Graduate Catalog 2003-2004
Gary R. Lee, Chair
The Department of Sociology offers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. Students may specialize in: criminology/deviance; population studies/demography; social psychology, and family studies. Although the strength of the department lies within these specializations, students are encouraged to plan a course of study meeting their own particular interests and career objectives. Additional faculty expertise in the areas of applied demography, gerontology, sociological theory, and quantitative methods results in considerable flexibility in the design of individualized programs of study.
Regardless of the area of specialization, students in the program build a firm foundation in research methodology, statistics, and theory. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in academic and non-academic settings. For example, master's specializations in applied demography and family studies are especially designed to prepare individuals for careers in the public sector, private industry, service organizations, and governmental agencies.
The objectives of the Ph.D. program are to provide a broad background in general sociology and to create the capacity for theoretically relevant, rigorous research in at least one area of specialization. Although faculty interests cover a wide range of specialty areas within sociology, doctoral students are encouraged to major in one of the following four areas: criminology/deviance; population studies/demography; social psychology; or family studies. Faculty will work with students to accommodate various other interests so long as they are consistent with faculty expertise.
Prerequisites to Graduate Work
For admission to the M.A. program, applicants must have a satisfactory academic record and a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Applicants must have completed undergraduate courses in sociological theory, methodology, and statistics. In cases where applicants are deficient in sociological background, they may be admitted on a conditional basis providing that the deficiencies are remedied during the course of study. A remedial plan will be developed by the graduate committee for the student's guidance. A placement (diagnostic) test in methods and statistics is given to all entering students for purposes of course advisement.
Applicants to the Ph.D. program should be strongly motivated individuals whose records indicate that they are capable of successfully completing a Ph.D. degree. A master's degree is required for admission to the doctoral program.
Applicants seeking admission to the graduate programs in sociology should follow the instructions outlined in the "Graduate Admission" section of this catalog.
Of the three letters of recommendation required with the application for admission, at least two of these should be from professors familiar with the applicant's academic work. For doctoral applicants, all letters of recommendation should be from former sociology professors at the graduate level.
The departmental graduate committee also requires that applicants submit an essay describing their area of sociological interest and professional goals. This essay is particularly important because it helps the committee decide if the Department can meet the applicant's career goals.
Master of Arts
Candidates are required to complete the following courses: SOC 601, Classical Sociological Theory; SOC 611, Intermediate Methodology; SOC 612, Intermediate Statistics; and SOC 660, Teaching Introductory Sociology. SOC 713, Research Design, is also required for Plan II students. SOC 601 is not required for students specializing in applied demography. These students substitute a course in demographic theory for the general theory requirement. Similarly, applied demography majors are not required to complete SOC 660.
The M.A. degree program offers five general areas of emphasis: criminology/deviance, population studies/demography, social psychology, applied demography, and family studies. Each of the five areas of study has specific course requirements in addition to those noted above. Further information about these requirements is outlined in the specialty area program statements and in the department's Graduate Student Handbook, all of which may be obtained from the Department of Sociology.
The M.A. degree is offered under two plans.
Plan I: Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit and write a formal thesis. The thesis may be a replication of a previous study, a secondary analysis of data from another study, the product of original research based on primary data, or a piece of library research. Students must pass an oral examination on the thesis.
Plan II: Candidates must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate credit, including SOC 713, Research Design. Students are required to pass a four-hour comprehensive examination in their area of specialization, a two-hour examination in sociological theory, and a two-hour examination in research methods/statistics.
Doctor of Philosophy
Students are required to complete 60 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree, including a maximum of 30 semester hours of dissertation credit. Hour requirements, however, are secondary in importance to breadth and depth of knowledge as evidenced by performance on the departmental comprehensive examinations and demonstrated research competence. The dissertation, a mature piece of scholarship embodying the results of original research, is central to the student's plan of study. Students are expected to develop a dissertation proposal early in their program.
Students are given considerable flexibility in working out their programs of study, although all students are expected to achieve a level of basic competence in theory, research methods, and statistics. Most students choose a major and a minor area of concentration from among the following areas: criminology/deviance, population studies/demography, social psychology, or family studies. Students may specialize in an area other than one of these three as long as there is sufficient faculty expertise in the area to permit specialized advanced study.
Students are required to take five basic courses in theory and quantitative methods: SOC 601, Classical Sociological Theory; SOC 602, Contemporary Sociological Theory; SOC 611, Intermediate Methodology; SOC 612, Intermediate Statistics; and SOC 713, Research Design. A minimum of 16 hours of SOC 799, Dissertation Research, is also required.
Students must fulfill a language requirement through one of two options. The requirement may be met either by (a) successfully passing (with a grade of B or better) CS 630, Statistical Packages, or (b) demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language.
Students must take written comprehensive examinations in the following three areas: quantitative methods; major area; and minor area. The examination in the major area is a single eight-hour written examination and the minor area examination is a four-hour examination. The quantitative methods examination is four hours. Students who pass all of the required courses in the quantitative methods sequence (SOC 611, SOC 612, SOC 713) with a grade of B or better, and who have acquired a grade point average of 3.5 or better in that sequence, will be exempt from taking the corresponding required examination.