Graduate Program

incoming cohort 2018 featureThe Department of Sociology at Bowling Green State University offers advanced study at both the master's and doctoral levels for students who seek employment in either academic or non-academic settings. The doctoral program is ranked in the top 20 nationally in productivity by the National Research Council. With 20 full-time faculty and approximately 40 funded graduate students, the program features small classes and a high level of interaction between faculty and students in a friendly, informal environment that stresses excellence in both research and teaching. Faculty are accessible to students, and students are regarded as motivated junior scholars. The program offers an abundance of formal and informal opportunities to share ideas, and faculty and students regularly collaborate on research and coauthor papers presented at professional meetings and published in scholarly journals.
Our faculty include the current President of the Population Association of America (PAA), an incoming Editor of Population Research and Policy Review, winner of the Clifford Clogg mid-career award from the PAA, winner of a Top Contributor in Work-Family research, an expert witness to federal cases on bail reform, author of the ASA’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the landmark Obergefell vs. Hodges case, among many other faculty acclaimed for their research and teaching. In addition, two federally-funded research centers (Center for Family and Demographic Research (CFDR) and National Center for Family & Marriage Research (NCFMR)) are housed in the department as well as the influential Toledo Adolescent and Relationship Study (TARS). Our graduate students are highly active in research, present their work at national sociology, demography, and criminology conferences, and often publish with faculty or independently. Students also receive formal training in the teaching of sociology, and have the opportunity to teach their own courses. Our students receive excellent mentorship and upon graduation, have been well placed in academic and non-academic settings, including R1 research departments (Florida State, Penn State, Nebraska), other universities and liberal arts colleges, government agencies (Census Bureau), think tanks (Child Trends), national research centers (National Opinion Research Center), and the private sector (Nielsen). Visit our Student Placements page for a complete list of placements.
PhD Program

To provide a broad background in general sociology and to create the capacity for the development of rigorous research, teaching, and/or applied skills in at least one area of specialization. Although faculty interests cover a wide range of sub-areas within sociology, the areas of specialization offered in the doctoral program include: 

Family Studies
Social Psychology

Quantitative methods is offered as a minor area of specialization at the PhD level.

Director of Graduate Studies
raymond swisher

Raymond R. Swisher
Professor, Department of Sociology
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403

For students interested in a terminal MA degree, we offer an additional area of concentration in applied demography.

Research Centers

The Department houses two research centers:

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Learning Outcomes – Doctor of Philosophy
Upon completion of the doctoral degree, students in Sociology are expected to be able to:

  • Synthesize and appraise the theoretical and empirical literature in a major area of specialization in sociology, concluding about important areas for future research. 
  • Develop a sociologically significant research project that investigates multiple, related research questions. 
  • Evaluate and defend the relevant theories and literature that inform the research project. 
  • Statistically analyze empirical data from large social survey datasets to investigate multiple, related research questions. 
  • Assess the strengths and limitations of analytical methods and to defend choices to use some methods over others. 
  • Argue effectively to technical and non-technical audiences orally and in writing. 

Learning Outcomes – Master of Arts
Upon completion of the graduate degree, students in Sociology are expected to be able to:

  • Develop a project that investigates a sociological research question.  
  • Evaluate and defend the relevant theories and literature that inform the research question. 
  • Statistically analyze empirical data from large social survey datasets to investigate a research question. 
  • Assess the strengths and limitations of analytical methods and defend choices to use some methods over others. 
  • Argue effectively to technical and non-technical audiences orally and in writing. 

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Sociology program will undergo Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2018/19.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)
Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Sociology program does not lead to professional licensure.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)
Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Sociology program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.