FAQs | Department of Sociology


Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the format of graduate courses?

Courses in the graduate program are generally taught in an in-person seminar style and are often scheduled in the evening. A small number of courses are taught in an online-only format.

How often are courses taught?

Required graduate courses are generally taught on a two-year course rotation, although some courses are offered on one- or three-year rotations depending on demand.

Can I begin graduate study in the spring semester?

All applicants are expected to begin study in the fall semester, although applications for spring admissions are considered on an ad hoc basis.

What is the expected timeline for completing the MA/MS and PhD for students who enter without a sociology masters?

Year 1
Choose a primary research topic.
Develop relationships with 1-3 faculty members who may eventually serve on your advisory committees.
File degree plan.

Year 2
Complete Master's coursework and MA/MS thesis.
Present at a professional meeting.


Year 3
Complete at least 18 credit hours of 6xxx-level coursework.
Present at at least one professional meeting.
Submit an article related to thesis research to a journal.

Year 4

Take comprehensive exam.

Defend Ph.D. dissertation proposal.
Present at at least one professional meeting.

Year 5
Complete and defend dissertation.
Present at at least two professional meetings.
Submit 1-3 articles related to dissertation research to journals.

What is the expected timeline for PhD students who enter with a sociology masters degree?

Year 1


Choose a primary area of concentration.

Develop relationships with several faculty members who might eventually serve on your dissertation committee.

Submit a paper related to Master's thesis to a journal.

Year 2

Complete remaining coursework.

Take comprehensive exam.

Choose members of your dissertation committee and select a Chair.

Defend dissertation proposal.

Present at a professional meeting.

Year 3

Complete and defend dissertation.

Present papers at professional meetings.

Submit 1-3 papers related to dissertation research to journals.

How is funding allocated?

Funding in the form of TG, TA, and TF positions is allocated based on merit and teaching experience. Not all students receive funding, but for students who are funded, the department strives to maintain funding through the second year of the Master's program. For students who come into the doctoral program with a Master's degree, the department strives to maintain funding through a total of three years in the graduate program. MA-PhD pass-through students in year six have lower priority for funding.

Funding details are provided elsewhere on the department website and in funding letters emailed to students individually. For students who work in the fall semester the first pay day will be October 1. For students working in the spring semester the first pay day is February 1.

The maximum funding available depends on the program entered:

Master's only:

4 semesters/2 years

PhD only:

6 semesters/3 years

Master's-PhD pass-through:

10 semesters/5 years

Unfunded students must complete the TG/TA/TF funding-request form available on the department website by January 30 prior to the academic year for which they are seeking funding.

Are funds available for travel to conferences?

Yes. Priority (and higher funding levels) is given to students who request to present at the American Sociological Association (ASA) annual conference and other high-profile national and international conferences.

Are funds available for work during the summer?

Students should apply for summer TA funding late in the spring semester, and funding decisions are usually finalized in May. The department typically is able to fund about 10-11 graduate students in the summer, and the compensation ranges from about $2400 to $2800 for a 5-week position.

Does the department offer merit-based graduate scholarships?

Yes. The department offers a number of scholarships. Click here for details.

How important are grades in graduate courses?

Students are expected to earn A's and B's in graduate coursework. Earning C's and/or Withdrawals and Incompletes are grounds for withdrawal of funding and possible dismissal from the graduate program.

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