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Ph.D. in Sociology

The Ph.D. in Sociology is a six-year program consisting of three years for course work, one year for qualifying exams and two years for research and finishing the dissertation.

Students entering the Ph.D. program in Sociology are expected to complete fourteen courses as well as six semesters of the program's Approaches to Sociological Research pro-seminar (SOC 300a). Credit for the sixth semester of SOC 300a is dependent on the student submitting a single-authored publishable research paper to a peer-reviewed academic journal.

At least six of the additional fourteen courses must be formal graduate seminars offered by the department. One of those six seminars must be in social theory and one must be in research methods. Four additional courses must be completed within the department, either as graduate seminars, independent readings, advanced undergraduate/graduate seminars or upper-division courses. The four remaining courses can be taken as the student chooses, including graduate courses at other Boston-area universities, in consultation with her or his advisor.

The initial program of study is arranged in consultation with the graduate student's advisor. Consideration will be given to graduate work done elsewhere, but formal transfer credit is assigned only after the successful completion of the first year of study.

The department's equivalent of the comprehensive exam is a qualifying process in which each doctoral student is required to select and develop three areas of expertise. For each area, the student invites a sociology faculty member to serve on his or her Qualifying Portfolio and Defense (QPD) committee. The purpose of the QPD committee is to guide students toward demonstrated competence in three different areas in sociology, as defined by the American Sociological Association, and to certify student competence in those areas.

While working on the qualifying portfolio, each student assembles a dossier containing documentary evidence of scholarly work in the three areas of specialization. In addition to papers written, this may include bibliographies, course outlines, research proposals, etc. Upon completion of this work, the QPD committee will conduct an oral qualifying exam.

After the accreditation phase, the student prepares a dissertation prospectus and begins work on the dissertation. The requirements for the completion of the dissertation phase are: approval of the prospectus, approval of the dissertation and successful oral defense of the dissertation.

Teaching Requirement

The department supports a culture where teaching is highly valued. It is required that all Ph.D. students participate in undergraduate teaching. This typically means acting as a teaching fellow in one course per term over the course of six semesters and using this as an opportunity to develop the craft of teaching in collaboration with individual professors and through teaching workshops within the department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students also act as a research fellow for a seventh semester during their first four years in the program.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. in sociology.

Joint Ph.D. in Social Policy and Sociology

Students can apply to the joint program leading to the Ph.D. in Social Policy and Sociology only after having completed at least one year of Ph.D. study at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management or in the Department of Sociology's Ph.D. program. The joint program combines nine courses in sociology (at least one of which must be in sociology theory) with nine Heller School courses (including research methods). The deadline for applications is April 1.

Students complete the sociology qualifying process in two areas of specialization (instead of the usual three), and after completing a comprehensive paper that is a required part of the Heller School Ph.D. curriculum. The dissertation committee has two faculty members from the Department of Sociology, two faculty members from the Heller School and one outside reader.

Joint M.A. in Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The joint Master's degree in Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is designed to be completed in 2 to 4 semesters. Requirements include the completion of eight courses to be distributed as follows: a designated foundational course in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, one course in feminist research methodologies (WMGS 208b or The Feminist Inquiry course offered through the Graduate Consortium in Women's and Gender Studies), one graduate Sociology course cross-listed with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, one graduate course outside Sociology that is listed as an elective with Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, three other graduate Sociology courses (including one theory course, and one course outside the area of gender), plus one additional graduate elective course.

Also required is the submission of a research paper of professional quality and length (normally 25-40 pages) on a topic related to the joint degree. The paper will be read by two faculty members, at least one of whom is a member of the Department of Sociology and at least one of whom is a member of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies core or affiliate faculty.

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For complete requirements, see the Brandeis University Bulletin.