inquiry (410), Qualitative Methods in Social Research (412), and Statistical Methods of Analysis I (414).
Track 2: Although all aspects of the department's curriculum aim to provide students with a better understanding of social structures and processes, the track in Public and Applied Sociology puts special emphasis on the application of sociological knowledge and methods to the development of policies and programs. It provides students with the research skills in both qualitative and quantitative analysis and the substantive sociological background needed to pursue careers in applied research. This degree can be particularly useful for students planning jobs with such organizations as a corporation, a hospital, an urban police department, a metropolitan archdiocese, a social service agency, a labor union or a community organization. Completion of this degree normally requires two years as a full time student.
This track requires five required courses: Sociological Perspectives (403), The Logic of Sociological Inquiry (410), Qualitative Methods (412), Statistical Methods I (414), and Sociology Internship (494); and five electives within the Sociology Program. The internship is a unique opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and to make professional contacts that will facilitate their careers. Interns have worked in a variety of organizations-the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority, American Medical Association, Better Government Association, and the Midwest Women's Center-as well as for several metropolitan newspapers, fair housing commissions, city government departments, and major corporations. Students in this track are also required to complete a thesis or submit a portfolio (including the internship report).