People and Committees


At the beginning of a student's first semester in residence, he or she will be assigned a faculty advisor, who will be responsible for guiding the student. At the end of the PhD student's first year, he or she must formally select an advisor. The student should submit a petition to notify the Graduate Committee and Graduate Administrator of her or his choice. At the time when the student chooses a chair for his or her Qualifying Portfolio and Defense, that faculty member becomes the student's advisor. The same applies at the point of choosing a Dissertation Committee chair.

Director of Graduate Studies

The Sociology Department Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is Karen V. Hansen. The DGS is the faculty member responsible for chairing the Graduate Committee and supervising the implementation of graduate policies. The DGS represents the Department to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Graduate Administrator

The Administrator for the Graduate Program in Sociology is Cheryl Hansen. The Graduate Administrator is the Department staff person who oversees administrative matters and maintains department records on graduate students.

The Graduate Committee

The Graduate Committee is comprised of appointed members of the Sociology Department faculty, plus one graduate student representative elected from the graduate student body in residence. The process for selecting a student representative to the Graduate Committee involves PhD students in the first five cohorts, including joint PhDs, volunteering to act as a representative to the Graduate Committee for the academic year. If more than one student requests this position, PhD students in the first five cohorts will vote to select the representative. The Graduate Committee deals with policy issues affecting graduate students, and reviews the programs of individual students.

All matters of departmental graduate student policy come before the Graduate Committee prior to any final decision by the Department faculty as a whole. Any faculty member or graduate student may bring a problem or suggestion concerning policy to the Graduate Committee. When a proposal or recommendation is submitted to the faculty by the Graduate Committee, it will be discussed by the faculty as soon as possible. Student members of the committee may request to attend, or may be invited to attend, discussion by the faculty at large of issues or proposals brought to the faculty by the Graduate Committee.

The department itself or its subcommittees retain the following powers:

  • Admission to the department

  • Approval of transfer credit

  • Approval of the faculty composition of QPD committees

  • Approval of dissertation prospectuses

  • Approval of dissertation review committees

  • Conduct of oral examinations on dissertations

  • Individual student programs

The Graduate Committee also rules on petitions from individual students. Students should submit a "Petition to the Graduate Committee Online Form" with all petition requests. which can also be accessed via the shared Graduate Student Latte site. The Graduate Committee's approval is necessary in the following matters:

  • Student petition to change advisors (after the first year and beyond)

  • Student petition to transfer academic credit from another university

  • Student petition to establish or change the QPD Committee

  • Student petition to establish or change the Dissertation Prospectus Committee and Dissertation Review Committee (including adding the outside reader)

  • Student petition to receive graduate credit for an undergraduate course

  • Student petition to take a leave of absence

Petitions must be submitted at least 48 hours before a scheduled Graduate Committee meeting. All additional supporting materials should be submitted electronically to the Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Administrator with one paper copy to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Other Departmental Bodies

Each of the following standing Sociology Department bodies has a graduate student representative:

  • The Graduate Committee

  • The Department faculty meetings

  • The Colloquium Committee

Other temporary committees may also be established with graduate student representation. These representatives are elected by the Sociology graduate students, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, to serve for one year.