Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Sociology Ph.D.

College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Sociology, 909 Social Sciences Building, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-4300; fax: 612-624-7020)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 65
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Sociology is concerned with the study of human societies, groups, and social life. The program offers substantive training in seven areas of specialization: 1. Demography and population studies 2. Global, transnational, and comparative sociology 3. Inequalities and identities: Race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and nation 4. Law, crime, punishment, and human rights 5. Life course: Family, education, and well-being 6. Networks, organizations, and work 7. Theory, knowledge, and culture Methodological training is available in historical and comparative research, survey research, network analysis, advanced statistical analysis, and qualitative research. The doctoral program is for students planning to do research or teach.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.50.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Students are not required to have earned a graduate or professional degree prior to entering the program. It is recommended that applicants have a background in basic sociology, usually consisting of the equivalent of 18 credits in undergraduate work (including 9 credits of social science statistical methods), or an MA degree in sociology or a closely related field. Individuals without sociology coursework are generally required to complete background coursework in theory and statistics during their first year of residence.
Special Application Requirements:
Applicants are evaluated on their academic potential, commitment to the field, creativity, and potential for contribution to the field. In addition to the University application form, and its required documents, applicants must submit the following: GRE scores; a sample of written work, usually a term paper, written in English; three letters of recommendation; and a personal statement of professional objectives. Non-native English speakers are required to take the TOEFL test, this includes students who have studied in the U.S. The department accepts new students for fall admission only. The application deadline is December 15.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 95
    • Internet Based - Listening Score: 22
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 24
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 22
    • Internet Based - Speaking Score: 27
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 587
The preferred English language test is Test of English as Foreign Language.
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
29 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 3 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Required Core Courses (17 Credits)
Take 17 or more credit(s) from the following:
· SOC 8701 - Sociological Theory (4.0 cr)
· SOC 8801 - Sociological Research Methods (4.0 cr)
· SOC 8811 - Advanced Social Statistics (4.0 cr)
· Take 3 or more credit(s) from the following:
· SOC 8851 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: In-Depth Interviewing (3.0 cr)
· SOC 8852 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: Ethnographic Practicum (3.0 cr)
· SOC 8853 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: Historical & Comparative Sociology (3.0 cr)
· SOC 8890 - Advanced Topics in Research Methods (2.0-3.0 cr)
· Take 2 or more credit(s) from the following:
· SOC 8001 - Sociology as a Profession (1.0 cr)
Required Sociology Electives (12 Credits)
Select elective coursework in consultation with the advisor.
Take 12 or more credit(s) from the following:
· SOC 8xxx
Outside Coursework (12 Credits)
Select at least 12 credits outside the major, in consultation with the advisor.
Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· SOC 8888 - Thesis Credits: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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SOC 8701 - Sociological Theory
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Traditions of social theory basic to sociological knowledge, their reflection and expansion in contemporary theory, their applications in selected areas of empirical research. Sample topics: social inequality, social organization and politics, family organization and social reproduction, social order and change, sociology of knowledge and religion.
SOC 8801 - Sociological Research Methods
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Multiple objectives of social research and how they inform research design. Conceptualization and measurement of complex concepts. Broad issues in research design and quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection and management. prereq: Grad soc major or instr consent
SOC 8811 - Advanced Social Statistics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Statistical methods for analyzing social data. Sample topics: advanced multiple regression, logistic regression, limited dependent variable analysis, analysis of variance and covariance, log-linear models, structural equations, and event history analysis. Applications to datasets using computers. prereq: recommend 5811 or equiv; graduate student or instr consent
SOC 8851 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: In-Depth Interviewing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Interviewers have opened up other worlds to the sociological imagination and taught us much about the way people think, feel, and make sense of the world as well as of their own identities. We will conduct interviews; transcribe, code, and analyze interview data; and write up interview- based research. We will also consider a range of epistemological, practical, and ethical issues related to interviewing as a research method, reading materials drawn from a broad range of substantive sociological subfields as well as from geography. This course is best suited to graduate students who have an interview-based project in mind and want to acquire the skills for carrying out their research, and students who are considering using interviews in their dissertation research and want to try their hand at interviewing before making a decision. Because this is a hands-on, fieldwork-based course, no auditors are permitted.
SOC 8852 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: Ethnographic Practicum
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Ethnographic practice involves two core activities: engaging people in their own space and time, and separating yourself enough from the fieldwork site to write about observations and experiences with some degree of analytical distance and theoretical sophistication. Ethnographers are always both participant and observer, although some of them -- often those who start off as insiders at a site from the beginning -- will be more practically or emotionally enmeshed in a fieldwork site than others. This seminar emphasizes both these core activities: students develop the practice of shuttling constantly between fieldwork site and writing field notes and analysis. Complementing the field work will be reading and discussion of classic and contemporary ethnographies. Each student will undertake his or her own fieldwork project, learning how to generate field notes that include rich description and coherent, flexible analysis. These projects should generate a useful body of qualitative data, as well as an intensive, hands-on experience of the design, research process, and analysis of ethnography. Prerequisites: SOC 8801 or instructor consent.
SOC 8853 - Advanced Qualitative Research Methods: Historical & Comparative Sociology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course is designed to teach graduate students to design and carry out theoretically informed and methodologically sophisticated historical research projects. In the first section of the course, we will explore the meaning of historical sociology, the disciplinary reflexes of sociologists and historians, conceptions of time in historical sociology, the uses of narrative in explanation, the use of case studies and comparisons in historical analysis, and varieties of explanation. The following section will examine the problems and potentials involved in different types of sources used by historically-oriented social scientists and the politics of historical memory. The final section will survey research by sociologists, historians, and political scientists that attempts to develop historically informed theories of various phenomena, such as race relations, nation and state formation, colonialism and imperialism, democratization and citizenship, gender and sexuality, and contentious politics. This course fulfills an advanced qualitative methods requirement for Sociology graduate students.
SOC 8890 - Advanced Topics in Research Methods
Credits: 2.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Advanced Research Methods (e.g., multilevel models), historical/comparative, field, survey research. Topics specified in Class Schedule. prereq: 8801, 8811, or instr consent. Cr will not be granted if cr has been received for the same topics title
SOC 8001 - Sociology as a Profession
Credits: 1.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This 1 credit class fosters adaptation to the Graduate Program in Sociology and preparation for a sociological career. In the Fall, we explore professional careers in this field. We discuss the wide range of opportunities in sociology and help students further explore the next steps to becoming a scholar, educator, and member of various professional, intellectual, and social communities. We share practical information about being a student in sociology and about sociological careers, discuss presentations in department workshop seminars, and provide a safe place to discuss issues of student concerns. Students are encouraged to bring to the class their thoughts and reactions to experiences during their first semester in the PhD program. The Spring 8001 class is oriented to particular milestones in the Sociology Graduate Program and important student activities (for example, preparing reading lists for the preliminary exam and then writing the preliminary exam, preparing a dissertation prospectus, writing grant proposals, preparing an article for publication, etc.). Pre-req: Soc PhD students
SOC 8888 - Thesis Credits: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
(No description) prereq: [Completion of four semesters and all required credits completed], 24 cr required