2017-2018 General Catalog 
    Apr 21, 2018  
2017-2018 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sociology, Ph.D.

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Doctoral Requirements for Sociology

Social and Behavioral Science Building 301

Minimum Doctorate Hours:

Admission Requirements:

  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  • Bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited college or university.
  • Recommendation of the faculty in the college or department in which the applicant wishes to study.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • Personal statement detailing academic interests.

Graduation Requirements:

  • All core courses must be completed with a B or better.
  • One full year (two consecutive semesters) must be spent in fulltime (9+ credit hours) academic work at the U of U.

Elective Courses

Elective courses can be fulfilled by courses inside or outside of the Sociology Department.  The Sociology seminars are recommended, since they will be useful in preparing for the Comprehensive Area Exam in the chosen area.  Other substantive seminars and/or advanced sociological methods courses such as Longitudinal Data Analysis or Qualitative Methods may fulfill the elective requirement.  A minimum of six (3) Third Year Paper research credit hours or equivalent and a minimum of fourteen (14) dissertation research credit hours are required.

Teaching Experience Requirements

The Teaching Experience Requirement is adapted to the student’s program of study. All students are expected to gain competency in teaching skills, including course development, syllabus construction, lecturing, and course/performance evaluation. SOC 6500 Teaching Experience (3), which includes departmental colloquia, University seminars, and in-class teaching practice, fulfills part of the requirement.

Additional Information

In order to earn a PhD in Sociology and regardless of which emphasis area one chooses, students must complete the following program requirements:

1) Required Coursework (Program of Study)
2) Comprehensive Area Exam
3) Third-Year Paper
4) Qualifying Exam
5) Dissertation Project

The Comprehensive Area Exam evaluates the students’ ability to synthesize and critically assess important bodies of research in one of the department’s two areas of emphasis.  Students will select one of the department’s two areas of emphasis: Global and Comparative Sociology (GCS) or the Sociology of Population and Health (P&H) for testing.

The Third-Year Paper is an independent research project in which a student produces a manuscript that contains empirical analysis.  The Third Year Paper requires a Primary and Secondary Reader.  The Primary Reader should be a tenure-track faculty member from within the Department of Sociology.  The Secondary Reader can be a faculty member from within or outside of the Sociology Department.

The Qualifying Exam is a series of projects related to establishing ones own research agenda, and when completed, mark the important transition from a doctoral student to a doctoral candidate.  The Qualifying Exam requires a student to select and consult with a Supervisory Committee and develop a clear plan for the Dissertation Project.  The Qualifying Exam includes two components:

1) written research proposal
2) oral defense of the research proposal

The research proposal outlines a detailed plan for the dissertation project, as well as a clear description of how the project is framed within and contributes to the literature associated with that topic.The first part of the document includes an extended analytic literature review.  The second part of the document will include a clear statement of the research question(s), a description of the methodology including a description of the data or data collection plan as well as how the data will be analyzed, and a proposed timeline for a dissertation project.

Students are required to discuss the written research proposal during and oral defense that is approximately two hours in length.  During this defense, the Supervisory Committee will ask questions about the literature review to ensure the student knows the relevant literature deeply and broadly.  The Supervisory Committee will also ask the student to justify the proposed research design.  At the end of this defense, the student and Supervisory Committee should agree on the scope and direction of the Dissertation.

The Qualifying Exam is overseen by a five-person committee called the Supervisory Committee.  This committee is responsible for providing guidance and advice to the student throughout the development and completion of the Qualifying Exam requirements, as well as the final Dissertation Project as described on the next pages.  In other words, this committee is the student’s dissertation committee.

The Supervisory Committee must consist of at at least five faculty members, including at least three regular sociology faculty.  The chair of the committee must be a core faculty member in the Department of Sociology.  One member of the committee must be appointed from a department other than Sociology.

To complete the Qualifying Exam, students will enroll in SOC 7931  for a minimum of 6 credit hours and SOC 7950 for a minimum of 6 credit hours. 


Dissertation Requirements

A dissertation is the final requirement of a Doctoral Degree (PhD).    A dissertation is an original piece of research that provides evidence of a student’s ability to conduct an independent investigation.   A dissertation should make a unique contribution to the field of knowledge in sociology.

To complete this final requirement, students will
1)  prepare a written manuscript called a thesis
2) pass an oral examination, called the final defense

The Supervisory Committee is responsible for evaluating and assessing the dissertation requirements (e.g., thesis & defense), as well as providing guidance and advice during the development and execution of the dissertation research project. The same Supervisory Committee is also responsible for approving the student’s Program of Study and Qualifying Exam requirements.

For additional information visit our website at soc.utah.edu/graduate/requirements.php. and http://soc.utah.edu/graduate/description.php

Dissertation Requirements

A Doctoral Supervisory Committee consisting of five members is appointed to direct a student’s work after the master’s paper requirement has been fulfilled. Students entering the program with a master’s degree will form this committee by the second semester of the first year. At least one member must be from the faculty in another department. The chair of the committee is the student’s major professor for the dissertation and normally directs the student’s research for and writing of the dissertation. This committee approves the post-master’s paper program of study, prepares and evaluates the qualifying examinations, approves the dissertation proposal colloquium, judges the final oral dissertation defense, and grants final dissertation approval.

Two written qualifying examinations determine the student’s mastery of general sociological principles and depth of understanding within two areas or fields of specialization. These exams are taken only after all required course work is completed. One of these areas must be in either Comparative International Sociology (CIS) or the Sociology of Population and Health (SPH). The second exam may be taken the other core area, or in an area of specialization defined by the student in consultation with the Doctoral Supervisory Committee.

Students are required to present a dissertation proposal colloquium that is approximately two hours in length and open to all sociology faculty and graduate students. A written dissertation proposal must be distributed to each committee member and available in the main office no later than two weeks prior to the colloquium. The proposal should include a clear statement of the research question, a review of the relevant literature, a description of the methodology to be employed, and the data sources. After successful defense of the dissertation proposal in the colloquium, research for the dissertation may proceed. Students whose dissertation research will involve human subjects are responsible for following the procedures of the University’s Institutional Review Board (www.research.utah.edu/irb).

Students must submit a dissertation embodying the results of research that provides evidence of originality and an ability to do independent investigation that contributes to knowledge in the field. The dissertation should be of sufficient merit to warrant publication in a professional journal or monograph series. Style and format are the same as required for manuscripts submitted to the American Sociological Review and are verified by the Graduate School dissertation editor.

Following submission of the dissertation and prior to graduation, the student must pass a final oral dissertation defense. This is a public examination scheduled by the Doctoral Supervisory Committee. Public notice of the oral defense must be made two weeks prior to the event. A copy of the dissertation must be on file in the Department office and available to faculty and students at the time of public notification. The final format and distribution of the dissertation and abstract as well as the use of restricted data are governed by the Graduate School as described in A Handbook for Theses and Dissertations, which is available on-line at the Graduate School web site (web.utah.edu/graduate_school) under “Students” then “Thesis Office.

Students are expected to complete the doctoral program within five years. Students who are allowed to continue after the normal five years must complete the degree within seven consecutive calendar years. Upon written recommendation from the Dissertation Supervisory Committee and the Department Graduate Director, the Dean of the Graduate School may modify this requirement in extraordinary cases.

The Department will notify students admitted to the Graduate Program in Sociology of departmental policies and requirements that may not be represented in this document. Degree Requirements are subject to change. All students should check the Department web site (www.soc.utah.edu) for the most current degree requirements. The University of Utah and the Department of Sociology are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in all programs, activities, and employment.

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